When discussing things that are awesome, “Street Fighter” should always come up.
I don’t mean the delightfully awful film with Jean-Claude Van Damme, nor the upcoming sure-to-be-box-office-disaster “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li” starring Kristen Kreuk. I mean the video games.
Whether you’re a big fan of the fighting game genre or not, chances are you have very fond memories of “Street Fighter II” if you grew up playing video games. Maybe you experienced “Championship Edition” in the arcades or maybe you played hours of “Turbo” on a friend’s SNES, but “Street Fighter” is one of those games that really affected people – and video games.
Even now, well over a decade since it was released, people are still playing “Street Fighter II.” Some crazy people instead choose to play “Street Fighter III: Third Strike,” but you should shun crazy people.
Developer Capcom even released a remade, newly drawn “Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix” for consoles late last year.
So fans of the series should rejoice, then, when they hear that the newly released “Street Fighter IV” for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 is just like “Street Fighter II,” and maybe even better.
The graphics in “Street Fighter IV” are 3D, giving the game a nice, high-tech look while still maintaining a very stylized, cartoonish style that fans associate with the series. Where Capcom was really smart, though, was with the gameplay.
Gameplay is entirely 2D. You can’t quite say, “This isn’t your daddy’s Street Fighter,” because, well, it sort of is. People who have been playing “Street Fighter II” for the last twelve years will be able to jump right in without a problem. Moves are similar, if not the same.
Ryu’s Hadouken? You pull it off exactly how you want to. As a rather humorous sketch available on YouTube would remind you, “Crouch, crouch forward, walk a little bit, then punch.”
Ken, Chun-Li, Bison, Dhalsim, Blanka … All of your favorite characters are here, as well as several new characters.
All of the modes you would expect are here as well. Arcade, Versus, Training, Challenge, and online play.
Capcom has also announced that they will be releasing a free update in the future that will add “Championship Mode,” which will add features such a recording and downloading replays as well as a points system to help with tournaments.
Arcade mode, as usual, has players guide one fighter through a set of matches with a specific story, leading up to the end boss. These are extremely short, and while the stories are nothing to write home about, the intros and endings are well animated in a nice anime style.
Challenge modes can bring a bit of longevity to the game, as they provide a variety of different tasks for players to perform in fairly traditional fighting game environments. Survival modes, for example, task you with defeating a certain number of opponents without being knocked out, while Time Trial modes are all about dispatching fighters quickly.
One of the most highly anticipated features, though, is online play, and thankfully this seems to work extremely well. In the 30+ matches I played before writing this review, only a few fights were marred with horrible lag.
There is also a neat online feature with which you can opt to have players online challenge you while you’re in the middle of Arcade mode. This can, no doubt, get annoying sometimes, but the key here is the nostalgia factor. It’s exactly as if you were playing your way through the game in an arcade, and that creepy kid with long black hair walked up and put his quarters in the machine to challenge you.
All in all, “Street Fighter IV” is an outstanding achievement that does everything fans were hoping for.
Fighting games aren’t nearly as popular as they used to be, but I hope this new game sparks new interest into the hearts of gamers everywhere. It can be a blast to play either alone or with a group of friends.