Super NES Classic Reviews Game by Game #9: Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting

Join us as we review every Super NES Classic game. Next up: The best 16-bit Street Fighter game of all time. Unless you prefer Super Street Fighter II.

Review by Nadia Oxford, .

Join us as we review all the games on the SNES Classic Mini Edition in chronological order!

One of my privileges in life was getting to watch Capcom's Street Fighter II change the gaming landscape like a well-placed Hurricane Kick. Not that I appreciated my position at first. I initially wondered why the hell the boys in my grade six class couldn't stop screaming about spending $20 worth of quarters on this "Street Fighter" thing every weekend.

I only understood what the fuss was about when I visited a friend, and watched her brother play Street Fighter II on the Super Nintendo. I was blown away by the visuals alone. "My God," I said, "I can see that karate guy's toes!"

Street Fighter II shaped the games industry by immeasurable degrees, especially its competitive side. Even though I'm a bit of a fighting game scrub, the series remains close to my heart; I have a cat named after Street Fighter's own Cammy White, and the two are equally matched for attitude.

My Cammy has more tortitude, though.

When it became apparent Street Fighter II wasn't a passing fancy with the public, Capcom quickly started re-tooling and re-releasing the 2D fighter. These spit-and-polish jobs were less obvious in the arcade (where you just fed quarters to whatever machine was available in the laundromat, regardless of tweaks, alterations, or coffee stains), but they garnered a lot of conversation when they came to the SNES.

There was considerable scorn, too. Games writers put aside the "Why's it called Final Fantasy?" joke long enough to admonish Capcom for stalling on Street Fighter III. Fans were in on the ribbing, too. I remember seeing a piece of envelope art in GamePro Magazine wherein Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street are trying to teach a Capcom representative how to count. The representative is unable to move past the number two, leading a despondent Ernie to press a gun to his own temple.

If you see this man at the airport and he wants to tell you the "Good word about Sheng Long," run away.

Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting was no joke when it came to the SNES in 1993, though, and its inclusion on the SNES Classic Edition is no joke, either. Though the initial 1992 release of Street Fighter II was a literal game-changer, Street Fighter II Turbo makes a list of improvements to the revolutionary title. Mirror matches were implemented (and, by extension, players could change the color of their fighters' clothes), the fighters' portraits were redrawn, some backgrounds were likewise gussied up, and the boss characters you face off against in the original Street Fighter II – Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M Bison – are all playable. You can also select your match speed in Street Fighter II Turbo, allowing for blazing-fast matches that are difficult to keep up with unless you know what the heck you're doing.

Street Fighter II Turbo shares a lot in common with another popular game included on the SNES Classic: Super Mario Kart. Both are revolutionary titles that helped birth new genres, and while both seem simple when held up against newer entries in their series, there's still a great deal of fun packed in those candy-colored pixels. And even though Street Fighter II Turbo doesn't have the universal appeal of Mario Kart, its fanbase is still huge, varied, and will have a good time going back to Street Fighter II Turbo for an afternoon or two. Casuals like myself can still have a riot punching each other in the face, while more hardcore players can test themselves on the very basics. Playing a 16-bit Street Fighter game today is like sitting under a pounding waterfall. Easy to do, but a very good way to build up endurance.

(Do not sit under waterfalls to build endurance or better yourself at Street Fighter without the supervision of a senpai or sensei.)

Sagat sometimes overdoes his part-time job as a pedicurist.

Now, pardon me while I bear my shoulders for a flogging: Though I'm a Street Fighter fan, I'm not a disciple of the series, so I'm a bit fuzzy on why Super Street Fighter II Turbo is included on the SNES Classic in lieu of the newer, slicker Super Street Fighter II. It's easy to understand why Turbo was chosen over vanilla Street Fighter II, but speaking for myself, I'd rather have Super Street Fighter II's new characters, new stages, improved sound (forget Guile's theme, Cammy's theme goes with everything, and Fei Long's stage music is one of Street Fighter's most under-appreciated pieces), and sharper graphics.

