Street Fighter IV delivers a K.O.

Antonio Hernandez / Roundup

The crowd is deafening and you try to focus as the countdown begins, but the fluorescents are almost too much to handle.

It’s been far too long since you did this last, but there’s no time to think about that. The announcer pauses and the words you have been waiting to hear finally reach your ears…

“FIGHT!”

No, this isn’t a boxing match.

This is “Street Fighter IV”(SFIV), one of the most anticipated fighting games since the genre was created. The long awaited follow up to “Street Fighter III: Third Strike” is finally upon us, and yes, it was worth the wait.

SFIV is an ode to years past, filling the roster with familiar faces from past Street Fighter games, including E. Honda, Balrog and the ever-famous Guile. In truth, SFIV plays more like its relatives, Street Fighter II.

Unlike its immediate predecessor, “Street Fighter III”, this game focuses more on speed and a constant offense.

If you like to hide in the corner and wait for your opponent to leave himself open, you might want to skip over this iteration.

Each character is molded after this philosophy of “constant attack,” and boy, are there a lot of characters to choose from.

With 25 characters filling the roster, it is almost impossible to find a fighter that doesn’t fit a player’s style.

New characters—such as C.Viper and Rufus—don’t disappoint either and feel as familiar as the old characters they are modeled after. However, it would be a mistake to assume that Street Fighter IV doesn’t bring anything new to the table.

First of all, the game has gone from a 2D fighter to a high-definition 3D masterpiece.

Simply put, the game looks gorgeous. Each fighter is modeled in great detail and all have their own personal quirks. As expected, the super moves are over the top and entertaining to watch (as long as you don’t miss).

It’s not just about the graphics, as beneath all the gloss are balanced fighters. There are super moves that are enabled after you score enough hits, but there is also a new super gauge. The revenge gauge fills as your character takes damage. When full, it gives you the option  to unleash a devastating move on your opponent.

The addition of the revenge meter adds certain suspense to the game. Do you use the revenge meter and make a comeback, or do you save it for the next round to immediately put yourself in an advantage?

Technically you can’t parry an attack, something that Street Fighter III was built upon; instead it has been replaced by a technique known as focus attacks.

The focus attack combines the art of parrying and a simple strike. As an opponent is attacking, you simply push two buttons to initiate a focus attack.

Your opponent’s attack will be negated and the focus attack will break through and deal damage. It sounds pretty simple, but you can also charge the attack to deal more damage and continue further with a combo. Oddly enough, focus attacks are not essential to becoming an expert player, but instead are there as an option.

Don’t be surprised to see people never using the move and others basing their style around it.

If there is one thing that is bad about SFIV, it’s the addition of animated cut-scenes. The developer, Capcom, should know by now that no one plays the game for the story. Somehow though they still deem it necessary to put together the most disjointed plotline in history.

It would be forgivable if the scenes were well drawn, but that is not the case. Instead, we are treated to cut-scenes that look like amateur drawings from a high school student. Thankfully SFIV doesn’t need a story to be entertaining.

Capcom has created another classic fighter that will be sure to leave a great impression for generations to come.

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Don’t think that the newcomers are push-overs (CAPCOM)

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