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Street Fighter! ... The one everybody plays.

Mark Marianelli

I'm not gonna' lie, it sucked the life out of me to illustrate Street Fighter 1, luckily Street Fighter II kept me on life support. I mean, the whole reason I even drew the first one was so that I could get around to drawing the second - it's the OCD in me. Nevertheless - Street Fighter II has been drawn!

I decided to go with the New Challengers version of SF2 (there's a million versions). It felt wrong to not include Cammy, but it felt even more wrong to waste time drawing Violent Ken and Dark Ryu. New Challengers always felt like the complete cast of SF2, and seeing as I have no intention to keep going with the Street Fighter series, I figured why not just draw the version I enjoy the most? Though I can't tell you how many times I almost forgot to draw Fei Long and Dee Jay, so freaking uninspired.

I debated for the longest time which background I was going to go with, they're all pretty iconic, and while it would have made more sense to draw Thailand or the Air Force Base, I went with Dhalsim's India stage. The decision came down to one incredibly important factor - laziness. I didn't want to draw a jet and I didn't want to draw more people - I just wanted to draw an elephant, cut and paste that elephant 5 times with minor tweaks and call it a day. I chose laziness over art and nostalgia and I have zero regrets.

I don't have much else to say about the drawing. Had this been a Mortal Kombat game, I could go on for pages about it and my life's experience with it - but Street Fighter II was never a game I devoted much time to. Let's be clear - my bias is completely wrong, Street Fighter II is the greatest fighting game of all time. It defined the genre, every character is iconic, the gameplay is ahead of its time and to say the music is legendary is an understatement. But I never owned a Super Nintendo and the one time I did play one was when my brothers rented it on a trip to my grandparents. We played a lot of Street Fighter II that week, then my brothers got into a fight over which game to play next; My Grandmother intervened and the Super Nintendo was never played again... My Grandmother was not to be messed with - pure Italian strength.

Put her in a Capcom game.
~ Mark


Street Figher! ... The one nobody plays.

Mark Marianelli

After I finished the last Mortal Kombat illustration, I wanted to do more fighting games. However, I really didn't want to burn myself out on some of the incredibly bland characters that came out after Mortal Kombat 4. So I turned to the Godfather of fighting franchises - STREET FIGHTER! But rather than follow my gut and just do a Street Fighter 2 illustration, I thought it'd be a fun idea to start with the first game... I really wish I had just stuck with Mortal Komba now.

Who can forget such classic characters as Mike... and Joe. Let's just say there's a reason people forget that Street Figher 2 has a 2 at the end of it. The first game featured one of the most boring rosters I've ever seen in a fighting game since Pit Fighter. Needless to say this particular drawing was a bit of a chore, but then how many opportunities to you get to draw Ryu with red hair and dainty slippers? The glass is half full, my friends...

There were some more enjoyable aspects going on behind the scenes - I recently got an iPad Pro and the over-priced Apple Pencil (I caved after wasting $22 on the Adobe Ink only to find the battery was so dead that it didn't even attempt to charge) so 90% of this illustration was done using Procreate. I never thought I could be pulled away from my beloved Cintiq 13HD, but you can't beat the portable nature of having an iPad - plus the amount of money I'm going to save on sketchbooks will practically pay for the Apple Pencil itself. I stilled used the Cintiq for a few items, and at the end of the day, I'd be screwed without it, but foreal - Procreate is DELIGHTFUL.

I'm realizing that last paragraph was probably the most tedious bit of reading any non-digital-artist has ever been forced to endure. For this I apologize.

I imagine Street Fighter II will be next in line, I can't imagine I would put myself through drawing this awful game for nothing... Though I'm a tad bit frightened, Street Fighter 2 is so iconic that I feel I'm incapable of doing it any justice. Literally every character in that game is a video game legend... Eh, I've butchered better games.

Here's hoping I'll have the next one done in a reasonable amount of time... Clock is ticking on baby #3 and once that little bugger is released upon the world that's basically the end of my free time until 2036.

Till then!
~ M.

MORTAL KOMBAT!!!! ... Gold.

Mark Marianelli

When I originally illustrated the first 3 Mortal Kombat games, I hadn't planned on going any further with the franchise, the characters get less inspired, the costumes get more complicated, the backgrounds less memorable... Plus each game adds like 20 characters and I've only got so much room to work with on an 11x17 canvas. But alas, I caved and made one more... Now I fear I'm in it for the long haul. Or not. The thought of drawing ANYBODY from "Deception" makes me want to Hara Kiri myself and I don't even know how to approach the 60+ roster of Armageddon. So basically 20 good characters and another 40 uninspired, boring, tedious, nightmarish characters that will only speed up my already inevitable carpal tunnel.

Or I could just spend more time with my kids... eh.

Anyway, as I was saying, I caved and drew one more for the series - Mortal Kombat Gold. Like with Ultimate MK3, I went with the more complete version of the numbered entries. MK4 may have saved me some time and energy, but Gold is what it should have been in the first place. So without further ado... MK: GOLD.

While I do think the majority of these games were lacking after MKII, Mortal Kombat Gold (and even 4) really wasn't all that bad, and it was like a breath of fresh air after suffering through MK:Trilogy. The 3D was nothing to write home about, but it was fine and the characters were stylized in a way that you can almost forgive the wonky polygons of the late 90s. The game played smoothly enough and the controls felt familiar despite the 3-dimensional plane you were playing on. I also liked how you could pick up skulls and throw them at your opponent.

After 3 versions of MK3 where the fatalities somehow got WORSE with every iteration, MK4/Gold finally delivered. The Spine-rip was back in all it's messed up glory, Reptile ate a person's face off and we were given what I consider the be the second-greatest fatality the franchise has ever scarred our children with - Quan Chi (probably the only new character I didn't mind) ripped your leg off and beat you to death with it. Ed Boon dropped the mic with that one.

But I must reiterate - the new characters (Quan Chi excluded) are crap. Not quite as bad as MK Deception, but pretty darn close. Shinnok was a terrible Shang Tsung knockoff, Jerek was Kano without the cool eyepiece, Kai was just black Liu Kang, Tanya was Kitana without the fans, Fujin was crap, Reiko was crap, and this is the only game that managed to make Reptile look stupid as all get out. Needless to say, drawing this was a bit of a chore. Either I was drawing a new character that was boring or I was drawing one of the existing characters in the franchise for a second, third and even fourth time.

The things I do for you people.

~ M.