Super Street Fighter II X: for matching service (スーパー ストリートファイターII X フォー マッチング サービス)

Aah, Street Fighter, what can be said about this much loved series that hasn’t been said before? Well how about the fact that the Dreamcast is home to one of the best titles in this legendary series and it's not Capcom Vs SNK, 3rd Strike or Zero 3, tickle your fancy? No? Well, then you should probably quit games altogether and do a crossword.

 Probably one of my favourite Street Fighter covers

In 1992, Capcom released a game that proved to be proverbial crack on a cartridge, Street Fighter II. Anyone who’s been living near a plug socket for the past twenty years will know about the game's existence; it swallowed pounds and pounds of kid’s lunch money as they exchanged a school education for a lesson in tackling its mechanics. The game is credited with being the first game to feature combination attacks as well as a variety of alluring characters one-on-one fighting affair.Numerous upgrades and sequels followed in what was a (successful) attempt by Capcom of prodding the proverbial cash cow to see how many pennies would drop from its arse, which of course we know by the 2000 odd games that they pushed out, that they must have raised a few quid, but it didn't matter when the game was just so awesome to play! After releasing Street Fighter III to largely muted fanfare, Capcom went back to the drawing board and decided to go retro with a 2000 update of the 1994 classic, Super Street Fighter II X, or turbo as it is known in the West. Despite conversions to the 3D0, Psone and Saturn, SSFII X for Dreamcast marked the first time a truly accurate port  was to hit the home consoles and is the definitive version of the hands down, most classic fighter period. The game was produced for the Dreamcast's online "Matching Service"in Japan and sold as an exclusive mail-order release via the online Dreamcast Direct store.

X in the Japanese carries the meaning of + or "plus" in English

Good to see some of the less popular characters seeing some limelight

As you would expect, the gameplay is classic Street Fighter action with plenty of formulaic rolling, charging and taping, but it’s the super combination moves and the addition of Gouki which add the most to this particular version of Street Fighter II. Highly damaging and often capable of turning a match around in an instant with his speed and power, he has since become a mainstay of the series, but SSFIIX was the first time he actually featured in a Street Fighter title.

The new super combos are performed by building up a meter which is increased when you  perform special moves. These look cool but also mean that players can stay at a safe distance and spam special moves to quickly fill the meter. However, skilled players will learn to take advantage of their opponent’s cowardice by pressuring them while they are spamming. Overall, it’s fair to say that the addition of super moves do expand the Street Fighter series in a good way by adding a further layer of experimentation to proceedings. This is all without even mentioning how cool and satisfying they are at the end of a hard-worked combo.

SSII X expands the character roster and includes one of my most used characters, Cammy

If you complete the game by winning every round and collecting numerous perfects then the chances are that you will go head to head with the new character, Gouki. If you pull the sequence of events off then you will get to witness one of the most memorable moments in gaming history as he *spoilers* jumps into battle and destroys Bison for you. I remember witnessing this for the first time in the arcades when I was 15 and it was a total bad-ass moment! Definitely worth the effort unlocking but if you want to unlock the character itself you'll have to go one on one and beat him which is no easy challenge. Also, by completing the game with all the characters you can unlock a special dipswitch menu which lets you change all sorts of options like intros, character colours, language and even character moves. It is really one of the best aspects of this version and well worth investing the time unlocking.


The biggest change in the game is the addition of a "Super Combination Finish".

Visually, although there are some issues with the screen ratio, the game's overall presentation is a cut above previous iterations of the game that made their way to systems like the 3DO, Saturn and Playstation. Making good use of the system's 16mb of ram the Dreamcast version of  SSFIIX  is carries over the game almost perfect, with all frames present and no trace of slowdown even during graphically intensive arenas such as Dee-Jay's stage. The control is also very solid and if you are fortunate to have a Dreamcast arcade stick or an ASCii fighting pad in your collection you will have no problems with inputs. As for battle modes, the Dreamcast version offers  arcade, versus, training mode and even an Online versus mode (although the servers are no long available).


                    Super Street Fighter II X  introduce new characters to the series, unfortunately one of them is T-Hawk.

The only real issue with the game is that certain characters have the ability to user super combos as "reversals" (the process of when a character goes directly from a non-hittable frame, such as being knocked down, directly into an special attack) something which they cannot in the arcade. A few tweaks were also made to Chun-li and Vega which made them slightly unbalanced for high level play but these are things that will only concern hardcore tournament players. Luckily enough, it's possible to revert the game back to its original arcade state by way of the unlockable DIP switch settings.

Despite these slight niggles, this leaves us with is the best, most balanced edition of Street fighter II on any console. Sure, the graphics and animation can't hold a candle to later releases such as 3rd Strike, but it moves faster than proverbial crack and has a simplicity that just makes these games so accessible. It is a tribute to the game's tight and focused mechanics that it still remains one of the most played Street Fighter titles in the arcades in Japan, even surpassing classics such as Zero 2, & 3 and even later titles such as Street Fighter IV. The graphics in the Dreamcast version are spot on, and with no loading times it is far more enjoyable than the stop-start affair of the god awful 'arcade perfect' Playstation and Saturn versions. Sure, the series went on to develop Zero counters, air blocking, "downloadable" content, and fat oiled up Turkish wrestlers, but this version is the greatest of all the Street Fighter II games; simple, fun and as close as you'll ever get to Street Fighter II perfection.