Skip to main content

Street Fighter II Turbo: 30th anniversary

Street Fighter II Turbo was like an early version of DLC, except you had to buy the game all over again! We were happy to do it, because that's how much better the new version of Street Fighter II was. This was a souped-up, deluxe version of the game that made the PVP fighting genre.

The hype for Street Fighter II Turbo was real. I got so excited when I saw it at my local Fred Meyer (a Pacific Northwest superstore) that I bought it instead of Final Fantasy II, which I'd been saving for. I quickly regretted this hasty decision and sold it to my friend, with whom I then played it more than I ever would have at home! Honestly, who ever plays Street Fighter II single-player!?

When the original Street Fighter II hit the SNES, the game had been in arcades for almost a year and a half, where it was an unrivalled powerhouse until Mortal Kombat arrived in late 1992. The Champion Edition (released in early 1992) added the four bosses as playable characters. This feature was absent from the SNES release, which was ported from the original. You can read my review of that version here, so I won't discuss the basic gameplay again. With Turbo, the third version of the game, Capcom had the chance to let players fight as Vega, Balrog, M. Bison, and Sagat in the comfort of their homes.

The main new feature is the titular Turbo speed. You can select the game speed on a scale of zero to three stars, with zero being the speed from the old version. Any higher speed makes the game more exciting. Playing on zero after getting used to a higher speed makes the game seem absurdly slow. For me, three stars is probably too fast, but you can go even higher: entering a code on the title screen with the second-player controller (↓, R, ↑, L, Y, B) lets you crank it all the way up to seven stars! At that level, the game moves hilariously fast and is barely playable. The ability to select the speed you want is an improvement over the arcade version, which plays at about two stars.

The main reason people were willing to shell out $80 (equivalent to around $170 today) for a game they already owned was so they could play as the powerful bosses. That wasn't the only reason: to keep the original characters competitive, each received a new special move (except Guile, who was already very good). Blanka and E. Honda gain a vertical charge attack to complement their horizontal one. Chun-Li is greatly improved because she gets a blue fireball (Kikoken). Dhalsim gains the ability to teleport (though it's difficult to perform). Ken and Ryu can now perform their spinning kick attack (Tatsumaki Senpuukyaku) while in the air. Finally, Zangief gets two new grapples, a suplex, and a professional wrestling throw called a Thunder Fire Powerbomb!

And that's pretty much it. There may be minor improvements, such as balance changes or improved sprites, but if they exist, they aren't noticeable to the average player. This is the same Street Fighter II we knew and loved, but at last we could play as the four bosses. And the characters had new moves! And we could crank the speed to whatever we wanted! In 2023 it would be outrageous to release a new version of a game at full price, but it was a different world in the early 90's. And, frankly, Street Fighter II was so good and so popular Capcom could get away with it. Once you play Turbo, it's unthinkable to go back. The original was completely obsoleted and worthless.

I still like Street Fighter II, but it's not something I play because it's not very fun as a single-player game. It's a PVP game, period. The story mode is all right and does have eight difficulty levels, which is good since the arcade version is quite hard. But this is a game for beating up on (or getting beat up by!) your friend. Nowadays you can play random opponents on the internet through the 30th Anniversary Collection.

Grade: A+

Linked Reviews
"The original game was refined and improved; you could finally play as the four boss fighters and the additional speed injection made things much faster and enjoyable."
— Damien McFerran, Nintendo Life, 8/10

"Street Fighter was truly the beginning of a huge boom for the fighting game genre, and a trailblazer for dozens of other franchises."
IGN, #6 of Top 100

"Street Fighter II: Turbo is the definitive 16-bit console version for the original, non-Super version of the game."
— Pat Contri, Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library, 5/5


Popular posts from this blog

SimCity: The OG city simulator still rocks

When I ordered an Analogue Super Nt to begin collecting and playing SNES games, I knew which game I wanted to play first: SimCity. This game hasn't been rereleased since the Wii Virtual Console in 2006! Analogue Super NT SimCity was created by Will Wright as a PC game, published in 1989. Nintendo worked with Maxis to have it ported to the Super Nintendo for their new console's launch. The SNES version is a huge improvement over the original, with improved graphics, pop-up advice screens from Dr. Wright, and, most importantly, gifts. But let's start at the beginning. SimCity was the first ever city-simulation video game. Your goal is to build up a city as successfully as you can. You can play however you like, as it is not possible to "beat" the game, but the main achievement is reaching a population of 500,000, at which point your city becomes a "megalopolis." The maps are fairly small (and some have a lot of water), so the only way to achieve this is to

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: 20th anniversary

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is special to me because it was one of the first games I played on the Wii U. I hadn't owned a video-game console since the Super Nintendo until my wife bought me a Wii U for my 30th birthday. Since I missed the Game Cube and Wii eras, playing The Wind Waker was a revelation to me. It was as good as I remembered A Link to the Past being. I've read that, when it debuted, some people hated the cel-shaded art style of The Wind Waker. In retrospect that's hard to fathom, because the game is such a visual delight. The cartoony style and feel of the game is probably its strongest feature, at least for me. Sailing the seas and exploring the game's many islands is a joyous process of discovery. There are all sorts of quirky citizens to meet and interact with, including an auction house, bird people (the Rito), pirates, a traveling merchant (Beedle), temples, and the long-lost, sunken kingdom of Hyrule. The mid-game twist delighted me: Link l

Final Fantasy: Square's sword-and-sorcery series starter still slaps

Garland will knock you all down! Final Fantasy is the genre-defining classic of 8-bit Japanese RPGs. It also happens to be a personal favorite of mine. My nostalgia for it is strong enough to compensate for its outdated elements. The monsters and gameplay of Final Fantasy are taken straight from Dungeons & Dragons. You control a party of four characters, to whom you assign names and classes. The classes are Warrior [Fighter], Monk [Black Belt], Thief, Red Mage, White Mage, and Black Mage. The Red Mage is a jack of all trades and master of none: he can cast white and black magic spells, but not the most powerful ones. Unlike other mages, he can also equip swords, armor, and shields. This makes him versatile. The Monk doesn't wear armor, which makes him vulnerable to physical attacks, but he can dish out huge damage with his bare hands. The Thief can't steal anything, because there are no class-specific commands in this game besides magic. Instead, he is a weaker fighter who