An introduction to the Street Fighter series is barely necessary. Street Fighter first hit arcades in 1987. Capcoms primitive first competitive fighter introduced the world to Ryu and Ken. It wasn’t very popular, but Capcom knew it had the potential to grow. Grow it did when Street Fighter II was released in 1991. This one game would become the defacto title the world imagines when they think of fighting games. Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, and M. Bison would become pillars of the video game industry. Street Fighter II proved so popular that it would get many updated releases to include new content and balance changes. While Capcom has promised that the Switch exclusive 2017 release, Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers, is the final variant of the game, fans who played Street Fighter IV might not take that claim to heart.
The basic gameplay of Street Fighter II is as simple and fun as it can get. You face one opponent in a best of three with only each other’s moves and the timer to keep track of. If a character is hit enough, they’ll become dizzy. While a character is dizzy, they cannot attack. You can mash buttons to get your bearings faster. Hits have weight and animations feel powerful. The true division of fighting game players are button inputs. The skill gap is decided by how well you’ve memorized your moveset and how quickly you can perform inputs. Before I lose the Smash Bros. players, you can pause and check your moveset at any time. The input graphics Capcom shows are incredibly confusing. If you can’t figure out what you’re supposed to do from the mountain of swooshes and crosses, just look up a guide. None of the moves are truly that complicated.
Ultra Street Fighter II adds Evil Ryu, from Street Fighter IV, to the World Warrior competition. While I think it was a lazy decision to make one of your final characters a clone, it’s nowhere near as bad as Violent Ken. Violent Ken is an original creation to this game, and frankly, he’s super boring to play with few changes from Ken. With the rest of the roster being so diverse, these two clones won’t break your experience.
While the original sprites are incredibly iconic, Street Fighter has come a long way since 1991. Ultra Street Fighter II features completely new sprites and remixed music. This could’ve easily created a huge divide, but Capcom handled the addition with grace. At any time, in the settings, you can choose between the original or remixed assets. You can mix and match new sprites with old music, like I do, or simply stick to the original vision.
Street Fighter has always had bland menus, but Ultra Street Fighter II’s are just repulsive. The solid greys, the basic font, and even duller music just felt boring to navigate. There are a few neat bonuses hidden in this mess. You can look at a gallery of beautiful artwork used in development and check out the skin customizer! The skin customizer works by separating the sprites into chunks. You can make one of the preset chunks any color you want, but it’s still rather limited. I’d love to see more fighting games adopt this system.
For the rather lonely quarantined soul, the online is pretty stellar. Hopping into a match was painless, even after three years, and there was not even the slightest hint of lag or input delay. Being such a beloved classic, most matches you’ll run into will be with people who play every day. You’ll be beaten into the ground a lot quicker than any CPU ever could dream.
The star attraction of Ultra Street Fighter II is the Way of the Hado mode. Way of the Hado is a bonus mode that attempts to take advantage of the Joy-Con. You can’t have a launch-window title on a Nintendo console without forced motion controls. Way of the Hado is a 3D “arena” where you attempt to use motion controls to take out enemies as Ryu. It’s an unresponsive mess that never should’ve been included.
Ultra Street Fighter II is a wonderful package for fighting game fans. I’m not sure I can recommend it to newcomers. The game has barely fallen in price since launch, but you can pick up versions of Street Fighter 2 for so much cheaper. Even on the Switch, the Street Fighter 30th collection offers so much more. Ultra Street Fighter II isn’t bad, but I’d only recommend grabbing it on the super cheap.
Masahiro Sakurai, director of the Super Smash Bros. series, has always taken pride at how close Smash can get to emulating a fighter’s origin title. Unless your name rhymes with Tonic Hotdog, Smash has always bent over backward to make your moveset as accurate as possible. This shines the brightest in Ryu and Ken. Ryu made his debut in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS as the first DLC newcomer. Ken joined the cast in Ultimate as the last echo fighter revealed. Being a duo as iconic as Mario and Luigi, it’s no surprise that Ryu and Ken are finally both on the roster.
Super Smash Bros. was created to be simplistic, but fighting games are inherently complex. It comes off as an incredible shock that Sakurai managed to mix oil and water perfectly. Ryu is based on his appearance in Street Fighter II, but he also has his focus attack from Street Fighter IV. Ryu keeps the spirit of Street Fighter alive in many ways. To emulate the six-button controls, he has light, medium, and heavy versions of every attack. While Ryu can use his specials like every other fighter, if you perform the input commands from Street Fighter, Ryu can use an even more powerful version of those attacks. The Shakunetsu Hadoken attack is even exclusive to inputs! Personally, Ryu is my favorite of the duo. You can check all of his inputs on SSB Wiki at this link.
Ken has always been extremely close to Ryu, but over the years his moveset has changed quite drastically. While Ryu lifts from Street Fighter II itself, Ken is more closely based on the Marvel vs. Capcom franchise. As a Street Fighter character and Ryu’s echo, Ken shares what sets Ryu apart in Smash. You can still perform light, medium, and heavy attacks or special inputs, but Ken focuses a lot more on kicks and throws than Ryu’s basic punches. Ken has two input-exclusive special moves. the attacks Oosoto Mawashi Geri and Nata Otoshi Ger both originate from Super Street Fighter II Turbo. You can check all of his inputs on SSB Wiki at this link.