Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix

I believe this is the seventh edition of Street Fighter II, not including ports and minor arcade variations. I'm sure it won't be the last time I buy SFII, but, for now, it is the definitive home version. Just as a home port of Super Turbo, it's probably the closest that any attempt has ever come to the arcade. It's not as bug-ridden as the emulation included in Capcom Classics Collection Vol.2, and Vega's wall dive actually works reliably, unlike in the PS2 Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition.

The redrawn sprites are a mixed bag. They're attractive overall, as expected from Udon, and it's nice to have a 2-D fighter that actually looks good in HD, but nothing could ever replace the old sprites, which remain some of the best pixel art of all time. Thankfully, the game includes the option to play with classic graphics.

The remixed soundtrack is okay, though I don't really find that the new arrangements add anything noteworthy to Yoko Shimomura's immortal compositions. As with the sprites, HD Remix includes an option to use the classic tracks, but not the awesome 3DO remixes. This is actually somewhat disappointing compared to Anniversary Edition, which included the 3DO tracks, on top of two different sets of arcade synth.

I'm certainly not qualified to discuss the refinements in gameplay balance, but the people behind this job are well-known Street Fighter players, and I have every confidence in their ability to apply over a decade of accumulated knowledge toward perfecting this tournament staple. Fundamentally, of course, it is still Super Turbo, the last fighting game that regular people could kind of understand. Speaking objectively as one such individual, I find the game to be a rather odd case. Compared to more recent fighters, it is frustratingly archaic in the punishingly tight timing required for combos and command inputs. Yet the game speed is also tuned way too fast on account of it having been the fifth release on an engine that had begun to run out of other tricks. So, even though it's basically SFII, it's a really hardcore version intended for experts. Mind you, these are issues with Super Turbo, which HD Remix merely inherits.

My only major complaint right now is that the DualShock3's D-pad is a nightmare to perform moves on, and, strangely, this release doesn't even help the player out by including the standard option to assign buttons to combination shortcuts (PPP, etc.). Sadly, better control options probably won't arrive for the PS3 before the release of Street Fighter IV.

1 comment:

Czardoz said...

Now excuse you while you play a few rounds of King of Fighters 2000 to wash the bad taste out of your mouth.