Shoryuken. Tatsumaki Senpukyaku. Satsui No Hadou. Sounds like a sushi menu, right?
Not to fighting game fans. To us, they're the unmistakable sounds of Street Fighter. You couldn't step foot in an arcade back in the nineties without spotting one of Capcom's cabinets - usually with a line of players waiting for their turn at the joystick.
The series has morphed and evolved over the years with countless updates, spin-offs and sequels, but it was Street Fighter II that first sent it stratospheric - and now it's back.
Thank god the Nintendo Switch doesn't have a coin slot. I'd be penniless.
The Final Challengers is more than a mere HD overhaul; it takes everything that was great about the original, adds online multiplayer, and adds two new characters to keep you on your toes. Oh, and a bonkers first-person mode for when you've had enough of two dimensions.
Are you ready for all that? OK, round one. FIGHT.
KEEP IT SIMPLE, SCRUB
Modern Street Fighter games have so many mechanics and moves to learn that The Final Challengers feels like a breath of fresh air. You'll be landing two-hit combos, not 20 hits, and you've only got one Super meter to keep an eye on.
It’s based on Super Street Fighter II Turbo, arguably the best iteration of the game’s many, many updates, and the one favoured by most of fighting game pros. A few tweaks have been added, like being able to escape from healthbar-sapping grapples by waggling the direction buttons, and two new characters join the original roster of 16. Evil Ryu has been playable in other Street Fighter games before, but never as part of the Street Fighter II series, and Violent Ken is a brand new addition (only having previously appeared in crossover game SNK vs Capcom Chaos).
These twisted versions of series stalwarts Ryu and Ken move faster, hit harder, have attack-dodging teleports and can land devastating supermoves, but have much less health than the rest of the cast. Sure, they’re a little unbalanced, but then Street Fighter is no stranger to cheap characters. If you’ve ever played as Old Sagat, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
More importantly, they’re both fun to play, whether you’re a series veteran or have only just thrown your first hadouken. Fans will lap it up, and newbies will love their faster pace - a real contrast to some of the slower, more methodical cast members.
BRING ON THE WORLD
Arcade mode is basically unchanged from, well, from the arcades. You fight your way across the world, taking on the main roster before a final showdown with M. Bison. You rack up points with each win, perfect and super move victory, and the final score goes on a leaderboard. It’s properly old school.
If you want some practice, the training mode is useful for practicing combos, but with no trials or tutorials to explain how to link it all together, you're left to figure things out on your own. There's also an art gallery hidden in the main menu, filled with original and new designs, but that's about it.
The major new addition is online multiplayer, which should keep Street Fighter super fans coming back for more. The servers weren’t online in time for this review, so we’ll be coming back after launch with an update on how well connections hold up. Capcom doesn’t have the best track record with net code, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that the Final Challengers doesn’t turn into a lag-fest.
TAKE A LOOK AT ME NOW
Capcom has really gone all-out for The Final Challengers, giving every aspect of Street Fighter II a visual upgrade while staying faithful to the original game. Or rather, it went all out when it made Street Fighter II HD Remix for the PS3 and Xbox 360, and has simply ported everything over to the Switch.
Every fighter, every stage, and even the onscreen elements have been remastered from the SNES originals. It all looks glorious in motion, but there's an odd mix of art styles.
The stage backgrounds look nothing like the fighters duelling in front of them, and the character portraits look different too. Finish the arcade mode and the ending cinematic look different again. This stays true to the original game, sure, but it's still jarring.
Fighters look overly sharp in places, and there's no option to smooth things out either. Look closely and there are even a few errant pixels, too: Ryu's hair looks like it was cut-out in Photoshop. Badly.
You can swap back to original 16-bit, pixelated art style if you want to fuel your nostalgia even more, but only in the main menu. You can't switch mid-game.