SUPER STREET FIGHTER 2 / Capcom / Arcade
It's fair to say Super Street Fighter 2 was well-recieved when it came out in 1993, but people weren't in raptures over it. It had been a little over two years since Street Fighter II first came out, and the gaming community was vocally wondering why Capcom kept dumping all these resources into endless remakes of it instead of breaking ground on the hotly anticipated Street Fighter 3.

I still to this day have not seen a good investigative report / interview series explaining why Street Fighter 3 didn't come out until 1997. My best guess behind the reasoning of releasing Super SF2 hot on the heels of SF2 Turbo was that Capcom had just developed their CPS 2 hardware, and decided to make a "perfect" updated version of Street Fighter 2 their big showpiece initial release for it.

As to whether Super Street Fighter II (or its eventual Turbo follow-up) is the ideal version of SF2, well ... it boasts a lot of things the previous game didn't have, and certainly is the best-looking of the original SF2 entries, but there's a pretty sizable and vocal contingent that insists SF2 Turbo was the better competitive game.

While I dabbled in competitive play way back in the day, I long since gave up any pretense of it, and I'm not the one to make that call. What I can tell you about Super SF2 is that it does have certain inarguable improvements over its predecessors. Visuals, for starters. The game has the trimmest and cleanest sprites of the bunch, and the arcade version has a bunch of little detail that got cut from the later console ports, like Cammy's titty jiggle. New active sprites as well as static details were added to all the old background stages, and the portraits were also all touched up to look more professional. Then you've got the boss intro of Ryu emerging from shadow to Hadoken your face. That's a pretty good "attract mode" right there.

Then there are the four new characters, who aren't everyone's cup of tea, but also didn't really break the balance or ruin the game or anything, so they're at least a fairly harmless addition. Cammy went on to have the most long-term success among fans, but the others kinda petered out of the series quickly after this release. Cammy and Fei Long play differently from anything seen before and are interesting in that they're kinda like the "rushdown" characters of the early King of Fighters games, yet the first of those wouldn't come out until almost a year later. T. Hawk is another "big" relegated to the basement with Zangief, great for playing noobs who can't figure out how to get out of grab chains, but anyone who has any idea how to zone will murder him consistently. Dee Jay was the most fun of the new characters to play as, with his hard-to-counter combos and juggling ability, but alt-righties may be triggered by him.

Characters have very slightly tweaked move sets from their Turbo iteration, and a lot of the old moves have new frames of animations added to them. It also tracks combos and things like reversals and gives you bonus points for them (along with an on-screen announcement). Again, there's little to complain about here, as there's nothing really balance-ruining introduced.

The game seems to take place as a sort of retcon of the previous Street Fighter 2 iterations. The endings make clear it's the same tournament, since they're the same, just with some little enhancements to the art and a new static image tacked onto the end of each one. The four new characters just kinda get shoehorned into the existing story.

The main complaint is that the speed got ratcheted down, after people got hooked on the crack that was SF2 Turbo. I'm still not sure if it was intentional shadiness by Capcom as a master plan to get people to double-dip, or they just underestimated the popularity of the turbo speeds.

The audio also leaves you with a lot of room to complain, especially considering the CPS2 and its "Q Sound" were supposed to make it so much more awesome. Instead, the music sounds like more tinny and compressed versions of the original songs, and the new Anglo announcer and his penchant for mispronouncing names is pretty awful. The damage sounds also seemed deeper and more resonant in the older games.

Super was still a solid release, but a step back in some ways and not good enough to placate the mob. If you're interested in playing it, it's best to skip ahead to Super SF2 Turbo, which not only adds the speed but cleans up some of the sound issues.
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