Super Street Fighter 4
Street Fighter 4 became a great success, and Capcom released a console-exclusive sequel the next year with 10 new characters and balance changes to the whole cast. Meanwhile, the rise of Internet streaming groups like Team Spooky meant that you could watch high-level matches complete with commentary several times a week.
The most obvious additions to Super Street Fighter 4 are the new Ultra Combos for everyone. While some like Ryu had finishers that were inferior to the original, others like M. Bison got weapons that helped out in specific matchups. For example, the Shadaloo dictator can use his new Psycho Punisher to squash fireball throwers.
The next major change was an across-the-board damage nerf. Most Ultras took less life, as did certain moves like Sagat’s Tiger Uppercut and Rufus’s EX Messiah Kick. While E. Honda got some improvements, the heavyweight became one of SSF4’s best largely because his worst matchups became easier.
Less-fortunate competitors also got improvements. Guile was one of “vanilla” SF4’s worst, and not only did Capcom address his weaknesses, but it also shortened the time needed to charge his Sonic Boom. Guile became a defensive menace who could frustrate and outlast most of the roster.
Not everyone was happy. Gen made some noise with his “MK to Hands” combos and an invincible EX Oga wall jump that helped him on defense, but Capcom decided to take away those tactics without giving him much in return. Balance is a tricky thing: Taking away a strong tool from an underused fighter may keep it from becoming an issue later, but it isn’t going to please character loyalists. Gen would have his day later on, however, after Singapore’s Xian used the master of the Mantis and Crane stances to conquer the Evolution 2013 tournament.
Above: The King of Fighter’s Kim Kapwhan, the greatest Tae Kwon Do artist in fighting games, is noble to the point that he tries to reform criminals, so of course Street Fighter’s Juri is a cruel backstabber.
A new game also means new characters, including the oil wrestler Hakan and the evil taekwondo expert Juri. These warriors represented martial arts and play styles that never appeared in the series before. For example, Juri could hold onto her fireballs and release them later, letting her ward off incoming foes, extend attack strings, or terrorize them in the corner.
The rest of the additions came from previous titles. First up were the last of the Super Street Fighter II “New Challengers”: Dee Jay and T. Hawk. The Jamaican kickboxer is a well-rounded, charge-based competitor who is decent even though over the years he’s had trouble finding the right rhythm that would put him in the spotlight.
Before launch, enthusiasts pegged Street Fighter III boxer Dudley and Final Fight criminal Cody to be the new top tier because they had the versatile Ultras that SF4’s best had as well as answers to fireballs. They ended up being easy fights, however, for the likes of Chun-Li and M. Bison, who became better now that Ultra-Combo comebacks weren’t as dominant. Then again, everyone in SSF4 had a few bad matchups.
“Average” could be used to describe a lot of SSF4’s additions, many of whom were meant to inject more dynamic play into the game. Guy runs a fast-paced offense that works great when you have momentum, but getting it is a problem. Even then, however, SSF4 was very well-balanced, and you could play as most of the cast and win if you practiced enough.
The most memorable tournament match in SSF4’s lifetime involved someone with little hype surrounding him: Adon. During Evolution 2010, Taiwanese player Gamerbee eliminated Justin Wong, who many considered the United States’ best player. Gamerbee used Adon’s pressuring Jaguar Kicks and unusual quirks to edge out Wong’s Rufus.
Next Page: Street Fighter returns to arcades with new friends that players will get to know very, very well.
Founded in Japan in 1979 as a manufacturer and distributor of electronic game machines. Since then, Capcom has expanded in all areas of the videogame industry and has offices in Tokyo and Osaka, Japan; Sunnyvale, California; London, En... read more »
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