Capcom have a terrible habit of making slight additions and tweaks to Street Fighter games and releasing them with new, increasingly suffixed and prefixed titles. Super Street Fighter IV forgoes the usual Championship Edition and Turbo/Hyper Fighting phases proceeding directly to Super.
While this iterative release obviously wont have the significant impact of its forebear – which ignited the fighting game genre bringing 2D fighters back in to the mainstream – let’s take a look if it is indeed super and worthwhile purchase for newcomers and veterans alike.
While many have pointed fingers at Capcom for sending this to retail instead of updating the game through DLC, let me assure those naysayers that this is more – much more – than an incremental upgrade. While the rather well known play mechanics are largely the same, just about everything else has gotten a overhaul. Quite simply, there’s no way this could have been released as DLC. Thankfully it’s been released at a budget price, with a local RRP of R499.
The first – and quite possibly most important thing you’ll notice as a returning player is that you’ll no longer have to listen to that J-Pop abortion of a theme song; It’s been replaced by a remixed version of the Street Fighter II theme, leaving your eardrums feeling a little more indestructible.
Jokes aside, the largest addition is to the number of playable characters. 10 fighters have been added to the fray – bringing the total to 35. They’re mostly culled from previous games in the franchise’s legacy. There are also 2 new characters; Juri, a sinister Korean Tae-Kwon Do practitioner and Hakan, a slippery, sunburned Turkish oil-wrestler.
Each new fighter feels fresh, interesting and crucially, robust; and the addictions to the cast add the welcome spice of diversity. Each new character is capable of dishing out significant dollops of pain. Dudley, the aristocratic boxer is a master of mix-ups and is absolutely devastating at close range. Makoto, the young karateka, although seemingly slow is able to unleash some surprisingly quick attacks from halfway across the screen. Ibuki, the ninja relies on deception and lightning-fast trickery – as ninjas do.Â Needless to say, the accession of new characters adds a new level of depth – and even veteran players will need time to develop supplementary strategies.
While the new characters are a focal point, there’s more than enough reason to revisit some of your old favourites. In addition to balancing and tweaking, each character receives a secondary Ultra combo, selectable pre-match much like Street fighter III’s Super-Arts system. Some have given the older characters a bit of new life making them more dangerous, while others are pretty close to useless. Some, like Ryu’s Metsu Shoryuken – the ultimate dragon punch – are so viscerally satisfying that you can’t help but opt for them, even if his Metsu Hadouken fireball ultra is much more effective. Whichever your choice of character, they’re all available to select from the beginning – so there’s no more slog of playing through the single player arcade mode just to amass more fighters.