Sonic Boom – Capcom 2008
Last year, Capcom started an initiative to begin re-releasing and creating new versions of their old classics, which is something that fans of the company have been waiting for ages. New versions of Bionic Commando, Puzzle Fighter, Street Fighter, etc. It all sounded too good to be true. Perhaps it still is. Specifically in the fighting genre, 2008 looked like it was a big year for Capcom. Though some solid titles did eventually come out, such as Commando 3 and 1942: Joint Strike, as well as the recently released Bionic Commando: Rearmed, there’s still no Street Fighter.
It seems like ages ago when Capcom announced Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, a new “re-balanced” version of the CPS2 classic that would make it not only more accessible to newcomers, but to also fix a lot of the problems that plagued the final official iteration of the Street Fighter II series (barring Hyper SFII, of course). However, Capcom didn’t stop there, and new music, sound, and netcode were going to bring the series back to the masses. So I have to ask: what the hell did Capcom do to sabotage this project so bad?
Now I know a lot of people are still excited for the final version of HD Remix, but if the beta is any indication, it still needs A LOT of work before it can truly be considered a finished product. From the very moment I booted up the game, I was unimpressed by the presentation of the menus and background music. The lack of original sprites in the beta is also disheartening, as I personally despise most of Udon’s attempt to revamp all of the art assets. These designs look like an 11 year-old who watches too much Dragon Ball Z drew them in their trapper-keeper during their 7th grade biology class… Not only do they look terrible, but the animations are disjointed and unflowing. With all the time and money spent on HD Remix, you’d think there’d be some semblance of pride or creativity.
There are some good points to the whole ordeal, such as the new online options. Returning from the previous XBLA port of Hyper Fighting, SSFIIT HD Remix includes Quarter Match mode, which lets you and a few friends (or strangers) play in a similar setup to the arcade, where two players fight as the others wait their turn to challenge the winner. New to this release is a fully fleshed out Tournament mode, which is something fans have been clamoring for since day one. You also have the choice between playing the original Super Turbo or Remixed, and thankfully the former also includes both the old and new versions of characters, something I was worried about not making it. The downside to all this is the netcode doesn’t really feel that much improved over Hyper Fighting, which is a shame because the folks at GGPO actually offered to let Capcom use their own; Capcom declined. I realize this is still a beta, and the whole point is to test the netcode, but it’s still something that should be a lot smoother if one of the main selling points is a supposedly smoother form over the last iteration.
Speaking of the beta and its own purpose, why is it that Ken was incredibly broken in the original 1.0 release of the beta when the whole thing was supposed to be already balanced in the first place? The aim was to stress the online and make sure it worked out, but you have players breaking Ken in the first day. It would have been smarter to release all available characters (because you know they damn well haven’t finished the rest of the roster despite working on this title for so long) and let the players help in the balancing process too. We still have until next month for the final release (supposedly), but is that really enough time to tighten it all up?
Now, there’s that OTHER Street Fighter game that just hit the arcades. You know, the one that Capcom didn’t even develop. Now that Street Fighter IV has hit the arcades, I have to wonder why there wasn’t a bigger push for a console release this year. It certainly would have made a killing in the holiday season, and having newly licensed pads and sticks would have brought big sales, too. Consumers are peripheral-crazy at the moment, with Wii Fit and the music game sales doing incredibly well. Not only does it feel like Capcom is missing the boat, but there will also be quite a few big name fighting game releases by then, including the recently released Soul Calibur 4, and upcoming games like Tekken 6 and Virtua Fighter 5: R. Not to mention HD Remix, if it ever comes out. Had the latter come out on time, or even a little bit later and made it for the beginning of Summer, an SFIV release in the Fall would have been epic for marketing and sales.
2008 also has the release of a few Japanese-only Capcom fighters like Sengoku Basara X and the forthcoming Tatsunoko vs Capcom. Why aren’t these localized, or even announced for the US? The latter may have some legal issues to tie up, but that didn’t stop the Versus series of fighters released in the mid-to-late ‘90s. TVC still doesn’t seem to have a solid console release date, but it seems to be announced for the Wii in addition to the arcade, which is strange idea that might just be one of the smartest decisions for a Japanese console fighter release in recent years.
While Capcom might have done a bang-up job with their releases for other genres this year, there is a lack of fighters in the Western world. While loyal fans continue to wait, I’ll be enjoying GGPO in the meantime. Be sure to check back when (or if) Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix finally comes out for a review.