The arcade classic sadly doesn't get better with age.

User Rating: 5.5 | Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition PS2
Released in 2004 to commemorate the series' 15th anniversary, what looked like a brilliant idea on paper didn't quite work out in practice.

Hyper Street Fighter II contains all the arcade versions from the original through to Super Street Fighter II: Turbo and the 16-character cast are here in all their would-be glory. Aesthetically the game looks and sounds great; the CPS1 soundtrack being particularly impressive and boosted by the PS2's superior hardware the game runs smoothly: the only problems arise when you actually start playing.

To put it bluntly, there is no such thing as a difficulty level: even on the easiest of settings the computer AI is extremely aggressive, attacking relentlessly and disrupting any rhythm you might otherwise have had in abundance on the arcade or outstanding SNES ports of the originals. This quickly discourages players who spent hours practicing with all the playable characters on the original games, simply because there seems to be a hugely disproportionate balance of luck and skill involved this time around.

Compounding this is the disappointing tweaking of what were perfect characters depending on what version you play; Ryu and Ken in particular have non-special attacks that are tricky to get to grips with and seem disjointed and out of place, whilst previous powerhouse bosses like Vega and Sagat are handicapped by a limited range of moves.

Although the game features the brilliant anime movie, you can only watch it on the PS2, not a regular dvd player, and that alone is not reason enough to buy the game.

Fundamentally, marred by a complete lack of balanced difficulty and some incredibly cheesy characters that seem designed to thwart any attack no matter how carefully planned - Cammy is a particularly bad offender - the game loses all of its original enjoyment. Whilst its strengths were in a two-player standoff against a human opponent, the significant lack of familiarity that is immediately apparent to anyone who picks up a control pad leaves the game frustrating and unrewarding.