Street Fighter II': Champion Edition (TurboGrafx-16) review
"Most people are going to realize that buying this one just doesn’t make any practical sense for them. But that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that NEC pulled off a small miracle to come so close with such old hardware.
I want to make something perfectly clear right off the bat: NEC did an amazing job of bringing Street Fighter II’ over to the PC Engine, but it’s strictly for the hardcore set and the hardcore set alone. So unless you already have a Japanese system, a pair of 6-button pads, and a multitap you should just forget about it – and even then it would still make a lot more sense to stick with the ridiculously common Super NES and Genesis carts.
What, are you still here? Then let me reiterate that this conversion is AWESOME. I can’t say what prompted them to cram it onto a freaking massive HuCard instead of a Super CD, but the results speak for themselves. The graphics are absolutely incredible; they’re not quite as good as the Super Nintendo’s but they come pretty damn close. All twelve fighters made the cut intact and it’s with virtually the same amount of graphical muscle as the 16-bit systems – BOOYAH! Not only that, but they’re just as impressive in action thanks to the game’s consistently smooth framerate. (BOOYAH!) The controls aren’t just tight, they’re dead on – you can execute all the moves and link combinations together with ease, and there’s never any slowdown or sprite flicker to mar the effect.
Now if you look closely you can probably tell that the backgrounds are 8-bit, but they’re still exceptionally detailed and even include those animated spectators doing their best to distract you from the action. You know, like the boatload of dorks flailing about in Ken’s stage or the hot chicks in bikinis pounding the streets of Vegas. And speaking of pounding, you can still thump your opponent so hard that blood sprays from his mouth, just as you can still send him hurtling through the barrels and wooden crates! That’s because NEC’s design team obviously knew what they were doing, much like how they utilized the PC Engine’s robust color palette. Everything looks incredibly vibrant without going overboard like many SNES and early Neo•Geo games, which either use too many colors at once or the entirely wrong ones. The Genesis’ visuals might be a hair larger and better detailed, but compared to these they look severely washed out. On the sonic front, you get all the voices and sound effects – from Ryu’s manly cry of “SHORYUKEN!” preceding the crash of exploding lumber to Chun Li’s girlish laugher as she bounces up and down after leaving someone’s car a shattered husk – and they boom out with crystal clarity. The music, alas, isn’t as forceful. It’s good enough if you’re familiar with and actually like the console’s sound chip, but it lacks the Genny’s arcade-faithful FM and pumping drum samples. And besides, “good enough” is kind of a letdown when you consider everything else.
The only thing that’s genuinely disappointing is that this is the older Champion Edition when both the SNES and Genesis versions include Hyper Fighting. Even if you could ignore that, those two are still slightly superior overall, far more readily available, and at dirt cheap prices. So yeah, most people are going to realize that buying this one just doesn’t make any practical sense for them. But that doesn’t take anything away from the fact that NEC pulled off a small miracle to come so close with such old hardware, and if you’re a die-hard fan of the PC Engine then make no mistake – you’ll find it to be an outstanding conversion of an outstanding fighter.
Staff review by Sho (February 24, 2005)
Sho enjoys classic video games, black comedy, and poking people until they explode -- figuratively or otherwise. He also writes a bit.
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