REVIEWS -- Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix -- PS3
Street Fighter 2 comes alive with vibrant colors and classic gameplay
by Kevin Fraga
Fun factor: Fun
Worth to: Buy
The best fighting game ever comes back with a facelift and enough tweaks to make it a worthwhile addition to any video game collection
When Street Fighter 2: The World Warriors was initially released back in 1991, it was a revelation. While previous fighting games (such as Karate Champ or even the original Street Fighter) had already appeared in arcades, Street Fighter 2 exploded in popularity. Arcades were suddenly alive again. The game seemed to come alive with multiple characters, each with their very own fighting styles.
For the next few years, we received one slight upgrade after another. SF2: Champion Edition lead into SF2: Turbo, which lead into Super Street Fighter 2. This continued all the way through Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo, the last iteration of the game. When the series finally moved on to the Alpha series and (finally) the Street Fighter 3 series, Street Fighter 2 finally seemed content to stay put... minus a console re-release or Anniversary Collection here and there.
Not just another re-release, a redefinition…
When word started circulating that Capcom was planning a retro remake of its famed title, people were wary. “ANOTHER version of Street Fighter 2?” everyone seemed to scoff. However the more details began to circulate regarding the title, the more intriguing it became...
For everyone who hasn’t followed this title through development, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo: HD Remix is a downloadable-only high-definition version of SF2. The first thing you’ll notice upon starting a match is the vibrant graphics. All of the character sprites, backgrounds, and character select portraits have been lovingly redrawn by the talented comic artists at Udon Studios. The same group that illustrates the fan-favorite Street Fighter comics. This is easily the best Street Fighter 2 has ever looked. The rougher, aged sprites have been replaced with a more vibrant anime/comic book look. The backgrounds have been similarly redrawn and now ‘pop’ to life with vibrant colors. The only negative being the limited frames of animation associated with some of the background characters. For instance, looking at the dancers on Dee Jay’s stage is a little comical as they have all of two frames of animation.
Speaking of animation, when videos began to make their rounds on the Internet, people began to complain about the seemingly choppy animations of the fighters. It seemed at odds with the crisp redrawn graphics. Well, I can definitely say that the animations don’t detract from the experience AT ALL. In fact after playing a few rounds of the game, you’ll be hard pressed to see what everyone was complaining about.
How to tweak a perfect game? Hire a “Champion”
The music has similarly been overhauled. It has been completely redone by Overclock Remix, a group that specializes in gaming remixes in particular. Certain standout tunes includes Ken’s stage and the rocking remix of the opening Street Fighter 2 theme. Similarly, certain voices have been rerecorded. Guile no longer sounds like the whiner he was in “Super”. On the negative side, some stage tunes are kind of snoozers. Fei Long and Cammy’s stage song remixes aren’t a particular favorite over here, and some voices should’ve been altered. Sagat’s “Tiger” is too high-pitched and should be an octave or two lower; more in vein with his Alpha voice.
Of course, one of the benefits to remaking a game like Street Fighter 2 is that it played phenomenal to begin with. So how do you improve upon this? Simple, have a Street Fighter Tournament Champion tweak your game. David Sirlin, renowned tourney champion, went through this game with a fine-tooth comb - tweaking here, adjusting there. A lot of the more difficult moves to pull off have been simplified as a result. So now you won’t need to dislocate your thumbs to pull off Zangief’s spinning pile driver. Sirlin’s design philosophy is that leveling the playing field a bit will make the game more competitive for both novices and experts alike.
Online play is definitely one of the perks of HD Remix. Recapturing the arcade feel of the glory days of Street Fighter 2‘s heydays, we’re presented with a number of options and modes to take the fight online. You can partake in a lobby match where you are part of 6 or so fighters that compete in a continual “take on the winner” setup, which certainly emulates the arcade feel of taking on the winner of the previous match. If you’re just looking to quickly find someone to fight, however, there’s an option to do that as well. Online play also seems to lack the horrible lag that seemed to plague the X-Box Live version of SF2: Turbo.
So, for anyone who’s either a seasoned Ryu veteran or a novice Guile player, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo: HD Remix is WELL worth your $15.00. It offers enough new tweaks to the visuals and gameplay to entice either demographic. And I’m sure we’ll still be playing a version of Street Fighter 2 in another 18 years.
Developer: Backbone Entertainment
Release Date: November 26, 2008
Review Date: 04-12-2008
Numbers of Players: 1-2
Players Online: 2-6
Notes: Playstation Network, Broadband Only, 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p Support, 4:3 Support, Leaderboards, Voice Support, Widescreen, Player Stats, Online Rankings
Truly, the best looking version of Street Fighter 2, bar none! Now, if only they would add a few more frames of animation to the backgrounds.
Plays exactly like you remember it... and that’s a good thing! There’s a reason we’re still playing this after all these years.
Words can’t describe the amount of work that went into overhauling not just the impressive graphics, but the massively tweaked fighters too.
Solid overall. Again, some great remixed versions of classic Street Fighter tunes. A couple of less-than-exemplary remixes, but overall a commendable job.
There’s a reason we’re still playing a game from 1991. The game was, and continues to be, one of the best and defining fighting game titles. Period.