I guess it's a little like choosing between food, water, and oxygen. As much as you need all three, you're going to check out quickly if you don't have air. All the SNES iterations of Street Fighter II are superb, but a quick glance around the series' communities reveals Turbo is the preferred entry.

I suppose it also has the most nostalgia attached to it since its release year (1993) was a real sweet spot for the SNES. It was starting to gain ground over the Sega Genesis, its library shone, and the 32-bit generation was little more than a fairy tale. With no new consoles to save up for, people felt free to splurge on an upgrade to Street Fighter II. Super Street Fighter II, however, had to compete with Mortal Kombat and hype for the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and Nintendo 64.

One thing's for sure: Mechanically, Street Fighter II Turbo is a big jump over the original Street Fighter II. It's the furthest thing from a poor choice for the SNES Classic Edition. I look forward to marvelling at Ryu's toes again.

By some fans' measurement, Street Fighter II Turbo is the quintessential retro Street Fighter experience. I'd prefer Super Street Fighter II on the SNES Classic, but I guess it's ultimately like being forced to choose between petting a kitten or a puppy. Either way, I win.

5 /5

Super NES Classic Reviews Game by Game #9: Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting Nadia Oxford Join us as we review every Super NES Classic game. Next up: The best 16-bit Street Fighter game of all time. Unless you prefer Super Street Fighter II. 2017-08-04T20:45:00-04:00 5 5

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Comments 18

  • Avatar for Monkey-Tamer #1 Monkey-Tamer 6 months ago
    From back in the day when you knew how to play each character on the roster at least somewhat effectively.
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  • Avatar for Vonlenska #2 Vonlenska 6 months ago
    I have never played any iteration of Street Fighter II. I know, I know. I will now accept my tarring, feathering and community banishment with humility, grace and quiet dignity.

    ...but you know in your hearts that Street Fighter Alpha was the better seri--eee! Pitchforks!
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #3 VotesForCows 6 months ago
    I preferred Mortal Kombat at the time. I was a foolish child.
    Funny though, I've been playing Street Fighter for near 25 years and I'm still crap at it.
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  • Avatar for yuberus #4 yuberus 6 months ago
    If memory serves Super was less popular on home console than Turbo, which probably had something to do with it. But from a competitive standpoint, Super was a much slower game with crummier balancing. From talking to old school arcade rats they largely ignored it and went back to Turbo until Super Turbo came out.
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #5 nadiaoxford 6 months ago
    @yuberus Thank you! I knew Super wasn't well received in the arcade and Super Turbo was a clean-up job, but I was unclear about how that affected the 16-bit versions of SSF II.
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  • Avatar for chaoticBeat #6 chaoticBeat 6 months ago
    Deleted August 2017 by chaoticBeat
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  • Avatar for JohnnyBananas #7 JohnnyBananas 6 months ago
    *Me furiously googling 'tortitude' attempting to figure out if I've somehow stumbled through 31 years of life without knowing such a fun word existed, only to find it's a portmanteau created to describe a character trait of a type of cat.*

    Is the any other writer on the internet that would insert cat-owner lexicon into a street fighter review? Keep being the best Nadia.
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #8 riderkicker 6 months ago
    I have never played SFT as the only Street Fighter Game on the SNES I own is Street Fighter II. When I got into emulation, SSF2 was the game to play as my sibling would play Cammy as she was more effective than Chun Li, and I would pick Fei Long as I got into Bruce Lee movies. Even though we have played Street Fighter II for two decades, we are barely better than we were when we were kids. I have only beaten SF2 on the SNES once, and I do not believe I will be able to do that much less see an ending.

    SF2 is also an interesting memory for me during the N64 era, as the lack of games on Nintendo's then-current flagship system caused my friend to borrow the SNES quite often.

