Game Over Online ~ Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix

GameOver Game Reviews - Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (c) Capcom, Reviewed by - Thomas Wilde

Game & Publisher Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (c) Capcom
System Requirements PlayStation 3
Overall Rating 90%
Date Published Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 at 04:16 PM

Divider Left By: Thomas Wilde Divider Right

I had an SNES as a kid, and as such, my initial reaction to hearing about HD Remix was, "...not this crap again." Capcom released three separate versions of Street Fighter II for home systems back in the day, as well as two additional versions on the arcade.

The Genesis and 3DO both got versions of SF2 as well, and every system since then has received some flimsy justification for an arcade-perfect version of SF2, from Street Fighter Alpha 3 Gold to Street Fighter Anniversary Collection. This dead horse has not just been beaten, but flayed, dressed, boned, and jointed. Bringing out yet another version of it seemed to be belaboring the point.

HD Remix, though, isn't the instant cash grab I expected it to be. In the last fifteen years or so, a nerd subculture has risen because of Street Fighter 2, ranging from the hardcore tournament players to the dozens of games it's inspired. HD Remix is a sort of celebration of the original game, and of what it's given rise to.

The game has been redesigned from the ground up. The art studio UDON, which worked on the Street Fighter comic book from Image, has contributed new backgrounds and sprites, while the music's been remixed and rerecorded. It's immediately familiar to anyone who played SF2, but it's vastly improved. Yeah, the backgrounds still have three animation frames or so apiece, but that feels more like a nostalgic homage than a technical limitation.

The gameplay's where the real work's been done, and it shows. HD Remix is a tweaked version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo, the "last" iteration of SF2, and the game that tournament players have been competing on for the last decade or so. At this point, they've got it down to a science; each character's moves and capabilities have been discussed and practiced at copious length.

Capcom hired one of those tournament players, Dave Sirlin, to go in and help "fix" Super Turbo. Some characters had a profound disadvantage for whatever reason, and Sirlin's stated goal was to narrow that gap. (Sirlin's goals and exact changes are discussed in detail on his web site.) Characters that used to be nearly useless such as Cammy and Zangief are now actually competitive.

The net code may be the most impressive part of HD Remix, though. You can tell it was designed by a tournament player, as when you go online, you can't tell who your opponent's picked until the match actually starts. (This is a common tournament rule, to prevent whoever picks their character second from deliberately choosing a fighter that exploits the first player's weaknesses.)

Finding a match can be a bit tricky. I often went into a custom match to find the game had ended right before I got there, and Quick Match returns a lack of results more often than not. When I actually do get a chance to play, though, the experience is just as though my opponent was sitting next to me. I've never seen a ping higher than 200 or so, and there's no lag to speak of. Apparently, Sirlin used several of the delays to optimize the game's online play, and the extra work really shows.

HD Remix is, essentially, a tournament player's attempt to fix Super Street Fighter II Turbo. It's a remake of a constantly remade game, and is hopefully the last SF2; I can't imagine anyone improving on this. If you spent any time at all on SF2 as a kid, on your SNES or Genesis or down at your arcade, this is a must-have nostalgia bomb.


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