Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting Review

While this translation of one of the greatest fighting games of all time is mostly intact, its sloppy online mode and bland presentation will leave Street Fighter fans feeling cold.

From the moment it appeared in arcades all over the world in 1991, Street Fighter II was hailed as a groundbreaking, revolutionary game. The concept itself was unoriginal, as a number of previous games had pitted players against each other in one-on-one martial-arts brawls. But Street Fighter II took the concept to a whole new level. It introduced a wildly diverse cast of interesting characters who played as differently as they looked and delivered gameplay that was so precise and so deep that the experience became a revelation for millions of video game fans. Following that success, Capcom proceeded to release couple of upgrades that fixed a few bugs and honed the balance and speed of the gameplay to perfection. The result was 1992's Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting. Now Hyper Fighting is available as part of the Xbox 360's growing number of downloadable Xbox Live Arcade games. While it's a close translation of the arcade original, some frustrating inaccuracies, a slipshod presentation, and a flaky online mode undermine a lot of this version's amazing potential.

An online-enabled Street Fighter II for the Xbox 360 sounds like a great idea, but something important got lost in translation.

The result is a serviceable trip down memory lane, which older players might enjoy for nostalgia's sake since Street Fighter II was so ubiquitous in the early-to-mid-'90s. However, the game's legions of longtime devotees looking for an excuse to get back into the competitive spirit of Street Fighter II's heyday will find that this version's various shortcomings deal a lot of damage to the overall experience. You can still have fun practicing your best moves and combos either against the remarkably tough artificial intelligence (which puts up a vicious fight even at the default difficulty setting) or against a friend sitting next to you in your living room. But the game's online mode is where its greatest promise lies, and between the shaky online performance and convoluted player-matching system, there are just too many hurdles involved in having a satisfying time squaring off against live competition.

Street Fighter II is the archetypal one-on-one fighting game and at first glance, this version is an arcade-perfect translation. All 12 of the world warriors are in here, including iconic characters like Ryu, Chun-Li, and Guile. Each character plays differently, and even seemingly similar characters like Ryu and Ken still have nuances that set them apart from a gameplay standpoint. What's more, despite the passage of time, the various punches and kicks in this game still look and sound like they pack a wallop. Moves like Zangief's spinning pile driver or Sagat's tiger uppercut might well make you wince every time you're on the receiving end. As a result, even if you don't really know your way around the game's fairly complicated moves and combos, you can still get a kick out of randomly attacking your foe. Back in the day, it was this high-quality presentation that drew so many players into the fold in the first place, and they stuck around when they found an incredibly deep and addictive game underneath it all.

Unfortunately, the ultraprecise control of the arcade original doesn't quite translate to the Xbox 360's controller, which understandably wasn't conceived with 2D fighting games in mind. The main culprit is the directional pad, which feels a little too stiff for this type of game. The left analog stick works quite well as an alternative, but either way, those who used to pull off three-hit combos practically with their eyes closed should expect to take some time to adjust. The first thing they should adjust, though, is the controller vibration setting in the options. The vibration effect is on by default and causes your controller to shake violently for reasons that often don't clearly relate to the action onscreen.

The game's small number of modes mostly consist of what you'd expect. Offline, you can fight your way past computer-controlled opponents up to a final confrontation against M. Bison. Each character has a unique ending, and some of the game's unlockable achievements revolve around finishing the single-player mode without giving up any rounds or matches, so this activity can easily keep you busy for a while. There's also an unlockable versus-CPU mode that pits you against an overpowered computer-controlled fighter, but it's nothing special. A two-player versus mode and a training mode for practicing your moves are also present. The various online options are more interesting, but they're also more problematic in a lot of cases.

Getting into an online match is tougher than it should be, and lag can noticeably impact the action during the bout.

Online, you can choose to participate in random ranked matches or go into unranked matches against your friends. Ranked matches are "for real" and contribute to your overall standings against all other players. Several of the game's unlockable achievements give you reason to play and win in this mode, though we found that just getting connected to an opponent could be surprisingly difficult. Attempts to get into a match would time out more often than not, and it's not possible to ask for a rematch in this mode. The character-select process is also strangely clunky, so as a result of all this, you may wind up spending almost as much time trying to get into a match than actually playing in one. Thankfully, we found that by creating a match rather than trying to join one, we'd consistently find a willing opponent fairly quickly. The game also pits both fighters in a randomly selected stage, which is better than getting stuck on Dhalsim's or M. Bison's stage for match after match as would often happen in the arcades.

