IMPORT - Capcom has been releasing its Dreamcast fighting games in Japan with a feature that never makes it over to the US releases - online play. Not content to deal with the latency involved with the Internet, Capcom's fighters play over a custom online matching service, and players must pay additional fees to use the service. The result is an online experience that is far more playable than it would be if played directly on the Internet, but there's still a bit of latency involved with online play - usually just enough to totally ruin the game. Aside from its big-ticket fighting releases, Capcom has released a couple of other games that feature support for its online matching service, but they're only available in limited quantities via mail order. The first was an enhanced version of Vampire Savior. Now, Capcom has released Super Street Fighter II X for Matching Service for the Dreamcast. The game, which is an online-compatible version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo, is definitely close to arcade-perfect, but when you consider the game's age and its place in the Street Fighter universe, the resulting product isn't terribly impressive.
Super Street Fighter II, and its eventual update, Super Street Fighter II X, were some of the first games designed using Capcom's CPS2 arcade hardware, a hardware set that would later power the entire Darkstalkers line, all of the Street Fighter Alpha games, the company's Marvel-licensed fighting games, and a smattering of shooters. At the time, moving to the new hardware was meant to breathe new life into the Street Fighter series without forcing Capcom to design an entirely new Street Fighter game on the new hardware. Essentially, Super added four characters to the game, beefed up the graphics, added an extremely annoying announcer, and brought in a couple of new moves. SSFIIX (released as SSFII Turbo in the US) came shortly afterward and added adjustable speed settings and super combos. It would be the last of the long-running Street Fighter II line, though not the best, as many of the series' purists still cling to the CPS1-driven Street Fighter II Turbo as the best game in the series.
Super Street Fighter II X for Matching Service provides some of the standard modes we've come to expect from a console fighting game - a dedicated versus mode and a small training mode add to the game's main draw, online play. Other than that, the game is pretty stripped down. Since you can't play the online mode from anywhere other than Japan, the result is a game that really doesn't offer much to anyone other than the most die-hard Street Fighter fan. Sure, the game looks great, but chances are anyone with a serious love of Street Fighter already picked up this game when it was released as part of the Street Fighter Collection that Capcom released for the PlayStation. That said, the Dreamcast rendition of SSFIIX is a good one. There aren't any real loading times, and the game looks and sounds just as good as its arcade counterpart.
In the end, your love for Capcom's last Street Fighter II game will directly affect whether or not this game is worth importing. If you're not nostalgic for the old stuff, you'll probably get bored with this game fairly quickly. But if you're tired of all the flashy gameplay of Capcom's newer stuff, an imported copy of Super Street Fighter II X for Matching Service might be just what you're looking for.