(Disclaimer: if you haven’t read the previous articles covering the Street Fighter II sub-series of games then you may not understand the content featured in this piece)
As we reach the end of the first half of our Street Fighter month here at Silver Soul Gaming we finish with the final Street Fighter II release on the upcoming 30th anniversary collection, Super Street Fighter II Turbo also known as Super Street Fighter II X: Grand Master Challenge in the Asian territories. Released in arcades by Capcom in 1994, it is the fifth instalment in the Street Fighter II sub-series of Street Fighter games, following Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers. Like its predecessor, it ran on the CP System II hardware.
The game was also ported to several home consoles although I haven’t been able to play any of the ports so I will be unable to cover them, although there were additional rearranged versions of this game with changes and new features which I have covered Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers in a previous article.
Super Street Fighter II Turbo – Arcade (1994)
Using the same arcade hardware as the previous release Super Street Fighter II Turbo takes the previous version and builds on the skeleton of it adding new features and mechanics while also removing some key parts of the game. Super Turbo introduced several new gameplay mechanics not present in previous versions of Street Fighter II, including the addition of combination moves called super combos and air combos. It also introduced the secret character Akuma, who would go on to become a recurring character in later Street Fighter instalments and other Capcom fighting games.
The changes and updates to the game are as follows.
- Adding a new intro cinematic that uses the previous one as its base.
- Some new animations were added for all characters.
- Some new graphics added to the HUD and the character selection screen with new sprite colour pallets for all playable characters on the roster.
- Introduction of an all new secret character as a hidden boss.
- Introduction of super combos and new character moves and attacks, including air juggling/combos and the ability to reduce damage from throws and grabs.
- New audio created to replace other music.
- Hidden alternate character modes unlocked via code and the addition of a new selectable speed setting.
- Removal of bonus stages.
Some of the changes make the game much better than the previous version that it is based upon but also some are detrimental to the player when they take on the single player tournament mode, the speed setting can be modified with four options, turbo 1-3 or free select. If the game is set to free then the player gets to choose speed setting allowing them to pick a speed which they are comfortable with, but if the arcade operator wishes they can pick a single set speed to potentially inflate the difficulty of the game artificially for people who are not used to the higher speed settings, therefore requiring more coins to be put into the machine to continue playing.
The games balance feels no different than the previous versions when played casually but when looked into with more of a critical eye then these tweaks can be noticed. The ability to escape throws, juggle enemies with air combos and deal massive damage with Super Combos makes the game more complex in a tactical sense, if you are able to execute these new skills consistently then you can have an edge against a predictable pattern by the CPU or even by a human opponent.
There is also an alternate version of every character within the game which is a direct version of the character featured in the previous game, these are distinguished by their use of the default pallet from that version which is unobtainable when using the standard character. The alternate versions of the roster have noticeable differences with gameplay, the removal of the super combo for the alternate and the inability to escape throws.
During gameplay of the single player version the game has a tendency to add all four new challengers introduced in the previous release to each playthrough which means that half of the original eight character roster won’t be faced during gameplay. The new challengers are much more challenging to fight for the players of the first three Street Fighter II releases, this makes it more difficult for a player who has spent more time on a game like World Warrior or Hyper Fighting.
While playing alone the difficulty is high even at the lowest settings when you start and it just gets worse when progressing through, at higher game speeds it is even harder. It feels like the inputs become less consistent at the higher speeds of the game and the game gets much harder in my personal experience playing the game, I had fun playing it at lower speeds but I was disappointed by the omission of the bonus stages which were a welcomed respite from the fights to allow the stress of the fights to dissipate.
If the player completes the single player mode while fulfilling specific requirements then the hidden boss Akuma appears defeating M. Bison then challenging the player in the final battle, Akuma is playable as a hidden character through a hidden code, while fighting him he uses the same character move list as Ken and Ryu with stronger attacks both as a boss and a secret character. I was unable to either battle or unlock Akuma during my time playing the game but there is video available online showing the battle and how to unlock him as a playable fighter.
The game shines when played at with another person, all the new mechanics and speed settings make it either a frantic brawl or a long strategic battle which is the most fun that can be had with this game or any other fighting game. The option of having alternate versions of all playable characters effectively doubles the potential matchups that can be had when playing competitively.
Overall as the final original release in the Street Fighter II sub-series this is a good game but not the best release in the series in my own opinion, which I believe is Hyper Fighting. If you do enjoy the Street Fighter II games then I do recommend this game. There are several home console ports of the game that are readily available on the PlayStation family, Sega Saturn, Dreamcast and the Xbox (there is also a 3DO version but it is not very common outside the online market).
All in all I give Super Turbo 4/5 stars, the gameplay is solid and the most enjoyable when played against a friend but the difficulty can be off putting and frustrating when played against the CPU made worse when the speed is higher.