Street Smart was SNK's answer to the original Street Fighter game by Capcom. Released in 1989, this was one of the last one on one fighting games to use anything other than a strict 2-D area of movement (that was until the Virtua Fighter series started using real 3-D). This game uses the classic 2-D with up and down movement environment that was popular with side scrolling beat em ups (like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Final Fight, and hundreds of others).

You begin by choosing one of two fighters (either a blond guy, or a dark haired guy in karate gear). Then you are whisked away to one of many cities on the map to have a battle (just like in the Street Fighter series). The opponents are tough, but simple. This game has no special moves (and has only punch, kick, and jump buttons), and all characters have insanely high energy. So you pretty much just wail away at each other with punches and kicks until someone falls down. An ambulance will show up to haul away your defeated opponent, and a girl in the audience will come out to congratulate you. All of these graphics are very reminiscent of Capcom's games from this same area (SNK figured that they might as well immitate the industry leader), especially the crowd scenes, which look nearly identical to the ones in Street Fighter II and Final Fight.

This game could have been a hit (there were almost no fighting games on the market at the time), but they made one fatal mistake. That mistake was making the game co-operative in two player mode. Instead of battling each other, a second enemy would spawn, and the players would work together against both of them. That completely took all the fun and excitement out of playing this game in two player mode. Street Fighter II was released about a year later, and most Street Smart games were quickly converted into them.

This game is JAMMA compatible, and requires a cabinet with a horizontal monitor. Operators could only buy this game as a kit (no dedicated cabinets were produced). You will almost never see one of these games anymore. The rise of the new 2-D fighters in the early 90s meant that almost all older fighting titles were converted. The game boards however, are easy to come by.

I bought my Street Smart on accident. I was in this guys garage looking at the stuff he had for sale (2 pinballs, Donkey Kong, Turbo, this game, and a Virtua Fighter without a monitor), when I saw this game. It was in a beat down wood grain cabinet (later I learned that this was originally a Phoenix dedicated cabinet). The marquee at the top of the game said Neo Geo MVS and the control panel was a Neo Geo one as well. This game is made by SNK, just like Neo Geo titles are, so I assumed that this was just a really bad Neo Geo game. I paid $50 for it (buying my Turbo for $50 as well), and took it home. I got it home, opened it up and realized that this was not a Neo Geo game, the case was just labeled that way. After checking out the overall condition of the machine (and realizing that whoever installed the game mixed up the red and blue wires to the monitor), I opted to part it out, and demolish the cabinet (which was about to fall apart anyway). I kept the JAMMA board to it. I pop it in one of my JAMMA cabinets whenever there are any little kids over at my house (relatives or what not). Kids seem to love this game, not many other people do, as it pales in comparison to the later fighting titles that most people are used to.

This game is rather cheap, a JAMMA board and marquee for it should run about $50 (USD), if purchased on eBay, or from a reasonable dealer.

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