Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival review
Not The Best Port


I admit that I've never understood the reverence surrounding a game like Street Fighter 2. Sure it may have set some of the groundwork for fighters later on down the line and it was a fairly good game, but ultimately I didn't see what was so amazing about it to warrant such attention. This isn't me not liking the genre either - I just don't get the game's appeal. Having now torn through this port on the GBA my mind hasn't really been swayed. SSF2:TR is a decent brawl fest but it's also pretty dated and the transition to the handheld hasn't gone over perfect either.

The basics of this game should be familiar to anyone accustomed to 2D fighters. You participate in one on one fights where player one starts on the left and player two or the computer starts on the right. When the go command is given both fighters aim to hit the opponent as brutally as possible using whatever talents are open to them. Each fights consists of a number of rounds, and winning a set number of these rounds wins the fight.

To its credit is the decent selection of fighters on offer who, aside from the eerily similar Ryu and Ken, offer a good range of variety. Go in as Chun Li and wreck opponents with all her kicking techniques, or pick Sagat and powerdrive your way through fights. Fighting as and against different characters produces greatly varying battles and you'll learn how to tackle each one as they come. Tactics against one opponent won't work against them all.

There are some issues with the gameplay though. At the basic level you have six standard attack commands consisting of weak, medium and strong variations of punches and kicks. Clever combinations of these are designed to allow the player to unleash some huge damage dealing combos on the opponent. The control setup is made a little awkward due to hardware limitations though that misses the original concepts of the game.

All you have to do to realize why is to think for a moment. Six attack commands. Four buttons on the GBA. Yes, we're short two buttons. In an attempt to circumvent this Capcom had tried a system where two buttons have two attack commands assigned, with the command used depending on whether the button is tapped or pressed. I've no idea how the game determines what constitutes a tap or a press though, leaving the interface inferior. It is possible to literally ignore two attacks commands and play through with four (as I ultimately ended up doing), but the system was obviously set up with the original setup in mind so it's partly missing the point, and poses problems when some specials require using a specific attack command.

Every fighter on the field also has access to special attacks to add that extra flavour of uniqueness. There's the now famous Hadoken, but you can also opt for cannonball strikes, stretch punches, flashy uppercuts or torpedo dives, all depending on who you choose to play as. Executing these attacks requires a little button sequence involving a series of directional commands followed by an attack. The difficulty varies as some attacks are harder than others but it's a fairly solid system.

The special gauge adds another element to the combat. As you're fighting a special gauge builds up along the bottom of the screen, and when full you can pull off a more impressive damaging attack. Typically these are upgraded forms of that characters specials, although with more damage output and a more difficult button sequence. It feels a little basic compared to other fighting games I've played that use similar systems though (eg EFZ uses a 3 tier special gauge for eternity specials of 3 different levels).

But now we come to it. You know, "the big flaw", the one that is the single biggest contributor to the loss of points from the overall score. Despite the actual title of the game, I found the action to be fairly sluggish. The lack of any fast movement options doesn't do the game any favours. Perhaps I've been spoiled by more recent fighters offering dash mechanics or the option to run but this makes the inability to make quick approaches and retreats in SFII fairly frustrating and places unnecessary limits on combat options. You can tweak the speed settings to boost overall speed but this still feels too sluggish.

The computer will provide a somewhat solid challenge than can be set by the player from a variety of difficulty settings. They will use a fair range of attack and clever blocks.

Capcom have thrown a fair number of game modes in here too. There's the usual arcade mode the series is used too, and with this come the Time Attack and Survival modes. If you have a friend with their own GBA and game then link up and battle them. There's also a training mode that provides the ideal field to practice playing the game.

The game does look nice on the small screen. There's a wealth of different character designs spread around the playable cast with some rather interesting and fancy outfit designs. As per standard with fighters now are the alternate colours available which add a touch of extra visual flair, even if the original intention was just to let two players use the same fighter without confusion. Animation is slick with some cool movements with the attacks motions and special techniques firing out.

Backgrounds deserve a special mention for the attention to the little details. Far from static scrolling images, you'll find neat things happening in the backgrounds as you play, and these really give the arenas that little touch of needed individuality. Strictly speaking there's no gameplay differences between the stages but the visuals give more than enough reason to pick out favourites.

There a nice collection of background music to listen to as you knock the daylights out of the opposition too, typically themed to match up with what location arena you happen to be in at the time. Some nice voice work as character shout, yell and scream while performing their actions. The actual sound effects feel a little weak but nothing too bad about it.

I found this game to be decent, but really it feels too old to compete as well when against the more modern fighters, even on the GBA. The loss of two attack buttons hurts the original intentions too, and while I wouldn't outright label it as bad I just feel there are better alternatives out there.

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