In what could quite possibly be the longest title in gaming history, Capcom has released “Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix” (Panting) on Xbox Live Arcade. I dunno about the rest of you, but I’ve been personally waiting on this one for a while! So with no further ado; and for what it’s worth here’s my 2 cents.
SideNote: I will refer to it as SPF2THDR from here on out okay, merely to avoid finger cramping.
A fighting puzzle game? Surely not
For those of you who haven't ever played this great puzzle game, Super Puzzle Fighter was released in arcades way back in 1996 as a spoof on Capcom's fighting games like Street Fighter II and Darkstalkers, using cute shrunken down versions of their most popular characters -from Ryu to Sakura, Donovan to Felicia in a puzzle setting filled with colorful bright gems. At first, it looks a lot like "a cheesy Tetris clone wearing Street Fighter clothes", it really does.
Not only is the title to this classic puzzler a mouthful, it’s also not entirely true, There's no true hand-to-hand fighting - it's all done with puzzle blocks and you must battle your opponent with the strongest muscle in your body- your mind!
The objective is simple: defeat your opponent by dropping gems onto their playing field to create big, homogenous interlinking blocks, which each player must destroy using a crash gem of that color. Of course, the incentive to create huge gems is to send them crashing to your opponent. Chaining multiple crash gems with gem blocks will completely overwhelm your opponent, burying them under a wall of gems. Sounds simple? Well, not quite.
It isn't as easy as just clearing gems willy-nilly. Sure, making sure your screen doesn’t fill up with gems is the main goal, but because the game is designed as a 2 player experience, it's all about thinking quickly and being strategic such as when is the time is right to shatter your gems. Confused? Let me explain.
The reason timing is so important is that the more gems you smash at once, the more counter gems are unleashed onto your opponent's play area like a ton of bricks, making it possible for you to mess up their gem building plan.
The winner is ultimately the player who causes their opponent's play area to fill up to the top, so speed and planning is crucial. And oh, how can I forget? Probably the coolest puzzle item of them all within SPF2HDT (ah heck quite possibly the world!), is hand-down the diamond. It appears every 25 turns or so and when it does my friends, it is like “pennies from heaven’, because it enables you to destroy every block of the same color it lands on.
There's much more to it than that but I suspect if you're interested, you'll either investigate further or play the trial.
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The” HD Remix” part of the title kinda/sorta tells you that something’s have changed- somewhat.
The graphics in the game have been redone, so the blocks and backgrounds look a lot better, they are all nice and sharp. The gems and diamonds have a new and improved look too, making things a lot brighter and more colorful.
However, the characters weren’t given any graphic-update love at all!
As a matter of fact the redone backgrounds make the characters look even more fuzzy, blurry and sloppy in contrast. I say either crank the whole game up to HD, or leave it all alone. In doing research for this review I learned that Capcom has have a history of ripping animations directly out of games and reusing them (Marvel vs. Capcom 2) even if they look off-key.
Weird. But the challenge is in the gameplay, not in the visuals I guess.
Even though they may look old and weathered, the characters themselves were given some tweaking, and new strengths. Capcom made certain characters stronger with new gem drop patterns, while weakening others. For instance, Dan, known as the weakest character in the game, has a killer drop attack pattern. There are new modes this time around, called X, ‘X, Y and Z. Each have their own unique rules for each match, such as how gems get stacked and removed from the screen. They seemed to be added more for the sake of variety rather than change to the game, which is just fine with me.
Some of the new modes are cool, give them a try, you might just prefer them. In fact, don't be surprised if one of these new modes soon becomes a personal favorite.
On top of all this old school goodness is the real icing on the cake -the online play in every mode. As well as some evil achievements to go for and of course, online leader-boards. Amazingly it's not even as if you need a real pal for it to be fun it is just exciting playing offline against the CPU (easier too).
The sound effects and character taunts and overall jibber-jabber are all the same and you may start to share a love/hate relationship with the Japanese voices. “Hadookin!!”
It’s cute to look at, it plays well, and it’s easy to pick up. It's just a cracking little game that is just as addictive as it was now when it first came out.
If you hate Street fighter but love these types of puzzles then go ahead and buy it, but if you love Street fighter and are not keen on these types of puzzles I would move along, if you love both, what are you waiting for? This review is officially K.O.Check out more about SPF2THDR Here