Before I actually had my Saturn converted I wasn't really sure whether it was worth it. However, being a massive 2D beat-em-up and Capcom fan, when I saw all the attention that this game was creating, I decided to take the plunge. I sent my Saturn off to be switched and ordered a copy of this game for good measure. In short, it was certainly worth it. I would recommend this title to all fans of this particular genre. In the short-term I was literally blown-away. The graphics are outstanding, certainly up there with the likes of Panzer Saga, Virtua Fighter 2 and Vampire Saviour, for the best on the Saturn. The colours are brash and bold, the pyrotechnic special-moves a genuine joy to behold and the animation is superb, very fluid indeed.
I personally haven't witnessed any slow-down and the loading-times between bouts have been cut drastically compared to the likes of the Alpha series, fights loading up around the three second mark generally. Although the music has been generally praised by the gaming-press, I'm a little more sceptical. I feel that the tunes are a little weak and the clarity of the speech appears to be somewhat muffled, Gambit especially. The controls are typically tight, trademark Capcom. There can be no complaints here, all the special moves are pulled off with the minimum of ease. The actual game itself is a lot looser and "floater" than previous Streetfighter incarnations, tending to be similar in style to the Marvel games.
This isn't really a problem unless you live-and-die by the sword of Alpha 2. In a game like Alpha you can truly master it and almost become unbeatable if you are prepared to put in the hours required. XSF isn't like that. I don't think that you can become invincible, given the fact that certain specials and team-supers can obliterate your energy bar by anything up to 50%.
I would go on record saying that, as a two-player game, XSF is virtually unbeatable. It really is a good laugh when you demolish your best mate with a Cyclops and Chun-Li team-super. However, I was very disappointed with the computers intelligence. I completed the game on my first go on level 8 without using any continues, the hardest level. I'll admit to using a good team but the lack of challenge did prove to be slightly annoying. Another negative point is the quality of the end-sequences. In my opinion, the standards here have dropped below Alpha 2 quality, and that wasn't particularly noteworthy. I expect to be rewarded properly for my efforts but, alas, to no avail here I'm afraid. Overall, I still find myself coming back to this game more than Alpha 2 simply because it looks so gorgeous. I would recommend buying this game as show-off piece for your Saturn. It is pushing the hardware to the limits (and beyond thanks to the 4-Meg cart) and truly looks arcade-perfect.
If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me and fire-away.
Yours hopefully and faithfully,
Review By: Michael West