Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Street Fighter II: Champion Edition

A year after Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was released, other companies had begun developing their own fighting games to compete with Capcom. While no substantial competitor had yet been released, Capcom decided to get a step ahead and release an updated version of Street Fighter II, called Champion Editon. While not a new game in its own right, Champion Edition brought a few important changes to the game that are worth noting.

Playable bosses.The first thing you'll notice is that the four boss characters from Street Fighter II: The World Warrior are now selectable. Players can now be Balrog, Vega, Sagat, or even M. Bison, complete with the special moves of all. All four of these characters therefore also received their own endings, though they are less personalized or interesting than the original eight characters.

Because these bosses are playable, some of their abilities have been tweaked. Now Vega can perform his swan dive in the absence of a fence, which is handy considering that is only present on one stage. Balrog's punches have been toned down in damage as well, and there are several other similar changes. In fact, the overall character balance has been retooled a bit in the arcade matches as well. Originally, Balrog and Vega were very tough, while Sagat and M. Bison weren't that bad. Now M. Bison is significantly tougher, even bordering on cheap the way he clips through most attacks, but the other three bosses are all easier than the first time around to even things out.

Spinning clone kick.The second major change Champion Edition brings is that characters are now able to fight themselves using alternate color schemes. This also adds an extra match to the single-player game, but is great for multiplayer; for the first time, two people who love to be Ken, for instance, can both have their way. It's a feature that virtually every fighting game thereafter would adopt. Of course, if viewed from a story perspective it doesn't exactly make any sense whatsoever. But that's not the point, and who could complain in this case?

All told, the two major additions outlined above are great improvements to an already solid game. Yet some of the character rebalancing isn't as nice as you'd like it to be, and the game actually feels a little stiffer and slower than its first incarnation. The framerate will occasionally slow down for a brief moment, only to overspeed the next to compensate. It's not a huge issue and doesn't ruin the gameplay really, but in the end it averages the score out so that Champion Edition isn't any better or worse than The World Warrior. This one has better selection options, and the original has a better gameplay feel, so pick your poison really.

Bottom Line: 15/20

1 comment:

  1. Just a clarification: even though this is a review of Champion Edition, I do not consider it a new game in itself, and because of that have not counted it among my games beaten tally (though I have indeed finished it). Likewise, this score is not averaged into the total. This mini-review exists just to help illustrate the changes made to the updated version of the game.