Image via WikipediaSuper Puzzle Fighter II is an offshoot of Street Fighter II. Instead of mashing buttons to get in your six different attacks and go for combos, you put down the "gems" on a playing field, and use the "break gems" to break as many gems as you can to 'attack'. You can play solo, but that is rather boring. The versus mode is a bit more exciting, as you take one the various other street fighter II fighters in a puzzle brawl to see who is the ultimate champion.
The gem-drop gameplay is very simlar to Sega Columns or Piyu-Piyu. You get two gems, which can be regular, break, or diamond, of various colors. They are dropped two at a time, and you can rotate them as you see fit. There are six columns to drop the gems onto. If you form a square of same color, they merge into super-gem. The larger the supergem when you break it, the more powerful the attack. You BREAK gems by touching it with a break gem, of course. It has to be the same color though. The diamond gem clears ALL gems of the color from the board, and is quite rare.
The problem is there is no tutorial mode, and no hint so you *have* to read the help to play, and that is just unintuitive, and then the versus mode doesn't explain about what's different about each fighter and the special rules.
The versus mode adds a new twist... When the opponent breaks a gem, and fills the attack meter, you get some "counter gems" on your board. The countergems counts down from 5, and cannot be broken but they turn into regular gems after the counter expires (and then can be broken). Thus, the idea is to "save up" big gems, but not so big that when enemy attacks and drops a load of counter gems on you, you can't reply in kind without losing.
There is no difficulty level, and not that much difference between the various fighters that I can see. Thus, the game isn't really that interesting once you finish the versus mode ONCE. Thus there is no point in playing the game with the other 7 characters, or the solo mode, that I can see (please let me know if I am wrong here...)
If you like this kind of puzzle but also a bit of a story line, I'd suggest Puzzle Quest instead.
Music is kinda lame, IMHO, and graphics... well, all of the fighters are "super-deformed" turn into really cartoony figures. Ryu, Chun-Li, and others are here, but super-short and super-chunky (as I said, super-deformed). And the versus mode they don't really "fight". All you see of your opponent is two bars... attack bar and life bar. Your character does a few attack moves when you broke a gem, but other than that he just sorta stands there.
All in all, Super Puzzle Fighter II is a pretty boring game. If you like this sort of puzzles, there are better implementations than this one. Not even the cute Street Fighter II characters and the versus mode can save this from the mediocre pile.
Overall rating 5 out of 10
Pros: simple mechanics, some cute SF2 characters
Cons: no tutorial so mechanics are not explained very well, versus mode is overhyped
Verdict: there are better battle-puzzles out there, like PuzzleQuest