    But the definitive versions of Street Fighter 2, SSF2 or HSF2 may be lost to time, as nobody really owns a PS2 anymore.

    I have never played a Mortal Kombat game, as my group were Nintendo nerds, plus Marvel Super Heroes captured our imaginations.Edited August 2017 by riderkicker
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  • Avatar for BulkSlash #9 BulkSlash 6 months ago
    @VotesForCows Don't worry, you're not alone in being terrible at Street Fighter II. I've been playing since I imported the Japanese release of World Warriors on the Super Famicom and I still can't consistently do Ryu's Shoryuken. I can't even beat it on the easiest setting without needing to use some continues.

    Yet oddly I'm pretty decent at Soul Calibur, Tekken and Virtua Fighter!
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  • Avatar for guillermojiménez88 #10 guillermojiménez88 6 months ago
    @Vonlenska You could have saved yourself from the banishment if you'd only had said IV instead of Alpha. And you'd still have gotten tarred and feathered.
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  • Avatar for TheWildCard #11 TheWildCard 6 months ago
    Augh, I always forget which order they appeared in. Turbo was before Super so no Cammy huh? I've only played a bit of Super on virtual console. Despite loving the original Mortal Kombat trilogy in it's day I never played SF II or any SF in the 90s. I had a sheltered childhood apparently lol.
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  • Avatar for SatelliteOfLove #12 SatelliteOfLove 6 months ago
    1. the new voices SUUUUUUUCKED. Especially the announcer and Guile.

    2. Watch them health bars melt!


    Some people are Yung Guns who weren't there.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #13 Roto13 6 months ago
    @VotesForCows Nobody is actually good at six button fighting games.
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  • Avatar for WiIIyTheAntelope #14 WiIIyTheAntelope 6 months ago
    @TheWildCard SF2>SF2 Champion Edition>SF2: Turbo>Super SF2>Super SF2 Turbo

    Main features for the upgrades:

    CE: Play as the boss characters and mirror matches
    Turbo: Speed boost, some new moves, updated backgrounds of some stages
    Super: Cammy, Fei Long, Dee Jay, T. Hawk introduced, more updated visuals, new stages. Speed boost gone
    Super Turbo: Speed boost restored, mostly balance updates

    ...if only I would have applied myself to something besides useless video game trivia
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #15 VotesForCows 6 months ago
    @BulkSlash Well I can manage a shoryuken... but I'm sitting comfortably in the second of eleven player ranking levels for online play. So just above people who've just started the game, and below everyone else! Still fun though.

    @Roto13 They may not be good - but they're better than me!
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  • Avatar for Nuclear-Vomit #16 Nuclear-Vomit 6 months ago
    I prefer the Super Chuck Norris in Oblivion 3 : UBER TURBO CHAMPION HYPER ULTRA SPICY CHICKEN EDITION.

    Sagat is Replaced by Bob Saget. Have a look:

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  • Avatar for yuberus #17 yuberus 6 months ago
    @riderkicker The best versions of the first three games ( World Warrior, Champion Edition and Turbo) is weirdly the PS1's Street Fighter Collection 2 (I think they ended up using those for the PS2's capcom classics collection versions). Hyper seems to be stuck on PS2 (and arcades). You're basically out of luck for Super - I don't think there's any particularly good ports of it out there(Capcom Classics Collection 2 might be the best of that lot). Super Turbo diehards will tell you there's no good home port of that, though the Dreamcast and "classic" mode on HD Remix are about as close as you can get.

    HD Remix and now Ultra both seem pretty accessible nowadays, at least.
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  • Avatar for Number1Laing #18 Number1Laing 6 months ago
    From what I understand this game, to date, is still Capcom's best selling title. I do remember the excitement for this port being very real, and I'm not surprised they put it into the SNES Classic over SSF2. It's a pretty iconic game for the system.
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  • Avatar for KabanoseqRivals #19 KabanoseqRivals 6 months ago
    It's the best game I've ever play :D
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