If you were to ask any serious video game enthusiast about which game they consider to be the king of fighting games, 99.9 percent of the time you’re going to get the same answer, and here’s a hint: it’s not going to be the one with the word “king” in the title.
For almost two decades, the Street Fighter 2 line of fighting games have dominated the genre. Their easy to learn yet difficult to master nature has kept them relevant throughout the progressing years of advancing technology; and while modern fighting games have moved into 3D, gotten larger, and became much more complex; they never trumped Street Fighter 2’s package of simple mechanics and infinite levels of mastery.
Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix is an update to the last installment in the Street Fighter 2 line, and it’s absolutely the best offering of the series thus far. Backbone Entertainment took the winning formula in Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo and gave it new life. The “remix” part of the title refers to the brilliantly redrawn sprites and the wonderful new versions of the tunes we all know and love.
If you’re worried about what the “remixing” does to the game you spent hundreds of hours mastering, rest assured, if you were a killer with Ryu before, you still are. While the new sprites are gorgeous, the characters retain the same hit-boxes as before, meaning that the game is instantly familiar to anyone who’s ever played a previous Street Fighter game.
While the physical nature of the characters remained the same, all of them received balancing tweaks and either changes to existing moves or completely new ones. Chun-Li’s Spinning Bird Kick no longer pointlessly carries her across the screen as it has turned into a diagonal hop that can be used to jump over fireballs and damage opponents in the process. Other notable changes are the addition of Ryu’s fake fireball and a delayed kick from Ken. Street Fighter Champion David Sirlin was lead designer on this project, so it should be known that all of the changes in the game were made in order to make the game more balanced, and not for the sake of change.
The online arena is one of the game’s major strength and it’s the aspect of the game that ruined the release of Street Fighter 2 Hyper Fighting on the Xbox Live Arcade. Those who buy HD Remix have nothing to fret about however, as the game plays magically. Backbone has utilized new internet magic, to ensure that the majority of games are lag free. Whatever they did is working fabulously, as you can always find a game online, and it almost always works perfectly. The only grievance I have with the online component is that there isn’t any way to choose whether or not you want your opponent to be able to pick Akuma in a match. While Akuma has been made a bit easier to bring down via the new balancing, he still has a notable advantage over most of the cast.
The real love in HD Remix stems from the cast. These guys have been with us since we were younglings, asking our parents for spare change so we could figure out how to do the karate man’s fireball. Ken, Ryu and friends are used by so many to define an era of our adolescence, our Street Fighter 2 years.
For most of us, they’re our makeshift imaginary family and while they might look different, the game still encapsulates the magic and nostalgia we feel whenever we think about moving our controller in a quarter-circle forward motion. While the nostalgia is wonderful, the sugar on top is the amazing game it’s wrapped in, which happens to be time tested yet refreshingly new at the same time, and if you’ve never played a Street Fighter 2 game before, it’s never too late, and as a matter of fact, right now is the perfect time.
Reviewer’s note: The Xbox 360 version was tested for this review
Marvelously redrawn character sprites are the main draw here.
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Tried and true gameplay mechanics make this game a win.
Remixed tunes are a new take on the classics we're so familiar with.
You'll be playing this one until and after Street Fighter 4 arrives.
The pinnacle of fighting games just got better.