CES 2009: Street Fighter IV Updated Hands-On: Cammy, Dan, Fei Long, Gen, Rose, and New Mad Catz Hardware

We check out a near-final version of Capcom's impressive console conversion of the new arcade fighting game, including new characters, modes, and new Street Fighter IV controllers.

Hot on the heels of our UK office getting its hands on a preview version of Street Fighter IV, we met up with Capcom at CES and got our paws on a near-final version of the game. And we got a whole lot out of our time with it, since we were able to use all the new characters and also play the new Challenge mode. Better still, we played using the upcoming Mad Catz fightpad and arcade sticks, which seemed fantastic.

The version of the game we played was running on the Xbox 360, which is where we spent the bulk of our playtime. We hopped into the arcade mode to start trying the new faces and got to watch the anime intros for each of the characters. The sequences are of modest length and offer some context as to why each particular fighter is getting involved. Most of the videos stay true to the known lore of the fighters' motivations, and even Dan Hibiki's hilarious intro is accurate for the lovable loser.

If you're fighting Fei Long, you must learn to block, or his speed will always overcome you.

The segments feature English and Japanese voice-overs, so fans with a preference can set things up to their liking. The in-game presentation has also seen some changes, namely some new dramatic camera angles--which are different from those in the arcade version--for the start of rival fights. The game will also include a variety of new taunts for each fighter, which you can assign to them, as well as a host of new costume colors, plus alternate costumes, some of which are whimsical and some of which are just cool.

As far as the specific characters go, Cammy, the blonde-pigtailed, scantily clad Battle Angel Alita look-alike of Super Street Fighter II fame has the same familiar-but-still-new feel that the other returning fighters in the game have. She has all her core moves from previous games, as well as focus attacks and ultra attacks. Her super moves are in line with her classic moves. In terms of balancing, she feels about on par with her former 2D self, although her forward dash is faster than her backward dash. She seemed to be a very playable character, and a fair number of her classic combo attacks still work perfectly.

Next, we tried out Dan Hibiki, the pink-gi-wearing martial artist who, despite the fact that his initial appearance on the Street Fighter scene in Street Fighter Alpha (Street Fighter Zero in Japan) was as a joke character, has apparently received a pretty serious SFIV makeover. While he still has his fair share of goofiness (his idle, run, and throw animations will probably get a chuckle out of you), his suite of moves is no joke. His dragon punch and infamous lunging "dankukyaku" kick have respectable range and damage. His equally infamous short-range "gadoken" fireball, though still anemic in range, packs a punch. His super attacks are also not to be taken lightly, although everyone will get a laugh from his ultra taunt (assuming you're far enough out of its range). His charged focus attack should also be feared, since it seems to have surprising range.

Fei Long, the martial artist with a strangely coincidental resemblance to legendary martial artist Bruce Lee, is also from Super Street Fighter II. He didn't offer as many surprises but remains a worthy fighter. Even though he, too, has received a makeover of sorts, his SFIV version remains faithful to his previous appearances. His original suite of moves has been updated for the game and is as deadly as ever. In addition, he has been given a new throw attack that lets him roll over opponents on their backs to get behind them. The motion is so fast that you'll have a very brief opportunity to get off at least one free attack. His supers and ultra are variations on his old moves and should be feared, thanks to his blazing speed.

Gouki and Vega have no idea what they're in for now that new challengers have returned.

The wily old kung fu master Gen, whose most recent appearances in the series were in the Street Fighter Alpha games, seems like a mixed blessing on the roster. The faithful update he has received for SFIV hasn't made the quirky character any easier to handle effectively. Just like in the Alpha series, Gen has two different kung fu fighting styles that you can change to on the fly, each with its own unique set of special moves, which can make him challenging to control. That said, he handles somewhere around his SFA2 appearance but seems to do more damage.

Last but not least is Rose, also from the Street Fighter Alpha series, who is arguably our favorite among the new additions in the home version of the game. Her classic moves have been updated and are as effective as ever. We were a little disappointed to see that she didn't have multiple supers like some of the other fighters, but what she does have is very effective, so we can't complain too much.

