Written By Allan “Zardon” Campbell
Street Fighter is an iconic game series and if you are as old as me you will remember playing earlier versions of the games in the arcades. Yes, the good old gaming days when you chucked many coins into the machines and ended up going home later, skint.
Super Street Fighter IV is not ‘the’ comeback story – that happened last year with the champion brought out of retirement to fight one last time. Street Fighter IV was such a success that it even surpassed Capcom’s wildest dreams. Street Fighter IV was never targeted to the arcades and as such it wasn’t a huge success in that arena, however within the console market it sold by the bucketload. It was the Sylvester Stallone ‘Rocky’ of comebacks.
Many claim that Super Street Fighter IV is a little bit of a cash cow and it is hard to ignore the fact that slapping a ‘super’ in front of a successful title could be easily perceived that way. Fortunately spending a little bit of time with this game assures the gamer that Capcom have once again delivered the goods.
Many of the improvements have been sourced from the plethora of gamers who played IV, and normally when a publisher listen to the audience they can be assured of a successful follow up (not always mind you). 10 New characters have enhanced the original lineup of 25 and a few totally new additions enter the fray in the shape of Tae-Kwon-Do expert Juri and Turkish Wrestler Hakan.
The strongest aspect of Super Street Fighter IV is that each of these fighters offers a different fighting experience which requires strategic planning and spending some time learning all the combination of moves. The aforementioned Juri for instance has immense armor crushing dive kick attacks and Ibuki (a ninja) has a wide array of attacks to confuse any fighter not on the top of their game.
All of the characters have their own unique fighting style and all of them add something worthwhile to the experience. They are all also unlocked from the start so you don’t need to fight through the arcade mode to end up with the player you want. New costume colours and taunts are also earned by playing as a character in any mode, which is refreshing.
Capcom have listened to the user base and now the damage has been fine tuned and subsequently reduced in most areas to make for a more balanced experience. Thankfully the ultra moves aren’t quite as devastating and its possible to take two of these attacks and still win the game, even if that is rather a tall order at times.
The online aspects have also been overhauled and there are three battle modes available. Ranked – with you playing one on one matches across either one, three or five rounds. You get awarded currency in the shape of either Battle Points or Player Points.
Team Battle operates much like a Tournament system, allowing 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4 games, with the overall winning team getting a trophy cup for their efforts. You can select the order you fight in, so strategy will play an important part in how well you do, from character to character.
Endless Mode caters for up to eight players to play ‘winner stays on’ inside a lobby environment. These players not only can fight but those not fighting can talk about the battle together and the next player in the order can reserve their spot to fight next by pressing the relevant button. It is a worthwhile addition which rewards interaction between players and can also heighten the tension considerably.
Super Street Fighter IV also offers an impressive Replay Channel which allows every player to save, name and rate 150 matches which they can rewatch at any time they wish. These can be viewed in slow motion and you can even invite friends into your Channel to watch the best fights. Many people are using these replay options as a means to ascertain their individual fighting weaknesses which is a wonderful idea.
Time Trial and Survival modes have been removed and it is no great loss as more development time has went into the Character Trials which offer 24 increasingly difficult combos and moves to master across each of the 35 characters in the game. Rewards are given with gamertags, icons and titles to parade in front of your friends.
Just as before the mini games make a return, with the car smashing and barrel breaking still options to ‘mix up’ the traditional combat areas – they don’t appeal to me and I wouldn’t miss them if they were removed, but I am sure some people find they add a little value for money in the overall context of the game. If, like me you hate them, then they are easily toggled off.
For the Street Fighter fan, the new SUPER edition is a fine update which tweaks and fine tunes the original code and offers a more balanced and enjoyable game. If you already own the original game however and are a ‘casual’ fan then this might be a hard price tag to swallow.