Fight­ing for rel­e­vance

Has the fight gone out of Ul­tra Street Fighter 2?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Technology - By OZZIE ME­JIA

WHILE the Nin­tendo Switch rep­re­sents Nin­tendo’s con­sole fu­ture, its early lineup fea­tures a jump into the fight­ing game genre’s past. Fight­ing games don’t get more clas­sic than Street Fighter II, which is why Ul­tra Street Fighter II: The Fi­nal Chal­lengers looks like such an en­tic­ing pack­age for the old-school gamer.

How­ever, the clas­sic fight­ing is pretty much all this game has go­ing for it, as most of its newer fea­tures are a Hado­ken that doesn’t find the mark.

Ul­tra Street Fighter II is the clas­sic game as many re­mem­ber it, col­lected in two dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent time cap­sules.

Those fa­mil­iar with the Su­per Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix game re­leased on Xbox 360 back in 2008 will re­call the Udonil­lus­trated vis­ual up­graded ver­sion. That ver­sion of the game is fully intact, with sleekly painted art­work, re-recorded voiceovers, remixed stage tracks, and a 16:9 widescreen pre­sen­ta­tion.

Round one: Fight!

Those look­ing for a more clas­sic ex­pe­ri­ence have the op­tion to switch to retro graph­ics, which utilises a pre-HD era as­pect ra­tio, old-school mu­sic, and stages as they were orig­i­nally de­signed. There’s also the op­tion to switch the voiceovers to their orig­i­nal gar­bled grunts and shouts.

Both pre­sen­ta­tions have their unique charms, but both con­tain the tra­di­tional Street Fighter II com­bat I re­mem­ber. Most of this re­view was con­ducted us­ing the Joy-Con grip, where the left ana­logue stick is pretty much the only way to play.

Ex­e­cu­tion wasn’t a prob­lem, but any­one look­ing for a more D-pad heavy ex­pe­ri­ence will have to jump to the Pro Con­troller.

Either way, the Street Fighter II ex­pe­ri­ence is pre­served per­fectly here, with op­tions to turn games into best-of-five rounds or mess around with the timer.

Three’s a crowd

Cap­com also sought to add some sup­ple­men­tal game modes, but they mostly fall flat. There’s a co­op­er­a­tive mode called Buddy Bat­tle, where two play­ers can join to­gether (or one with a CPU part­ner) to take on SF2’s bad­dest bosses, in­clud­ing new ad­di­tions Evil Ryu and Vi­o­lent Ken. It’s a 2-on-1 sce­nario with the team of two shar­ing a sin­gle life bar.

This is a nov­elty that wears thin quickly.

The chaos of three fighters shar­ing a screen gets to be too much at times and hav­ing the ad­van­tage in a hand­i­cap match is only so much fun for so long.

On top of that, once the mode is fin­ished, that’s it. No spe­cial end­ings, no bonuses, just a sim­ple “Game Over” screen and back to the main menu. It’s a throw­away mode that play­ers will likely try once and never select again.

Ex­er­cise in frus­tra­tion

Then there’s the mo­tion­con­trolled Way of the Hado mode. This is the mode that wants to make play­ers at home feel like Ryu, but it con­trols so clum­sily, it makes you feel more like Dan ... if his arms and legs were bro­ken. The idea is to take the in­di­vid­ual Joy-Cons in each hand and per­form cer­tain mo­tions to per­form Ryu’s spe­cial moves, with the goal to help him get through waves of Shadaloo goons.

The game all-too-of­ten fails to recog­nise the spe­cial move mo­tions to the point that you’ll even­tu­ally do the Cab­bage Patch on an end­less loop in hopes of land­ing some­thing, any­thing, on an en­emy.

Many times, inputs are de­layed and just try­ing to shoot any kind of pro­jec­tile can be harder than fight­ing a real-life M. Bi­son.

It’s hon­estly on par with the worst the Wii gen­er­a­tion had to of­fer. It’s an ex­er­cise in frus­tra­tion and one that doesn’t merit a sec­ond look from any­one.

Ul­tra Street Fighter II works best as a re­minder of all that is great about the clas­sic game over its var­i­ous in­car­na­tions. The vis­ual op­tions en­cap­su­late a sense of time­less­ness, show­ing how far it has come in its 25-plus years of ex­is­tence.

There’s even a clas­sic art book (Street Fighter Art­works: Supremacy) of the series’ evo­lu­tion, long out-of-print, avail­able to browse page-by-page. The game shows true po­ten­tial to be a great dig­i­tal mu­seum ex­hibit, not un­like what Cap­com has done for Mega Man. Even the bare bones main menu lends it­self to that kind of pre­sen­ta­tion. Sadly, that’s where the cool ex­tras end.

Con­clu­sion

Ul­tra Street Fighter II tries to add a ro­bust pack­age around its tried-and-true Ar­cade mode, but much of that pack­age doesn’t pan out. All that leaves is the Ar­cade and Ver­sus modes and for as great as Street Fighter II is, it’s a game that also shows its age af­ter a while.

Fight­ing games have come so much far­ther since SF2 pi­o­neered the genre, so it’s hard to imag­ine go­ing back and es­pe­cially for a hefty US$40 (RM170) price tag.

Thanks for mem­o­ries, Street Fighter II, but I’m hop­ing that this is in­deed the Fi­nal Chal­lenge. — Shack­news/Tribune News Ser­vices

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