Besides being able to try out the new fighters and content, we were able to try out the new Challenge mode, which is one part training mode and one part fighting tutorial. The mode offers six challenges for each fighter, and these initially start out as primers on the basic attacks in the game. The primers lead up to familiarizing yourself with each character's special moves. The challenges we tried were made up of six different tasks, such as performing Ryu's standard arsenal. However, once the basics are covered, the later challenges introduce more-complex tasks, such as combos, crossovers, and other advanced moves that are key to kicking butt in the game.

Playing through the new content in Street Fighter IV was especially fun since we were able to use the new Mad Catz controllers that are being created especially for it. The recently announced peripherals were developed in conjunction with Capcom and felt great. We were able to try all three of the different variations. The low-end controller was clearly aiming to re-create the great feel of the old Sega Saturn six-button controller--which just happens to be one of our all-time favorite controllers for home console fighting games. That controller and this one feature six buttons on the face and two shoulder buttons with a flexible D pad. We especially liked that the other buttons, such as start, select, and the Xbox 360 guide button, were moved well out of the way of the face buttons, which should ensure that even the most enthusiastic players don't call up their Xbox 360 guide or PS3 XMB in the heat of battle.

The next controller we used was a solid arcade stick of modest size but good weight, which featured eight buttons on the face in a unique layout. The staggered layout of the buttons lets you customize button assignments to either the curved layout typical of Japanese arcade cabinets or the horizontal rows that are more common on American cabinets...which is a nice touch, as was the fact that the non-game buttons were also out of the way of the face buttons. The final stick we tried was the deluxe version, made with arcade-quality parts and a broader base. Arcade enthusiasts will also be pleased to hear that the stick is very mod-friendly, accommodating upgrades to most of its key parts if you so desire.

It won't be long before Street Fighter IV KOs your home console in 2009.

Based on what we saw and played, Street Fighter IV appears to be coming home fully loaded and ready to throw down. The enhanced Arcade mode, Challenge mode, and the promise of online competitive play add up to a strong home conversion of the arcade game. As of right now, Street Fighter IV is looking like the home conversion to beat in 2009. Fighting fans should be very pleased by the game's substantial offerings. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more Street Fighter IV updates.

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138 comments
beak1313
beak1313

Dark Dragon that would be awesome if we could do cross console gaming on all third party games!!

Kyran87
Kyran87

DarkDragon11: highhhhhly doubt it.

robbie3000
robbie3000

Finally a great fighting game for PC! Yeah!:)

bennae66
bennae66

oooo not long now. in australia i know we will get the western names. though with the awesome option for jap voices im still as happy as larry. now which dedicated controller to buy...

agurio
agurio

You dull idjat. How old are you, icey05? I'd be very pleased if they call him vega. It's his name. As we can see, you're not a real fan.

newhighscore
newhighscore

to icey05. those are their names in the japanese version of the game. originally in japan balrog was called m. bison. he was based on mike tyson. hence the name (m bison) but when the game made it to the states capcom feared a lawsuit from kid dynamite and co. and just swapped the names arround.

icey05
icey05

ummmm excuse me???? that picture isnt Gouki and Vega. It's Akuma and General Bison. Okay so you can call Akuma gouki, but it lessons his "coolness" factor. and wtf, that is deffinately not Vega. if they call him vega int he game ill be very sad.

dragontech22
dragontech22

I was up in arms about this one for a long time, and seems that they just went with a SF2 type gameplay with some SFA enhancements. Too bad for me, cause I like the depth that SF3:3rd Strike had, especially Alex and parrying. Also, hopefully this won't be the last SF on the new engine, I'd like to see some more VS craziness, and some more refined SF3 type games as well. Casual fighting game fans will probably warm to this however, and hopefully they give capcom enough to fund some more VS fighting games for us hardcore fighting fans that pumped the most quarters into those arcade machines years ago. As for the rest of the people saying "this game is better than that", grow up you fascist nazi tweens, different people, like different things.

abarua
abarua

i dont like the graphics =(

KyoValdez
KyoValdez

SFIII does not deserve to get neglected. Feel the wrath of Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lemon1990
lemon1990

dude this is going to be great i loved the old one but i really hope that they kept to the old kind of fighting and didnt go off in some kind of weird direction.

