When Capcom wanted to improve one of its most revered titles, the company recruited one of the game’s most obsessive fans – renowned tournament player David Sirlin – to rebalance the game’s mechanics.
While Street Fighter II – Hyper Fighting was already available on the Xbox Live Marketplace, it’s a direct copy of the 1993 arcade hit, with mediocre online matchmaking and the tendency to lag badly when battling online. While it was a pixel-perfect copy of what many consider to be the pinnacle of 2D fighters, it had major fairness problems. Some characters were so powerful that they rendered the other 12 characters almost non-competitive.
Sirlin’s painstaking balancing process has resulted in what is arguably the premier version of Street Fighter II. He’s tampered with everything from the damage inflicted by each move to the distance travelled for Guile’s strong flash kick to the recovery time for Ryu’s fireball - and to great effect. Each character is now a competitive powerhouse in their own right, so more people are having their hides handed to them by duds like Chun Li and Zangief.
Speaking of the online matchmaking – it’s terrific. Split-second reactions are essential for competitive Street Fighter play, and I’ve encountered no major lag issues whatsoever. Aside from the occasional lost connection (which could happen for any number of reasons, such as a player prematurely leaving), the game’s online component runs seamlessly.
But the most noticeable improvement is the reworked high-definition graphics. Every single piece of artwork - from character animations to the background settings – has been spruced up. The overhaul is fantastic and gives this classic title a modern day polish. However, the remixed musical score is extremely hit-and-miss. But that really is nitpicking, because this is the definitive, must-own version of a game that truly has stood the test of time. A bargain for less than $30.