During a typical online match, varying degrees of lag can substantially worsen the feel of the controls as compared with the offline game. The lag can also throw off your timing and make it difficult to react to faster moves like Blanka's rolling attack, or even basic sweeps and throw attempts. Then again, your mileage may vary, and it's certainly possible to get used to how the online play feels and try to compensate for it. Indeed, a number of the game's early adopters clearly didn't take long to recover most of their old, well-practiced skills. However, it's hard not to wind up feeling disappointed that a game dating back to 1992 couldn't be made to work better online.

Compounding the lag issues, this version's gameplay speed is inexplicably set faster than the arcade's default...and, unlike the wildly popular Super Nintendo port of Hyper Fighting, you don't have the ability to adjust the speed of the action in the game options. There may be a sensible explanation as to why there's a fixed speed setting for ranked matches--but at least for the other modes, there's no discernible reason why you shouldn't be able to get the game running at the slower, but still fast, pace you might remember from the arcade days. Besides, the slightly slower default speed might have helped players compensate for the online lag.

If the pressure of ranked competition isn't for you, you can always mess around with the unranked online modes. One of this version's only unique features rears its head in this area: Titled the "quarter match," this mode is intended to emulate the pastime of several people hanging around an arcade machine, waiting their turn. Up to four people can get into a quarter match, and as two of them duke it out, the other two spectate. All four can comment, and in a nice diversion from the arcade rules, the winner of a match can choose a different character for the next match. It's an interesting idea that's very similar to what the recent Dead or Alive games have done, but since quarter-match bouts are unranked, there will be little incentive for most players to spend time in this mode--unless they have a group of old Street Fighter buddies they'd like to round up to relive the good old days. Also, much like with the ranked matches, we experienced numerous and irritating connectivity issues between quarter-match bouts.

Online play isn't the only area in which this version of Street Fighter II comes off as fairly disappointing. For example, arcade purists will observe a number of relatively minor but aggravating issues with the audio. Certain sound effects, including the announcer on the world map, the noisy elephants on Dhalsim's stage, and even the unmistakable snap of a fierce punch all have a distinctly lower pitch to them in comparison to the arcade original. How on earth these types of inconsistencies were introduced is difficult to imagine, since the vast majority of the sound effects and the game's memorable musical score are well intact.

This one's a case of, "so close, and yet so far."

Also, while the in-game graphics feature all the animations you remember from the arcade original, they look filtered and not as razor sharp as what you'd see on a crisp VGA monitor. Options for stretching the picture to fill a widescreen display are available, but while other recent 2D fighting games have let you tweak the appearance of the visuals to emulate an arcade screen, this game does not. It's also worth noting that the entire front end of the game looks rushed. All you get are some simple-looking blue-and-gray menus that have nothing to do with the theme of the game.

Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting costs 800 points to download, or about $10, and ultimately that's still a good deal, despite the problems with this version. Hardcore fans of the arcade original will naturally be a lot more sensitive to the minor-but-noticeable inaccuracies present in the 360's translation of one of their all-time favorite games, but many players with fond memories of this game might not notice...at least until they try to compete online and run into problems getting into smooth matches. The underlying fighting game still offers first-rate action and excitement; by definition, classic games like this retain their fun and appeal over time. Yet given the quality and stature of the source material, you might reasonably have expected for this version of the game to go the extra mile in its attempt to revitalize and cash in on Street Fighter's good name.

Online, you can choose to participate in random ranked matches or go into unranked matches against your friends. Ranked matches are "for real" and contribute to your overall standings against all other players. Several of the game's unlockable achievements give you reason to play and win in this mode, though we found that just getting connected to an opponent could be surprisingly difficult. Attempts to get into a match would time out more often than not, and it's not possible to ask for a rematch in this mode. The character-select process is also strangely clunky, so as a result of all this, you may wind up spending almost as much time trying to get into a match than actually playing in one. Thankfully, we found that by creating a match rather than trying to join one, we'd consistently find a willing opponent fairly quickly. The game also pits both fighters in a randomly selected stage, which is better than getting stuck on Dhalsim's or M. Bison's stage for match after match as would often happen in the arcades.

