GAME REVIEW- Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, December 15, 2008
Of all the video game series that have survived to see the age of 20, Street Fighter is undoubtedly the most respected. We love Super Mario, Mega Man and other “old timers,” but two decades after its conception, the Street Fighter series still demands the very best from its fans. Even though it's not too difficult for a newcomer to pick up a controller and start playing, veterans who wish to achieve recognition for their skills must practice and study, not unlike a young acolyte who strives to become a master.
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, available for download on Xbox Live Arcade and the Playstation Network, is both a welcome introduction for Street Fighter newbies and the ultimate test of skill for veterans. Capcom and Backbone Entertainment have added layers of depth to a fighter that's already known for detail, and the nearly endless ways to toggle the gameplay makes it a welcome choice for beginners. Udon Studios' high definition retooling of the original Street Fighter sprites is worth fawning over too, of course.
Old Fighters, New Balance
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is, as its distressingly long name implies, a high definition upgrade to Super Street Fighter II Turbo (SSFIIT), which hit the arcades in 1994. Players have the option of selecting the arcade's original build (which uses the exact same gameplay and balance featured in Super Street Fighter II Turbo and simply adds the new artwork and music) or they can opt for a “rebalanced” version of the original game (plus the aesthetic changes). The rebalancing means that the controller movements needed to pull off some special moves, for example the Dragon Punch, are more forgiving. Honda's Hundred-Hand slap and Chun-Li's Lightning Kick also take fewer button pushes to engage.
Not surprisingly, opinions on the rebalancing have been heated. Series veterans might not be too happy with the changes, but they can fall back on the game's Classic Arcade mode. The rebalancing is meant to attract newcomers who might otherwise have trouble with their Hadokens. Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix means to draw in fresh fighters just as much as it seeks to placate the experienced warriors: Street Fighter IV is just around the corner, after all.
“Dipswitches” in the game's Options menu lets players tailor the challenge to their preference. Anyone in search of a quick playthrough even has the option of limiting matches to one round versus a best of three.
For anyone who's well familiar with the physical makeup of Ryu and Ken, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix's graphics are fun to behold. Udon Studios (the creators of the current Street Fighter comic) has spent a lot of time on the little details, particularly in the stage backgrounds. Each character has redrawn and re-scripted ending scenes as well. Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix manages to look modern while retaining the classic Street Fighter phenotype.
A remixed soundtrack is part of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix's shiny new package as well. Capcom has involved the fandom in the creative process by commissioning Street Fighter tracks from the best and brightest of Overclocked Remix. While most of these tracks sound fantastic, they're also a bit slow and unsuited for the action. Great stuff for the iPod, but not so much as background music for a heated fight. The musical drawl is especially noticeable in Vega's stage: though the matador leaps and soars all over the screen like a flying squirrel, his music sounds like it belongs in a coffee lounge.
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix has one potentially killing flaw, but the blame isn't on the heads of Capcom or Backbone Entertainment. Simply put, the Xbox 360 controller is wretched for fighting games; the over-sensitive d-pad will send the player somersaulting into the competition more than once. This can be disastrous in a fight against T Hawk or Zangief.
The Playstation 3's controller is far better suited for fighting. Keep that in mind when deciding which console to download to, or bite the bullet and invest in a better controller for the Xbox 360.
Go Play in the Street
If you're able to look past the drama behind Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix's rebalancing, you'll be treated to a game that's absolutely worth the price of retail—that's selling for below retail. Street Fighter's famous roster looks great with the HD treatment, and much like horses who've been stabled for a long time, they're ready to flex and leap and show off. This is the perfect opportunity to start practicing for Street Fighter IV, so get to it.
Mania Grade: A-
Videogame: Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Developer: Backbone Entertainment
Replay Value: A