Almost twenty years ago, a team of people at Capcom in Japan came up with a game that was to be so legendary, it would spawn sequel upon sequel & franchise upon franchise.
Street Fighter II became the arcade game of legends. For years (and still today), gamers would hover around arcade cabinets watching masters pump coins into machines like madmen. Opponents pushed buttons and swung arcade sticks while the fans cheered and grinned through it all, the winner coming out on top with pats and hand-slaps from every angle.
Out from Street Fighter II came animated movies, live action movies, and a plethora of spin-off game titles including the highly celebrated Marvel vs. Capcom series of games.
Now, Capcom have gone back to the drawing board and released a game that embodies all of what was loved about the classic Street Fighter II.
Street Fighter IV pushes the franchise in a new direction while leaving a lot of the tradition in its place.
Much like the original game, the format is still the one-on-one two-dimensional fight screen. But instead of leaving the 2D animated characters, now you get detailed vibrant 3D characters with which to punch, kick, and force fireballs out with. Characters now have heavy-set bulges, muscles, and structure to make them feel real. Instead of just having the classic anime look, they now have that in 3D and there’s a very real sense from the jagged line adorning their bodies that they’ve been drawn just a few minutes ago.
The backgrounds have also been pushed into this new dimension while leaving a lot of style in tact. Now you’ll find yourself fighting the world’s best in cityscapes that are bustling, cruise ships with people cheering, and even the quiet of a rocking boat. While the backgrounds are very interactive, it is obvious that they’re just wallpaper and don’t interfere with your fighting in any way.
And the fighting is what you came for so let’s talk about that. It’s still just as fast & furious as you remember. While you can still button-mash it to death, the more experienced player will be taking note of every stick movement and combination of buttons to get the best shot in. Power moves are now there and, short of quickly removing the life out of an opponent, these look stunning on screen and will quickly fill a gamer with as much awe is left in the world.
Because it’s a Street Fighter game and because it’s from Capcom, it’s still got the same sort of fight modes you expect. You’re still generally playing a fighting game and unlike some of the Mortal Kombat games that started to shift to action, adventure, and RPG styles, Street Fighter has none of that here.
What is a little strange is how the story plays in this. Pick a player and you’ll watch anime stories based off of each player.
This isn’t so strange given that at the end of the game in the original, players were treated with a text version of what happened to each player at the end. It’s weird here though because the anime is often childish and somewhat stupid. Somewhere between the bad English voice actors and the slightly odd stories, you’ll wonder what the hell happened to your Street Fighter game.
You don’t really have to think hard about it and can move onto the next thing quickly because Street Fighter IV is a game about fighting. In fact, it is the quintessential fighting game. I can think of no other fighting game that brings out as much fun with each control manoeuvre than Street Fighter IV.
This game was made to be played and don’t be surprised if you end up ruining a game controller in the process. Street Fighter IV is just that much fun.