Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is one of the best re-releases of the seminal fighting game, but there’s room for improvement.
The impact Street Fighter II had on the fighting genre and the industry as a whole was tremendous. But over the years, there have been so many re-releases, collections and compilations, that choosing the best version of the seminal fighting game is remarkably difficult, not to mention frustrating. Until now. Everyone should play Street Fighter II every once in a while, so if you’re going to do it anyway, you might as well play Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix because this is easily among the best re-releases.
The most obvious addition to this high-definition is, well, HD graphics which means that the old sprites have been replaced with new and highly detailed drawings made by UDON, the same company that has been making Street Fighter comic books for some time. Purists who want to play Street Fighter II in all its glory can change the graphic style to classic, turn off widescreen gameplay and pretend it’s 1992 all over again. The audio has also been updated to a remix version and in case you were wondering, you can also change it to classic in the settings.
High definition visuals go a long way, but it’s worth mentioning that despite its fresh coat of paint, HD Remix plays like classic Street Fighter II. There are no new frames of animation for the gameplay, so the flow of the game remains pretty much untouched. Although newcomers will have some trouble pulling off combos or doing hadoukes at first, the decision of leaving the gameplay untouched was for the better because it makes the game feel genuine. That said, playing Street Fighter IV and then moving on to this version is rough and it usually takes a few minutes before you feel like you have the controls right.
Gameplay isn’t the only place where HD Remix feels old-fashioned. There’s an anemic number of modes to choose from and those who don’t have friends to play with won’t get much from this experience. As part of the single-player mode, you can choose arcade mode and training mode. Then there’s the multiplayer where you can participate in local, ranked, player or tournament matches. If you want to play with others, local is the safest bet, not only because playing against someone who’s sitting next to you is more satisfying, but also because there’s absolutely no one playing online. I couldn’t find a single person online and this made me wonder if the servers are still working after so long or if no one’s interested in this portion of the game.
And that’s about it in terms of modes which are as barebones as possible. There are some achievements and leaderboards to check out, but new modes would have been a great addition to this version. Also, the “how to play” section in the menu only has text and while it explains some of Street Fighter II’s basics, this is no replacement for an interactive tutorial where you complete a series of challenges at the same time you learn the controls. It’s great to read about throwing, controlling space, meaty attacks, crossups or reversals, but when you don’t see them in action, it’s harder to see how to use them.
When you’re playing the game (especially with a friend who has a similar skill level) this is probably one of the best ways of experiencing Street Fighter II. The fantastic HD visuals might look stunning, but the anemic number of modes, deserted online lobbies and lack of tutorials hurt the experience. If you’re going to play Street Fighter II anyway, this is one of the best options in the market. But be aware that there’s room for improvement.