Back in the day when the arcades were still king, the Super Nintendo was home to what many consider to be some of the best console ports (not including later re-releases and collections) of the Street Fighter 2 series. While the 32 bit era was in full swing, Capcom decided to release one last swansong on the Super NES in the form of Street Fighter Alpha 2. While it may not as close to an arcade perfect port as the Saturn and Playstation iterations due to the obvious differences in hardware, it was still a technically impressive conversion with a couple of glaring issues.
Originally released in the arcades on Capcom’s proprietary CPS2 hardware, Street Fighter Alpha 2 takes the series back in time, before the events of Street Fighter 2, and attempts to try and flesh out some of the back story and history of the original World Warrior cast. We’re treated to younger versions of Street Fighter poster boys Ken & Ryu and we are also introduced to Ryu’s struggle with the Dark Hadou (essentially an evil power threatening to take over him). Whilst Guile is nowhere to be seen in Alpha 2, the series introduces Charlie, Guile’s long lost friend and mentor, who also shares an uncanny move set that is similar to everyone’s favourite family man! Adon, Birdie & Gen, all of whom made their first appearances in 1987’s Street Fighter, return to the fold and are joined by Street Fighter 2 veterans Chun Li and Dhalsim amongst others. Series newcomers Sakura & Rose also return for the second game.
In terms of gameplay, Street Fighter Alpha 2 is your standard Street Fighter fare with a few notable additions. You still have your standard six button layout with light, medium & heavy punches and kicks and special moves individual to each character. Street Fighter Alpha 2 also expands upon the ‘super’ moves introduced in Super Street Fighter II: Turbo, with characters now having multiple super moves at their disposal. Other additions include the ability to block while jumping and ‘Alpha Counters’, which allow you to perform a counter move to a vulnerable opponent.
Visually, the Super NES port of Alpha 2 is almost on par with its arcade counterpart. The characters and backgrounds all look crisp and clear and retain the same ‘anime’ look introduced in the Alpha games, however there does appear to be a few frames of animation missing from certain moves and characters. While not affecting overall gameplay, veterans of the series will notice the difference.
While the game looks great on the visual front, unfortunately the same can’t be said for the audio. The voice samples from the arcade have all be retained, however the music is flat and muffled. The arcade had great sound hardware and it seems the developers had a tough time porting it to Nintendo’s 16 bit console. One strange ‘glitch’ that ran into is at the start of every round, the game will pause for a second as if the game was struggling to load itself into the systems memory. Not overly concerning, but strange nonetheless.
In conclusion, what we have here is a great port of a fantastic title. If you are looking for an arcade perfect experience, Capcom’s Super NES port may disappoint you. However, if you are looking for a fun fighting game that still holds up by today’s standards, then Street Fighter Alpha 2 will take pride of place in the collection of any Street Fighter fan or retro collector!
Final Score – 7 out of 10.