|System: X360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Backbone Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: CAPCOM||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 26, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jason Lauritzen
During the '90s Street Fighter II equaled fighting. A generation of gamers grew up memorizing quarter-circle punch maneuvers - something that is now ingrained as muscle memory - and learned to love the eccentric cast of characters. At the time, 2D fighters weren't in the limelight, but CAPCOM's unique and simplistic touch, featuring one-on-one fights against animated backdrops, won people over - and it won them over fast.
Sure, Street Fighter II (and all its iterations) was a big hit in the arcades, but the bigger story may have been at home. The SNES versions alone sold over 10 million units, a staggering number even by today's standards. So, when Backbone Entertainment said it was going to give Super Street Fighter II Turbo an overhaul, not only in the presentation department but also add things like dip switch settings and net play, people were skeptical. For purists, the past versions were fine. Why was a new version necessary? And what about net play? In the past, few fighters have been able to get over the net code hurdle, resulting in an experience that kills the potential for competitive online play.
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is an education in fulfilled expectations. Nearly every doubt about the game is laid to rest the first time you play. Think it doesn't animate well? You're wrong - it looks beautiful. Expect the net code to be laggy? No way - the code base is so solid that you'll rarely encounter any lag. Backbone Entertainment and CAPCOM have produced the definitive console version of the classic fighter.
From the get-go, one thing should be mentioned: Turbo HD Remix in no way attempts to mess with your Street Fighter II sensibilities. If you don't want the remixed music, you can simply switch to the old midi tracks. If the new sprites - however beautiful they may be - aren't your cup of tea, you can opt for the old graphics (the characters revert, but for some reason the backgrounds stay HD). If you are from the hardcore crowd and remember character-specific super reversals or memorized the chance of the first frame of a hurricane kick being unblockable, there's a custom DIP switch section that can be used to turn on or off these exploits.
Those that aren't complete purists are going to find a welcome presentation. While screenshots do show the attention to detail that UDON Entertainment put into the art, seeing the game in motion is even better. Everything animates exactly like you remember, which is a good thing. If the animation was radically different it would have broken the game, since the title relies extensively on the subtleties of screen real estate - should a move extend too far it would break another character's move and so on down the interaction line. The decision to bring on artists from the volunteer video game remix community - courtesy of OverClocked ReMix - should be commended. Not only does it give these talented arrangers attention, but every single midi track has be re-imagined in the best possible light, giving the audio an updated vibe that feels appropriate and never out of place.
Underneath all the new audiovisuals is the now-classic Street Fighter II gameplay that gamers have come to know and respect. You may have some control issues due to the D-pad or analog sticks, but this is really a deficiency of the controller itself and not the game. "Respect" is an appropriate label because Street Fighter II is like any good strategy-based game: there's that initial layer that seems non-complex and allows people to jump in and have fun, yet there's also the secondary layer that rewards players who spend hours memorizing button combos, carefully examining animation patterns, and learning the ins-and-outs of character strengths and weaknesses.