BMWPro77
BMWPro77

Awesome! Cannot wait for some old school battles with some new school flavor!

dkenpachi
dkenpachi

Tekken 6 is no longer the best. Because its not exclusive anymore, therefor it fails

beekayjay
beekayjay

Super excited about this game, but seriously that new fat character is the dumbest character design ever...I hate him. He looks absolutely stupid and doesn't fit in with the rest of the characters.

sfmaniac
sfmaniac

Penguisher: In the japanese version akuma is called gouki and (dictator) m.bison is called vega. (boxer) balrog = m.bison (claw) vega = balrog they have posted pics from the jap version

KyoValdez
KyoValdez

Jesus said: Sean is much better then Dan".

Penguisher
Penguisher

Those aren't Vega and Gouki in that picture, they're M. Bison and Akuma. Are you just trying to test us or something? To see if we'd notice?

ranman1990
ranman1990

the game looks promising to me !! cant wait .. dont really care about the other controllers though.

FusionRain
FusionRain

a new rival schools does sound cool but we got this witch is a great game for those who don't know or never played rival schools i am so sorry

RaZ0R_R
RaZ0R_R

Man, they should've made the graphics HD sprites, like KOF XII, THAT would've been the bomb... These visuals don't look impressive at all..

megadisc
megadisc

i played when i was just a baby... and ready to play it again

garwalsh
garwalsh

this game is going to be sh..hot for people who are saying it looks rubbish i pity ye we need a good fighting game on xbox simple reason we dont have a good fighting game.DOA and S.C 4 are crap and have always been crap now with sf4 almost here its like waiting for my snes with sf2 at xmas all over again :) cant wait. and with tekken 6 coming the end of the year at last we have fighting games thats worth playing agree or disagree up to ye thats how i see it

KyoValdez
KyoValdez

All you casual idiots are fools! SFIII does not deserve to get neglected. Feel the wrath of Jesus!!!!!!!!!

z827
z827

A played a couple of Street Fighters but never played it in this sort of graphics...should be interesting..Hopefully they kept the old moves and added some new ones.

Daigo_TNT
Daigo_TNT

i prefer a new rival schools

DesertClawX2X
DesertClawX2X

@ kat: My friend, you are a very lucky man. This is one of those few times when I wish that I wasn't stuck with a Wii...

lanmanna
lanmanna

Are some of you daft? This game has already gotten, like 2 Perfects in game mags. Plus, it is cool how cartoony this looks. It sets itself apart from other fighters. I have heard from a few people that have played this and say the characters are all almost perfectly balanced.

katamari
katamari

This game will be awesome!! I have already preordered the Collectors Edition!!!

neock2003
neock2003

What is all the bashing about. This is going to be an awsome game. Personally I'm getting tired of games like DOA and Soul Calabar. This is going to be great to finally play a Street Fighter game that is not a remake. Though I wish that I could at least see the PS3 verson of the game, just once.

KyoValdez
KyoValdez

Jesus told me it looks awful because it's neglecting SFIII.The better SF game.

73X
73X

Looks awful.

Pirate-Man
Pirate-Man

man i dont know!!!!!!!!!!!! i have a bad luck with fighting games. i spent 60.00$ to buy them and they are SHORT!!!!! but street fighter is my favorite fighting game unlike mortal kombat and tekken. what you people recommend me.

swimbearuk
swimbearuk

I hope the MadCatz controllers are released in the UK as well, even if it's just the Sega style controllers. I would skip the game completely if there's no alternative to the standard xbox 360 controller.

Spudzta74
Spudzta74

To make this a killer game, how about Capcom having downloadable content such as some of the other classic characters, stages, music, etc?

valcrist09
valcrist09

eh looks too Cartoony, i was hoping it would be more dark and gritty like the orignal trailer when it was first announced.. Cell Shading is my leased fav animation style.

Henninger
Henninger

Cant wait!!! This game looks great. Imma get the smaller arcade stick & 1 of the fighting pads so my friends wont have 2 play with the regular controllers. & I agree that T. Hawk, Dee Jay, Adon, & Guy should b in the game.

maverick_76
maverick_76

Chun Li has huge legs, and manly hands.

MCE01
MCE01

I'm a super nub at SF. But I still think I'll get this.

Tyril132
Tyril132

If they included every character from previous installments, they would likely run into balance issues that could only be resolved with hundreds, if not thousands of hours of additional play-testing. More to the point, they couldn't charge you a set fee for downloading them later. Publishers have started to figure out that most people will pay extra for content that should have been put in the box in the first place.