I was really lucky I got to jump into to Capcom’s mini arcade set-up and play Street Fighter IV outside of the journalist tournament. However, I didn’t arrive until the tail end and Capcom was getting ready to go. My goal was to give the new characters Crimson Viper and Abel a go and write up impressions about how they feel. I achieved half of my initial mission.
In my first match I chose Crimson Viper and took on someone playing Blanka. I scanned the little move set on the bottom of the machine to figure out how to do her flaming kick. This move has some serious range and can easily consume half of the screen. Effective when trying to play a distance game and hitting the top pixels on Blanka’s wide, roundhouse flip kick, but horrible when Blanka pulls out the shocking electricity special. Blanka seems to be able to do the electricity move much faster than other versions and fire doesn’t conquer electricity. If Crimson Viper had a water kick she may have fared better. Crimson Viper doesn’t feel graceful like Cammy, she’s more of a “heavy” character. Slow, but powerful. Without any idea of her move set a few charging elbow thrusts and jumping punches resulted in a quick loss.
The matches were played in standard arcade fashion. The winner stays, loser pays. Except there was no money “paying” meant less time playing Street Fighter IV and shorter impressions. Since it was my first time playing Street Fighter IV I was allowed a “mulligan”. I passed on Abel and went to a much more familiar character, Ryu. I figured Capcom wouldn’t change him much, which would give me a fair chance to win the match. Blanka opened the match by scratching himself. Ryu looked focused with crossed arms. I started the fight throwing fireballs and using the rapid fire low short kick combo. The latter seemed to frustrate the player since he didn’t expect a flurry of three kicks. When he blocked I used the hurricane kick, which I thought would push him in the corner. A prime place to either nail him with a punch into hadouken combo or another burst of short kicks with a roundhouse finisher. To my surprise, when an opponent blocks the hurricane kick Ryu goes behind them. This neat twist confused my opponent and set him up for an easy defeat.
Since I got two matches in I started to experiment with Ryu more. He can throw red fireballs that ignite opponents and his roundhouse spinning sweep changed into a lunging kick. By all basic purposes he’s Ryu and he still has a charged up hadouken as a super move. You can’t stock super energy between rounds. Once I noticed all the hard earned energy in the combo meter fading I finished my second opponent off with a surge of light blue energy. The screen flashed orange and red lights adding a second victory to my total. At this point I really wanted to switch to Abel even if it meant losing, but the other player didn’t want Ryu… right away. After fiddling with character select screen he finally decided on Ryu wearing a darker uniform. He asked if he could “test out” his character first and I let him until he charged forward with an unannounced jump kick. Good thing I was blocking. I won this match and the team of (European?) journalists looked quite frustrated since it was the end of the night and they wanted to play the game more.
I gracefully resigned after my third win with the impression that Street Fighter IV has the fluid feel of other installments in the series.