Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition Import Impressions
We check out Capcom's unique Street Fighter compilation for the PlayStation 2.
Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition is a Street Fighter compilation with a unique spin. Rather than simply including conversions of the five entries in the series--Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II Champion Edition, Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers, and Super Street Fighter II Turbo--the game lets you mix and match characters from the different versions for a plethora of different matchups. In addition, the disc also contains several bonus features, which is a nice perk for fans. We had a chance to play the game, which was recently released in Japan, to see how it has turned out.
You'll find three main game modes in Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition--arcade, versus, and training--as well as a gallery option. Arcade mimics the single-player Street Fighter experience and lets you work your way through a ladder of opponents on your way to face off against M. Bison (or Vega, as he's called in the Japanese game). A friend will be able to hop in at any time, by pressing the start button on a second controller, to face off against you. The roster of available characters will change depending on which of the games you choose to play. Newcomers Cammy, T. Hawk, Dee Jay, and Fei Long are only accessible when you're playing the two Super Street Fighter II games. Versus is a standard one-on-one match set up for you and a friend to take each other on. Finally, training lets you get a handle on the different gameplay styles and hone your skills against a customizable AI opponent. The gallery option features a collection of each of the game's intros as well as their respective music tracks. The biggest perk of the gallery, however, is the inclusion of the Street Fighter anime movie, which you can watch from the gallery. The movie has been edited some to comply with the game's rating, so anyone hoping for another chance to ogle Chun Li in the shower will be left wanting.
The control in Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition is solid and mapped to the PlayStation 2 pad reasonably well. However, you will most definitely want to pick up an arcade stick, because despite how well designed the PS2 controller is, these games were meant to be played with a stick. The gameplay is spot on and we've been able to execute most of our favorite old combination attacks just like we used to in the classic arcade games.
The graphics look good and feature faithful re-creations of the visuals from the classic coin-op games. The animation retains the minimalist approach of the arcade games, balancing speed and fluidity in a very playable package. You'll also notice some subtle touches, such as your character portrait matching the selected character's "look" for the game type you've chosen, which are nice to see.
The audio in the game is true to the various arcade games, although some of the remixed soundtracks are too overproduced for our tastes. Fortunately you'll be able to switch out the arranged tracks with the original CPS I and CPS II arcade tunes. A nice touch to the audio is that when you've selected CPS I music, the music in the stages for Cammy, T. Hawk, Dee Jay, and Fei Long is done in old-school fashion. The character audio is spot on and is still satisfying. The game announcer, however, is the sketchy one used in the Super Street Fighter games who, in our opinion, lacked the good old-fashioned authoritative bass of the classic announcer from the previous entries in the series.
While it's not perfect, Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition manages to retain much of the charm of the various games included in it. Purists may be dismayed to hear that while all the aforementioned versions of Street Fighter are represented by the different gameplay styles from each, the game's presentation follows that of Super Street Fighter II, which includes the unfortunate announcer and Q-sound. The game is pretty bare-bones in some respects--there's no save feature to track your progress or high scores, and it doesn't feature online play--but it's still an appealing offering overall. Importers should do fine with it since you won't find much Japanese to pose a problem. At the moment, Capcom hasn't announced if it's going to be bringing the game out in the US. We'd like to think it will, since the Street Fighter franchise is one of the jewels in Capcom's crown and deserves some commemoration.
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