It would be tantamount to sacrilege if on this, the 15 anniversary of Street Fighter 2, Capcom did not reconvene the church of Street Fighter for another rousing service. We all know the hymns and have our favourite saints and sinner, but can Capcom make this the celebration of Street Fighter that the devout worshippers covet?
Religious analogies aside, there's very little to say about Street Fighter 2 that hasn't already been said. The good news is that Hyper SF2 is a solid conversion from top to bottom, that looks and sounds every bit the part of the classic games you are likely to remember. The Playstation controller feels a little awkward at first; however on balance, loading times are basically non-existent as the PS2 carries off a flawless arcade-perfect rendition of one of Capcom's most iterated games without breaking a sweat.
More importantly, the game is every bit the furiously addictive fighter it always was - while time can be unfair to some, Street Fighter's gameplay remains staunchly enjoyable and transcends the ravages of time. The perfect mix of simplicity, careful balancing of the characters, delightful animation and classic theme music remains to this day an engrossing gaming experience. Standard modes of play are present and correct, including a rather punishing arcade mode which will give even stalwart SF2 fans a good run for their money, versus mode and a fully customisable training mode where you can pummel a chosen enemy to your hearts content. Multiplayer is, as you would expect, extremely satisfying, not least because the game affords you the ability to pare off any variant of character from the SF2 lineage against another.
Although somewhat of a novelty, it is a neat touch to be able to re-enact inter-version fights that could only previously exist in your head - pitting the various versions of characters against each other to prove which was the best once and for all, for example, is an appealing prospect. It is also enjoyable to see different versions of characters as they appeared in Street Fighter 2 games throughout the ages from a nostalgic point of view. Indeed, there are a full gamut of nostalgic options and features on offer, including the ability to change between remixed, CPS I and CPS II versions of the famous background themes, and a Gallery menu in which you can view the intros from the old arcade games, listen to those background themes and watch the full feature length Street Fighter 2 Animated Movie. Not bad value at all given the budget price point of the game, however it is notable that the movie is cut in certain areas and the quality is not quite what you would expect of a stand-alone DVD release.
It is clear that visually, the game is dated - it remains that while it no longer even approaches the level of finesse other games have achieved in the world of 2D, the artistic style is still very pleasing in a retro kind of way and is still a pleasant game to watch.