Few will dispute the importance of Street Fighter II. It's one of the most celebrated one-on-one fighting games of all time. While not the first competitive multiplayer game ever, it revolutionized the idea of competitive arcade play with a gameplay foundation that holds up to this day and is still copied by countless imitators. Fewer still will dispute the ubiquity of Street Fighter II. Ever since its initial coin-op arcade release in 1991 (and numerous arcade re-releases in subsequent years), the game has been ported to nearly every system imaginable, from the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis all the way up to today's cutting-edge machines like the Nintendo Switch.
The latest version of the timeless classic arrives in the form of New Wave Toys' arcade-perfect port of Street Fighter II: Champion Edition, a unit of which was sent to Screen Rant to review. It's not an exaggeration to call this version arcade-perfect, given its status as a miniature arcade cabinet. The latest in their series of Replicade arcade machines, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition is a 1/6 scale replica of the original 1992 re-release, with a staggering attention to detail; you can even open up the coin doors! Every bit of text from the original machine is faithfully recreated, though many players will need a magnifying glass to be able to read it all. The wooden finish is just as it was in 1992, and the marquee display even lights up like the real thing... But tiny.
This Street Fighter II miniature isn't just for show, however; it's a fully functional video game. In addition to Champion Edition, the machine also includes Super Street Fighter II: Turbo, and players can switch between the two games (and a bunch of other settings) by pressing the coin return button on the unit. While far from the most practical way to play Street Fighter II, this Replicade machine is far more serviceable than one might expect, and is more than just an expensive tchotchke.
The Replicade machine is too small to include two sets of controls. Instead, the miniature has a single joystick and six-button layout, with a secondary fight pad located in the console's rear compartment. The "USB Mini Fight Stick," as it is called, features an identical layout to the built-in controls, so there's no disadvantage to being Player 2. The controls themselves are strikingly authentic to the original arcade experience, though wrestling with the tiny joystick will undoubtedly lead to many erroneous jumps due to its sensitivity. The stick clicks every time it moves, which is useful, if potentially a bit annoying during long play sessions. Likewise, the buttons feature a noisy click every time they're pushed, which offers feedback, but also a bit too much sound pollution. Nevertheless, it's absolutely possible to kick major butt at Street Fighter II using the built-in controls, since this package delivers the full experience, regardless of its diminutive size.
These days, Street Fighter II's sprites look somewhat dated on a big, HD screen, but they look downright gorgeous on the Replicade cabinet's 3.5 inch LCD display. The image is bright and clear (and the brightness can even be adjusted in the back-end options menu), devoid of the ghostly artifacts which sometimes manifest on this type of product. Sure, it's tiny, but it's easy to make out the action on the lovely flat screen.
New Wave Toys also included a set of tiny coins with the set, but they have no purpose other than being easy to lose. They don't work in the machine's coin slots (which are sealed) and just seem hastily tacked-on for no real reason. Another shortcoming is the lack of a port for a 3.5 mm headphone jack. The speakers on the unit itself are decent enough, but they lack the punch to truly capture the heroic energy of Guile's Theme.
In 2019, there are dozens of ways to play Street Fighter II. This New Wave Toys Replicade cabinet is easily the most novel, and – with its $120 asking price – probably the most expensive, short of buying an actual arcade cabinet. As a game, it's impossible to recommend this over the myriad other ports, but as an accessory with style and utility, it's easily a must-have for hardcore Street Fighter fanatics with money to spare who can't justify owning a full-sized arcade machine.
The Street Fighter II Replicade is available now. A unit was provided for review by New Wave Toys.