"Yet, to my eventual disappointment, it is the online mode itself that represents all that is wrong with this port. Sure some will gripe about the difficulty of the AI, or go into the small inaccuracies of the sound and visual quality, but the true monster lies on the other side. "
There is a thought that comes into one’s mind when Street Fighter II is brought up; a game that revolutionized the fighting genre. A game that took arcade’s by storm and successfully had kids endlessly throwing their allowance money into the conveniently placed quarter slots. Unique fighters, fast paced game-play, and a depth that awaited to those who unearthed it, Street Fighter II and its follow-ups remain as some of the best games of our time. I and many other crazed fans awaited its release on Xbox Live Arcade, primarily for one reason. No not because of Chun Li (well maybe a little) -- but for online play. At last, a real reason to buy an arcade title on the 360.
Yet, to my eventual disappointment, it is the online mode itself that represents all that is wrong with this port. Sure some will gripe about the difficulty of the AI, or go into the small inaccuracies of the sound and visual quality, but the true monster lies on the other side.
Why Capcom? How could you possibly take a fifteen year old game and mess it up this badly? You must be thinking, but what about the online ranking system or the new mode? Sadly, all positives are skewered by the implementation of the mechanics. When you first get online, there will be the option to go to ranked and unranked matches. Unranked holds the new quarter match which is meant to simulate the old days of waiting in line to get on the arcade machine. The mode holds up to four players, and within, you will either be watching or fighting. Thankfully, the option to turn off the microphone during fights is available, just in case the ten year old opposite you won’t shut up. While it all sounds good so far, the problems occur both before and after the heated confrontations.
In this corner, representing the technical problems, we have the lag. The time it takes to start up a match is longer than the actual bout itself. Quick match is useless. Nine times out of ten you will find yourself coming up with “no one is available” or “connection lost.” If you actually manage to get to the character selection screen, you can look forward to the constant slowdown hovering over your selector. “Ugh, I meant to select Ken!” Don’t worry, this fight won’t count. And potentially, it really won’t, which brings up the next filthy contestant to Street Fighter II’ Hyper Fighting.
And in this corner, representing the flawed ranking system, the cheater who takes advantage of it. It’s true the fights play out more or less as they should. Game-play is relatively smooth with a hint of lag occasionally present between blows. No, what kills this game is the fact that there is no punishment for leaving a match. While this does not affect unranked fights, the ranked battles suffer greatly from this, leaving you questioning the placement of every person on the charts. Nothing like kicking the crap out of an E-Honda slap-spamming newbie, when all of a sudden a disconnect window pops up. Now, not only do you have to wait fifteen seconds for the game to return, but it also discredits the match. No win for you, no loss for him. Sounds fun right?
To me, this just doesn’t make sense. How could you go and delay a game several times, and then forget to put up a block against quitters? The result is an awkward mess, with people disconnecting every other fight. For an extra laugh, take a look at the top players on the leaderboard, and then glance at their reputation. Guaranteed half of the ones you dig up will have one star from all of the negative feedback left by their opponents. Unfortunately, reputation means nothing, and you will get just as much rep deduction for winning an honest match. The hierarchy of elements that put together this portion of the game is definitely out of order, making the supposed selling point of the game completely void.
As briefly mentioned earlier, the offline fairs no better. Thinking back, I cannot recall the original or the SNES port being this difficult. The AI is unforgiving and cheap, pulling off moves that even the most veteran players cannot muster. And this is on the lowest difficulty! Is there even a difference between zero and seven stars? Why can Ryu shoot off a hadouken every single second? Seriously, who coded this shit?
To make matters worse is the fact that the 360 controller just doesn’t work for this game. The loose and awkward control pad makes it impossible to do a combo, with the analog stick barely fairing any better. The shoulder buttons do help with particular combos though, and the placement of the basic buttons are more or less perfect. Doing simple smash attacks are easy enough to pull off and experts to the series will have the simplest time adapting to this. It is the poor newcomer that will have to suffer, and the sheer insanity of the difficulty will turn off even the most curious gamer. Even the option to change the vibration doesn’t help. Seriously, I’ve yet to pull off Guile’s high kick, Sagat’s knee attack, or Chun Li’s fireball.
Please, somebody, release an accessible arcade stick for this system already.
If there is any positive to take from this version of Street Fighter II’ Hyper Fighting, it would be the visuals. With widescreen view an option, as well as the ability to play the game in HD, there is little to complain about here. Sprites and animations are what you would normally expect, and the sight of your opponent’s bloody face at the end of a match is quite the nostalgic scene. However, what is not nice is the pitiful implementation of the audio sequences throughout. From the announcer on the world select screen to the elephants in Dhalsim’s stage, everything just sounds “off.” How in the world these types of inconsistencies were overlooked is troublesome to picture, since most of the game’s musical themes are as they should be.
Even looking past every detriment this title possesses, there is one thought that I cannot shake from my mind. And that is, “why did they pick Hyper Fighting over Super Street Fighter II Turbo?” Later versions of Street Fighter II had more fighters, more stages, and far more balanced game-play. Who didn't want Dee-Jay, or T-Hawk, or the always welcome Cammy? Why they decided to go with this version instead of its superior follow-ups is beyond comprehension, and it shows that little preparation went into this. And considering they had so much time on this almost makes this whole thing unbelievable.
Again, why Capcom?
Whether or not you are a huge fan of this series, do not, for any reason, purchase this game. The 800 points needed to buy this failure are far better spent on successful transitions such as: Pac-man, Galaga, or even the rehash giant that is Frogger. The poorly run ranked matches, inconsistent lag, insane AI, and below average control setup all help in pushing Street Fighter II’ Hyper Fighting off the proverbial cliff’s edge. One could go on about the negatives, but all that has needed to be said, has been said. Don’t play this game.
Staff review by Branden Barrett (August 17, 2006)
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