The Street Fighter franchise has been around for 30 years, growing up in the 90’s meant a lot of Street Fighter. My friends and I played hours upon hours of Street Fight II, stuck between using Ken or Ryu, the simplicity of the gameplay is what left many of us pining for more. The satisfying feeling of finishing your opponent with a Hadoken, or Shoryuken, sometimes besting my friends with a sliver of health or the ever-rare double KO. It was some of the best times of my childhood, so it’s bittersweet that to get the chance to return to such an iconic title.
Years and years later, returning to basics feels lackluster – that shine has worn off, and playing isn’t as fun as it was. I’m also wondering why of all games, we’ve seen the resurgence of Street Fighter II, which has seen its fair share of ports, reworking, and upgrading. Given how important entry is to gaming and the Street Fighter series, I wish that they would have left the game where it belonged, in the past where it had a place to fit in.
Ultra-Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers feels like the original game, but with graphical and game balancing under the hood. The ability to choose between classic and overhauled graphics is neat, but, it’s not enough to keep me interested for more than a handful of matches before I need to take a break and switch to another game. The inclusion of two new characters don’t leave much of an impression, as Evil Ryu and Violent Ken have been included, which are palette swaps instead of proper characters with their own moves but this isn’t enough, I do appreciate the inclusion, even it doesn’t bring anything to the table.
I understand why we’re seeing a resurgence of Street Fighter II, it’s a favourite for many gamers who grew up playing it, and as much as I enjoyed seeing the pixelated version of this game, the updated graphics look good, but, the system cannot be swapped like you could in Wonder Boy, another title on Switch I’ve been playing through which at a touch of a button, allows you to swap between 8-bit and updated graphics. Instead, you need to jump back into the menus to swap back and forth, it’s a chore.
Playing with a Joy-Con each is serviceable, but I recommend having a proper controller each because using the segmented d-pad that comes on each Joy-Con quickly outlasts its welcome. I immediately swapped my Pro controller in, and haven’t looked back, there is no better way to play than with a proper controller. As it is, the Switch is not a system made for fighting games that require the precision inputs of a fighting game, look to using a controller.
The included arcade mode which includes a neat online challenge system called “coin-up,” which is reminiscent of the classic arcade days where a quarter brought on a new challenger.
Buddy Battle is an entirely new mode that allows you to team up with the additional person or AI, allowing for 2 on 1 scenarios, which has been featured before on previous Street Fighter titles, too. Unfortunately, I didn’t spend much time here, growing weary quickly of the new mode, because a lot of the time spent reviewing this game was alone. This is a good mode to introduce new gamers to the series, using teamwork to overcome enemies.
Way of the Hado which is comically bad. The mode utilizes the Joy-Cons, requiring you to play as Ryu, trying to create Hadokens and Shoryuken attacks. It’s bad and is unresponsive, often I felt drained because even throwing my arms around like a maniac couldn’t produce a proper attack, whether I was standing up or sitting on my couch. Way of the Hado ends with a fight against Bison which quickly ends with a whimper.
Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, is the same Street Fighter II you know from your childhood, with the addition of game balances, this is still a classic fighter that left its mark on the world some twenty years ago. The game is fun, but it’s a hard sell at its price point of $49.99 in Canada, granted the Nintendo Switch is currently in its infancy stage if you’re looking for something to play, consider checking out this piece of gaming history for yourself.