Super Street Fighter IV
Capcom will tell you that Super Street Fighter IV is the definitive version of the fourth game in the much loved series. They’ll tell you that it has more characters, more moves, more online modes and more stages and that it has everything you loved about Street Fighter IV plus a whole lot more. Well…we’re here to say that Capcom are being economic with the truth and that Super Street Fighter IV is incomplete. We’re here to tell you that Capcom have taken their eye off the ball; we are here to tell you that (brace yourselves…) the ‘in-des-tructable…nothin’s gonna stop me now!’ song is missing from Super Street Fighter IV’s menu screen! This makes us very sad. Fortunately, we are willing to forgive Capcom for its short-sightedness…and poor ear for a stone-cold classic tune….as the rest of the claims made stand up to investigation just fine.
It’s often all too easy to dismiss slightly revamped re-releases of games, with the incremental improvements on offer often desirable only for the hardest of hardcore. Sure, the FIFAs and Pro Evolution Soccer’s of the world can get away with yearly updates, but the current trend for releasing ‘Game of the Year’ editions is usually just an attempt to prolong the life of a waning title. That’s not the case with Street Fighter. If any series can justify the release of multiple refined versions, then that series is Street Fighter. Take the leaps made between Street Fighter II and Street Fighter II Turbo for example – the difference that faster gameplay, more characters and increased move-sets made was huge with the financial outlay required proving to be easily justifiable for fans eager for more. It offered refinement, polish and (most importantly) evolution; growing the intricacies of the fighting system in parallel with the fans’ affection for Ryu and co. Luckily the same can be said of Super Street Fighter IV.
As swathes of reviews will tell you, Street Fighter IV was one of (if not the) greatest one-on-one fighting games ever made. Sensibly resisting the leap into full three dimensional gameplay, Capcom took what was great about its 2D predecessors, rendered everything with a pristine new graphics engine and stuffed it to the gills with gameplay. It was instantly approachable for newcomers, a dazzling,high-definition gift for series veterans and a master-class for the fighting genre – ‘This, my friends, is how fighters should be made!’ it almost seemed to say.
Super Street Fighter IV is, to all intents and purposes, the same giddily enjoyable title that has been intelligently expanded in nearly ever area. The first thing that you’ll notice is the increased character roster; where the original had 25, Super has 35, all of which are accessible from the outset. Many of your old favourites have rejoined the fray – including the likes of Reggae-kick-boxer Deejay, Final-Fight-pyjama-ninja-dude Guy, posh-British-boxer-chap Dudley, and Native-American-muscle-man T-Hawk (to name a few). The cast is also joined by two brand new characters – Turkish oil wrestler Hakan and Taekwondo femme-fatale Juri. As always, each character has their own strengths, weaknesses, and individual quirks and mastering every character takes a huge amount of commitment; but whatever your preference there really is something here for everyone. All characters can now also choose from two different Ultra moves, further adding to the degree of choice on offer.
Of the two new additions, it is Hakan that stands out. Visually very striking (or, just plain weird looking) he has a penchant for olive oil that results in some of the most humorous ultra moves seen in the series thus far: we dare you not to snigger when you witness him breaking out the oil to then send himself and his opponent rocketing along the arena floor. Juri, on the other hand, is lightening quick, with purple neon trails surrounding many of her moves.
Along with the increased number of fighters, Capcom have also expanded the available online modes. ‘Endless Battle’ allows you to create lobbies that can be populated with players and follow a ‘winner stays on’ template. ‘Team Battle’ supports up to eight players divided into two teams and plays as a knock-out contest with victory going to the team who first manages to defeat all opposing team members. Both these modes work well and, along with the stand-alone Ranked matches, will undoubtedly keep you coming back to prove your worth. Also present is a ‘Replay Channel’ which allows you to record your own battles and upload them for all the world to see or to just watch replays on various series-themed channels. It is a nice little addition that helps to further cement the community aspects of the game as well as being a great resource for learning the ins and outs of each character.
If all that wasn’t enough, Super Street Fighter IV also sees the introduction of new backgrounds as well as the return of the bonus rounds. The new backgrounds are sumptuous – we’re particular fans of the African setting that features some of the most lovingly rendered in-game hippos ever. The bonus rounds – where you must smash a car up or a load of barrels – are as throw-away as ever, but fun nonetheless.
Unfortunately at the time of writing, there is one rather glaring problem – namely a lack of a tournament mode. Although Capcom are promising that this will soon be available via a downloadable update, this omission would border on being unforgivable were it not for the quality of the rest of the game. Tournaments were available on Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, so it’s disappointing not to see them here at the outset.
Super Street Fighter IV is a celebration of the Street Fighter series that adds a final, glossy lick of paint to the already sublimely polished original and, while it is unlikely to woo new fans, those already hopelessly addicted to Hadōken’s and Tatsumaki-Senpū Kyaku’s will be in their absolute element. Capcom have said that this is the final, definitive version of Street Fighter IV and, despite the lack of that song and (for the moment) a tournament mode…we’re inclined to agree with them.
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