Street Fighter IV: Then and Now

We put the latest version in the ring against its Xbox 360 predecessors to see if it really is the king of fighters.

Capcom's iconic fighting franchise made its Xbox 360 debut through the Xbox Live Arcade port of Street Fighter II Turbo Hyper Fighting back in August 2006. While the game was a good re-creation of the orirginal, including authentic animations that remained intact, it was let down by some bland presentation and wasn't as razor sharp as you would expect on a high-definition display.

Capcom then partnered with American comic house Udon Entertainment to re-create Super Street Fighter II Turbo with brand-new HD graphics for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Our review awarded the final product with an outstanding visual design medal, thanks to "gorgeous anime and wicked special effects," combining widescreen, high-definition visuals with characters and environments that had been crisply redrawn with vibrant colours and wonderfully painted textures.

Before SSFIITHDR even made its ways to consoles, however, Capcom dropped the bomb that Street Fighter IV would be coming to arcades in 2008 and later to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PCs. That time has finally come, and with copies flying off the shelves faster than a hundred-foot kick, it's time to see how far the series has come on home consoles. Our review highlighted SFIV's technically and artistically stunning graphics. The cel-shaded character art style, splattered-ink effect, and fast, fluid animation made it a joy to see in action. See how SFIV compares to SFIIHF and SFIITHDR on the Xbox 360 with our graphics comparison. (Note: Though we examined the Xbox 360 versions of SFIV and SSFIITHDR, the PlayStation 3 versions of each are comparable).

Characters

Ken Blanka Chun-Li

Ken

Ken's look hasn't changed much over the years. He still sports a red gi, gloves, and his trademark blonde mullet, but the detail and animations are more fluid than ever. Veins pop out of his biceps, his hair and belt flow gracefully when he moves, and all of his animations look more natural than before.

Blanka

The Brazilian beast has always been one of the most colourful characters in the Street Fighter roster, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Street Fighter IV. Blanka's hair has less of a swept-back look this time. Instead, he has a spiked punk look, and his arms sport thick patches of orange hair instead of stripes. But it's Blanka's animations that really stand out, from his heaving chest and stomach that constantly move with his breathing, to his unpredictable, almost dancelike fighting stance.

Chun-Li

China's most formidable fighter has changed subtly across the three versions, from the baby-blue dress and schoolgirl look of SFIIHF, to a more aggressive-looking Chun-Li in SFIITHDR with a vibrant blue dress, to a mature version in SFIV that illustrates just how graceful and lightning fast her fighting style can be. Details on her headwear and dress embroidery stand out more clearly in SFIV. Most importantly, though, is that fans will be pleased to know that Chunners still has the most powerful thighs of any Street Fighter to date.

Environments

Street Fighter IV's environments have been given an overhaul, and most of them are completely new levels, including a secret lab, a diner carpark, a beautiful tropical bay, and even the rim of a lava-filled volcano. There are still a few stages inspired by the Street Fighter games of old, including Crowded Downtown (Chun Li), Inland Jungle (Blanka), and Small Airfield (Guile), and to say that they've been given an overhaul since we last saw them is an understatement.

Blanka

Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting SF2THDR Street Fighter IV

Gone are the shanties, picture-snapping photographers, and the giant anaconda from Blanka's Brazilian level. They've been replaced with a stage set on top of a wooden bridge, overlooking waterfalls and Incan ruins. The new Inland Jungle features gushing waterfalls, leaping monkeys, and a great sense of depth that the original stage lacked. It's easy to get distracted from fighting by all the vibrant wildlife.

Chun-Li

Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting SF2THDR Street Fighter IV

Chun-Li's Chinese marketplace has been re-created as Crowded Downtown, one of the first stages shown off when SFIV was announced. The Downtown stage retains the hustle and bustle of the busy Chinese market and the cyclists (scooter riders in SSFIITHDR) and hawkers are back, but what amusingly stands out in SFIV is the eager tourist snapping pictures in the background. There's plenty of attention to detail that previous versions missed out on, such as the spinning exhaust fan and the barber's pole, laundry blowing gently in the breeze, and bystanders talking, cooking, and even blowing bubbles with chewing gum during fights.

Guile

Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting SF2THDR Street Fighter IV

Guile's classic US airbase has been replaced with a Shadoloo airfield in Africa, and the result is quite a different experience. The American troops and girls are gone and have been replaced with khaki-wearing African soldiers, a shimmerlingly hot plain complete with giraffes and distant hills, and a huge cargo plane baring the Shadoloo logo. The plane itself is the centrepiece, appearing towards the end of the first round, as Balrog sticks his head out of a fuselage door to taunt you. If they get too close to the plane, certain characters can even split the wing in half.

Ken

Ken's combos are as enjoyable as ever and are more elaborately illustrated in SFIV. Dust clouds trail behind his jumps, dragon punches, fireballs, and hurricane kicks. The detail and rich colour in his fireball gives it a feeling of immense power, while the trailing flames and cinders from his dragon punch look brilliant--both around him and on the burning bodies his attacks touch.

Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting SF2THDR Street Fighter IV

Chun-Li

Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting SF2THDR Street Fighter IV

Chun-Li's attacks flow gracefully and incredibly fast this time around. Her hyakuretsu kyaku lightning kicks look faster than ever, thanks to SFIV's faster frame rate, and her spinning bird kick explodes with a burst of colour upon impact. Her kikoken fireball, like others in the game, is well detailed and glows with hues of blue and yellow energy.

Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting SF2THDR Street Fighter IV

Bison

Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting SF2THDR Street Fighter IV

The Shadoloo boss's energy-based psycho crusher sizzles with purple kinetic energy, rather than the yellow colour previously seen, enveloping both his body and those that get in his way. Meanwhile his scissors kick looks both faster and smoother than before, thanks to some brilliant animation. His aerial attacks are also superbly animated and will ignite his opponent's body with purple energy if correctly executed.

Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting SF2THDR Street Fighter IV

Written By

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....

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Discussion

42 comments
GarySpot
GarySpot

i wish there could have been other modes in this game.

IceManAVWA
IceManAVWA

This game has aged gracefully. The oxymoron new classic defines the newest installment best. Same old formula, new feel!

AndreasRoeder
AndreasRoeder

Best fighting-series ever together with Tekken.

predator_xv
predator_xv

These characters have muscles that doesn't even exist in the human body. The fighting is good and intense and I like the way the Cpu players learn your tactics and they adjust to it so they can defend themselves(good AI). But it is really bad that the game does not have save states for single player story mode; it just prompts for COUNTINUE.

flamesun
flamesun

all the characters in this game look like they take steroids and it looks good for them hot girls yea

dragonmare92
dragonmare92

I like SFIV but I think Guy should have been added to the roster :( He has an excellent character. Ollix

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

uhh...they're missing the the SF alpha , and SFIII versions...

ninjarat
ninjarat

I remember going to the local arcade to Play SF2 as a kid.

Dannutz1974
Dannutz1974

I've been wondering, how could it be the next installment of SF.

Kleeyook
Kleeyook

Comparison!? Old SFs' graphics aren't very different, but SF4's graphics is a bom!

Kleeyook
Kleeyook

Off-topic, why the heck do I have to watch the damn worthless advertisement every time I want to watch video on GS!? :(

rebelious
rebelious

I liked blankas' stage from sf2 better than in sf IV.

lime_93
lime_93

street fighter IV is more detailed but i dont think you can compare 2D models to 3D models

chakkerz
chakkerz

SF2THDR probably has the nicest art, though SFIV is nothing to whinge about. Overall i just don't find SF2THDR anywhere near as responsive as SFIV. To me it shows its age, or the age of what it's remixing. That said they are very different games, with SFIV being the one i like better mostly because it is more responsive. That said i agree that IV is less balanced than SF2THDR...

webbut
webbut

HD remix is the better game out off all 3 imo better balanced, better art, and better music than turbo and sf4. All of SF4s good music is played only in things like online match lobbies and challenge matches instead of being used as the main music which is sad

THEGoD1
THEGoD1

SF2THDR has the clearest graphics while Street Fighter IV's graphics are more detailed.

garcia28
garcia28

Reeeeally not feelin the theme music, but I'm still handin out the beat downs!

mysticgohanssj2
mysticgohanssj2

Street fighter2 turbo remix has the best graphics to me

Aurey
Aurey

I really liked the game, but the stages and the music were kind of a letdown for me. The music remakes for some characters are great, but the only new tunes I liked were Gouken's and the music of the volcano stage. Still a really nice game, not my preferred fighter but one of the best in my list.

freeuser1
freeuser1

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

freeuser1
freeuser1

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

I do miss the character specific stages, even though you can make a case for the stages in IV being inspired by characters, I miss the cage fight or throwing guys into boxes.

ScreamDream
ScreamDream

Very interesting video. Even though Street Fighter 4 looks intense and much better than SF2, Street Fighter 2 looked great for it's time and still today.

MetalxHealthx
MetalxHealthx

i gotta say SF4 is my favorite fighter to date, but i still play HD remix quite a bit new sprites are really nice. but as far as stages go, the way the NPCs behave in the backround really puts SF4 on another level imo(but i dont believe every level is the best designed). and i have to admit the music isnt anything special in SF4, baring the remix played in Rufus's cutscenes that have Fei Long in the song. i prefered HD Remix's songs in most cases.

ocdog45
ocdog45

i guess its okay to compare. don't really care since they are different games to be honest. they all play differently

LoserMike
LoserMike

SF4 letdowns on the music and the stages. Seriously, two of the stages are recycled and have a night and day stage. Every character should have their own stage, like in the previous SF games.

unknown37
unknown37

No SF3S comparisons? It was the best looking (and best game) of the bunch. Oh and you called SFEX2.5HD (aka SF4) the king of fighters, yeah thats a very stupid statement, cause its not even close. scrubs

BarNone101
BarNone101

*sigh* gotta love Ken's theme music

BLuFAlc0n
BLuFAlc0n

@bigwill95 yup, mine as well...

bigwill95
bigwill95

Hmmm, anyone else having the problem of the stage pictures not loading?

eastwoodmaniac
eastwoodmaniac

My ex-girlfriend has legs like Chunner's whilst my current girlfriend has legs like Blanka's. There's simply no justice in this world.

cayne_phoenix
cayne_phoenix

as always, chun-li maintains her hotness... thx capcom for not screwing up her looks...

tidyspidey
tidyspidey

Best fighting game ever - full stop. ALL of the SF games I've played have been amazing, but my favourite was the Hyper Fighting arcade machine.

DopperDan
DopperDan

Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter II - The World Warrior. They are the two greatest fighting games of all time.

Roscoe245
Roscoe245

Street Fighter will forever be a classic, i remember many a happy days playing it on the super Nintendo!

TriniPlayer
TriniPlayer

Street Fighter 4,this is the best of the best,can't ask for anything better than this cause this is as good as it gets. By the way,Ryu run things.

xMADxDOGx
xMADxDOGx

it is the best - best - best -best -Best fighting game - 5 stars of 5