tagReviews & EssaysStreet Fighter 4

Street Fighter 4

bySean Renaud©

It's been over a decade since the last time we got to see a sequel to Street Fighter and like a lot of fans I feared that we would never see a fourth installment. Like every fan around the world I was on my feet cheering when I heard the announcement last year that we would finally be getting to control Ryu and Ken in a game that didn't have Vs. in the title. Don't get me wrong, the versus games are a lot of fun but it's been too long since we got to play a new Street Fighter. I've had this game for just a little less than twenty four hours and here's my review. We'll start by discussing the graphics.

The graphics are incredible. The characters have been rendered in full 3D, many of them for the very first time. Like many fans seeing this initially filled me with dread. Street Fighter had gone 3D. It was a slap in the face to everything Street Fighter. There was a three dimensional Street Fighter, it was called Street Fighter Ex. It sucked. Capcom hasn't had great luck stepping into the third dimension (though I think Rival Schools held up admirably especially for a game of that era) and the idea of Street Fighter going down that road was frightening to a lot of fans. Fortunately Capcom quickly announced that the game wasn't going to be 3D, just the models. Talk about dodging bullets.

The character models a vibrant and bring the world to life in a way that has never been accomplished before. Whether it's watching Zangief actually go through the proper motions for a spinning piledriver or watching the weirdness that is Dhalsim's stretchy body writhing across the screen borders on the sublime. This is a true work of art, the kind of thing that you should take an extra moment to appreciate. If I have any complaints about the graphics it's that the fireballs are all about a size too small and look insignificant. Cool but still too small.

Three dimensional rendering did wonders for the stages as well giving us an all new look into the world. Many of the stages include moving people and not just the ring girls in Vegas or the man drinking tea in China. There are stages with scientists walking around working and others with monkeys flipping or parrots gliding. Some of the stages also have impressive particle effects where clouds of dust form after a character has leapt out of sand or water. This is another triumph graphically.

Any gamer knows that graphics alone don't make a game. In fact for real gamers graphics might be the last thing we care aabout. What's important is how the game plays. It plays just like you remember from Chun Li's Spinning Bird Kick to the Blanka Ball it' all there and it feels like coming home. For anybody who's a veteran of the game you're going to step back in meet up with your old friends and go to town. There are some new things. One of those things is the focus attack which is a chargeable attack that also provides you with a brief immunity to many attacks, great for punishing those bullies who like to back you into a corner and hammer away without a care in the world. Another is the Ultra Combo. Unlike most energy bars that are built up by performinsg special moves the Revenge Gauge is filled by you taking damage which you in turn get to unleash your anger on your unsuspecting opponent.

The important people from the cast are all here. The original twelve world warriors are all back together for the first time in years and they brought Cammy and Fei Long with them. For the five people who care T.Hawk and Dee Jay's invitations to the tournament were apparently lost in the mail. Gen and Rose and Sakura are all here to represent the Alpha crowd and we even got a special treat. After years of being teased and trying impossible things we get Shen Long the man who trained Ryu and Ken in martial arts. If you're reading this and you don't remember trying to beat Street Fighter Two with nothing but perfects and then run down the clock for a three round tie with M.Bison or equally absurd feats through out the Alpha series then you're just not a Street Fighter. (There's nothing wrong with that I'm just pointing out a fact bout you.) Well he's finally here and it's glorious.

This tournament is also hosting four new warriors. Two of which I think feel right in the Street Fighter world. So I'll introduce them last and instead I'll start with the one I find to be most upsetting. His name is Rufus, he's an acrobatic tub of lard. I guess I'm being a little rough on the guy but he just doesn't look like he belongs to the club. He does fight with a very interesting style that will make him a favorite of some. Crimson Viper is a secret agent who uses weapons wired into her suit to attack. She feels like she was supposed to be part of the cast of Devil May Cry and instead wandered in to Street Fighter when she was told that only one babe is allowed per game. Her fighting style is interesting though. The two that I approve of are El Fuente, a masked Mexican wrestler that seems to have stepped directly out of WWE. We finish out the cast with Abel the man with no past.

We're treated to the newest last boss Seth. He's not he cheapest last boss in a fighting game. I mean he could be Tekken 5's Chinpachi who could fire infinite fireballs. Or Alpha 3's M.Bison with his full screen Psycho Crusher. There are a few others that come to mind but Seth ranks up there. He sand bags the first round to work you into a false security and then he beats the ever loving crap out of you. Seth has a combination and improvement of the best moves of the roster. A six hit Shoryuken, Dhalsim's stretch punch, an uppercut that teleports into a spinning piledriver. He's got a bit of everything and he's one of the more frustrating last bosses in a while. Stick to your guns, he's not invincible he's just a douche.

If you're a true fan of the series you've probably gained some appreciation for the story and the relationships within. Each character's journey starts with a fully animated (cartoon) explaining their motivations for joining this particular tournament. Of course Ken is going to fight Ryu and Chun Li is on the trail of Interpol. The endings are short and entertaining letting us get a feel for the characters. I haven't gotten a real feel for the story here.

When all is said and done, this is Street Fighter. This is what we've been waiting for since the turn of the decade. Actually since the turn of the millennium. It's here. It's good and the wait was worth it.

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bySean Renaud© 3 comments/ 12283 views/ 0 favorites

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