Super Street Fighter Ii - Sega Mega Drive/Genesis

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COMMENTS AND REVIEW

A graphical facelift, two additional characters, a few system changes, and bizarre experiments. Who does Capcom want to push the iconic game with the note Ultra?

When in 1991 Capcom launched the slot machine with Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, probably no one expected the revolution that this inconspicuous sequel would trigger. A quarter of a century later, the second Street Fighter is rightly considered a groundbreaking achievement by the Japanese manufacturer. The game, which not only consumed mountains of coins in the automatic version and had a dozen or so ports for home platforms (from ZX Spectrum, through Amiga, to PSP), but also a title without which the genre to kill, not only 2D, could look completely different today. In short, Street Fighter II is one of the most important games in history, successively remembered and expanded by Capcom, which loves to cut coupons from its most profitable brands.

The announcement of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers as an exclusive title for Switch was a big surprise for me and for others a good basis for tuning jokes. After all, the "new" child of Capcom is a poor system-seller (and this is what the Switch needs most now to attract attention with something other than Zelda and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe), which of course does not destroy the potential of being a solid game. So with great interest, I sat down to Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers to see if it's just another incarnation of the 1991 classic with a few additions that can only be implemented on the Switch, or nothing that brings a port that will quickly disappear from the circle interests of fans of the genre.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is formally a Super Street Fighter II Turbo with graphics introduced to the series by Super Street Fighter II: HD Remix and a series of innovations, which will be discussed in more detail in a moment. The Switch game offers access to seventeen Super Turbo fighters (this time Akuma is not a hidden character) and two "new" ones: Evil Ryu and Violent Ken. Both men made their debut in earlier games, but Violent Ken, which is a cross between Ken Masters and M. Bison, it is a debut in the Street Fighter series (previously he appeared in the SNK vs Capcom crossover: SVC Chaos). Evil Ryu, with similar characteristics to Akuma, revealed himself to the world in the well-known and liked Street Fighter Alpha 2.

Extending the list of playable characters is the standard and, in fact, the essence of Capcom's numerous fights. In the case of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, the choice of Violent Ken and Evil Ryu is unfortunately at least controversial - mastering both men and checking their abilities against the veterans of the "two" is of course a treat for fans of the series, but it is a pity that the creators bet on the alter-ego of well-known characters. Ideally, Capcom would create completely new fighters for the Ultra version, but I wouldn't be offended if someone from Street Fighter IV / V appeared instead of Bad Ryu and Violent Ken. But if you're not there, what you like ...

Two "new" whipping boys are not the only changes affecting the mechanics of the over 25-year-old game. Veterans of the series are sure to notice the (non-revolutionary) modification of balance and combos timing. A great addition, to modernizing the traditional fun, is the ability to "escape" from holds. Apart from these elements, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is largely the same as we experienced in the Super Turbo version. Of course, if we are talking about classic modes like Arcade and Versus.

In addition to these standard gameplay variants, the Switch game offers a network multiplayer (with points, rankings, etc.) and a cooperative curiosity - Buddy Battle. In this mode, which is a replay of Dramatic Battle from Street Fighter Alpha, two players join forces to defeat a console-controlled opponent together. Nice curiosity and a nice springboard.

Unfortunately, similar terms cannot be used in the case of a completely new mode, called Way of the Hado. Capcom experimented here with an FPP camera and motion control. So we have before our eyes the hands of a warrior who, with our help, infuses Hadoukeny, Shoryuken and other Tatsumaki Senpukyaku, dealing with successive waves of cloned enemies. The whole thing runs on a three-dimensional engine, resembling the graphic level of Street Fighter IV / V, which may suggest that in some time the Switch will have a port of one of these games. For now, however, we have to be content with this simple FPP mini-game, which unfortunately has little to do with pleasure. The movement control is chaotic and, in fact, random, and the idea of ​​destroying subsequent opponents with a few blows maximum resembles a virtual shooting range than a sensible experiment called "FPP killing". We have three levels of difficulty here and developing our warrior, but I still can't imagine a person who would like to spend more than a quarter of an hour with Way of the Hado.

You can spend a lot more time (and in my opinion it is worth) watching about 1,400 graphics from the official SF20 artbook: The Art of Street Fighter (a beautiful album available in a physical version, for example on Amazon). For music lovers, there is also an opportunity to listen to all the musical themes, in the classic and remixed versions, that appear in the game. The Color Edit mode is nothing more than a game of colouring your favourite player. If we don't like one of the default clothes colours, we can choose and save our own, then use it in Online, Arcade and VS modes. A small thing, but it enjoys.

In terms of performance, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers mimics most of the remasters on the market, which, in addition to the modernized audio-visual setting, give the player a choice of a real return to the roots. By default, the game is presented in HD resolution (1080p and 60 FPS, when the console is sitting in the "stand") with the image in the 16: 9 standard. All backgrounds and fighters had a facelift (thanks to the Udon Entertainment team), which we already know from the aforementioned Super Street Fighter II: HD Remix. Purists may turn their noses at the "new" graphic style, but nothing prevents them from quickly (a few clicks on the menu) moving to the early 1990s when 4: 3 screen and clear pixels were the order of the day. Honestly, I love retro vibes, and my collection includes a lot of equipment from bygone eras, but playing Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers with classic settings was disgusting. I much prefer to connect the SNES with the original Street Fighter II to a CRT TV to truly feel this atmosphere. So in the Ultra, I choose contemporary settings that are much better suited to panoramic receivers.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers uses the multiplayer and portable potential of the Switch (we unfasten two controllers and duel wherever we want), although the convenience of control leaves much to be desired. There is no need to explain to the veterans of the series that shooting F / DF / F or F / DF / D / DB / B on an uncomfortable d-pad is a real nightmare. Switch Joy-Cons do not have the traditional "crosspiece", only four separate buttons, so when playing solo we have to rely only on these buttons or not very convenient (in the case of fights) analogue. The only salvation at the moment is the purchase of a Pro Controller, which should already be included in the equipment of every Mario Kart 8 Deluxe owner. My complaint does not mean that Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers cannot be played on Joy-Con, but if someone is serious about fighting games, and not only in the category of party attractions, then they definitely have to invest in a more precise, bigger one. (and therefore more convenient) controller with a d-pad.

The final acceptance and evaluation of Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers depends on several factors. For some, it will be an obvious leap into the cash register and an unnecessary revival of a legend that has appeared in various configurations and scenes over the last 26 years. So whoever wanted to play Street Fighter II has already done so. On the other hand, the environment of fighting fans is full of individuals who are just waiting to add a new character to their beloved game or a seemingly small element influencing the overall gameplay (see escaping from holds). It cannot be denied that Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is a typical Capcom child. The producer loves to multiply versions of his hits and sometimes you can't blame him. In this context, the latest incarnation of the legendary fighting game works as a curiosity for fans, which skillfully encourages them to re-explore the system. If you skip the failed experiment called Way of the Hado and take the correction for Joy-Con's problematic controls, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is a great gift for lovers of the genre. Players counting on a party kill must wait for the next incarnation of Super Smash Bros.