February 6, 2007 - "Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo makes this game worth the purchase alone" will likely become the popular mantra for diehard fans of the classic coin-op. After all, the star attraction of [Register or Login to view links] is certainly one of the most addictive non-Tetris brainteasers around. Even now, ten years after it first hit arcades, the CPS2 puzzler is still compelling (particularly when equipped with additional features that we didn't get the first time). But as good as Puzzle Fighter may be, the ultimate question still remains: "is it really good enough to pay thirty bucks for eons later?" All things considered, the answer is a definite "Not so much."
In truth, Capcom Puzzle World would have been better suited as a component in the company's solid "Classics Collection" instead of a stand alone game... especially since they run for the same price and you get a whole lot more for your money in the latter (five titles versus 20 is a no-brainer). Sure Super Puzzle Fighter II is brilliant -- it's an interesting take on the Tetris/ Columns formula that requires users to combine gems that can then only be broken with similarly-colored power jewels -- but the rest of this anthology isn't as interesting.
But before we get into the short end of the analog stick, let me just say that there aren't enough good things that can be said about Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. Using the gameplay methods described above, it allows players to use their favorite Darkstalkers and Street Fighter avatars to perform special moves as you succeed. More importantly, though, a strong performance actually triggers roadblock gems to appear on your opponent's screen, thereby making the action more hectic and more strategic than your typical block-based puzzler. Each fighter has their own unique gem-attack pattern too, and this means that character selection is actually important.
As an added bonus, the Puzzle World version of SPF2 also includes a couple of ways to play. X Mode (the method already mentioned), Y Mode (three or more gems clear a space while a "change gem" can be charged for chain attacks), and Z Mode (identical to X, only gems are fed from the bottom up) all offer unique ways to experience the game, and all of them are undeniably fun. Ad hoc multiplayer, secret characters, a personalized Gem Attack Edit feature, and the ability to take your own screenshots (for safe keeping on the memory stick) round the package out.
But if we're being realistic, Super Puzzle Fighter II would have made a great PS3-to-PSP downloadable game. When packaged with four other titles that don't offer the same kind of addiction, it's hard to stomach paying almost full price for. Take Block Block, for example. A blatant rip-off of Breakout and its one billion clones, the game's whole shtick is that your paddle is always shrinking and that you can experience it co-op. That description may make it sound worth of a try on paper, but in practice it's slow and boring and becomes monotonous extremely quickly.
The collection's three Buster Bros games (which were previously released as their own set for PlayStation One in 1997) don't fare so well either. The goal in all three is to use wires and guns to bust balloons that break into smaller balloons and so on and so forth, but their bad controls keep them from being entertaining almost immediately. Buster Bros, Super Buster Bros, and Buster Buddies seem to be included for nostalgia's sake and nothing more.
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