Street Fighter IV ushered in a new wave of fighting games and Capcom is following it up with… Super Street Fighter IV. Being an expansion with a superlative adjective, Capcom didn’t reinvent the wheel, so to speak. They chromed it and added fancy spinners like nostalgic barrel kicking and car smashing bonus stages. Aside from those, the key features in Super Street Fighter IV can be broken down into two categories: characters and online play.
A new challenger has entered the ring!
Super Street Fighter IV has ten more characters on the roster. Eight of them are from past Street Fighter games while two are brand new World Warriors. T. Hawk and DeeJay are back from Super Street Fighter II. Adon, Cody (still in prison garb), and Guy are part of the Street Fighter Alpha club. Ibuki, Makoto, and British boxer Dudley return from Street Fighter III. While your favorite character may not have made the cut, Capcom’s choices bring more diversity to the Street Fighter IV lineup. Ibuki is speedster and has an attack where she rolls behind her opponent. Adon suits players who like to bounce around the screen. Cody spices things up by fighting dirty. The jailbird throws rocks, has a tornado blasting uppercut, and can stab another other player with a knife, if you can grab it off the ground Final Fight style.
If Juri’s purple spider tank top didn’t tip you off she’s bad to the bone. Juri is a S.I.N. agent and a Taekwondo master with a Feng Shui Engine in her eye. Juri, like Chun-Li, specializes in kicks, but she uses them differently. One move closes distance with a purple cartwheel. Another attack makes Juri dive into her opponent with a kick then follow up with an air juggle. Juri also has a purple projectile, which can skim the ground or creep upwards at a 45 degree angle depending on what button you press. My impression of Juri is she’s good at pressuring, but her only defensive move is a parry-like dodge.
Haken, a Turkish wrestler, is the other brand new character. What makes Haken different from Zangeif, the original Street Fighter II grappler? Haken can close distance by sliding on his stomach. He also has a dive and grab attack plus oil. Yes, oil. Oil changes his stats, but he’s completely vulnerable while douses himself. Oil lasts a fixed period of time, a bit longer if you turn it to an EX move.
All returning Street Fighter IV fighters got a boost too. Capcom gave veteran World Warriors two Ultra combos or revenge attacks. Before a battle begins you have to choose one of them. The best part about the roster? Everyone is unlocked at the beginning. Players still have to earn titles and icons, but you don’t have to face Seth a dozen times just to use all of the characters online.
Hyper online fighting
Speaking of online play, Capcom fine tuned it. Super Street Fighter IV has more modes and options. Endless mode is another name for player lobbies or Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix’s quarter matches. You can hop into a room and watch others play while waiting for your turn to fight. It’s close to a virtual arcade without the quarters. Team Battles are tag team battles where another player steps in when someone gets knocked out. Seems like Capcom made this feature for clans. You can also play Super Street Fighter IV offline in arcade mode and leave your game open for online challengers. This is a good way to keep busy while waiting for a match.
The biggest change is Super Street Fighter IV has two point systems – Player Points and Battle Points. Player Points are your overall score and rate your skill as a Super Street Fighter IV player. These go up when you win and down if you lose. Battle Points are for individual characters. You can have 2,000 BP with Ryu, 0 for Juri, and an overall score of 4,000 PP. The Battle Point system is supposed to encourage online players to use someone other than their main character. And it sort of works. I’ve been playing Super Street Fighter IV online for about a week and a fair amount of matches were against a player with higher PP than BP, suggesting that they’re trying someone else.
Not sure how to use new characters? That’s what replay mode is for. You can watch videos of all the Super Street Fighter IV characters neatly grouped into channels like “original”, “alpha”, and “newcomers”.
Super Street Fighter IV is rebalanced and has more add-ons than 16-bit cash-ins, but is it a worthwhile upgrade? Absolutely. The more of a Street Fighter IV fan you are, the more you will appreciate these tweaks.