CPS1 Chains are a tactic where the player can cancel Rapid Cancelable light kicks into harder punches. Historical details as to when they were discovered are a little unclear, but CPS1 Chains were removed starting with the CPSII New Challengers. CPS1 Chains are available for the World Warrior, Champion Edition, and Hyper Fighting side of the roster in the Street Fighter Anniversary Collection.
CPS1 Chains allow characters to perform combos they would otherwise not be able to perform. For example, Ken can perform his close hard punch, which is cancelable, after a close light kick due to the mechanic. In the Anniversary Collection, the CPS1 cast still has access to the mechanic (for example the World Warrior Ken can do this but not the Super Turbo incarnation), while characters that debuted after the CPS1 games such as Cammy and Akuma have no access to it.
Comparison to Chain Combos Edit
CPS1 Chains, while unintended, can be considered a predecessor to Chain Combos, a mechanic that debuted in Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams. Both go from weaker to stronger attacks, and are "automatic". The difference is that the user needs the Rapid Cancel mechanic available to one of their light kicks. With CPS1 Chains, the ending has to be with a punch that is stronger than light, while Chain Combos can end with either a Hard Punch or Hard Kick.
16 bit consoles. Edit
The games based off the CPS1 iterations of Street Fighter released for the Super Nintendo, World Warrior and Turbo, have many deviations from the arcade versions. One of the most noticeable is the complete removal of the CPS1 Chain system. This makes characters such as Ken having to rely on different combos.
The single officially released game for the Sega Genesis, Special Champion Edition, while toned down in graphics, is actually more "arcade perfect" than it's Super Nintendo counterparts. CPS1 Chains are still fully integrated into the game, working the exact same way it does in the arcade CPS1 versions. Future Street Fighter II released would be on stronger hardware, meaning the original games could be ported via emulation or other methods rather than making new, weaker versions of the game that might not be similar to the original.