Street Fighter Alpha 2. Capcom (1996) Super Nintendo

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THEY’RE REVIEWING A STREET FIGHTER GAME! IT’S HAPPENING! LIGHT THE BEACONS, SOUND THE HORNS, GENTLY HELP YOUR GRANDMA DOWN THE STAIRS!

I had a bit of a moment there. So Street Fighter is slightly divisive for us here at Games Revisited. I (Craig, the one with the beard) absolutely adore beat-em-ups, and, in truth ,the very first game that ever made me go ‘holy shit, I’mma play these things forever’ was the original Street Fighter 2 on my old Amiga 500. And I mean O.G. Street Fighter 2 – you couldn’t even play as Balrog, and nobody likes Balrog. Jamie (the one with the worse beard) doesn’t really see their appeal and tires of them very quickly. And he kills puppies with hammers.

In a nutshell, I’m right and Jamie is a puppy smacking scumlord. But I’ve shied away from reviewing SF2 because there’s so many different versions, and I honestly couldn’t decide which one I considered truly definitive. So instead I’ll be looking at Street Fighter Alpha 2, which, in the interest of objective journalism, was at one time my absolute favourite game in the whole world.

Presentation

So to be fair, this is the SNES version of SFA2, whereas I owned my copy back in the day on the PS One. SNES to PS One is unequivocally a bit of a jump, and as such, the downgraded SNES version is a bit…fuck ugly. It’s not an inherently bad looking game, but when you see the smooth cartoony models and animations in the higher-res version, the pixel-y muffled-sounding SNES version is just a shade underwhelming. But that’s just this version, if you google screencaps of the PS1 or arcade versions and you’ll see that this game looks bloody lovely when the system allows for it.

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Mmm. Smudgy. I had to double check this cap to see if it was from a GBA port. It’s not.

Story

The Alpha games act as prequels to Street Fighter 2, which explains why Ken refused to get a bloody haircut for this game. Whippersnapper. It’s actually proving pretty difficult to find the actual plot for SFA2, so I’ll paraphrase and assume I’m correct like most of the internet.

Punch Akuma. The End.

Gameplay

Oh dang. So whilst I know in my heart of hearts that SFA2 is a fantastic game, the SNES port is just a bit rubbish really. Whilst the bare bones are clearly Street Fighter down to the marrow, the comparative limitations of the SNES really hamper your ability to enjoy the game.

New features in the SFA series include super combos (now a vital mainstay of the Street Fighter series) and alpha counters, which allow you to spend a little of your super combo meter to dish out a swift little dig to the plums after successfully blocking an attack. Both of these are inspired additions to the series, as evidenced by them being omnipresent ever since. SFA2 in particular gains custom combos, wherein you can activate a timer gauge and dish out any attacks you choose before the timer runs out to create a custom combo. Personally I found these naff back in the day and still do now. It’s just…not really anything, is it?

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One of my favourite Street Fighter rosters. Rolento is the business. And Dan. Always Dan.

Even with these improvements however, SFA2 on the SNES is plagued by choppiness and slowdown, in particular when you unleash a super combo or do anything that requires the game to perform above the status quo. Considering these are the unique selling point of the game, it’s less than ideal.

There’s still fun to be had here, particularly in multiplayer, but you can’t shake the ever present feeling that you’re playing the beta test for an unfinished game. *insert joke about Street Fighter Beta because I’m so, so clever*.

Overall

Such a shame. I loved SFA2 back in 96, and I’m still fairly convinced that I do now – and I was SO looking forward to sinking my teeth back into it’s steroid-y flesh. It introduced several key components to the long running series, features a diverse and interesting roster, and possesses a unique cartoon style from it’s sister series. Unfortunately, the SNES version is something of an unloved stepchild, featuring graphical limitations and unforgivable slowdown. A great game suffering from a bad port, and the coffee revels of the Street Fighter franchise.

52%

Pros : It’s just a little choppy, it’s still good, it’s still good. Great diverse roster, should look amazing.

Cons : Knowing that there are different, better versions of this game out there but I spent an entire day playing this one. The fact that I suffer from slowdown myself now.

Back In The Day

Pretty succinctly put up there, but SFA2 was released to critical acclaim in the arcades, as well as on PS One and the Saturn. The SNES version was considered slow and clunky 21 years ago, so in retrospect, I should’ve read this information first.

 

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