Street Fighter IV

(PlayStation 3, XBox 360, PC & Arcade – Reviewed on XBox 360)

by: “Tiger” Oliver

Pros:
Beautiful, high-definition 3D renderings from the fighters down to the very last brick
Great combat engine; very fluid
Decent story with great new fighters

Cons:
WTF?! I thought Gouki/Akuma sent M. Bison down to Hell at the end of
Street Fighter II?! Why does he keep coming back?
Boss (Seth) is cheap – from the way his fighting style works from the way Capcom cheapened his ominousness.
C’mon, how come I can’t unlock Gouki/Akuma when I’ve beat him over 9000 times?!

Sometimes, a decade’s hiatus can really fire up a series. Thankfully, in the case of Capcom’s Street Fighter series, absence has made the fight grow stronger with Street Fighter IV.

Street Fighter IV takes place between Street Fighters II & III. Seth, the genetically-mutated leader of a global arms dealer (?), is trying to get DNA from all of the world warriors so he can take over the world. Meanwhile, M. Bison’s trying to get a brand new body (yes, AGAIN) whilst trying to take out his escaped creation from a roup of experimental super soldiers. Besides all the ins-and-outs of the other character’s stories, this storyline feels like a cheap knockoff of the Street Fighter III storyline.

But, does that cheapen the game? Let’s crunch the numbers:

Gameplay – 4/5

Classic Street Fighter fight here. Three punches, three kicks plus a default 3X punch & 3X kick buttons. There are some differences between this and other titles in the franchise. The first is a Focus Attack, which it activated by holding down the two “middle” attack buttons. By my understanding of the system, you can activate it during a combo or when someone’s attacking you to parry it and counter. The longer you hold down, the more powerful it is.

The second is that, once again, there’s only one Super Combo per player plus a new Ultra Combo. Simply put, the more damage you take in a match, the more your Ultra Meter fills up. When burning like flame, you can unleash a devastating Ultra Combo, which makes the camera go all cinematic and dramatic and such.

While combat is more fluid than the Street Fighter Alpha series, it just isn’t as such compared to Street Fighter III The range of attacks seem the shortest since Street Fighter II.

The original twelve world warriors from Street Fighter II – Ryu, Ken, Chun-li, Zangief, Dhalsim, Blanka, Guile, E. Honda, Vega, Balrog, Sagat and M. Bison – are all in this game. Joining them are four new contenders:

Abel: A Frenchman with no home, no family, no memory of his past. He teams up with Guile and Chun-Li to track down M. Bison.

El Fuerte: A Mexican lucha-libre wrestler who’s also an aspiring gourmet chef (and a horrible one, at that!). He thinks that he’ll master cooking by blending in the favorite flavors of all those he meets in the newest tournament. Yeah, g’luck with that, mate.

Crimson Viper: A spy that’s looking into Seth’s organization, S.I.N. and the project he’s currently undertaking.

Rufus: An obese fighter (some say MMA, others say Kung-Fu) who wishes to layeth the Smacketh-down on Ken Masters to become the best fighter in the U.S.A.

…I’m sorry, ADD’s kicking in; but, do you think Rufus looks similar to Dr. Robotnik/Eggman?


I don’y know, maybe it’s just me…

Anywho, there are eight unlockable characters (not including Seth):

Rose – Somehow, she’s returned from being M. Bison’s host back to physical form.

Sakura – A schoolgirl who’s Ryu’s biggest fan. She follows him around, trying to get him to train – or at least spar – her.

Gen – A friend to Chun-Li’s deceased father who wishes his death to be on the field of battle.

Dan – The joke character of Street Fighter. C’mon, this guy blows.

Cammy – M. Bison’s female clone-turned-British Special Ops agent, she’s looking into M. Bison’s ties with S.I.N.’s projects.

Fei Long – A tribute to Bruce Lee, also a carbon copy of him. Fei’s films are being vandalized by Shadaloo, so he’s off to remedy the situation.

Gouki/Akuma – The man who killed Ryu & Ken’s master (and his very own brother), Gouken. He seeks to fight Ryu and awaken the Satsui no Hado within him.

and…

Gouken – Ryu & Ken’s master. He was supposedly killed by Gouki/Akuma after his Raging Demon attack, but has now regained consciousness after all these years.

My biggest complaint is with the Seth character. For one thing, he’s like a rip-off of Gill, in my opinion. The second thing, Capcom cheapens his story when it’s revealed he’s the renegade byproduct of a super soldier experiment by none other than: you guessed it, M. Bison.

That being said, this is still one amazing game in terms of gameplay.

Graphics – 5/5

Screw Super Street Fighter II: HD Remix, this game is THE epitome of high-def fighting games. Every small graphical detail is made: from the hairs of Guile’s sweet ‘do to Rufus’s… um… body jiggle.

Anywho, each stage is amazingly detailed, the attacks are spectacular and the Ultra Combos… each a masterpiece.

No qualms here, a Renaissance-quality game.

Sound ā€“ 4/5

The music’s great, but not perfect. It’s good, but not mediocre. There’s nothing I can say about the sound and the music in this game that I haven’t summed up already.

Controls – 5/5

The controls are nothing new, classic Street Fighter. But, they’re improved. Special moves are now easier to pull off, everything flows very fluidly (even if, for the advanced combos, you have to move at lightning-fast speeds with world warrior-like reflexes).

This is how Street Fighter II should have controlled.

While not as perfect as Street Fighter III, it’s just one notch away from being there; still good enough for a perfect score in my book.

Replay Value – 5/5

From online play to facing players locally, this is Street Fighter at its best. You’ll continually play this game, getting better and better at it, wanting to annihilate your friends as they will want to to you if they play/have this game. Even trying each difficulty with each character in Arcade Mode will leave you coming back for more, even after unlocking all the characters (which is half of the replay value in the first place).

However, with this game, you simply can’t “replay” it. It’s got so many variables to it that there’s no “replay” value to it. Yet, it is in an “infinite” sort of way.

Overall ā€“ 4.5/5

If it wasn’t for the cheapness of Seth’s character and storyline, this game would have gotten a flawless 5/5. The music had no sway in it – even though, if everything was orchestrated, I might have thought different. Maybe.

So close, yet so far away.

Buy? – Cool your jets, John Denver
While this game is good, I can’t justify still paying $50 for it. Wait for some sweet Christmas deals or after you get some coin and Wal-Mart gift cards on Christmas. On the deals part, you might find it for cheap if it’s used, but I doubt it.

Rent? – Definite

Like professional wrestling – oops, I mean “sports entertainment” – games, fighting games like this series are what makes renting fun. You can pick it up for a week and still get the same rush that comes with owning it. Very few non-fighting/wrestling games can make such a boast. I’d definitely recommend this for a rental, hands down.

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