Street Fighter II Hyper FightingThanks to a few choice words delivered from Peter Moore at CES the other day, we all know that Street Fighter II’ Hyper Fighting will be making its way to the Xbox 360's Live Arcade "in early 2006." What we didn't know was the extent to which the coin-op classic would be emulating its arcade roots in the process.

The "Quarter Match" system will follow up on the Live-lobby efforts of original-Xbox title Dead or Alive Ultimate, staging a spectator mode where interested parties can "use a 'virtual quarter' to 'buy into' heated two player matches," and to check out potential friends and rivals alike. What really has SF aficionados stoked, however, is the free "feature-limited" demo planned for download on Live, which will allow players to try out "two playable characters for one match" -- just the thing to lure 6-button fighting fans back into the fold. (Ken or Ryu vs. Chun-Li, anyone?)

Street Fighter Anniversary Collection added online play, while Capcom Classics Collection restored Hyper gameplay balance and backgrounds (two titles notably still absent from the official 360 BC list), but this latest iteration on Live puts the best elements all together, and sounds like the "next-gen" arcade experience (albeit on a console) that Capcom fighting fans have long been waiting for. Running from the hard drive can only help with load times and disappearing-sound issues. If they can solve any all-too-current-gen issues with lag online, there oughtta be a remarkably potent old-school alternative to the newest 3D fight fests being offered on Microsoft's latest machine.

The rest of the announced features are detailed on Capcom's official site, but the Live Arcade manager quoted seemed to put it best: "Offering this flagship title in Xbox Live Arcade... is the answer to many gamers' dreams, including mine." So how long until Konami and Sega's beat-em-ups join the fray? Whether on one or all the next-gen consoles, we wanna see more of the old (and good) stuff. Here's to a refreshing first step... 'cuz it's about time. Fight!

[Thanks, Justin Nolan & JamesO]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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