(Disclaimer: if you are not familiar with the Street Fighter II series of games please read our other pieces or you may not understand some of the content in this piece.)
As the month progresses we get further into the franchise and the sub-series within we arrive at the next release in the Street Fighter II sub-series of games, Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers. Released in 1993, it is the fourth game in the Street Fighter II sub-series of Street Fighter games, following Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting. In addition to refining and balancing the existing character roster from the previous versions, Super Street Fighter II introduced four new characters. The success of this version in arcades led to the release of home versions of this game on the SNES/Super Famicom, the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive and various home computers, I will only be covering the Nintendo and SEGA ports as these are the only ones I have access to.
Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers – Arcade (1993)
Utilizing the CPS2 arcade hardware Capcom released Super Street Fighter II into arcades worldwide in 1993 with even more balance changes to the game, additional features, audio and visual updates and four new playable characters. Time for a rundown of all the new content.
Graphics and audio:
- All new graphics for the in game HUD, stages and character portraits.
- New character animations for victory poses and attacks.
- Brand new opening cut scene animation.
- New voice samples for the announcer and some characters.
- All music remade for the all stages to use the new hardware.
Additional game features:
- New scoring for combo attacks, first attack of the round, reversal moves and recovery in battle.
- New colour schemes for characters with eight options including original pallets from previous releases.
- New special attacks for some characters including a flaming dragon punch for Ken and flaming hadoken for Ryu.
New characters added to the roster:
- Hawk, an indigenous warrior from Mexico whose ancestral homeland was taken from him by Shadaloo.
- Cammy, a 19-year-old female special forces agent from England with a mysterious past tied to M. Bison.
- Fei Long, a Hong Kong movie star who wishes to test his martial arts against real opponents.
- Dee Jay, a kickboxing musician from Jamaica seeking inspiration for his next song.
The core gameplay remains unchanged even with the addition of new playable characters, the single player tournament remains unchanged from previous games where you fight twelve opponents, eight of them being random and the four boss characters from previous games. The game will always use the new characters in the single player tournament from the experience that i had while playing the game, the game speed reverts to the Champion Edition rules while the characters maintain their move sets from the Hyper Fighting rules with the additional moves also added.
The game has a very unusual difficulty curve and the AI is erratic which for an arcade game seems to be an oversight, the difficulty is low for the first three fights then the difficulty ramps up making it much harder from the fourth to eighth fight, the difficulty then lowers slightly for the final four boss fights. This seems confusing and possibly a put off for people I suffered with a lot of frustration with this difficulty curve and the challenge fell flat as I was able to defeat the boss characters with little difficulty during my playthrough.
The controls and inputs are equal to the previous games, they are tight, responsive and they work well but there are some problems with attacks not connecting as the hit detection seems to be a little inconsistent. The game’s greatest strength is the multiplayer, when playing against another person the game is much more fun and enjoyable while engaged in battle with a friend.
Overall I think that this is a lacklustre release in the Street Fighter II series, you should skip this release and go for one of the updates if you want to get your fix of the new challengers. Sadly the home console ports are not much better.
Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers – SNES/Genesis (1994)
The Genesis and SNES ports of Super Street Fighter II were released simultaneously in 1994 and these ports have a wide range of game modes and content on both of them, challenge mode, arcade mode, tournament mode, group battle and versus mode. The modes add a lot of options to play the game and try to have fun, there is even a turbo speed option for both ports available, but these options and game modes unfortunately fail to counterbalance the greatest issue with these ports, the terrible quality of them.
Both games were released on high capacity cartridges yet their overall quality is much lower than their predecessors which were released on smaller cartridges, leading me to believe that if they had kept the content to a simple arcade/ versus game the quality of the overall game would have been much higher. The sound quality is absolutely atrocious sounding nothing like the high quality music and voice bites of the Champion Edition and Turbo releases with some sound being completely omitted, the graphics are of incredibly low quality, the sprites are heavily compressed and look washed out. With the SNES version in the west there is even censorship of the portraits for characters that are defeated, probably due to the way that Nintendo of America saw violence in the early days of the console market.
The controls feel sloppy and inconsistent and the games AI is terrible, the difficulty is either too high or too low and this seems to fluctuate depending on the whim of the game, the core gameplay is the same as the arcade but it doesn’t feel like the game was made by the same people who created the excellent Turbo port. This does not do justice to original arcade release and it feels like the development team in charge of the port prioritised quantity over quality.
My final thoughts on the Super Street Fighter II arcade and home ports are as follows, just don’t play it I can tolerate the arcade version but I couldn’t stand more than one play through of the home version, just avoid the home versions unless you are a masochist that loves terrible ports of mediocre games. The arcade version is playable but frustrating and maintains the high quality of Capcom arcade games and the game is fun with another person but that is all I can really say.
Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers gets 3/5 stars, when you take into account both the terrible quality of the home ports and the absurd difficulty of the arcade release. That’s all I have to say on this and I hope I never want to play the home versions again.