More Street Fighter IV

I just picked up the Street Fighter IV Original Soundtrack. I like it. It's fitting for the material, with a 50/50 mix of old-school remix and original content. It's playing right now on Radd Radio (right sidebar) or download via FTP (password required). Both English and Japanese versions of the title track are present on the two disc set, Disc 1 has all the original content and Disc 2 contains all of the individual character themes.

Capcom also released this really nice FREE downloadable SFIV Training Manual.

As if that weren't enough, the first pieces of SFIV downloadable content are starting to trickle onto Xbox Live and PlayStation Network in the form of five alternate costume packs. Nice to see them finally wearing something new after nearly 20 years. Here's a few of my favorites:

Battle damaged Ryu. He doesn't mess around.

Haggar: "Oh, My clothes!"

Sakura wearing Ryu's outfit. She's in high school.

"Now if you'll 'scuse me, I have to feed Tiger."

Ken in American martial arts outfit. What a sellout.

Battle damaged M. Bison... or Vega, I forget.

Jean-Claude Van Damme is Charlie Nash... Er, Guile.

For those weren't sure Fei Long was an homage to Bruce Lee.

Chun-ster Formalwear

Now that I've had time to really play it a while and absorb it I've decided it's not Street Fighter II. But I guess in order to make a sequel they feel they have to progress it. I personally have no use for things like alpha counters, chain combos, parries, air-blocking, dashing or rolls. Street Fighter II had just the basics, none of the technical BS. You had to actually PLAY and BE GOOD to work your way out of certain game exploits, but it was possible with good timing. I think the addition of extra offensive or defensive techniques dumbs down the core of what Street Fighter II was. A true test of hand-eye coordination. Throws were the most technical thing you could do in Street Fighter II, and I will forever compare every thing that comes after... to Street Fighter II, because in my mind that game is the standard by which all should be judged. Not everyone agrees with me on that, and that's okay. It's my favorite, and apparently always will be.

What upsets me a little is that Capcom kept saying "we're taking out all of that technical stuff" and Street Fighter IV is gonna go back to the roots and be more like II. I've mentioned before the game is much slower than SF2 already. Already we're seeing it dumbed down just like everything so "everyone" can enjoy it (ahem Mario Kart Wii). But then I find EX Moves, Super Armor and Focus attacks. Now you can't even be hit by an attack! That's right, someone comes in, all you have to do is hold Strong and Forward and you get Super Armor. Problem is, you're stuck in that animation until it's over, but fear not, double tap and you're out of the animation and can attack your crumple stunned opponent with an Ultra Combo, not too technical at all, right? There's another problem, Ultra Combos... WAY too easy to do. The strategy now becomes go ahead and beat the tar out of me for the first 20 seconds of the match so I can get my revenge meter up. Then I'll win the match with two quarter circles and all three punch buttons. I don't understand the logic of Street Fighter IV's development; either make it like SF2 or don't, don't go halfway. I'm left hoping Street Fighter IV Turbo comes out so I can speed it up and defeat my opponents before they have a chance to even whip out any of this technical crap. It's just tough to go from playing SF2 Turbo SNES on 8 speed stars to the modern day of nerfing.

I will say this for Street Fighter IV. I still like it and I'm compelled to continue getting better at it and even learning the technical aspects of it. It's just that good of a game. I wasn't interested in playing Street Fighter III at all until third Strike, and even then I gave it my "Ok, not bad" label. Street Fighter Zero was enjoyable, I actually played Street Fighter Zero 2 quite a bit, but already the technical aspects were beginning to creep in. But Street Fighter IV sounds good, it's nice to look at, and I like all of the characters, even the new ones, especially El Fuerte. Focus Attacks and slowness aside, it's still fun, and I think downloadable content will make it even better. Think about it, instead of buying the same game three to five times, Capcom could release Street Fighter IV Champion Edition as a downloadable add-on. They could speed it up, add characters and moves, take things like Focus Attacks out, you never know! An option to disable the Focus Attacks and Ultra Combos would be nice. Play it "with honor" (we're not gonna throw right?). Or I could stop complaining and actually learn this stuff. Also an option to turn off the yelling narrator would be nice. "WHICH OF THESE FIGHTERS WILL COME OUT ON TOP? THIS IS GONNA BE ONE HELL OF A MATCH!" Yeah we know narrator dude, SHUT UP already! Go back to SFZ3 and Capcom vs. SNK 2 where you belong!

I'll continue to learn and maybe someday you'll read a blog about how I love Focus Attacks. But for now, I'll play it like Street Fighter II, and occasionally dabble in the new aspects and see where I end up. Until then:

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