This past Wednesday was the 20th birthday of Street Fighter II: World Warrior, the original sequel incarnation that spawned countless variations of the same game. When the Xbox 360 first launched, Street Fighter 2: Hyper Fighting was released on XBLA in 2006 which was met with favorable reception but had a pretty bad online code from the reviews. But during 2008, while the hype train for Street Fighter IV was in effect before its release, they put out one of the most gorgeous fighting games on XBLA with Super Street Fighter II HD Remix.
SSFIITHR is an updated remake of Super Street Fighter II Turbo which originally came out in 1994 on the 3DO, It added in Super Combos, Air Combos, and the dastardly Akuma. With this new remake, Backbone decided to grab UDON Entertainment to do the art and character sprites with beautiful hand-drawn sprites. It also includes new music by the OverClocked ReMix as well as rebalanced gameplay in the fighting engine. Is it as "Down Right Fierce" as you expect Hadouken lovers?
Here's what we liked:
Graphics – The remixed hand-drawn animations look amazingly crisp and smooth with great attention paid to the little details. With Blanka's electricity shocks to Ken's fiery Shoryuken's, it looks like you're playing with real life moving pieces of art all in beautiful 1080p.
Smooth Online – With Hyper Street Fighter II's lackluster online, Backbone stepped it up with a brand new net code for this game. There's noticeably no lag which is great and necessary for an online fighter with the only lag coming from players with a lot less connection speed.
Classic Feeling with Balance and Sound – The feeling you get from blasting your first Hadouken all those years ago is still intact here as great as it was but they went back and balanced out the characters more. What you get is a much more intact and not overtly cheap fighting engine with all the great 17 characters you know and love. Not to mention the remixed soundtrack is great when you hear techno remixes of classic themes (the original soundtrack is in the game as well).
Here's what we didn't like:
Modes – Some fighting games have a great amount of modes to play with like Survival and Time Attack but there's only a finite amount of modes here. With much of single player only in the Arcade and Training modes, the real fight is going to be finding people online.
Difficulty Curve – If you're just looking to get into fighting games, this is a really good start however it's recommended you should train or play Arcade a couple of times. The people online are pretty insane and sometimes overtly use Ken a lot and Shoryuken the entire match. At times it's pretty steep but practicing and learning strategies is a huge part of the experience.
Overall, if you want a classic feeling fighting game, there's no better reason to jump on the SSFIITHDR bandwagon. The original was such an important milestone in the fighting game genre and this takes the package of the classic and puts it in HD with animations that look fluid and artistic.
While you can get some other fighting games on the Marketplace like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and with Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition coming sometime soon, this is an important game to have on your hard drive. Nothing compares to that first moment where you hear "K.O." which was great 20 years ago as it is now.
Score: Buy It