Alan Smithee

Street Fighter IV (iOS) – Review

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I never thought I’d see the day that I review a mobile phone version of my favorite fighting game franchise (outside of King of Fighters) that has no physical controls.

When one thinks of phone gaming, or touch gaming usually one is forced to think of the staples like Tetris, Solitare, and other illegitimate copies of other games that have come before. I have to say that I at first was saddled with this obsolete way of thinking, until I picked up Street Fighter IV for my iPhone/iPad.

For the ultra low price of $0.99, you get a full-fledged version of Street Fighter IV, complete with opening animation, voices, super and ultra combo moves with full animations, and pretty much all of the characters (fourteen in fact) and levels found in the original Street Fighter IV.

There are some handheld translations of fighting games that I’ve played in the past that have done this correctly, King of Fighters R2 and pretty much anything on the NeoGeo Pocket, then there are the abortions that should have never been made. Namely in this category, you have just about any fighting game that came out on the original GameBoy. Those were just utter shite!

I honestly thought this was going to be a paired down version of the game that wouldn’t have anything close to the experience that I’ve come to expect with the arcade and console versions of this game. How wrong I was. This is THE SAME GAME! The only difference being a virtual stick and button array…which I’ll get back to in a minute.

The graphics are amazing for being on a mobile phone, and even look great on the iPad. The character models were obviously shrunk down to save on space, and a few frames of animation from here or there were removed to again help with all over speed of the game, and it doesn’t disappoint.

The colors are vibrant, and all of the special effects make the transition to the handheld version too, when Ken or Ryu throw a hadoken, it looks just like the home version, and anytime someone initiates a ultra combo move, you forget you’re playing a handheld…it’s that good!

The gameplay is the same as any Street Fighter, except you’re given drastically less buttons than you’re used to. Instead of the 3 on top, 3 on bottom Street Fighter standard (4 and 4 for us home gamers) you’re given 4 buttons to choose from: Kick, Punch, SPecial, and Focus. That’s it. You wouldn’t think that this works well for a game that is always looking for a balance between three different levels of attack, but it does.

The control stick which Capcom has dubbed “virtual pad” is really accurate in translating your random thumb swirls into actual commands, but leaves very little fudge room for your moves. If you’re a player of BlazBlue, you should feel right at home, but if you’re sloppy in your inputs, prepare to be enraged until you learn the sweetspot.

It’s here where you’ll find my only complaint. When you have the Control pad and buttons on screen, your thumbs are eating up 40% of the screen that could be better put to use in the game. There was a moment or two in some fights where the match took place damn near under my left thumb on the virtual pad, bad form, but livable.

GRAPHICS: 85%
SOUND: 95%
GAMEPLAY: 80%
OVERALL: 87%

Finally, the sound is exactly copied over from the Xbox, PC, or PS3 versions. I mean all of it, each move’s special sounds, the character’s voices, and the background music. It’s all here, and it sounds right, especially if you’ve got headphones on.

Overall, if you’re looking to take Street Fighter IV with you on the run, on the toilet, or anywhere that you can easily mobile game, then this game is definitely for you…and with the ultra low price of $0.99, you can’t go wrong.

You’d better hurry and snatch this up before the sale ends on the 22nd of March. You won’t regret your investment.

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