Up until this point, all of the games falling under the "coin-op classics" heading on Xbox Live Arcade have come from Midway. But Capcom is looking to muscle in on its former arcade rival's turf with the release of one of the greatest games of all time, Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting. Microsoft recently displayed a work-in-progress version of the game at a showcase event, and we were able to take it for a spin.
Well, a partial spin, anyway. The version we saw looked pretty much perfect. The game looked, sounded, and played just like the arcade original. But right now, that's all it does. Options for a versus mode, and the most important feature of all, online play, were listed on the game's menu, but were unselectable in this unfinished version.
Playing single-player felt just about right. You can pick from the original eight world warriors as well as the four boss characters. This is a port of Hyper Fighting, which was the second SF2 upgrade released into arcades. It added things like the ability for Ken and Ryu to execute hurricane kicks in midair, among other things. The speed was also pumped up, making for a more frantic game, overall. It was the last Street Fighter to appear on Capcom's CPS arcade hardware, as the next upgrade, Super Street Fighter II, ran on CPS2, added four new characters, a lame new announcer, and generally fouled things up.
Like other Xbox Live Arcade games, you'll be able to earn achievement points for fulfilling certain requirements. Some are easy, like simply playing a game with each character. Other single-player achievements include beating the game without losing a round, and so on. Online, you'll earn points for playing in 250 matches, winning 100 matches, reaching the top 10 leaderboards, and so on. Overall, there seems to be a good balance of easy and difficult points to earn.
So, what's the hold up? Well, presumably there's still work to be done on the online side of things. Considering that a fighting game is useless without a steady stream of competition, the online play will either make or break this one. Last reports put this game on for a March release, but we'll have to wait and see what Capcom is up to.