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Super Street Fighter IV
Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1 - 2; 2 - 8 (Online)
Genre: Fighting/ Arcade/ Online

Graphics & Sound:
I believe that Super Street Fighter IV is the single greatest fighting game of this generation. When I think of all the major components of a great fighting game (value, content, balancing), there really is no question. There are a number of great modern fighting games out there, but in my mind, this one is the best. It boils down to this: if you like Street Fighter IV, this game belongs in your collection. If you like arcade-style fighting games in general, this game belongs in your collection. In fact, I can easily recommend this game to anyone who doesn't hate Street Fighter.

Super Street Fighter IV carries over the fantastic visuals from Street Fighter IV; since our site hasn't covered that game, I'll do the honors myself. Super Street Fighter IV takes the traditional 2D fighting plane and renders it in glorious 3D. Characters look vaguely cartoony, which is a clear sign of reverence for the franchise's roots. Crisp animation work is key in a fighting game, and Super Street Fighter IV knocks it out of the park. If a move looks like it should connect, it does. Ultra Combo Finishers will make your head spin, from the flashy moves to the fiery starburst backdrop that accompianies the announcer's cry of "K.O.!"

Street Fighter IV's theme song was an arguably terrible (and painfully catchy) bit of boy-band pop called "The Next Door (Indestructible)." Someone at Capcom must have gotten the memo, because the song is thankfully M.I.A. The high-energy soundtrack is perfect for each short burst of action. Most of the stuff is brand new, but if you played earlier Street Fighter games, you just might recognize a tune or two. The voice acting is wonderfully cheesy. Fei Long yelps and squawks like Bruce Lee, Blanka sounds like the feral green dude he is, and Dan sounds like a lovable dork. There are some stinkers, though. Ibuki sounds like she belongs on the Disney Channel, and Crimson Viper's K.O. scream will still make you wince.

Fighting games bear almost no explanation. You and your opponent both start off with full health bars. Your job is to make your opponent's bar run out before your's does. You'll move around a 2D plane while attacking your opponent with punches, kicks, throws, and special abilities. Of course, defense is also important. The Street Fighter franchise is probably the reason why fighting games have survived over the years, and it's still the king.

One simple word defines Super Street Fighter IV, and that word is "more." Yes, Street Fighter IV is a fantastic game, but even the hardest of the hardcore will admit that it's missing a few things.

If you wanted a bigger roster of fighters, you got it. Super Street Fighter IV introduces some classic characters to the modern era while marking the arrival of a few newcomers. Classics like Dee Jay and T. Hawk stand proudly alongside formidable new fighters Juri and Hakan. Juri is a Korean Taekwondo expert with a dark secret, but the self-proclaimed "Oil King of Turkey" is by far my favorite addition. He's like Zangief, (only red and oily) and his Ultra Combos are hysterically funny. All in all, there are ten new fighters.

A few new challengers aren't the only additions. Each character now has two Ultra Combos. The new Ultra Combos are still extremely fun to execute and watch, but many of them aren't as powerful as the originals. In addition, some of them are extremely difficult to pull off -- most notably, Zangief's anti-air Siberian Blizzard grapple. Some of them are counter Ultra Combos, which require an attack on the part of your opponent. I kind of wish you didn't have to choose between one combo and the other, but I guess we can't all have our cake and eat it too.

Balance is important in a fighting game. In fact, it might even be the most important part of a fighting game. Super Street Fighter IV is all about balance. Some characters were a bit overpowered in Street Fighter IV -- I've got a certain scarred Muay Thai fighter in mind. This game nerfs the overpowered characters and buffs the underpowered ones. The only character I can see people being iffy on is Dudley, but I don't see any real problem areas.

Having trouble beating ::insert character:: on ::insert difficulty setting::? Training Mode will set you up and help you out. There are loads of options for you to tweak; customizing the opponent A.I.'s behavior allows you to practice your problem scenarios. Additionally, the Command List is clean and easy to read.

If you're new to the scene and plan to take your game online, you'd better prepare yourself against the A.I. first -- lest you find yourself on the business end of a Metsu Hadoken. Learning how to tough it with the pros will help you start earning Battle Points and new Titles. Learning the countless nuances to this game's combat system is extremely rewarding.

Game Mechanics:
Super Street Fighter IV is one of the most accessible fighting games in recent memory, but it's also extremely deep. Learning how to counter your opponent on the fly is a total rush. Success is extremely rewarding, and failure simply lets you know where you need to improve.

If you've played one Capcom fighter, you've played them all, right? Super Street Fighter IV is pure arcade fighting goodness, through and through. Two sets of weak, medium, and fierce attacks? Check. Command and Charge special moves? Check. One fighting mechanic introduced last year returns for Super Street Fighter IV: the Focus Attack. By holding down both medium punch and medium kick, your character will charge up for a debilitating hit. During this charge period, your character can absorb a single hit. Unleashing a Focus Attack will cause your opponent to slowly collapse to the ground. The falling animation leaves the receiver vulnerable to attacks. A carefully planned Focus Attack can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

Street Fighter IV's multiplayer mode got the job done, but that's all it did. Super Street Fighter IV throws down with one of the most expansive multiplayer suites seen in a fighting game. We've got Team Battles now, which pan out the way you'd expect. However, Endless Battle is undoubtedly what everyone wanted in Street Fighter IV. This desperately-needed mode allows you to party up with seven of your friends for some fighting and spectating. It's a wonderful addition that delivers that good old-fashioned King of the Hill action.

I only have one concern regarding Super Street Fighter IV: Capcom has set a very tough standard. Even if the fighting games of the future don't measure up, it won't matter; Super Street Fighter IV is timeless.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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