(Wii Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

Street Fighter Alpha 2 (Wii Virtual Console / Super Nintendo)

Game Review

Street Fighter Alpha 2 Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Stunning achievement or a conversion too far?

No company in the storied history of video gaming has tried harder to not create a true sequel to one of their hit games quite like Capcom did with the myriad releases that followed their hit fighting game Street Fighter 2. Not only did they create a number of tweaked releases of game itself, but they also managed to find time to create a spin-off series of prequels called Street Fighter Alpha.

Street Fighter Alpha took characters from Street Fighter, Street Fighter 2, and even Capcom's beat 'em up series Final Fight and placed them in a one-on-one fighting game complete with a rather unique and fairly intricate fighting engine. While the original Street Fighter Alpha wasn't released on the Super Nintendo console, Capcom decided to bring the sequel back to the machine that played host to the domestic debut of Street Fighter 2. So how exactly does this rather ambitious arcade fighter hold up on the old 16-bit workhorse all these years later?

The fighting engine of Street Fighter Alpha 2 is fairly similar in design to that of the original release although there are minor tweaks here and there that end up balancing out the many fighters a bit better this time around. You can choose to play the game as a solo experience, selecting your fighter and taking on a host of eight combatants that are randomly chosen for you - at least until you reach the final fighter. Of course if you want to get the most out of the game, you can choose the two-player mode where you and another opponent can each pick a fighter of your own and duke it out using various sets of rules and time limits.

Each of the game's 18 playable characters feature their own set of weak, medium, and strong punches and kicks. They also have a set of special attacks that can be pulled off in typical Street Fighter 2 fashion by performing specific movements on the controller's D-pad in conjunction with various punch/kick combinations.

Of course since this is an Alpha release, you also have the game's Super Combo system at your disposal as well. As you land attacks on your opponent, your Super Combo gauge at the bottom of the screen will begin to fill up. Once you get the gauge above a certain level, you can then unleash one of your character's Super Combo attacks. These are ready-made combinations that can be particularly devastating to your opponent when executed at the proper time. You can also perform your own Custom Combos if you'd rather put together your own attack routines within a specified time limit, which will appear above your Super Combo gauge when the Custom Combo attack is performed. It's the use of these combos that gives the game its unique fighting style and makes things quite strategic for those who know how to properly make use of it.

The gameplay in Street Fighter Alpha 2 is extremely responsive and well executed from start to finish. Sure, a few of the characters can be a bit cheap - especially for those who know how to use them - but overall the game shows a surprising semblance of balance for a Street Fighter release. Toss in the super cool combo system and you end up with one of the more playable and intense Street Fighter experiences available on the SNES. Unless you're just one of those Street Fighter 2 purists that can't get past the game's sometimes cheap combo system, you're likely to find a lot to enjoy from a tactical standpoint with this game's intense fighting system.

Considering the lofty arcade parentage of Street Fighter Alpha 2 you know some cuts would have to be made to bring the game home to the 16-bit Super Nintendo console. That being said, the developers were able to accurately convey the majority of the game's best visual moments and the end result is one of the most graphically stunning fighting titles available for the machine. Of course there are some missing frames of animation and the backdrops aren't quite as detailed as those of the arcade version, but all in all this port keeps with the tradition of strong arcade-to-home translations the series has enjoyed on the Super Nintendo console.

Much like the visuals, the musical score and sound effects of this home release do a fantastic job of sticking as closely as possible to those of their arcade counterpart. The voice announcer isn't quite as easy to understand due to the compression of the dialog, but it's still adequate given the type of game it is. The musical tracks themselves are all very well done and do a nice job of conveying the specific area or region they're being played in as well. A bit more character dialog would have been nice, but it's difficult to complain knowing how much the developers were able to squeeze into what is really a limited-sized Super Nintendo cartridge release.

It's impossible to review this title without touching upon the thorny issue of loading times. There are some rather lengthy 4 or 5 second pauses where the game will load audio bits or level data just before the fights kick off - kind of unusual for a cartridge release - but they're very minor and are certainly nowhere near some of the load times we saw during the early 32-bit generation of optical media consoles.

Conclusion

There's no denying that the original Super Nintendo port of Capcom's Street Fighter 2 arcade hit was extremely impressive and damn near arcade-perfect, but there's also something to be said for the job they did in bringing a very ambitious Street Fighter Alpha 2 arcade title to the console without having to sacrifice too much in the transition. Sure the visuals are a bit toned down and the brief loading times are irksome but overall the game is intact and still every bit as playable as it was in the arcades. Fans of the Alpha series will likely find this Super Nintendo release quite solid and a good bargain at 800 Wii Points. And anyone that has yet to give the Alpha series a try, now might be as good a time as any.

