In a magical time of arcades and video intoxications, I remember the first time that I saw a Street Fighter 2 machine in an arcade. The smell of pizza, popcorn, and gym shoes filled the air. The bright lights and sounds were a digital jungle gone mad. The game looked so strange, yet so beautiful and fresh. The now iconic crescent moon visual of Guile doing his flash kick was incredibly awesome. The first time that I threw a Hadoken with Ryu and performed a Spinning Bird Kick with Chun Li are memories that will always stay with me, always reminding of when arcades were places filled with digital magic.
Over the last twenty years or so, we have seen video arcades rise and fall. One relic from that era has always permeated the home console market is the fighting game genre. I feel that one of the reasons why fighting games have always been sought after has more to do with the pure attributes of gaming, dating back to a time before the anonymity of faceless voice communication. In my opinion, the best developer of fighting games has always been Capcom, and their Street Fighter series has been converted to almost every single notable gaming system in the past twenty years. Now, with the advent of portable network gaming in 3D, Capcom adds to their legacy with Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition.
The first thing that most people will notice about Super Street Fighter IV 3D is the fact that the game looks just like the home console version. Very little was sacrificed in bringing this game to Nintendo’s newest handheld. Capcom treated this game like a labor of love, and it shows in the rich visuals. The graphics pop out of the screen, even without the use of 3D. The animation, colors, and atmosphere make this game the premiere title for the 3DS, That’s not to say that the transition didn’t come without sacrifice. The backgrounds are static, devoid of any animation, which leaves them feeling flat. The backdrops do, however, retain some depth due to the 3D, and in the heat of battle, it was easier to overlook the lack of animation. In the end, if a sacrifice had to be made, I’m glad it was this one.
Speaking of 3D, this game is absolutely beautiful with or without the use of the depth slider. The characters and stages are a sight to behold, especially during the close up animations. In one of the newest modes to this version, 3D Versus, you and another player/CPU fight each other in an over-the-shoulder view. 3D Versus is a very cool way to play the game when you want to take full advantage of your new 3DS system. However, for a purer game, you will want to return to the traditional side-view. Some of your opponents’ moves can be very tough to see in the 3D Versus mode.
Many other additions await those who take the Street Fighter plunge, including the ability to play against opponents both in-person and over the internet via Wi-Fi. I have fought many adversaries over the Internet, and I must say, for the most part, the gameplay is smooth as butter. However, from time to time you will be in a lag-filled fight, likely due to a weak Wi-Fi connection. You can also play in-person versus, which goes off without a hitch. There is even a game-share option to take on those without their own copy of the game. Unfortunately, using this feature restricts both players to choosing Ryu. It’s still fun, and lets player get a taste of the game.
Another awesome addition to this game is figure fighting, by which you collect a collection of figurines that you fight with using the Street Pass feature on the 3DS. The fights themselves are a very simple turn based RPG battle system similar to collectible miniature games like MageKnight or HeroClix. Collecting new figures using the coins from the 3DS pedo-walking meter, and making new teams of characters, is a nice distraction from the main game.
The biggest complaint I have with Super Street Fighter IV 3D is the control scheme. Don’t get me wrong; this game is still playable, perhaps even on a competitive level. You may have to change the way you approach the game as the 3DS just doesn’t have the best D-Pad, due to its small size. I found myself switching between the D-Pad and the analog disk, and my ability to pull off special moves was greatly reduced. It would also seem that Capcom recognized this limitiation, including the option to use the touch screen to pull off special moves and super combos. Some people might look at this as cheating, but I feel that the game still retains its strategy. At the end of the day, I still love the gameplay,as it fits with the portable and quick nature of the platform.
This is the 3DS’ killer app, despite the assertion by some that the handheld lacks one. Despite the detour with some of the controls, Super Street Fighter IV 3D stands as the tour de force for fighting games on-the-go and a must-own addition to the 3DS.
Review copy provided by publisher.