Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition

15 years is a long time, especially if you take gaming into consideration, how many games that are released today are going to last as long as the immortal Street Fighter series has managed to? Obviously only time will tell. The original Street Fighter may only exist as a blurred memory now; it was really with the release of Street Fighter II when the series actually hit its stride. It was a game that impacted so hard it earned individual upgrades due to heavy demand and was arguably a series in itself, not forgetting the numerous additions such as the Alpha, EX, SF III and spin-off games. The 15th anniversary has given Capcom good reason to release an anthological tribute to one of their gaming legends.

Those going into the game looking for upgraded graphics will be disappointed as Hyper is all about perfectly emulating the memories of many and with this said the game is looking a little dated compared to today’s standards, but that is to be expected. The graphics are based on the last game; Super Street Fighter II turbo and even today the visuals still glow with so much personality, a quality that sadly wasn’t achieved with any of the three 3D incarnations. The brightly coloured sprites and rich memorable backgrounds are complemented by some of the best music and sound bytes in gaming, let alone fighting games – our eyes and ears are happy then!

With all the Street Fighter II versions on one disk, this opens up doors to an unbelievable number of variations. Over the years characters were tweaked, others debuted, different costume colours were also granted, Super Combos were introduced and even the speed of the action was later enhanced, and the good thing is that it’s on this single disk all neatly packaged together.

The choice of throwing all the games together does seem a bit of an odd one when we come to think of it, why didn’t they just release the best and last game in the series with a few more extras thrown in? For the purist it probably will be bliss, but we honestly don’t know what the fuss of mixing all the characters up is all about. Arcade mode is always fixed to Super Street Fighter II Turbo, which is quite an oversight, especially for the purist again. Mixing the giant pool of character variations up does show how far some of the characters have come, with modified moves and even brand new ones cropping up into their arsenal over the years.

The characters themselves have a distinct level of individuality. Even the famous clones, Ryu and Ken offer differing attributes from one another. The original characters are fantastic, as are the four bosses and additional four characters, in fact there’s not a single character that we dislike to a degree that we would never play as again. We like the fact that the characters don’t possess an overabundance of moves, all good as many fighting games have become cruel memory tests of complex 10-hit combos and little else.

Street Fighter has always been about the multi-player action as far as we’re concerned and today it still feels as fresh as it did in the 90’s, even though we didn’t really let Street Fighter get in the way of our Mortal Kombat sessions (we now see the errors of our ways). There is nothing like countering a move with a Hadoken or catching a jumping opponent out with a quick Dragon Punch against a real opponent who is unable to read your moves unlike the rather cheap AI. Street Fighter Multi-player gaming is pure solid gold and it’s certainly one of the best bets for 2D fighting action with a cast of colourful characters.

As a 15th anniversary edition, we found Hyper Street Fighter II to be a bit of a missed opportunity. The game does come included with the 1994 anime movie, apart from that there’s little else worth shouting about though. The mixing up of all the Street Fighter II games may delight the purist player, although at times we couldn’t see the whole point of this capability. Anniversary misses aside, after plenty of time with Street Fighter II (later in the present rather then sooner in the past) we don’t think 2D fighting games could have got any better than this.