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User Comments (45)

y2josh

#1

y2josh said:

I love the art in this game. If anyone is going to get this I'd like to throw out there that the complete Alpha collection for PS2 is on Amazon for 18 dollars. The second seller has it for 10, new. That includes 5 games I believe. Just a heads up.

Tails

#2

Tails said:

Wow awesome review Corbie I may have to look into getting this someday soon. :3

JTC-Pingas

#3

JTC-Pingas said:

Nice! I think I may have to give this one a try. Already have Turbo on SNES, SPE on Genesis, and CE on PC Engine all on the VC. But I think I will try this one too.

James

#4

James said:

SFA2 was the game I spent least time with in the series. I hammered the first SFA, but after I got Street Fighter Zero 3 on Saturn that was it - my mind was blown and I was ruined for most other SF games. Until IV, of course. Great game though, and the visual style is still beautiful after all these years - I love those starburst backgrounds :)

Adamant

#6

Adamant said:

Yes. No. Maybe. It's different enough from all the "Street Fighter 2" games that it's worth buying in addition to whichever of those you prefer (hint: Turbo)

outrun2sp

#7

outrun2sp said:

To me its ambitious but a failure in the end.

Load times are worse for where they are. They are more intrusive now even though they are shorter they affect the gameplay seriously as you cannot buffer in the move at the start of a round. Game would be banned at tournament level because of this.

Gameplay is completely different. Combos do not work properly, frame data is screwed up!!!.

It was ambitious but they should have ported part 1. Id give this 6/10

Anyway, just my humble opinion.

JamieOStaff

#10

JamieO said:

Fair play to the SNES it was a proper li'l trooper, straining its hardware powers to land one last dragon punch on those 32-bit upstart punks! It did a decent job of Street Fighter Alpha 2, which was a stunning achievement under the circumstances, I remember it achieving the cover of issue 52 of the UK magazine 'Nintendo Magazine System', with a 90% review in January 1997 (pages 18 to 24). Just to put some perspective on that, the very same issue had extensive plays of the N64 games Killer Instinct Gold and Mortal Kombat Trilogy. The responsive controls and balanced characters were what mattered for the gameplay, excellent review @Corbie

Mach-X

#11

Mach-X said:

@8 It's very possible the wii isn't powerful to emulate the arcade hardware

Rebel81

#12

Rebel81 said:

@Mach-X

I still think the Wii is powerfull enough to emulate the CPS2, CPS3 would be a problem, but CPS2 must be possible.

specs of CPS2:
CPU Motorola 68000 (@ 16 MHz)
Sound Sound CPU: Z80 (@ 8 MHz)
Q-Sound (@ 4 MHz)
Display Raster, 384 x 224 pixels (Horizontal), 4096 colors

It is that heavy hardware to run.

Rawk_Hawk

#13

Rawk_Hawk said:

I've always been a juge fan of the Alpha series in the arcade and on the Sega Saturn. Glad to hear this one holds up pretty well. At some point I hope the original Alpha shows up as VCA title.

DamoAdmin

#14

Damo said:

The Wii can emulate CPS2, no problem. If a handheld like the GP2X can do it, the Wii certainly can.

astarisborn94

#15

astarisborn94 said:

Officially confirm. I will be getting this for Christmas.

Awesome review and proves that this game is better then the rest of the games.

ReZon

#16

ReZon said:

Waiting to get some Nintendo Points... do want this (and the upcoming Blaster Master).

Egg_miester

#17

Egg_miester said:

@ Varoennauraa capcom isn't supporting the VCA not even in japan and they probably wont start anytime soon

@ for best street fighter for me its a tie from alpha 2 and super street fighter 2 on the vc

MayhemStaff

#18

Mayhem said:

I was always under the impression that the delays aren't technically for loading, but for decompressing the data...? Nevertheless at the time I felt this was a mightily impressive conversion for the SNES. Not sure the girlfriend appreciated me spending the moolah on it when we were in New York on holiday though :p

motang

#20

motang said:

Awesome game, I had this on the SNES back in the days. Now I enjoy on the PS2 as it's in the Alpha Anthology. :D

KingMike

#21

KingMike said:

Supposedly, the data was so extensively compressed that even the extra chip couldn't load it quickly.
It sounds like they must have left in the loading time for the VC.
(unlike the FDS, where they have sped up the loading time)

Adamant

#24

Adamant said:

I pretty much remember the old early 90s Norwegian Nintendo mags word by word. Hopefully that will impress someone someday.

