We recently had a chance to spend some quality time with an updated version of Super Street Fighter IV, the next game in Capcom’s beloved fighting series. The next game will add new stages, characters, moves, and some additional game balance tweaks to 2009's Street Fighter IV. The demo on display let us try out all the announced playable characters and get a feel for the tweaked gameplay system. While we didn't get a chance to plow through every single character, we did get through a good chunk of the fighters and tried out their secondary ultra combos.
First off, we'll touch on some new updates coming in Super Street Fighter IV. The most obvious is the option to choose one of two ultra combos for each fighter. In addition, the game features five new stages set in North America, South Asia, East Asia, Africa, and everyone's favorite part of the world: Unknown.
Before diving into the fighters and ultras, we'll run through the new stages. The North American stage is called Skyscraper Under Construction and features a lot of details that call to mind Final Fight's Metro City. You fight on a building that is, true to the stage's title, under construction, while being cheered on by a crowd that includes Andore from Final Fight in a hard hat. The South Asia stage is called Exciting Street Scene and has many elements from an Indian motion picture, such as elephants and dancers. The East Asian stage is called Festival at the Old Temple and seems to be set on a Korean street filled with locals cheering on the fight. The Africa level is called Solar Eclipse and sets up the brawl in front of what appears to be the entire cast of The Lion King. The most memorable aspect of this level is the small mob of meerkats that are following the fight from the sidelines--they actually mimic some of your actions during the fight. Finally, the "unknown" location is called Crumbling Laboratory and seems to be a variation of Seth’s lab level in Street Fighter IV. In addition, Super Street Fighter IV features all the stages from the original game with various tweaks and enhancements to all of them.
As far as the fighters go, all returning fighters from the original game will have their original ultra combos in addition to one more. One general thing to note about the new ultra combos is that they're a lot more specific to defense or offense than the originals. As a result, you may find that the new ultras require some getting used to in order to effectively weave them into your style of play. Now for the specifics on the moves and characters:
Ryu: The old-school Shotokan karate master adds the Metsu Shoryuken to his repertoire. The move is triggered by performing two quarter-circle motions on your controller toward your opponent and pressing all three kick buttons, and it sends Ryu on a dramatic beatdown of his opponent against a white background punctuated by ink flourishes.
Ken: Ryu’s best-friend-forever gains the Guren Senpukyaku, a rapid series of flaming roundhouse kicks, to his ultra options. The move is triggered by performing two quarter-circle motions on your controller and hitting all the kick buttons. The fiery series of kicks have a good range to them and dole out a decent amount of damage.
Guy: The sneaker-wearing ninja of the Final Fight and Street Fighter Alpha series has two supers, the Bushin Goraisenpujin, triggered by two quarter-circle motions on your controller toward your opponent and hitting all three punch buttons, and the Busho Muso Renge, triggered by performing two half-circle motions back on your controller and pressing all three punch buttons. The Bushin Goraisenpujin is a rushing series of punches that has a good range to it, while the Busho Muso Renge is a grapple that segues into a painful series of blows.
Cody: Everyone's favorite convict comes to the Street Fighter party with two ultras, Final Destruction and Last Dread Dust. Final Destruction is a series of punches that ends in a tornado that's triggered by two quarter-circle motions on your controller toward your opponent and hitting all three punch buttons. Last Dread Dust is triggered by performing two quarter-circle motions on your controller away from your opponent and pressing all three punch buttons, and it causes Cody to open with a sportsman-like fistful of dust in the face followed by a flurry of attacks using wrenches and assorted prison-appropriate items.
Dee Jay: The New Challengers brawler comes packing his usual catchy island rhythms and some classic ultra attacks, namely the Sobat Festival and Climax Beat. Sobat Festival is a rushing series of kicks triggered by charging your controller back and then hitting back and then forward and pressing all three kick buttons. Climax Beat is a series of punches that arc upward.
T.Hawk: Much like Dee Jay, T.Hawk busts out his old-school moves, the Raging Typhoon and Raging Slash. The Raging Typhoon is a grapple that is triggered by performing two 360-degree motions on your controller and pressing all three punch buttons at close range. The Raging Slash is an antiair lunge triggered by performing two half-circles on your controller away from your opponents and pressing all three punch buttons.
Fei Long: This dead-ringer for martial arts legend Bruce Lee supplements his original ultra combo with the Gekrinken, a counterattack that he begins by performing two controller half-circles toward your opponent and pressing all three kick buttons. Once it's triggered, Fei-Long will assume a stance that will automatically trigger the follow-up attack if he's hit within a certain time frame. This is a tricky move to master, since it doesn't counter every attack.
Balrog: The surly boxer adds the Dirty Bull to his move set. This devastating grapple-plus-headbutt-plus-punch is triggered by performing two 360-degree motions on the controller and pressing all three punch buttons at close range.
El Fuerte: The furious Latin cook adds the zany El Fuerte Ultra Spark to his ultra combo arsenal. This bizarre grapple is triggered by performing two quarter-circle controller motions away from your opponent and hitting all three kick buttons. The goofy fighter performs a grapple that segues into a propeller spin that tosses his opponents into the air and slams them down.
C. Viper: The bespectacled lady brawler adds the Burning Dance ultra to her array of pain-inducing moves. This new attack is triggered by performing two half-circle motions on your controller away from your opponent and hitting all three kick buttons while in the air. The result is a fiery neck kick and face ride across the screen that deals a good amount of damage.
Dhalsim: The flexible yogi gains the serene-sounding Yoga Shangri-La move, which turns out to be a headbutt-filled meditation on pain. This air-to-ground grapple is triggered by performing two quarter-circle motions on your controller toward your opponent and hitting all three punch buttons while in the air. If the timing is right, you’ll grab your opponent, jump over him, and have your opponent experience a real meeting of the minds as Dhalsim slams his cranium into his victim's.
Zangief: The bear-hugging Russian gains the Siberian Blizzard, a spinning grapple move triggered by perfoming two 360-degree motions on the controller and pressing all three kick buttons at close range. This spectacular new grapple ends with a painful slam into the ground.
Chun-Li: The face-kicking super cop with tree-trunk thighs dusts off her old Kikoushou chi burst attack from the Street Fighter Alpha series. You'll trigger the move by performing two quarter-circle motions on your controller toward your opponent and pressing all three punch buttons. The resulting short-range energy burst fans out into a cone of pain that doles out a decent amount of damage even when blocked. We're especially intrigued to see that the dimensions of the burst now make it an effective way of dealing with anyone trying to jump over it.
Rose: The world’s most butt-kicking tarot reader receives one of the most unique new ultras, the Soul Satellite. This new ability is triggered by performing two quarter-circle motions on your controller away from your opponent and pressing all three punch buttons. The move is unique in that it’s not actually a super-powered attack--instead, it conjures up two energy spheres that revolve around Rose, blocking any incoming attacks and damaging her attacker. We expect this one will take some practice to be effective.
Based on what we played, Super Street Fighter IV is shaping up to have a lot of very cool tweaks and additions. Also, there were several empty slots on the character select screen, meaning that we can expect to hear about several more fighters on the roster in the months to come.