Getting into an online match is tougher than it should be, and lag can noticeably impact the action during the bout.

During a typical online match, varying degrees of lag can substantially worsen the feel of the controls as compared with the offline game. The lag can also throw off your timing and make it difficult to react to faster moves like Blanka's rolling attack, or even basic sweeps and throw attempts. Then again, your mileage may vary, and it's certainly possible to get used to how the online play feels and try to compensate for it. Indeed, a number of the game's early adopters clearly didn't take long to recover most of their old, well-practiced skills. However, it's hard not to wind up feeling disappointed that a game dating back to 1992 couldn't be made to work better online.

Compounding the lag issues, this version's gameplay speed is inexplicably set faster than the arcade's default...and, unlike the wildly popular Super Nintendo port of Hyper Fighting, you don't have the ability to adjust the speed of the action in the game options. There may be a sensible explanation as to why there's a fixed speed setting for ranked matches--but at least for the other modes, there's no discernible reason why you shouldn't be able to get the game running at the slower, but still fast, pace you might remember from the arcade days. Besides, the slightly slower default speed might have helped players compensate for the online lag.

If the pressure of ranked competition isn't for you, you can always mess around with the unranked online modes. One of this version's only unique features rears its head in this area: Titled the "quarter match," this mode is intended to emulate the pastime of several people hanging around an arcade machine, waiting their turn. Up to four people can get into a quarter match, and as two of them duke it out, the other two spectate. All four can comment, and in a nice diversion from the arcade rules, the winner of a match can choose a different character for the next match. It's an interesting idea that's very similar to what the recent Dead or Alive games have done, but since quarter-match bouts are unranked, there will be little incentive for most players to spend time in this mode--unless they have a group of old Street Fighter buddies they'd like to round up to relive the good old days. Also, much like with the ranked matches, we experienced numerous and irritating connectivity issues between quarter-match bouts.

Online play isn't the only area in which this version of Street Fighter II comes off as fairly disappointing. For example, arcade purists will observe a number of relatively minor but aggravating issues with the audio. Certain sound effects, including the announcer on the world map, the noisy elephants on Dhalsim's stage, and even the unmistakable snap of a fierce punch all have a distinctly lower pitch to them in comparison to the arcade original. How on earth these types of inconsistencies were introduced is difficult to imagine, since the vast majority of the sound effects and the game's memorable musical score are well intact.

This one's a case of, "so close, yet so far."

Also, while the in-game graphics feature all the animations you remember from the arcade original, they look filtered and not as razor sharp as what you'd see on a crisp VGA monitor. Options for stretching the picture to fill a widescreen display are available, but while other recent 2D fighting games have let you tweak the appearance of the visuals to emulate an arcade screen, this game does not. It's also worth noting that the entire front end of the game looks rushed. All you get are some simple-looking blue-and-gray menus that have nothing to do with the theme of the game.

Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting costs 800 points to download, or about $10, and ultimately that's still a good deal, despite the problems with this version. Hardcore fans of the arcade original will naturally be a lot more sensitive to the minor-but-noticeable inaccuracies present in the 360's translation of one of their all-time favorite games, but many players with fond memories of this game might not notice...at least until they try to compete online and run into problems getting into smooth matches. The underlying fighting game still offers first-rate action and excitement; by definition, classic games like this retain their fun and appeal over time. Yet given the quality and stature of the source material, you might reasonably have expected for this version of the game to go the extra mile in its attempt to revitalize and cash in on Street Fighter's good name.

The Good
The underlying fighting game is an undisputed classic that's still intensely fun
unlockable achievements give incentive to play offline and online for a while
The Bad
Connection issues and lag plague, but don't necessarily ruin, the online modes
a few inaccurate sound effects may drive fans of the arcade original crazy
game speed is inexplicably faster than the arcade default and can't be changed
6.7
Fair
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Street Fighter II' Hyper Fighting More Info

  • Released 1992
    • Arcade Games
    • Xbox 360
    Capcom's first Xbox Live Arcade game brings the classic arcade fighting game online and features a new Quarter Match mode meant to duplicate the arcade experience.
    7.1
    Average User RatingOut of 2014 User Ratings
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    Developed by:
    Capcom, Sensory Sweep
    Published by:
    Capcom
    Genres:
    Fighting, 2D, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms