In 2008, Capcom released a souped-up edition of the all-time favorite fighting game under the name of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix for the price of $14.99. Meanwhile, Wii and Wii U offerings of Street Fighter II consisted of different variation’s on the Virtual Console service. All hope wasn’t lost for Nintendo fans. Capcom finally released it on a Nintendo console recently with a catch. It’s $39.99 now; they threw in some random features in there and you can take the game with you on the go. That’s gotta be worth something, right?
There’s a fighting tournament going on, and it’s being held by a maniacal crime leader. The roster consists of fighters from around the world. The roster consists of Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, T. Hawl, Cammy, Dee Jay, Fei-Long, Blanka, E. Honda, Guile, Zangief, Dhalsim, Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M. Bison (who is said maniacal crime leader). The competitors all have their own reasons regarding why they decide to enter, and they are slightly explored during each character’s respective endings. It’s an arcade fighting game, so it’s excusable on that front. All anyone really needs to know is these fighters have a score to settle with this madman running it all.
While the graphics are certainly HD and stylized, there are some subtle differences between Ultra Street Fighter II and Super Turbo HD Remix. I’m indifferent to most of them, but the fact that the boat in Guile’s stage doesn’t rock anymore is a slight annoyance. I also feel the need to question the additions of Palette Swap Ryu and Palette Swap Ken as “new characters”, especially when there’s a color editor feature that makes them all the more redundant. Thankfully, the game provides both the “new” 2008 graphical style and the classic arcade-era style all renditions beforehand embodied, and you can switch between both styles for the graphics and sound.
The classic sound effects pack a punch, and the music is iconic (though I prefer the versions heard on the Super NES release of the original game). The modern sound effects, on the other hand, feel more like slaps rather than punches and kicks. Even then, they aren’t as bad as the announcer. No matter which graphic style you choose, the announcer’s voice clips are off-putting and weirdly unenthusiastic.
Ultra Street Fighter II features an amount of modes beyond the usual arcade shtick. The arcade mode is still there should you want to go through a gauntlet of one-on-one fisticuffs. This is easily the best way to get some fighting action going on is via the online multiplayer. Just like the better games containing online play, Ultra Street Fighter II can be quite the addictive experience for those that want to rank themselves at the top. Not into online? Then you can at least play with a friend or relative in the local modes. There’s the traditional versus mode, as well as a “buddy” mode where two people can team up to fight AI opponents. It’s a neat feature, but for some reason, you can’t continue after getting a Game Over like you can in the regular arcade mode.
Also entirely new to this game is the semi-infamous “Way of the Hado” mode; it’s a minigame that plays from a first-person perspective. It uses the Switch’s motion controls in the worst way possible. Think back to the Wii’s darker hours of motion-controlled shovelware and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect here. Considering the models for the enemies and Ryu are taken from Street Fighters IV and V, it will only make you wonder why Capcom didn’t just port either one of those games over to the Switch instead.
Oh well. This is Street Fighter II we’re talking about. And Street Fighter II is a great game. There’s a reason it popularized the fighting genre in the first place; with its diverse character playstyles and remarkable precision, the game is as fun to master as it is to get into to beat up baddies. It’s always fun to venture across the arcade mode, and it’s even more fun to take the competition online.
So let me get this straight, Capcom: You release two retro game compilations for the PS4 and Xbox One and announce a brand new Monster Hunter for the former. Yet the best you could provide for the Nintendo Switch is a lazy, unreasonably expensive port of a nearly ten-year old version of a twenty-five-year old game? Say what you want about Konami. They at least bothered to release a new Bomberman game exclusively for the system after so many years of nothing. Yet, I still recommend Ultra Street Fighter II to an extent; said extent involves finding the game for way cheaper than its baffling $39.99 price tag. If you can bat an eye away from the crappier features, you may find yourself with a fun addition to your Switch library. If only said features weren’t so prominent within the package.