Gam(e)ania is going crazy with yet another personal review. With Super Street Fighter 4 looming just about a month away I thought we’d take a look at Capcom’s Street Fighter 4 to get a little hype flowing for Super. As we get a little closer to the release of Super Street Fighter 4 I may, or may not, also do a special hype devoted completely to the new content in Super Street Fighter 4, but for now let’s get right into Street Fighter 4.

In 1999 Capcom released the widely popular Street Fighter III: Third Strike and before you ask…yes there was a Street Fighter III and a Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact. Anyway, Third Strike had become one of the iconic Fighting Games on the scene and was the main event game at Evolution, a fighting game tournament featuring the best players. But, that was the last Street Fighter installment that fighting game fans would see from Capcom. Now, during this hiatus Capcom had created Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and SNK vs. Capcom: The Match of the Millennium and both were amazing fighting games in their own right and all starred in the Evolution fighting tournament…but they weren’t Street Fighter.

On October 17, 2007, it was revealed that there would in fact be a Street Fighter 4. Boasting updated next generation console graphics but still remaining true to the Street Fighter’s 2D fighting system there was a great deal of anticipation for the “fourth” installment in the Street Fighter series. Street Fighter 4 was finally released in the US on February 16, 2009. Now, with the little history lesson aside, let’s look at some of the aspects that make Street Fighter 4 the fighting game that it is.

One of the things that makes Street Fighter 4 is that it manages to innovate new features while still staying true to itself. The basic fighting engine is almost identical to the early Street Fighter games and even has all the fighters from the Street Fighter 2 series, complete with their signature special moves that, for the most part, are still performed the same way they were back in the Street Fighter 2 days. But there are still plenty of new features in the fighting system, one of the more notable ones being the addition of the Focus Attack. The Focus Attack, performed by holding down the Mid-Punch and Mid-Kick buttons, is a charge attack that can cancel out most normal attacks and lash out with a strong attack that momentarily leaves your opponent stunned, however you are still susceptible to throws and if you’re attacked too closely after the Focus Attack you will take the damage of not only take the damage of the move you cancelled but also the next attack after.

The next addition is the Ultra Combo, there have been Ultras in previous Street Fighter games but never quite on the scale that they are in Street Fighter 4. When you land an Ultra Combo your fighter goes through an almost cutscene like sequence of attacking your opponent with a devastating combination. However, to be able to even attempt an Ultra Combo your Revenge Meter must be full and to fill this meter you need to take damage. There is also the Super Meter that fills next to the Revenge Meter as you both give and take damage. Each character also has a Super Combo that is a less extravagant combo to the Ultra, but still a powerful combo. But, using the Super Combo completely drains your Super Meter where each fourth of the meter could be used to perform EX Special Moves. If you aren’t familiar with the EX Move, it is a more powerful version of the character’s special move, you’ll know when it happens because your character will flash yellow while performing his or her special move.

But, Street Fighter 4 also offers up six new characters in Abel; a French mixed martial artists, Crimson Viper; an American female spy who has high tech gloves that pulse with electric power and high tech boots that spew flames, Rufus; an obese American nerd who has mastered kung-fu, El-Fuerte; a Mexican cook who is also a masked luchador, Seth; the main antagonist of the story and leader of the S.I.N organization , his body has been manipulated to be able to learn the techniques of all the World Warriors in Street Fighter, and Gouken; Ryu and Ken’s sensei. However, Gouken and Seth need to be unlocked through a rather tedious set of circumstances. In total there are 25 playable characters in Street Fighter 4.

Select Screen

Graphically, Street Fighter 4 is a 3D and 2D fighter. All the graphics and character models are in three dimensions but you fight on a 2D plane. The colors in this game are rather vibrant and lush, one of the more striking examples of this is in just about all of C.Viper’s special moves. The electricity is a vibrant blue and her flames are a rather vivid orange. Just…take a look.

Street Fighter 4 also allows you to play online via either the PSN or Xbox Live. However, there are some problems with the online play. One of the main problems is that if you or your opponent’s connection is slow or even a little slow then you will suffer through lag and in a fighting game…that’s just a tough pill to swallow sometimes. Also, a majority of the online community only play as Ken, Ryu, Sagat, Ken, Ken, and Ken. Yeah, there are A LOT of Ken players online so be ready to have to match up with Ken…A LOT.

I’m not going to get into tiers because unless you’re a pro level player then tiers just don’t matter that much. But, basically, what the Tier List does is it ranks the characters from best to worst based on how two equally skilled expert players match up against each other with each character. Highly skilled players can do what is called “Counter-Picking” where they pick what character to use based on the tier list because they’re so well versed in the game they can play proficiently as just about anyone. But, if you’re picking up this game for the first time then this is something you shouldn’t even consider worrying about.

Overall, Street Fighter 4 provided us with both a classic and newly innovative game. Street Fighter 4 is a fighter that both old fans of the series and new fans alike can relate to. It has a polished feel to it and offers a wide array of characters for you to pick from. Street Fighter 4 is a beautiful game with enhanced 3D graphics and cell shading.

I give Street Fighter 4…4 HADOUKENS…out of five.

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Images courtesy of Gamespot.com

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