Saturday, March 8, 2014

Super Street Fighter II Turbo

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Innovation's dead
More Street Fighter II

A mere five months - five months! - after Super Street Fighter II came out, Capcom milked their cash cow one more time. Taking a cue from the home versions of earlier games in the Street Fighter II series, they slapped "Turbo" at the end of the name and made arcade owners pony up the big bucks for the latest iteration of the franchise. And by making several significant changes to the game, they ensured they'd make like Balrog and get paid. So what are these changes?

From the land of the rising sun.The first and most obvious change is that for the first time a game with "Super" in the title actually had "super moves." Each fighter has a meter at the bottom of the screen that fills as the character strikes with a basic attack, is struck with a basic attack, uses a special move, or is hit by a special move. The supers themselves, without exception, consist of enhanced versions of special moves. For example, Ken's super is the Shoryureppa, translating to "repeating Shoryuken." Which is good, since that's an accurate description of the move. Likewise, Dhalsim's super "Yoga Inferno" is just a bigger and longer version of his Yoga Flame. This probably was done to enable Capcom to, you know, make the game in five months. So there's not a whole lot of visual impressiveness about the super moves, but from a gameplay standpoint they're a nice touch.

Though with that said, you'll basically never even use them as you play. Bear in mind that you only gain meter as you use your basic attacks or specials. Know what that doesn't include? Throws. Know what will result in a huge portion of the damage dealt in this game? Throws. Not only do you not get meter for throwing someone, but you also don't gain it for getting thrown. When a throw takes off 40% of your life, how will you ever have time to fill a super meter?

Two other gripes here before I get to the game's only other two truly new additions. First, the costume colors. Super Turbo gives each character a choice of seven colors. That's awesome. The original color for that character is not one of the seven. That's not. Look, Ken's sported a red gi since Street Fighter 1. You took away its default status inexplicably in Hyper Fighting, but at least there it was still selectable. Why now can I choose basically anything but red? I can't think of a good justification for it at all.

Second, the game speed. Knowing that different people preferred to play the game at different speeds, Capcom made the game speed configurable as a built-in option for arcade owners. This would be great, if not for the fact that they then defaulted the game to lock the speed on "Turbo 2." Yes, that's right - beyond normal speed, beyond even "Turbo 1," this game runs on "Turbo 2." It's at least as bad as Hyper Fighting's speed was in terms of how the CPU can abuse you. An arcade owner who didn't hate his clients could set up the machine to let the players choose their own speeds (preposterous!), but why not make that the factory default setting?

Satsui no-Hado.Finally, the other new additions are basically both ideas stolen from Mortal Kombat: juggle combos and a secret character. Now it is possible to strike an airborne enemy before they hit the ground to continue a combo, which allows for a lot of extra strategy and execution. But then there's this guy. In Japan he's known as Gouki, though elsewhere he's Akuma - the name basically means "demon" either way. It's an apt one, since he's essentially impossible to beat. To even get to him you have to clear all battles in under 25 minutes without using a continue. When you do, and you show up on screen about to fight M. Bison, Akuma drops down, grabs Bison, and murders him. You kidding?

It will only take a couple seconds of fighting Akuma for you to die realize the odds are stacked insanely against you. First off, he moves at essentially one game speed level higher than you do. Even if you're on Turbo 2, Akuma will move at Turbo 3. This also lets him abuse the new juggle system more than anyone else in the game. He's got the same basic moveset as Ryu and Ken, with two notable additions. First, Akuma can phase teleport through anything. Second, he can shoot a double fireball while in mid-air. These angle down and are basically unavoidable. And of course, his damage is easily the highest in the game. And the entire time, M. Bison's broken body lies there, reminding you of your inevitable fate.

The changes introduced in Turbo would all be important foundations to build on in the future, but they didn't really offer too much this first time around. When coupled with the "Turbo 2" nonsense and the decision to remove basic colors from everyone, it's hard to really give a firm recommendation to this game. It's a nudge better than Hyper Fighting, but otherwise this is the worst version of the Street Fighter II franchise. Hopefully Super Ultra Street Fighter II Mega Titanium Hyper Turbo Arcade Premium Homicide Edition improves on the experience.

Bottom Line: 12/20

No comments:

Post a Comment