Pj1

#25

Pj1 said:

A friend of mine loves this game so muchthat he still plays it on the SNES from time to time! I'd down load it if it becomes available on VC.

CanisWolfred

#27

CanisWolfred said:

While I love Street Fighter Alpha 2, I don't think I'll invest in this Arcade port - it's too similar to the arcade version to look over the fact that it's nowhere near as good.

EdEN

#28

EdEN said:

I actually own the original SNES cart. Bought it used from a rental store once the change from SNES to N64 was pretty much finalized. My brother and I played SFA 2 on SNES eeeeevery day for two month and tallied up our Win-Lose record at the end of each month to see who won. Final result: One month to each. We actually still have to resolve that...

JamieOStaff

#29

JamieO said:

@Quint Ha, ha, yep my memory is freakin' amazing, read on and I can even directly quote the mag, demonstrating the role of this game as one of the last high profiles SNES releases in Dec 1996, at the end of the SNES's lifespan and before the N64 was released:
"At one stage, certain people were predicting a miserable Christmas for Nintendoids across the UK. Pah! How wrong could they be...?"
See, jaw-dropping recall, with a memory like that I should rule the world... what day is it today?
...Nah, my comment has poor sentence grammar to blame more than anything else. I do remember the mag, partly from nostalgic memories, but largely because I have it right here in front of me (doh!). It is a bit weathered now, I am always flicking through some old copy of a retro magazine, like Super Play, or C&VG. Reading the retro mags takes me back to the '90s, just as much as slotting a well played cart into a yellowed SNES. ;)

leon_x

#30

leon_x said:

I love this game. The gameplay is different but it´s awesome. Great review.

vio

#31

vio said:

@Varoennauraa: I've been saying since the beginning that Capcom should have released the arcade versions instead. Not only would they have been superior to this 16-bit port, but then they could have also released all 3 games in proper order as well. The SF2 ports were different because they were nearly arcade perfect. And I don't believe for a second that the Wii couldn't emulate the arcade hardware perfectly. If it can emulate a 3D based system like the N64, it can surely emulate an old 2D arcade system.

But who knows, perhaps Capcom will still release the arcade versions. But like I've said in previous posts, I'd rather they focus on Mega Man for now. They've released more than enough Street Fighter games for the time being.

CanisWolfred

#34

CanisWolfred said:

And None of them got Street Fighter Alpha 2. Shame, really, since I always wanted to play my favorite Street Fighter game on the go.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#35

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Thanks fellas. I think I borrowed the GBA Street Fighter Alpha 3 game off a friend back in the day. It was a lot of fun. Vague, Swiss cheese, memory spark. I think he actually gave it to me when he bought his first gen DS.

Bakajin

#36

Bakajin said:

I'll pass. I still play my old PS1 copy of SFα3 every now and then, and that's where my α series nostalgia lies. The only SF games I'm interested in are SF1 (just out of curiosity—I'm sure it's just as lousy as everyone says it is, which is why I haven't downloaded Fighting Street yet) and SSFT2. If Capcom ever decides to support VCA, I hope they start with that.

SmaMan

#37

SmaMan said:

Once you get past the loading times, its pretty fun. Though I also notice an issue in difficulty...
True Story: First time I popped this into my SNES, I left the difficulty on 4 stars and beat the game with Ken without losing a single round...

MarioFan1985

#41

MarioFan1985 said:

I do remember this game as I have played it on both the Super NES and the Playstation, however I would have to say that the Playstation version is better as it has better sound and better gameplay, but the Super NES version is till quite good, though the Super Combos are a buit difficult to execute (especially when you want to execute the stronger levels), and of course Shin Akuma is insanely difficult (though I did defeat him one time with Guy), but overall, good.

Bass_X0

#42

Bass_X0 said:

I've never beaten Shin Akuma on any version of Alpha 2. He just gets me every time.

Betagam7

#43

Betagam7 said:

Like many people have said, the loading times in this one are irksome in their placement. I was happy to sell my SNES cart for well over £30 a little over a year ago knowing this would eventually become downloadable. As it happens I ended up buying the far superior Saturn version in the meantime so will skip this one.

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