Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix Review
Super Street Fighter II Turbo was the very pinnacle of the Street Fighter II games. It retained everything that made Street Fighter II Turbo so amazing, adjusted the balance, added new fighters, new stages, and of course featured Super combos. So it's no wonder that Capcom chose it as the Street Fighter game to give a visual overhaul to. After what seems like an eternity of waiting, plagued by over a year's worth of delays, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (SFHD hereafter) has arrived.
It's a rather unusual feeling having to write a review of a game that is essentially 15 years old. Sure, this HD remake of Street Fighter is all new, but aside from the new graphics, the actual game is a dinosaur. In a way, what can I possibly tell you about a street Fighter II game that you don't already know? You know the characters, you know the Hadokens, the Shoryukens, the Tiger Uppercuts, the Yoga Flames, and so forth. You probably know all of the motions to pull off each move, too, and if you're like me you typically refer to any Down-Forward motion as a Hadoken.
You see, updating SF's visuals required the developer to make sure that each fighter's hit-box was left uncompromised. Maintaining identical collision detection characteristics is extremely critical in this situation, and it's actually one of the reasons why it took so long for SFHD to arrive. Thankfully, Udon and Backbone successfully preserved the action of Super Turbo with SFHD, and there are no problematic collision problems that throw the balance of the game off.
But, for those who'd still like to see an improved balance in Super Turbo, Backbone has gone and fixed whatever balance issues there were in the game. The HD Remix mode contains a rebalanced game which radically changes the balance of every character in the game. This mode was created specifically with the direct help of top-ranked professional Street Fighter players who have created and tested these rebalanced characters for Capcom. In addition to this rebalanced mode will also come with a different control scheme that boasts altered and, in some cases, simplified maneuvers for beginners. Of course, all of that stuff is optional, and only added as bonuses to the actual Classic mode that retains the balance of the original Super Turbo.
Of course you can expect to play as all 17 characters from the original Super-Turbo game, and that is including Akuma. You'll take the fighters across a variety of modes, including single-player, multiplayer, and yes, head-to-head online multiplayer. So if you don't have someone to play with right next to you, go online and find an opponent from anywhere in the world - just like a true "World Warrior" would (couldn't resist the pun). Capcom promised network code that would deliver the best possible online fighting experience, and they have, by providing us a nearly lag free experience that's yet to crash on us. Lastly, if you're not cutting it online, take it to the game's Training Mode and work on your skills.
Online features include: In-game voice chat, various matchmaking options, personal and friends statistics tracking, detailed worldwide rankings and leaderboards by character - tracks overall wins and losses, number of throws, perfects, highest combos and more. There's also a spectator system that attempts to simulate the atmosphere of an arcade, here six people gather in this mode, two people fight, and the other four spectate. To get "next" you will use a virtual quarter, sort of like the good ol' days.
My only complaint with the gameplay is the difficulty. Either I've gotten terrible since the last time I played my copy of Super SF2 Turbo, or this game seems to be a bit on the difficult side. I found it odd that I couldn't adjust the difficulty in the options from one star to eight, like you could in the past, and instead had to choose between easy, medium, hard, and expert. With a little bit of practice, the difficulty should hopefully be overcome, but I'm rather sure the original game was easier than this.
As far as graphics go, what else is there to expect from SFHD that you haven't seen in the screenshots? It's a perfect HD update to Super Turbo with no collision detection problems to speak of. While the art has been met with some harsh criticism by the alleged purists, I think it looks terrific. Everything about the HD visuals look terrific, in fact, from backgrounds to the characters to the effects. You are given the ability play with the classic 1994 Super-Turbo sprites, but for some reason Backbone didn't include the original backgrounds. It's a shame too, because playing with the old sprites on the new backgrounds looks really ugly.
There isn't a whole lot to the audio, besides the classic Street Fighter II soundtrack and the original sounds for all the fighters. You have the option of playing with the original Super-Turbo music, or selecting the remixed ones. Whichever setting you choose, I doubt you'll be disappointed, they both sound great.
Downloadable games have long ago proven to be a worthwhile feature for both the PS3 and Xbox 360, and Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD does nothing but help solidify the fact. The game is yet another solid entry for the PlayStation Network, and is also a superb way to spend $15. If you weren't around for the Street Fighter days or you've never tried a Street Fighter game before, you really owe it to yourself to do so. This HD remake reminds us just how timeless Street Fighter II really is.
11/30/2008 Arnold Katayev