I've liked Street Fighter II enough in my life to own it at least four times—twice for the same system, picking up both Champion Edition and the subsequent Super revision for the Sega Mega Drive (40 whole Megabits!). The first version I ever had was the absolutely unwieldy Amiga port of the arcade original, by US Gold; and the last, the PlayStation 2's Hyper Street Fighter II, which came with the 1994 anime movie as a bonus (not that I needed it—still got that on VHS, in the loft).

The announcement that another Street Fighter II was coming to Nintendo's new Switch console therefore sent a few nostalgic ripples across the increasingly stagnant lake of memories that many of us enjoy a dip into from time to time. I mean, I loved this game—even before it reached the home market, I used to sneak games of it in, on the only arcade cab at the local leisure center. But Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers is neither a welcome revival of what was the ultimate fighting game, in 1991, nor is it a superbly refined update of a classic that's engineered to appeal to younger fans of the genre.

This game, at its age, on this platform, is an immediate pass from the more serious sections of the fighting game community. What we effectively have here is 2008's Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix—getting to Kingdom Hearts levels of title silliness, there—with a few extra modes added and a comprehensive (over 1,400 images!) but ultimately unnecessary gallery feature.

The core Street Fighter experience has been superseded several times since this iteration—with Street Fighter V out there, playable using a range of fight sticks, with super fluid movement and comprehensive frame data analysis, Nobody who lives for these games, for this series, is going to approach this with anything more than casual interest. Yes, an effort's been made to rebalance the gameplay, with adjustments made to encourage more contemporary combo inputs. But it simply cannot compete with the work that's gone into V, and its wildly popular predecessor, the multi-iterated Street Fighter IV.

Yep, looks legit.

Which is a game that's been on Nintendo before—I've the 3DS version right here, and it's not half bad, given the limitations of its platform. I stuck plenty of hours into the 360 version, too, back in 2009, having a lot of fun with what really felt like a return to the second game without sacrificing the lessons learned since its release.

Accepting that V is never going to be available for any console but a Sony one, seeing IV come across to Switch would have been cool, given its absence on a home Nintendo console. For II to be brought back, though, smacks of self-indulgence too much in the year of the series' 30 th anniversary.

The Final Challengers isn't a bad game, building as it does on some fantastically acclaimed foundations—but it's one that most of us have played before, be that in its HD Remix guise, the first Super installment with its added characters, or way back on the Super Nintendo, the first console to receive a port of the original SFII, which suited its six-button pad perfectly. Every second that I'm spending with this not-so-new release, I'm asking myself: why? And there's just no reasonable response beyond: Capcom would like your money, please, Switch owners without a great deal of new game options right now.

Yes, it's a celebration of a fighting game pioneer. All the favorites are here, beside a couple of not-actually-new characters—Evil Ryu made his debut in 1996's Street Fighter Alpha 2, and Violent Ken popped up in the (admittedly not Street Fighter canon) 2003 crossover affair SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos—and the anime-like visuals can be switched back to original 1990s sprites, likewise each stage's soundtrack if you don't like the newer music. It plays just like you remember—but do you need to be playing it again, now, 26 years since Street Fighter II's arcade release?

Still looking fairly faithful.

No, in case I've not been clear enough so far. You really do not. It's fun enough to carve your way through the standard arcade mode on a commute, and the Switch in handheld mode works just fine for moderate-level difficulties. But turn that dial up and the system's design just can't handle things.

The JoyCon D-pad is completely unsuited for fighting games where special moves are executed using smooth arcs from forward to down to halfway back again; and while the Pro Controller fares better, when the Switch is in TV mode, there's still areas of uncertainty, of inconsistency, in the button presses, where diagonals can be picked up as horizontal moves, and thus a retaliatory attack fails and you receive a kick in the chops.

I don't see why—unless you're locked exclusively to the Switch as your sole means of accessing a Street Fighter game right now—you'd opt for this one over any of the IV releases, including the 3DS port. And even then, what you're going to get out of this, forgetting any nostalgia factor, is distinctly limited.

There's online multiplayer coming—I've not been able to test it in advance of release—but if that goes the way of IV and V, it'll be populated primarily by the elite ranks, who'll pound down beginners and leave them unlikely to reconnect for said mode of play.

Locally, Street Fighter II is still Street Fighter II, and it's brilliant if you've a couple of expensive Pro Controllers—but the JoyCons, used individually, made for an incredibly cramped and uncomfortable way to send Hadoukens into your pal's face. (A fighting stick is incoming for the Switch, but again, I really don't see this being a FGC favorite.) Played solo, arcade is mostly a simple score chase—climb the table, improve on your bests, feel good about it, soon enough move onto something else.

There are two new modes, however, aimed at increasing the game's longevity. Buddy Battle pits you and a mate against the AI, and is fine if that's your bag—but surely the purest way to play Street Fighter is one on one? It's not exactly new, just a twist on what was seen in the Alpha series, when it was known as Dramatic Battle. But Way of the Hado sure is new and, oh boy, it's terrible.

Oh, god, it's garbage.

Way of the Hado is a first-person-perspective, single-player, Ryu-only special move buffet that uses the JoyCons in motion-control mode, one in each hand. You spin your arms to pull off the tatsumaki hurricane kick, and bring both Cons together, in parallel, to then thrust forward, chest to screen, to toss a fireball the way of incoming Shadaloo goons. Bison pops up at the end, teleporting around the screen, at which point the maddeningly imprecise controls will probably leave you on the deck. It's awful. Just, one hundred percent, certifiably undeniably, the kind of thing you play and immediately wonder: How the hell did this pass QA?

So much more needed to be done here to make it a £35/$40 game—which is what the RRP is. The characters all look great, stood still, but could extra frames of animation not have been added, to make the whole thing look that bit smoother? Look at this year's Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap, which remade the Master System original by layering sumptuous new visuals over the top, just the most gorgeous animations.

If Ken and Cammy and company had received that kind of aesthetic attention, we might be looking at a definitive version of Street Fighter II. As it is, though, The Final Challengers, in so many ways, just feels undercooked. It doesn't move me like Super did, and that's not because of how old it is, or what I've played since— Super just did all of this slicker, sharper, and didn't stuff itself with pointless filler. And that's not my memories talking—I can turn it on, today, and even in 16-bits it purrs where The Final Challengers plods. Put this online and charge a tenner, it's a deal. But come on, Capcom—there's taking the piss with asking prices, and then there's this.

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