If you're over the age of 20, then there's a huge chance that you've played at least one iteration of Street Fighter II as a kid. I, personally, played them all. Street Fighter II Turbo was one of the very first Super Nintendo games I owned, and easily one of the most replayed. Frustrations came about frequently during matches against friends, family, and hell, even the CPU. Super Street Fighter II would later grace the SNES, and then a definitive Super-Turbo version would follow for arcades, Saturn, PlayStation, Dreamcast, Panasonic 3DO, GameBoy Advance, and even the PC. Well this Fall, you can add the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 to that list, as well.
I've been looking forward to the release of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (longest.game.title.ever) ever since I first heard about it at the beginning of 2007. The folks at Backbone and Udon have been collectively working on the game for close to two years now, which is rather incredible for a remake. Don't let the word "remake" fool you, though, as the core of Super-Turbo HD will be the original Super-Turbo game, layered with all new HD visuals.
If you're wondering why take such a route developing a remake, the answer is rather simple: to preserve The balance of the original game. Balancing a fighting game is one of the most tasking issues, which is why often times you'll see numerous versions of a Tekken game or Virtua Fighter game re-released. Even Street Fighter games have gone through a plethora of balance updates. So why not update the balance of Super-Turbo for HD? It is purposely being untouched, as many purists would call its balance perfect.
But, for those who'd still like to see a new balance, there will be a Rebalanced Mode which radically changes the balance of every character in the game. This mode was created specifically with the direct help of top-ranked professional Street Fighter players who have created and tested these rebalanced characters for Capcom. In addition to this rebalanced mode will also be a simplified mode for beginners, where executing special moves is done easier and differently. Of course, all of that stuff is optional, and only added as bonuses to the actual thing.
The visual touches don't just end with hi-def fighters, either. As you can see from the screenshots, every visual detail has been updated to meet the standards of the current-generation, making Super-Turbo HD by far the best looking 2D fighter to be available. The backgrounds have been enhanced, as have the fireballs, flames, and all other effects from the game's special moves. So just how HD is the Super-Turbo remake going to be? How does true 1080p sound to you? A 1920×1080, 16:9 Street Fighter game? It sounds almost too good to be true, but we've seen the game, and believe us…it's just as beautiful in motion as it is in pictures. Capcom says that a 4:3 ratio will also be selectable, too.
Of course you can expect to play as all 17 characters from the original Super-Turbo game, and that is including Akuma. You'll be able to take the fighters across a variety of modes, and yes, head-to-head online multiplayer is confirmed. So if you don't have someone to play with right next to you, go online and find an opponent from anywhere in the world – just like a true "World Warrior" would (sorry, couldn't resist the pun). Capcom promises a network code that will deliver the best possible online fighting experience, specifically minimizing lag issues for a smooth session each and every time. If you're not cutting it online, take it to the game's Training Mode and work on your skills.
Online features will include: In-game voice chatting between players, Matchmaking flexibility through multiple options, Personal and friends statistics tracking, Comprehensive worldwide rankings and leader boards by character – tracks overall wins and losses, number of throws, perfects, highest combos and more. A Quarter Match Mode is one other online feature; it's a spectator system that attempts to simulate the atmosphere of an arcade. Six people can gather in this mode, two people fight, and the other four spectate. To get "next" you will use a "virtual quarter" to call yourself next in line. Juts like the good ol' days.
Lastly, more good news for purists. You will be given the ability to completely relive the original in its truest form, by playing with the classic 1994 Super-Turbo sprites, with the original Super-Turbo music. The tunes in Super-Turbo HD will be remixed, and you'll have the option of hearing the classics with the HD visuals, too.
Super-Turbo HD was supposed to have been released last month, but is now pegged for a Summer 2008 launch. Let's hope that Backbone and Udon have everything under control, because this HD Remix is one of my most anticipated games of 2008.