After making a presence in just about every platform imaginable, Super Street Fighter II Turbo (different from Street Fighter II and Super Street Fighter II) now makes an appearance on the Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) as well. But there’s one major change this time round — this time, it's in high definition.
Backbone Entertainment had previously worked on Super Puzzle Fighter II HD Turbo Remix, and though the renewal of that game felt a bit half-hearted, this time they’ve gone all out. Every character sprite, every animation, and every backdrop has been recreated to look good in HD.
This is still the same as the SSF II Turbo you played in the arcades, with the exact same number of frames of animation and a perfectly ported gameplay. All the combos and supers that you could pull off in the arcades execute with the exact same intensity here, without a jitter and without giving you a different feel. The reason for this is that even though all the sprites have been redrawn to a new, glorious detail; the frames used for every animation remain the same.
There’s a disorienting feeling when you first try to play SSF II HDTR (that one big-momma abbreviation). The earlier sprites went pretty well with the number of frames used per animation back in the day. But now with every character sprite looking crisp and detailed, the low number of frames makes them all move in an awkwardly disconnected way. Even the high resolution backgrounds have a maximum of 3 frames of animation, which looks a bit too old for a game that looks so new.
That said, the gameplay stays completely unaffected by any of the above mentioned animation quirks. In fact, purists would love the fact how this game plays identical to the original Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Every combo is here playing exactly the same way with the same speed as before, which makes a Street Fighter veteran feel right at home. So in the end, the low frames of animation keep the feel of the original game intact, making the sacrifice well worth it.
Now comes the real problem, which may also end up being the deal killer for many gamers. The Xbox 360 controller is probably the worst controller you can ever use for a game like Street Fighter. The d-pad on the controller was not designed to be quick enough to be the primary control option for any kind of game, nor was it meant to be comfortable for long-term use. If you want any kind of accuracy for the down-forward and down-back kind of moves that you need to pull off for a Street Fighter kind of game, then the Xbox 360 controller is clearly the wrong way to go.
I would definitely recommend die-hard fans to either get it for the PlayStation 3 or get a third party controller with a friendlier d-pad or arcade stick for playing this game.
Along with the visuals, the audio has also been redone to a small extent. It pretty much has the same loud and high-pitched score but this time it sounds a lot crisper and cleaner. The sound effects from the original game have remained untouched, because of which they now sound dull compared to the score.
Of course, Street Fighter isn't a game you play alone, so you have an excellent Xbox Live multiplayer option here. Hooking up with a player on Live is extremely simple and online gameplay is extremely smooth.
So finally it all comes down to whether the game is worth the hefty 1200 Microsoft Points on the Xbox Live Arcade (Rs. 750 approx), or not. It all comes down to how much you love Street Fighter. With the release of the bigger and better Street Fighter IV just a month away, logic dictates you wait out for that game instead. But if you're old school and want to relive the pure un-adultrated glory with visuals that won't look awful on your HDTV, then the high price may be worth it. The bottom-line is that this game isn't for everyone.