Old-school goodness that you shouldn't miss
This title is quite easy to describe since it's pretty much the same Street Fighter that most of us have enjoyed before with a few additions. The most notable at first glance will be the addition of a few characters like: Rufus, C. Viper, Abel, Gouken, El Fuerte, and Seth. Most of which can be selected immediately, however, the rest of the characters are hidden and can only be unlocked by finishing the game using specific characters and/or accomplishing some tasks. It's quite an effective way of forcing players to use characters other than their fave, but it can prove to be a hair-pulling experience once you reach the final stage boss Seth.
There are a couple of moves that has been added to the game as well like Focus Attacks which enables you to charge up for a few seconds and makes you absorb the first attack. Letting go of the charge will enable you to stun an opponent and immediately follow it up with another attack on his/her way down to the ground. The Revenge Meter on the other hand gets filled up when you take hits from your opponent. You can then dish out a powerful come-back attack to help even out the match. The bar however doesn't roll over to the next round so it's often times recommended to make use of it when an opportunity becomes available. The EX power-up is still in this game and gets filled up quite differently from the Revenge Meter and gets carried over the next round. All of those things may seem daunting at first but you'll easily get the hang of it with a few minutes of practice with a good game controller.
The game enables you to pick from 1 of 8 difficulty options in a 1/3/5 or 7 rounds. Anyone who has experience playing this game before should start with the medium difficulty setting as the easy mode only becomes a bit "challenging" when you reach your rival opponent and the final boss Seth. Each character will have a short animated (cartoon) introduction movie which will give you a hint as to why the fighter opted to join the tournament. The game will also end with a short closing movie followed by the credits and unlocked bonuses. And speaking of "Rival" opponents, they're pretty much the second to the last fighter that you'll face in arcade mode. There are 2 things that will make the Rival Opponent match feel different when compared to the first few matches that you have. First is the cut-scene that will give a brief introduction as to why the said opponent is your "rival". Some of which doesn't make as much sense as the Ryu-Sagat match-up and will only make you feel like they were considered as rivals for the heck of it. Difference number two, the fighters will be trash talking a bit during the match ... which is quite entertaining in my opinion.
Unless you're fighting your rival opponent, matches will be held randomly on different background stages unlike the fixed one per character with previous Street Fighter titles. There are stages that are quite similar with the previous levels like Chun Li's street market background and Guile's air strip stage. Watching the fighters beating the hell out of each other is a very satisfying experience especially when performing revenge moves that will slow down the action and sometimes pause and zoom-in a character while his/her face is being bashed by your fist. Watching their eyes get bigger or their mouth opening as they see you starting to execute the said maneuver is an entertaining scene to watch.
There are a few things that you can do other than the usual arcade mode. Here you can play in a challenge mode that will enable you to unlock taunts, costume colors, etc. The game offers a Time Attack, Trial, and Survival mode. Each containing (if I remember it correctly) 20 levels with varying difficulty settings. The player-vs-player/cpu with the option to add a handicap setting is also available.
The graphics in this game looks great. Capcom didn't go for the realistic looking characters but went on and focused on an artistic style instead. You can even pick additional effects like ink, watercolor, and posterize to suit your taste. Most of the backgrounds (17 in total) are great to look at with well animated 3D characters. Some however are quite dull like the volcano/magma and the stage were you fight on top of a small boat. The performance is excellent as well and gamers that barely exceeded the minimum requirements should be able to play the game even at 800x600 with medium settings. The game should still look great even at that given resolution ... it's that good looking.
The sound effects is spot-on and it's very difficult to find any faults with it. However the main theme of the game sounds like it was sang by a boy-band that somewhat affected the hardcore element of the game. I'm a bit more open-minded when it comes to music though so it didn't ruin the game all that much for me. The voice-overs were done well and you even have the option to pick if you want to hear individual characters to speak in English or Japanese. Same can be done with the cut-scenes. Neither one is better than the other in my opinion, it's just a matter of taste. The Japanese speaking Sagat however sounds like he needs a cough medicine. And let me also mention that the mouth animation when the character talks is only in sync when you are using Japanese as your preferred language.
The controls are perfect and easy to pick up especially when you're already familiar with the game. A gamepad is highly recommended, though some might survive even when using just the keyboard. There's a vibration support which helps make the gamer feel the action on the screen.
As perfect as the game may look like, there are a couple of things that made me decide to give it an 8.5 rather than a 9.0. First reason is that there isn't much that you can do with the game. Yes, it stayed true with the original Street Fighter formula but there are no other extra modes to play around like a tag-match for example. There's also no option to play in Hyper or Turbo mode. And as cool as the slow-motion K.O. scenes are, it sometimes just slows down the match restart process when you're trying to defeat the all-powerful Seth. Dig this, when you get defeated, the match will end in a slow-motion K.O. scene, Seth (for example) will perform his victory pose, your character will act disappointed, your character will stand back up once you decided to continue, you'll go back to the character selection screen, you'll be given the introductory match-up screen which you cannot skip, and watch the cut-scene (which you can skip) again before beginning the fight. Going through that process over-and-over again as you try and defeat your opponent using a character that you're not really good at is quite irritating. An option to quickly restart the match could have fixed the said issue. The color selection doesn't give you any indication as to what exactly you have selected. The colors are just presented by a number. And the only way for you to know what color you actually selected is by playing the game, same goes with the personal attacks. Additional 4-6 characters would have also been a great idea since the selection is pretty slim compared with the current fighting games available in the market.
This game should still be purchased in my opinion by anyone who is interested in playing a solid fighting game for the PC. These type of games doesn't get offered quite often and it's really nice to see that Capcom released an extremely solid fighter for the said platform. Some game makers could have just created a sloppy fighting game because PC gamers might still purchase them since we don't have much of a choice, but Capcom made sure that the same couldn't be said with this release. I am crossing my fingers that other fighting games will follow suit and use this game as a benchmark.
.:My reviews are only as good as everyone else's. Take every single one of them with a grain of salt:.