HANDS-ON: Super Street Fighter IV
Although it started as a typical work day, it turned out to be a just a bunch of guys who love fighting games duking it out in some intense competition. Myself and fellow fighting game aficionado Kenny O'Brien were welcomed by Capcom promoters Steven Khoo and Ryan Shin. First off, we wanted to see how all of the new fighters faired, we started off with Hakan.
Most of Hakan's moves are circle moves which means you have to spin the directional controller in a circle with either a punch or kick button. His punch circle is a typical grab like Zangief's while his kick circle is a lunging grab. He moves slightly faster than Zangief but has much shorter range. However, his Oil Shower move changes all that; initially Hakan can't grab an opponent unless he's standing completely against them but after applying oil on himself his circle grabs reach almost across half the screen!
Probably one of the most fluid characters I've ever used in any Street Fighter. Her kick moves range from shooting projectiles to dashing attacks. The most interesting of Juri's moves are here bait maneuvers. When an opponent lands an attack during Juri's bait maneuver, Juri quickly dashes either back, behind the opponent or above the opponent (depending on the button pressed). This gives her massive priority in setting up combos and traps and also, she takes zero damage from her opponent's attacks when this is done.
Forget the fact that his voice acting is nowhere near as cool as his voice in Third Strike because Dudley is outstanding in this game. Almost all of his moves chain together and connect into his Supers and Ultras. If that wasn't enough, he now has an additional overhead Special. According to our Capcom reps, all of his target combos (that is, his regular punch and kick chains) are still in here. It looks to us like almost everyone is going to be using Dudley in online matches.
Adon is a much harder character to fight with. His Contact Blocks seem shorter than in the Alpha titles and his Special moves are widely sporadic. It was kind of a chore to connect any of his Specials, Supers or Ultras but, to be honest; it's always been hard to use Adon.
Ibuki hasn't changed much either since the 3rd Strike days. All of her target combos are there as well. Only slight changes have been made to Ibuki. For example, when Ibuki throws a knife in the air she no longer freezes there for a fraction of a second. Instead, she now throws the blade and the arc of her jump is almost completely unaffected. This opens up set-up opportunities for her such as starting off a chain with the air knife or even connecting two air knives together in the same chain!
It seems as though Dee Jay has been toned up in some areas and toned down in others. Dee Jay still has the range that he has had before so his Contact Blocks feel unaltered. His specials have been complimented with extra hits. For example, his lift kick still kicks multiple times upward but then adds another downward kick to enemies that he catches in the air. He also has an Ultra which unleashes a flurry of punches and kicks. Although this Ultra is great and can easily be chained, it leaves him wide open if he misses.
The same story goes with Makoto; a little bit of toning up and a little bit of toning down. Her "upward punch" special move, which was pretty much useless in 3rd Strike, has been made much more usable in Super SF4. The EX version has her dash in forward with the upward punch to give her some extra range. Like Ibuki, her aerial axe kick does not cause her to freeze in the air anymore. Instead her jump continues like normal. This might prove to be an annoyance to people who used to use that aerial axe kick as an overhead attack.
Cody's regular punches and kicks have slowed down a bit which, thankfully, makes him a less cheap character to deal with. However, his specials are just as fast as before. Cody's specials are also a lot easier to land this time around but those looking to juggle their opponents the way they did in Alpha 3 are going to be out of luck.
All of the gray areas in Guy's attacks have now been made very "black and white". His flipping air grab has now been separated from the flipping elbow drop whereas before they shared the same button command, now the elbow is done with punch and the grab is done by hitting both light punch and light kick together. His target combo, which used to require unforgivable timing, is now much more lenient.
According to our Capcom reps Steven and Ryan, T. Hawk has been made much more of a joy to use but I still feel like he is incredibly stiff. T. Hawk now has an eagle attack that dashes straight forward which seems like it could hit the opponent from almost anywhere on the screen but leaves him seriously open if missed or blocked. His grabs still have the same range but unfortunately also have the same vulnerability when missed.
The barrel stage is still a pain in the butt if you are not careful. Just like before, if you happened to get knocked down by one, then the other narrels will just come one after another and continue to knock you all around. Also like before, fierce punches and roundhouse kicks cause more damage to the barrels than special attacks.
The car stage is just like in the original Street Fighter II. After destroying one side of the car, you are going to have to jump over and start breaking up the other side which, of course, is unlike 3rd Strike where you were able to completely destroy the car from one side. Characters with rapid striking attacks like Chun Li and E. Honda fair best in the car stage. In fact, the record for the fastest time among our Capcom reps can be achieved by using Blanka. Speaking of Blanka, SPOILER ALERT, probably the easiest achievement or trophy to get in the game can be unlocked simply by using Blanka and standing in the middle of the screen doing nothing but the electricity move in the Barrel bonus stage. You can thank me later.