Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers
I'm a tad late to the Street Figher scene, but now that I am into it--this might just be my new favorite franchise over Super Smash Bros!
There seem to be OVER NINE THOUSAND versions of Street Fighter II. Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II Hyper Fighting, Street Fighter II Turbo, SUPER Street Fighter II, Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers....seems a bit excessive. I guess it just goes to show that Capcom will stop at nothing to get your money.
The reason why you might want The New Challengers over the other SNES games is because as the name implies, there are more characters than the other Street Fighter II Games. Four new characters (new at the time): Dee Jay the Jamaican kickboxer, Cammy who is a former assassin of M.Bison (and the bane of my Street Fighter IV characters online), Fei Long the Bruce Lee tribute, and T. Hawk the native american warrior. It may not sound like a big deal, but if you're at a game shop and you just so happen to see a bunch of Street Fighter II versions on the shelf, you may as well grab the one with four extra fighters.
Based off the arcade game of the same name, the only real difference between this and the original Street Fighter II games is the aforementioned four new fighters. The stories and everything else remain the same.
What makes the series so great is that it is pure one on one intense fighting action. In Super Smash Bros, there are variables like having to get your opponent off the stage, kill him, keep your lives, etc. I like Street Fighter for not really being as complex. I know it's strange to compare Street Fighter to Smash Bros as if the latter came first, but for Smash Bros fans looking for other franchises, this might be of interst.
The controls are pretty decent for the most part. The only tricky aspect might be the joystick and button combinations that you need to have memorized, but since this is not the arcade, playing with a D-pad makes it a bit more difficult. That is unless you're playing as a "charge character" like Balrog (boxer) who needs only to walk in the opposite direction and then hit Forward + Punch for most of their special moves.
The graphics are quite good for SNES, and in fact they are about on par with the arcade version. The only thing that seperates it from the arcade version really (besides lack of a joystick of coure) is the music which sounds very...Super Nintendo yet not arcade-like (like many home ports of games in that era).
The overall gameplay is excellent. As said before, it's great one on one fighting action, just drain your opponent's vitality before he drains yours. There aren't really "Super" combo moves like in the later games, but it is pretty fun and balanced, which is also important is balance in a fighting game. The turbo versions are much faster, but I actually find this to be just the right pace. The difficulty can be set. The characters are all interesting and unique, but of course you have your share of cheap and/or annoying ones (Dhalsim and Zangief anyone?)
Another aspect I love about this series is representation. Fighters from China, Japan, Thailand, South America, North America, India and so on come together for the second world warrior tournament, held by M. Bison (OF COURSE!) Each character has some cool moves but of course Ryu is my guy (and Vega).
Music wise, while it's not as good as arcade, the music and voices are well done. Including the awesome "death cries" (OOOAHHHHOOOAAAHHHHOOOAAAHH!). Such staples are what make this simplistic yet intense franchise one of the top. Of course there are good competitors like Mortal Kombat and Tekken, but if you really want a good fighter, you simply cannot go wrong with Street Fighter!
The only thing I do not like that this game lacks is a training mode.It might just be the version I play, but there is no training mode to practice how to execute special moves which is a little problem. You would think any good fighter would have a training mode to practice special moves and combos.