The New Nintendo 3DS is a nifty device with a number of great games available, but as everyone knows something cannot be considered a true games machine unless you can play Street Fighter II on it. Thankfully Capcom has stepped in to save New 3DS owners from the taunts of ZX Spectrum, Atari ST and CD32 gamers by bringing the game to the eShop. Twice. Released alongside the speedy Street Fighter II Turbo is this second SNES update – Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers.
Unless Capcom is planning a 3DS version of Super Street Fighter II Turbo (or a portable HD Remix-style release) this is the most up-to-date edition of the game available for New 3DS. It lacks the Super Combo moves and Akuma from Super Turbo but it offers some more special attacks and four new characters over that predecessor, as well as a wider choice of colour options for your fighting garb plus redrawn character portraits.
For all that it added, SSF2 disappointed when it arrived in arcades as it ran slower than Hyper Fighting and a lot slower than the top speeds of the SNES and Mega Drive versions. By default this SNES port also crawls along but there are four speed settings to choose from by pressing right or left on the title screen. There's nothing to match the over-the-top rapid movement of its predecessor's top speeds, but it runs at a quick pace that's still suitable for normal gaming.
The controls are responsive and work well although they can take some getting used to if you favour an Arcade Stick or Fight Pad over the SNES-style layout offered by the New 3DS. Button assignment can be changed in the options menu if desired and you can bring up the electronic manual at any time if you've forgotten how to perform a Yoga Teleport.
The main mode of play is a lot like any other version of Street Fighter II as you pick your fighter then defeat twelve others to see an ending. Along the way you also get to smash up a car, some bricks and some falling barrels in the three bonus rounds. Although featuring the same number of fights as SF2T, with sixteen fighters in the game not all of them are fought during a playthrough. However the final four battles are always against the Boss characters that were unselectable during the World Warrior days.
On the audio side of things there's the usual wonderful music during fights (with four new tracks thanks to the additional characters) but the sound effects and speech are less impressive. Whilst the various impact and smash sounds as well as calls of "Yoga Flame" or "Tiger Uppercut" enhance the fights they sound a little muffled and distorted. Additionally the announcer doesn't do his "Round One, Fight!" intro. It's not a deal-breaker, but the effects and speech do sound better in SF2T.
As well as new characters and moves, one thing SSF2 did offer over the earlier SNES Turbo was a number of multiplayer modes. However, as is the norm for these SNES Virtual Console releases on New 3DS, simultaneous multiplayer is not possible so the Group Battle as well as the standard Versus Battle are menu options not worth selecting.
The third multiplayer option is "Tournament Battle" and this can actually be tackled solo, although you may need to change "controllers" (hold the Z buttons and press Y) if you get drawn on the right side of the screen. With suspension and restore point functionality, finding time for your fighting isn't really an issue but if you want a quick playthrough in one sitting then Tournament Battle is worth a look.
You are one of eight fighters engaged in single-round battles. Win three and you win the tournament. You have to watch all the fights including the loser bracket ones that determine placing, but these can be sped up by holding down a button so tournaments are always over quickly.
The lack of multiplayer is of course a negative, but working through the main game with the different characters (eight difficulty settings available) keeps you busy and a playthrough is enjoyable when travelling. There is one other mode available and that is "Time Challenge". As the name suggests this involves trying to win quickly and whilst not offering the addictive replayability of a Mario Kart Time Trial mode, there's still fun to be had in trying to smash someone's face in a little bit quicker.
It's not Super Turbo, but an earlier version of a great game is still a good way to spend your time. It offers a few more modes, moves and additional characters than the alternative eShop option (Street Fighter II Turbo), but there's still the disappointment of having to fight alone. Nevertheless there's a lot to keep you entertained here and for the solo player on the move Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers is a game you'll enjoy coming back to during breaks in your travels.