Hands-On: Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival

We go hands-on with Capcom's pocket-sized brawler.

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To a great many fans, Super Street Fighter II Turbo represents the peak of the series. While the rationale behind such feelings is definitely suspect, it can't be argued that SSF2 Turbo did much to set the tone for the installments in the series that followed. The game is still perceived as relevant and playable, regardless of its age, and it still maintains a relative following. Hoping to capitalize on the strength of its classic formula, Capcom is releasing a version of SSF2 Turbo for the Game Boy Advance. It's called Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival, and it's remarkably playable on Nintendo's handheld.

If you're a fan of Street Fighter, your first concern about this translation must be related to how the control scheme has been dealt with. While it's by no means the ideal setup, Capcom has done a decent job of shrinking it down. Basically, both light and medium attacks have been mapped to the A and B face buttons, while the shoulders control the heavies. As you'd imagine, the crux lies in the face buttons; with two attacks mapped to one button, executing your desired blow isn't as precise as you'd want. Basically, tapping the button softly and rapidly will result in a light attack, while hitting it more firmly will yield a medium attack. It's hard to accept this compromise, given that basically all console ports of Street Fighter games have, at the very least, been released for systems whose controllers have enough buttons to handle the scheme. But in truth, once you accept that your game won't be as precise as it is in the arcade, the compromise becomes a bit easier to take.

Technically, the game is a handheld marvel. Minus a few missing animations and some tinny music, the game is Super Street Fighter Turbo, through and through. All of the characters from the arcade game are present, including Akuma, who's unlockable. As per the arcade game's formula, each one has a single super combo, executable when the appropriate meter is charged. For those who haven't played it, the supers in the game behave almost identically to the X-ism moves in Street Fighter Alpha 3--there's a single-leveled bar, which fills as you deal and receive blows. Once it's full, you can discharge the super, and doing so drains the bar completely. All of the supers are suited to each character: Ryu has his super fireball, Ken has his super dragon punch, and Blanka has his crazy ground-shave. A small detail worth noting is that the sound effect accompanying the execution of a super combo has been changed to the one used in the Alpha series. Other small touches include revamped character art in the select-screen and some new intro sequences, making the game's presentation seem quite polished overall.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival will ship with a two-player linkup mode (that will require two cartridges), a single-player arcade mode, and a full-fledged training mode. At this point in its development, the game plays phenomenally, barring limitations in its control scheme, and seems to be not only a remarkable port of the original but also a great handheld experience in itself. The game is set to ship this August, so keep your eyes here for more info to come then.

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