I remember back in the beginning of the 90s. I think it was the summer of 92 or 93. The local "hang-out" place had just been built, and in the back room a wondrous box was set it. It was the arcade version of Street Fighter 2, my introduction to the beat'em up genre (disregarding some not so successful ones on Commodore 64). Both my friends and I used to spend whatever money we could find on that machine, because whoever had the highest ranking on the high-score was automatically "the man".
Since then the Street Fighter series has developed quite a bit, having both an extensive amount of games and even a motion picture to show off. I have owned a few of the Street Fighter games, and it has seemed like Capcom never deviated a lot from its original formula; lots of original characters with both advantages and disadvantages, tons of cool moves and combos to practice, exciting looking locations - all depicted in cartoon-like graphics. Capcom did try a variation where they had more realistic looking graphics, but the consumers have always seemed to favor it all colorful and nice.
So, since there seems to be a Street Fighter release for pretty much any console Nintendo has been involved in they had to make one for the Gameboy Advance. This time it's Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo Revival, and yes - it is a really long title for a game. My hopes for this game were that they had captured the feeling of 'Street Fighter", both regarding graphics, sounds and of course gameplay. The graphics look exactly like they looked all these years with the cartoon feeling and the cheesy animated background elements that we've all become accustomed to. Since the speakers of the Gameboy Advanced isn't really "all that and a bag of chips", SSF2TR isn't a celebration in high-end audio, to say the least. Even though there is a good deal of sound effects, and the fact that each level has its own distinct background tune it is really limited by the low sampling quality. Regardless, I'm sure with a loud volume you can still achieve more of the arcade feeling.
The most important aspect of the Street Fighter series of games is that you can go from one of the games to the next one and still be able to control a character well. In this pocket edition of the game you can choose from a total of sixteen characters, which you should recognize most of if you have played one of the previous games. Ryu is here, Ken is here, M. Bison is here, along with the Turbo additions being a female named Cammy, a Jamaican kick boxer named Dee Jay, a huge Indian fellow named T. Hawk and an Asian movie star named Fei-Long, along with the ability to control M. Bison himself. All of the characters are fairly balanced, meaning a big character can hit slow, but doesn't move fast, while a faster character isn't as strong. You also notice how the character you choose to control is a lot more effective against certain other characters. When you're planning you also need to watch a Special Power meter, which when full enables you to do a really super ultra mega cool move that hopefully devastates the enemy. The problem is that these super ultra mega cool moves aren't easy to learn by yourself, so you might want to search the net for a guide or such. That is, if you want to win against tougher opponents. And let me tell you; the difficulty is scalable in levels from 1 to 8, so this game can be as challenging and fun for people who are new to the genre as veterans.
Besides the Arcade mode you can choose Training, where you basically select the character you would like to control, and what character you would like to pound on. The nice thing about this mode is that you can specify if the opponent will simply stand still, crouch or jump. Nothing could be better to practice those mind-numbing moves.
The next mode, which is where human interaction enters, is called V.S. Here you connect your Gameboy Advance with a friend (or enemy) and find out who can rightfully call himself "the man". I doubt people will start settling bar-fights with this feature, but you can have fun with your friends a lot cheaper than if you were doing it on the arcade version.
Survival mode is a mode that differs a bit from the rest because here you play mini-games where you are for instance supposed to break a car in a specified amount of time, destroy barrels, or to survive beating up a number of opponents. To me this mode got boring relatively fast, but if you know every move in the book and have completed everything else then you can surely find some good challenges in Survival Mode.
The final mode, which is called Time Attack, is a pretty extensive one, because here you have several options to choose from. Starting with one where you have to defeat eight opponents as fast as you can, in the second one you fight all the four bosses as fast as you can, in the third one you fight a secret character called Akuma, who some of you may recognize from earlier games, and finally the Grand Master challenge where you fight everyone (luckily one by one).
Personally I felt that playing a game, which I've been accustomed to play on arcade or on the TV was a bit of a disappointment, since you need to focus you eyes on something so much smaller. Capcom has truly managed to capture the original Street Fighter gameplay, graphics, and to some extent the sounds and music too. However, there's not a whole lot new in this game that wasn't there in earlier games. So, I would say that if you're a fan of the Street Fighter series of games, and have grown tired of playing it on a bigger screen, or basically that you'd like to bring the game with you then Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo Revival is something you would want to check out. In my opinion there is a good deal of replay-value in SSF2TR, residing in the smaller modes to choose from. However, in my case it did become boring after some hours..