FIGHT! Yeah, it’s still called ‘Street Fighter IV’, but it has a ‘Super’ on the front. In the world where this fighting game rules supreme, that is as good as a sequel.
alk about a hornet’s nest... when news first broke that Street Fighter IV would be followed up by Super Street Fighter IV, comment sections on gaming blogs everywhere exploded with angry posts about “How could Capcom do this?”, “Didn’t they just release the game?” and “Why not just add the new characters via downloadable content?”, though with far less elequence, more spelling mistakes and the occassional pot-shot at someone’s supposed gender. But these moans and groans did not come from the hardcore SF players. In fact, the game’s core community simply said “Well, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it”. Super Street Fighter IV is not some way for Capcom to squeeze more money out of gamer pockets. It’s a tradition.
To understand this we need to step back a couple of decades, to the dark rooms of the Eighties known as the Arcade. Back then the real fighting games were on the coin-op machines and fans would hang around, picking fights with each other and hapless newcomers. With home consoles still far from capturing the power to make these games live and breath, the fighting game world revolved around the arcade machines. That means that fixes and revisions came that way as well. No game is ever perfect and it became important to know what version of a game you were playing on. For most SF fans, the real game started with Super Street Fighter 2. This revision changed everything. It brought in entirely new graphics, added special attacks and introduced Ken’s iconic
MAR 2010 033
Shakunetsu Hadoken power move, one of the most iconic in the genre. So Super Street Fighter IV is not without merit and it keeps with some of the ‘Super’ upgrade traditions. The new game brings with it several new stages and eight new characters – some were dropped from the original SFIV while others return from older SF games or other Capcom fighters. One of them, Adon, actually hails from the very first Street Fighter game, released in 1986. Each character in the game also gains an extra costume, totalling three a piece (in a way echoing a change brought in the original SSF2, where characters came in eight different coloured costumes, depending on which button you used to select them). Animations have also been tweaked and a few issues with the balancing have been resolved. But these are just cosmetic or largely due anyway – nothing a bit of patching could not have resolved. SSFIV also adds more Ultra Combos for the serious players and debuts eightplayer tournament mode for some serious couch brawls. But perhaps the geekiest and most welcome change: the return of the famous barrel-busting and car-destroying minigames of SF2. In the first a fighter has to destroy as many rolling and falling barrels as possible before the timer run out, while the latter pushes you to completely total a car with your feet and fists in a limited amount of time. Forget beating up your opponent: often the biggest SF2 battles were over who would damage that car the most – and bragging rights always belonged to a master player who could total the car completely. It is true: a lot of these changes do not seem to make for an entirely new game and some are right to point out that if Capcom plan to ask full buying price for Super Street Fighter IV, it might be a bit rich. After all, games are not cheap. But the new modes and changes will entice the serious players, while those who managed not to pick up Street Fighter IV have no excuse this time...