Review by Retro
"The Ultimate Rush Between Opponents"
StormyWeather980: Streets of Rage 2 is my favorite fighting game of all time.
HangedmanDLux: Streets of Rage 2 is not a fighting game, it's a beat 'em up.
StormyWeather980: It's a fighting game. You fight in it!
HangedmanDLux: It's a beat 'em up, it's a whole separate genre.
StormyWeather980: Alright! It's settled then! Street Fighter II Turbo is my favorite fighting game.
Not only did I learn a strict lesson about video game genetics in that conversation, I also discovered that Street Fighter II Turbo is my favorite game of a genre. This Capcom classic pits twelve unique fighters from all over the globe against each other. Their backgrounds range from karate, to boxing, to yoga, the military, etc. Each one has a strong desire to be hailed as the best fighter in the world, but when a highly skilled warrior goes up against another brawler that is just as masterful, it's not an easy task to claim the throne.
Street Fighter II Turbo's mechanics are a lot like those of other 2-D fighting games. Every fighter has their own strengths and weaknesses, each one has a few special abilities, and there are the basic moves, ranging from the weak punches to the fierce kicks that would even impress the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme. One thing that makes this game different from the others, including the blockbuster that set the world on fire, Street Fighter II, is its speed. The game is called Street Fighter II Turbo because you can now change the speed of the gameplay at will before you start a game. You can still fight using the ancient, slower than a tortoise speed of the original, but engaging in battles that can be up to four times faster is a lot more fun, and even more challenging. Upon selecting your fighter in a one-player game, an airplane flies in a straight line from your current destination to that of your opponent's on the world map. Then it's time to rumble!
You'll need more than quick reflexes and knowledge of every fighters' moves if you want to be at your best in Street Fighter II Turbo. Use a little strategy. When the Chinese beauty, Chun Li, performs her spinning upside down kick, duck under her to avoid being kicked in the head, and then uppercut her. Is Blanka using his famous move in which his whole body becomes more electrical than a downed power line? Don't touch him or you'll be shocked to death! Throw a projectile his way instead. Ken Masters hits you with three fireballs in a row, stunning you. Seeing that you're dazed and seeing more stars than the Milky Way holds, Ken closes in, ready to throw you across the screen. You quickly press buttons to come out of your short-lived confused state of mind and you use Balrog's furious knockout punch against Ken before he can grab a hold of you. That'll show him!
For moves that drain your opponent's energy faster than Mike Tyson knocked out his latest opponent in the ring (less than a minute), get nose to nose with your nemesis and you can perform such moves as Zangief's overpowering suplex or make the half-human half-beast, Blanka, latch onto your enemy and bite them several times as if they were a savory, buttered corn on the cob.
''E. Honda sucks.''
A fellow reviewer made that statement recently when we were discussing this game. I disagree with it! That is the beauty of Street Fighter II Turbo. Every other fighting game I've ever played has some fighters that I love using over and over again (Sub-Zero and Glacius rule!), but even more that I don't like using at all (Johnny Cage and Maya are boring), but that's not so with this heavy hitter! While I do like some better than others, there's not a single fighter that I don't enjoy using from time to time. Not only are they all fun to do carnage with, but each one is interesting and comes complete with his/her own personality.
When a bruising brawl is over, the winning fighter will pose in his own way. For example, military master, Guile, always runs his hands through his hair (I feel sorry for him if he has a balding gene that starts terrorizing him one day), E. Honda crouches down to his fighting stance and turns his neck as if he's trying to pop it as he says ''Oh boy'' (at least that's what it sounds like), and Vega hums as he turns a backflip and raises his clawed fist to the sky. To add to the persona, you are then taken to a screen in which the loser looks beat up and the winner trash talks with a quote of their own, such as ''Seeing you in action is a joke'', or ''Get up!! It's too early for you to be defeated!'' Then the cycle continues as you're transported to your next heated battle (or to the continue countdown and then back to the character select screen if you lose). To beat the game, you have to defeat each of the twelve fighters, which is no easy task, even on an easy setting! But it's possible.
To allow you to catch your breath, you'll have the opportunity to complete a bonus stage after a few successful rounds. Completely annihilate a stationary car, a tall stack of bricks, or wooden barrels as they roll and fall from a couple of conveyor belts that are running at full speed above you for a nice package of bonus points.
Along with having replay value and a fun factor that never ends, Street Fighter II Turbo is also equipped with excellent graphics. When you win or lose a battle in the environment that has elephants in the background, they suddenly come to life when the announcer proclaims either, ''YOU WIN'' or ''YOU LOSE.'' Even more impressive is Balrog's background in Las Vegas that features hyperactive lights, gamblers placing tons of bets, and dancing chicks whose clothes are barely there. But what is up with Chun Li's background?!!! In it, there is a man that's holding a chicken upside down and he's literally choking it (not that kind of chicken, you freak!). Also impressive are the character models and many of the effects. The fighters all have fluid animation, good colors, and a great amount of detail. Nab an opponent with one of Dhalsim's fiery projectiles and your opponent will be encapsulated inside a great ball of fire, making him look like a mummy whose wraps have been replaced by burning flames. Of course, the game saves the best graphics of all for when you complete the game with the various characters (this adds to the already soaring replay value!), which sometimes succeed in being jaw-dropping, such as the people marching at the bottom of the screen in M. Bison's ending.
Complementing the gameplay nicely are the many sounds. Punching an enemy so hard that blood falls from their nose actually sounds like a hard-hitting blow that hurts. When you're defeated by Sagat, Zangief, or E. Honda and you hear their haunting laugh, it's likely to enrage you and make you say something along the lines of, ''Come on. Hurry up and let me continue so I can whoop that (insert banned word here)'s ass. Nobody laughs at me!'' Just as impressive is the music you'll hear along your path to the top of the world. From the nice, catchy guitars on the title screen, to the American patriotic tune of Guile's stage, the music is great, and it seems to fit each stage to a tee. I especially like the track that's heard in Sagat's level in Thailand. I don't know how to describe it, but I just like that particular song a lot, especially the first few seconds of it.
To keep everything going smoothly, the controls are easy as can be to master. Most of the special moves are done in one of two ways. Many, such as E. Honda's flying head butt (hey, he's fat but he can fly with the best of them!) and Balrog's various charging blows to the head, require you to keep hold of back (whichever direction is away from your challenger) for a few seconds, and then press forward and punch or kick simultaneously. Other tactics, such as the projectiles, require using a sweeping motion of the control pad (such as pushing down and then forward in one motion) before the maneuver can be performed. No matter what you do, Street Fighter II Turbo's controls won't cause any troubles whatsoever, even if you're simply using Ryu to jump kick your opponent between the eyes and then sweep them off of their feet the moment you land (one of my favorite combos).
I know we've all had friends, cousins, or others that we've lent things to, and we expected to get them back. The traitor(s) even told you that they'll give you back your stuff in a few days, if not sooner! I let two acquaintances borrow Street Fighter II Turbo a couple of years ago. But guess what? I never got it back. I went through the hassle of making an eBay account with the mindset of becoming an owner once again of this fighting classic that was impossible to forget. When you join the ranks of proud owners of this SNES diamond, hopefully you'll never make the mistake I did and let somebody borrow it. But if you do, I guarantee that you won't be able to live without it.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 03/03/03, Updated 03/04/03
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