Street Fighter

Old-school gamers are probably suppressing a double take to make sure they didn’t accidentally warp back to the year 1992. That’s the year that “Street Fighter II” and “Mortal Kombat” first duked it out for supremacy of the arcades. Almost two decades later, the fighting game franchises are competing again, but the circumstances are much different this time.

Good luck finding “Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition” in the sweaty gaming dungeons tucked away in corners of shopping malls and theme parks that have all but disappeared from the video game landscape. Instead, almost every gamer will experience the newest in
the SF line from the comfort of their own home on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 or PC.

Here Comes A New Challenger

The Arcade Edition is actually the second “expansion” of Street Fighter IV, which debuted on consoles in the winter of 2009. Last spring saw “Super Street Fighter IV,” which added a handful of new characters, additional Ultra combos, online play modes and balancing tweaks. The new Arcade Edition puts four new characters into the ring -- Evil Ryu, Yun and Yang and Oni -- bringing the size of the roster to a bursting-at-the-seams number of 39.

Evil Ryu isn’t just a new look for the classic character. Wreathed in dark flame and glowing red eyes, he’s got unique moves like a mid-air flip kick, a chargeable fireball and a teleport power that makes him play like a hybrid of old Ryu and Akuma. Yun and Yang are solid additions from “Street Fighter III.”

The most striking new character is Oni -- a bristling, spiky-haired, muscled behemoth who resembles a more badass version of Blanka. Oni’s got quite an arsenal -- two types of fireballs, a spinning hurricane kick special and some spectacular Ultra combos -- and he’s sure to be a favorite among online players.

Follow Your Friends

Beyond the new characters, Capcom has tweaked some of the old fighters for balancing reasons. Hardcore SF fans will notice minor changes like Akuma’s toned down Hurricane Kick and Makoto’s faster Dash Punch. There are also a few new presentational updates, like a change to the Replay Channel so that you can follow your friends and other players almost like you would on Twitter and analyze their games. There’s also an Elite Channel, which lets you watch the replays of some of the world’s best players.

Verdict

That’s still not enough new content for Super Street Fighter IV owners to justify purchasing another disc, but luckily Capcom is letting players download a $15 patch to upgrade. If it’s been awhile since you’ve pulled off a Dragon Punch and want to get your fighting game fix, it’s hard to go wrong with the Arcade Edition.
 

Follow Ryan Smith on Twitter: @RyanSmithWriter

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