If you hadn't heard, today is Street Fighter Day. As we fans have been waiting for SF4 on the home consoles, so we have been waiting for the Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix (likely a record for name length in videogames, the Xbox actually has to abbreviate the title to fit it onscreen).HD Remix is, naturally, a remake of fan favorite Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo. I've been more than doubtful about this game in the year or so since its announcement: ST is one of the last games out there that really needs a remake. It's not a perfectly balanced game-- and such an ideal is unreachable anyway-- but it is the refined essence of one of the most infuential videogames ever made. It's been refined and it's been played for 13 damn years without really needing much help: does one really mess with Super Turbo? Couple this with the new high-definition artwork by Udon Comics not quite fitting in with or living up to the original sprites, and I was a bit worried.
The artwork is a little better than it looked like it would be, but there's a clash between the game and the graphics that have been overlaid on it. None of the animation has actually been changed here, as animations are too important to a game like this to mess around with. Instead, every frame has simply been redrawn. For example, SF2 has always had really choppy backgrounds with simple two-frame animations. It looks really normal on a 1995 videogame, but now it sticks out like a sore thumb. Character animations also suffer to varying degrees, and the quality of the art varies from character to character: Chun Li, or all people, looks surprisingly bad.
This is why I actually bought the game. You can see that the game has been extensively worked over: the designer is a tourney SF player who's been an open book about his changes to the design, testing them extensively with the community and adjusting accordingly. Most of the characters have some fun new trick, like Guile's new long-range flash kick or Ryu's fake fireball. These aren't things that will really wow anybody who isn't sold on it, but if you're already interested in ST, these are really interesting tweaks that even the playing field by weakening the strong characters (but only a tiny bit) and making the weak characters strong. The result is almost a new game, but in practice it plays more like a very big and rather late patch for people who have already been at this for a while.
This isn't to say that there's nothing for the beginning Street Fighter dork: in addition to changing unnecessarily complex and often overlapping special move motions to more reasonable ones, ST's notoriously strict inputs have been made more lenient, so for example, you don't have to worry about jumping by accident while you attempt a spinning piledriver, or missing that game-winning dragon punch. If you are, by chance, just looking to get into fighting games, this is the best in imaginable: a really easy game to get into, but more importantly a deep, well-made game with loads of human competition available online. Well worth your $15.