Yep, Super Turbo takes the Street Fighter crown, at least in our book. Truth be told, this is highly subject to personal opinion, and I think any of the top six or seven games in our rankings could easily be number one for someone else. Perhaps for you…and that’s cool. Since Super Street Fighter II Turbo is our top pick, I’ll try to convey why it rules.
For starters, it ended up being the ultimate evolution of Street Fighter II, the single most important fighting game the genre’s known. Capcom made two more attempts to follow up Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but as you’ve perhaps read by now, they had their own issues. This is the entry that stuck, and the one everyone still enjoys today.
Super Turbo was the logical culmination of the journey Capcom started in 1991, incorporating everything its designers learned from The World Warrior, Champion Edition, Hyper Fighting, and even the underwhelming Super into one final, excellent game. It also brought its own innovations, like meter-fueled super combos, throw softening (“teching”), and even rudimentary air juggling.
Characters, too, gained crucial moves that completed their movesets. Imagine Fei Long without his chicken wing, Ryu without his advancing fierce and overhead, Chun without upkicks, Gief without green glove, Honda without oicho. (You don’t have to, because Super exists.) The character balance wasn’t perfect, but was good enough to create consistently fun match-ups, and it was exciting when someone went on a streak with a low-tier like Cammy or T. Hawk.
(And let’s not forget series mainstay Akuma debuted here, becoming the first tournament-banned character in FGC history.)
All of the above, combined with the return of Hyper Fighting’s blessedly fast action, worked together to create short, intense matches largely devoid of gimmicks, instead focused on the 2D fighting basics of neutral, footsies, and zoning. Super Turbo was both fun as hell, and an excellent teacher of fighting game fundamentals.
When I play Super Turbo with a similarly skilled opponent today it’s like we’re engaged in an alternate form of communication, a hidden language composed of attacks and retreats, reads and feints. Sometimes words aren’t needed, because our hands are saying everything through the screen. I’m always chasing that mental “zone” feeling in video games, and at its best, Super Street Fighter II Turbo gets me there like few others.
While I’ve played and enjoyed most of the Street Fighter games, Super Street Fighter II Turbo is the one I’ll always go back to. I hold it in the same esteem as Doom, Super Mario Bros. 3, R-Type, Dark Souls…masterpieces that always remain relevant, and always have more to offer. — Alexandra Hall