Review by Slateman

"This SHOULD be much better, but it's still great."

This SHOULD be much better, but it's still great.

Once again, this review is biased. I am an enormous Street Fighter fanatic and unlike many other SF fans, I think each incarnation Capcom has released has some good points. (outside SF: The Movie) So, read this review with that in mind. And this is a review of the PSX version of the game, with references to past SF games as well as a direct comparison to SFEX+A also on the PSX.

SFEX2+ is in many ways very similar to it's predecessor. While I found SFEX+A to be thoroughly enjoyable and novel at the time (first time in 3D of course), the sequel doesn't grab me the way the original did. I never really felt that the World Warriors fit in the 3D realm all too well, and EX2 doesn't do anything to change that opinion. Since the graphics are so blocky, none of the characters look like there's enough detail there. On the PSX, I've come to accept the limitations of graphics and polygon counts, but the arcade version should've been better. It SHOULD look as good as any of the other 3D fighters. Even the Tekken 3 port on the Playstation looked better...and it came out over a year ago! It is nice seeing the ''new'' characters in EX2, Blanka, Sagat, and Balrog (Vega US) all make an appearance here and they look good. Not great of course.

Still on the topic of graphics, the backgrounds are sometimes just hideous. Some stages are as bland as any I've ever seen, while others seem cluttered and blurry. Sagat's stage is just a flat plain w/ a decent sunset, but outside of the sun, there's Nothing....Come on, they couldn't do any better than that?

The supers and Meteor Combos (level 3 super combos) look decent, some nice effects, but there the other flaw enters. Meteor Combos? Some characters have supers that hit your opponent, who bounces off of another planet before smashing back on the ground for insane damage. One of the 2 bonus stages while you play has you destroying a satellite. Then, you've got Vulcano Rosso (which means Red Volcano in Italian). My point? While Blanka and Dhalsim never seemed all too realistic, EX2 makes it all somewhat ridiculous. It shouldn't be 100% serious, but meteor combos are just too far IMO. People shouldn't be launched into space...this isn't Final Fantasy here...it's a fighting game. It's amusing though...the first few times.

The gameplay modes are decent enough. Arcade, VS, Options...all typical. Then you've got your Practice, Director and Bonus. SFEX+A had the best mode ever in the Expert training mode, which makes a return here. Unfortunately, I've found myself running through the missions with much more ease than the original (which I never completed). There's another practice mode available after completing all of the Expert modes, which I haven't gotten to yet, but it apparently makes up for the easier expert mode by being, well...maniacal.
The director mode is somewhat of a waste...create your own replays, change camera angles, etc. I suppose it could be somewhat interesting, but I don't think it's too important. Finally, the Bonus mode let's you play the multiple Bonus stages (you've got to unlock some of them though first). Nothing major, but it's nice to have.

So, you've heard me complain about the graphics and the absurdity level of the game. Is the game therefore not worth the time? Well, the major point in all games, especially SF games, is gameplay. Like I said, I'm a SF fanatic. I may not be the best player in the world, but I enjoy each game immensely, and though there are flaws, I am enjoying SFEX2+ thoroughly. I haven't played EX+A in quite a while, actually, I haven't played much SF in recent months, but after a session or two, I'm settling back down to the old habits. 2-in-1s, buffering, the negative edge...it's all there, it's Street Fighter! The 3D version of SF will never match the fluidity of the 2 dimensional perfection that (IMO) is boasted in SF2 (most versions), the Alpha games (my favorites) and the animation overkill of the SF3 series. Like I said though, it takes a few minutes to get into it all, but once you do, all the features of the 2D versions are here. That's the good news. Meteor Combos do a crapload of damage if you connect them, the game has super cancelling (although damage scaling proves them somewhat useless in some cases) and Excels are considered by some as another evil Custom Combo. It's not uncommon for supers to have combo counters into the teens, but I suppose that's necessary to catch the eye of people nowadays. These aren't necessarily bad aspects of the game. They're just not the greatest implementations into a SF fighting system. Chun Li can do her Senretsu Kyaku --> Kikou Shou --> Senretsu Kyaku, which is just plain ridiculous to me...but the damage scaling will make the final Senretsu Kyaku all but worthless, doing only fractional damage compared to the move being executed by itself.

How about the characters. SFEX+A had a cast of 23 characters, at the time one of the largest. Now with Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 boasting an enormous 56 character listing, it may not seem as much. The sequel here contains just as many, losing some of those from the original (Sakura, Blaire, Allen, the Cycloid characters) and gaining some other new ones (Nanase, Area, Shadow Geist among others) which strengthens the cast somewhat. D. Dark has lost his DP move, and since there's no Sakura or Allen, the ARK character list has shrunken somewhat, which is a good thing. Sure, Area is weird, as is Vulcan Rosso, but their moves are interesting and I think the cast is better than the last one. No Gouki too...cool, he wasn't really needed was he?

As for the sound, I've never been big into game sound. I like a good soundtrack, which EX2 has. Better than the previous version, it's not the best out there, but it works, and it's enjoyable. Sound effects however haven't been improved from EX. A punch still sounds more like a thud than a smash, which the Alpha games have. The voices are ok, though no matter how much I hear it, Guile speaking Japanese just DOESN'T sound right!

The game's presentation is good, nice layout, an ok character selection screen, and bright vibrant colors. It's too bad the graphics aren't better.

Overall, It's Street Fighter and to me that gets points right away. Chun Li is the best, and she's here so that's some more points. hehe...Seriously though, it isn't very much different than EX, which is something I think we all look for in sequels. Graphically, it's disappointing, and average at best. I can only imagine that this COULD look better. The gameplay is right on, with some flaws, it's still a SF game w/ great combos hidden in there and endless hours of practice awaiting me. The extras in there are great, Expert mode being the best, the mode after that, if you can unlock it, will provide more insanity for expert players, and some little options like otameda adding more for replay value.

Graphics: 6 Blocky characters, bland backdrops, could be better.
Gameplay: 9 Trademark SF gameplay = excellence.
Sound: 7 Good BGM, uninspired sound effects

Final Score: 8 It's SF, and I love SF. There are problems however.


Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 04/17/00, Updated 04/17/00

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