July marks the first anniversary of the award-winning Street Fighter II release. For its publisher, Capcom, there's only one way to celebrate: SHOW 'EM WHO'S BOSS! Balrog laces on his bloodstained gloves. Vega sharpens his claw and hides his "gorgeous" face behind a mask. Sagat stretches out his lengthy limbs. M. Bison dons his cape, and Capcom finally unveils Street Fighter II Turbo for the Super NES!
Overall, Turbo satisfies an SFII fan's "wish list" with awesome new features, such as the ability to play as the bosses, adjustable speed settings, enhanced sound, and almost all the moves found in the arcade game. You can even choose to play Turbo or Champion Edition!
Save Your Tokens
SF II Turbo brings home a near-perfect version of the coin-gobbler, Turbo Street Fighter II: Champion Edition Hyper Fighting. Like the original Street Fighter II, Turbo is a head-to-head fighting game for one or two players. You can battle in a single-elimination tournament against the computer, or you can take on a friend.
The most noticeable improvement over the standard SFII is your ability to play as any of the 12 martial artists, including the bosses. (In the original, you could only choose among the eight main fighters.) Additionally, you can now play a character against himself or herself without having to enter a secret code. The two-player Versus mode is unchanged.
A Street Fighter II-in-1?
Since it includes the option to swap between Champion Edition mode and Turbo mode, SF II Turbo maybe billed as "two-games-in-one." It's not. The differences between the two versions are minimal, so think of this feature as a "switch" that can be turned on or off to suit your tastes. Some people like CE mode because Turbo has too many moves, while others prefer Turbo because it tends to be faster and more challenging. Both versions feature the same tight, precise controls found on the original SF II. You can even use classic SF II joysticks, such as the Capcom Fighter Power Stick.
Pick a Fight, Any Fight
Whether you choose to play Champion Edition or Turbo, the graphics and sounds are the same. The only differences are the number of moves per character and their clothing colors.
Champion Edition mode is an excellent rendition of the coin-op classic. Each character gets one to two new or improved moves, such as Chun Li's Chest Flip Kick, Guile's double-hit Flash Kick, and Sagat's Throw. Since CE mode is based on Japan's Champion Edition arcade machine, there are a few extra surprises. Balrog can wipe out half of an opponent's lifeline with the Final Punch, a move that didn't appear until the Turbo arcade machine was released in the U.S.
CE mode only comes up short when it comes to Re-Dizzy Combos, which are combination attacks that daze opponents twice in a row. In the arcade Champion Edition, M. Bison and Balrog had Re-Dizzy Combos up their sleeves, but they've been left on the cutting room floor for this version. Turbo mode shadows its coin-op counterpart by offering one new move for the eight weakest characters. For example, Chun Li gets a Fireball, Dhalsim can Disappear, and E. Honda has a Super Sumo Press. Turbo mode also emulates the arcade game with five selectable speed settings. At top speed, it's a tad faster than the Turbo coin-op and no slowdown!
ProTip: Complicated moves, such as Sagat's Tiger Uppercut, are easier to execute with Turbo mode's faster speed settings.
Fight to the Top
In either mode, the one-player tournament is more fun and more challenging than ever. You can now fight against all 12 opponents, including a clone of your own character. The barrel-breaking bonus stage rejoins the car and wall bonus stages, but the drums stage is still on hiatus. You even get the endings from the arcade game.
While the computer opponent's artificial intelligence has increased, it's still no genius. The CPU now uses more "cheap" attacks to frustrate you. It will even throw a few multi-hit combinations, but you can exploit holes in the Al with counterattack patterns. You still pick from eight levels of challenge, and M. Bison's a real muther fud-drucker on Level 8!
While the CPU is now smart enough to try "cheap combos," such as Zangief's Spinning Pile Driver combination... it's still too gullible to avoid well-crafted traps. As Ryu or Ken, throw a Jab Dragon Punch to sucker Guile into using his Flash Kick, then nail him with a Fierce Dragon.
Graphics: A Touch-up Job
Street Fighter M's already awesome visuals get a minor cosmetic facelift in the Turbo edition, but remain essentially the same as the regular SNES versions. All the backgrounds are now recolored to match the arcade game's scenery. For example, the sunset behind Ryu's dojo has darkened to nightfall.
A handful of minor moves and animation frames that were missing from the last SNES version have been replaced, such as E. Honda's Knee Bash and Zangiefs Boston Crab. Most characters get new facial portraits, too. Some details from the arcade versions are still missing, though, such as the extra elephants in India. The sprites are also still a tad smaller than the arcade games.
SF II Turbo sounds like a winner. Sound effects and voices dropped from its predecessor have been replaced, such as the announcer's "You win" and "Perfect." The audio is now in true stereo, which means you can hear Ryu shout "Ha-do-ken" and Ken scream "Sho-ryu-ken" from separate speakers -- at the same time! Crowd noise, a new effect not found in the coin-op, has been added, but it's nothing to shout about.
Worth the Price of Admission?
Despite minor quibbles with the Al of the computer, the repetitive crowd-noise effect, and the removal of Re-Dizzy Combos from CE mode, SF II Turbo is worth every penny for its boss and speed features alone. At 20 megs, expect street prices to top S80, but this game is a must-have masterpiece!
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Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting