No, you weren’t crazy.
When it felt like the CPUs were breaking the game in Street Fighter II and making things endlessly harder, you had a reason to believe that. It’s taken literal decades, but a new video by desk has broken it down.
In the video, desk showcases a handful of ways that the CPUs aren’t just obnoxiously difficult; they actually break the game in their favor to make fighting them even harder than it should be.
A few of the examples that are shown would never even be noticeable to the common viewer; you have to actually slow it down frame by frame to see what’s happening, such as when the CPU has invincibility on moves that otherwise don’t have them, or when an attack connects on the first possible frame rather than having to wait for the startup on the move.
Other examples, however, are much easier to spot, and are the kind of exploits that made many players chuck their controllers at a wall. The most obvious two are “charge moves” and “mashing.”
Charge moves, such as Guile’s Lightning Kick, usually require the player to hold down and crouch for two seconds before hitting up+kick to unleash the move. When fighting against a CPU however, they’ll often only crouch for a fraction of a second…if even that. Essentially, they can do charge moves at will without following the rules of the game.
Mashing is how much damage certain grab attacks can do; the faster you can mash, the more damage you do…to a limit. CPUs are able to mash at a rate far quicker than any human could ever do, which means CPU mashing can deplete as much as 95% of your healthbar on the hardest difficulties.
If you’d like to see a total breakdown of all the ways CPUs are broken in Street Fighter II, check out the video below.