The culmination of the saga
by Tibe (2012)
Super Street Fighter II has not been the best SF of the series for long: barely five months after its release, Capcom finally makes it obsolete by editing the Turbo version (Super Street Fighter II X: Grandmaster Challenge in Japan). Taking back every feature from its previous episode, adding 50 mega power to graphics and animation, but also one more character, new moves, the Supers (super special attacks that can be triggered when the 'super' bar is full), increased speed, new combos and a higher difficulty! Phew, no less! The presentation of the game was refined and a lot of details added: portraits of warriors in battle, intro posters improved, new colors... even some sprites and backgrounds have been improved. Some sounds have changed, not always for better, but the musics remains the same as in SSFII, still including the legendary themes of the saga (Guile, Ken, Ryu, Balrog, M. Bison ...) but now benefiting the nice sound capabilities of the CPS-II.
It's the gameplay that has undergone great improvements here, and first of all enlightened to the game speed and fluidity. New steps were added in animations and the game was considerably accelerated. However, the speed is adjustable over three levels, in order to satisfy all players. The new Boss of the game is now Akuma (Gouki in Japanese): he is the murderer of Ryu & Ken's master, Gouken. Good news, this badass can be picked on the character selection thanks to a TIP, upgrading the roster to seventeen characters. Characters who benefit are again granted new moves in this latest installment of the saga. Overheads are appearing in this episode: punches or kicks performed while standing, that can hit opponent using crouching guard. Ryu and Ken are gaining new basic kicks and punches, Chun Li have now an anti-air strike, Dhalsim who is way faster becomes one of the most powerful warriors of the game; Zangief is also gaining speed and dodging attacks, which make it almost worth playing, while Honda is enriched with new air blows and some other features.
But the main attraction is still the appearance of Supers, say, special attacks of the death that kills. SNK innovated with those features two years before in Art of Fighting, and now spreads it
to the latest games such as Samurai Spirits II or The King of Fighters 94'. In the corners down right and left of the screen, a new small gauge: the Super Gauge, which fills up when you perform
special moves. Once full, you can trigger a single devastating attack. This one is a super-powerful special attack or a combination of blows, that might allows you to end dramatically the fight,
or even reverse desperate situations. Ryu for example launches a multi-hit fireball that removes way more life, Ken triggers a flaming Shoryuken, Honda makes a triple torpedo attack,
Fei-long triggers a combo of deadly punches... A whole bunch of new techniques to master, as new special moves are also in the game, in addition to the new basic ones. That's
also the prospect of more intense and technical fighting! The gameplay gains considerably in interest with all these adds.
The high speed of play, the complexity of attacks that makes the game way more technical than before, and the hyper combos make this installment a monster of gameplay. Akuma turns out to be a powerful version of Ryu/Ken with air fireballs, great speed and the ability to never be stun! The VS gaming becomes deeper and the top tiers have changed, with a few oppositions out of balance, but that's also what makes the charm of the game. The single challenge is now very high, hence the name: Grand Master Challenge! Here it is, we have here the ultimate version of the Street Fighter II series as we knew it. Seventeen characters roster, high-flow speed and ultimate graphics true to the original, but refined and more colorful, not to mention the legendary musics, the largest known array of moves for each character, and the Supers... nothing is missing. By reviewing this 1994 episode, we understand better why the SF Zero/Alpha series disappointed so much most of the players: after perfection, there's nothing!
|Better presentations and menus, new graphic effects, but no real changes since SSF2.|
|The pace seriously improved since the last episode - and became adjustable! The fluidity is improved too, with an even more precise timing for impacts.|
|The soundtrack of Super Street Fighter II have been kept with no noticeable changes.|
|Seventeen selectable characters and a high difficulty for a terrible challenge. Versus are more spicy than ever!|
|Hyper speed, new combos, new moves, playable Gouki, Supers appearing: fresh blood for the saga!|
|The best episode from the SFII series, even if not the most creative!|
SAME ON THE NEO?
When Capcom releases SSFIIX, SNK already moved on new games. The King of Fighters 94 came the same year but starts with new basics and graphics, Samurai Spirits II is quite different... there's no real equivalent on Neo Geo, Fatal Fury also re-starting from zero in 1995 with Fatal Fury 3.