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Street Fighter IV

For: iPhone   Also on: Android

Street smart

Product: Street Fighter IV | Developer: Capcom | Publisher: Capcom | Format: iPhone | Genre: Fighting | Players: 1-2 | Networking: Bluetooth | Version: US | App version: 1.00.00
Street Fighter IV iPhone, thumbnail 1
There's booksmart and then there's streetsmart.

Academic learning may fill you with knowledge, but it's being wise to the ways of the world that really counts. You could know all there is to know about judo moves, yet it won't matter to much if you can't actually pull them off when face-to-face with an assailant.

Street Fighter IV is hip to how things work on iPhone and iPod touch, displaying a sort of touchscreen savvy that makes up for its thin slate of features. By virtue of its aggressive, streetsmart gameplay it survives the blows levelled by each missing feature.

Studying the controls

That the game possesses such limited depth with regard to its modes of play and general feature set is all the most exasperating when considering the phenomenal fighting mechanics. Street Fighter IV is the proof that fighting games can be done with touch controls and not just at some rudimentary level of quality: on the contrary, this is one slick fighter.

A virtual joystick on the left controls movement, while a quartet of buttons on the opposite end execute various attacks. Kicking, punching, and focus attacks can be combined with slides of the joystick for an enormous range of moves - that's not accounting for character-specific special moves, super combos, and ultra combos.

The responsiveness of the controls and the relative ease in which these manoeuvres can be triggered defines Street Fighter IV. Some of the moves are hard to execute, but not because the controls are inadequate.

There's no doubt it has the best fighting mechanics of any iPhone and iPod touch fighter because they're tight. Any failure to execute a move isn't the game's fault, but the result of not having acquired the skill to master its amazingly deep, varied attack set.

Marked absent

Such is the core of a great fighter - spot-on controls, huge combo possibilities, and a balanced roster (even if you're only given a paltry eight characters) - though Street Fighter IV fails to provide the right structure in which to experience this phenomenal fighting engine.

Frustratingly, many of the game's missing components are no-brainers. Street Fighter IV comes without many of the modes and other accoutrements common to a modern fighting game.

A Dojo mode allows you to learn each character's many moves, which can then be leveraged in the solo Tournament. It's a paltry single-player offering that could easily have been filled out with a never-ending survival mode, character customisation options, and other features.

Group project

Multiplayer does make up for this single-player deficiency, although it also highlights the ephemeral quality of its gameplay. Head-to-head bouts via Bluetooth are great fun and define the experience. Street Fighter IV is a game to be played with a friend, not so much alone.

Furthermore, the fleeting nature of its appeal means that it's best suited for quick sessions of play. This isn't the sort of game that you should expect to sink hours into: instead, you'll keep it on your device for those moments when you run into a buddy who also has a copy and minutes to spare for a quick match.

Ultimately, the fighting doesn't suffer because of lacking modes and a small character list. However, it's a missed opportunity to showcase the amazing fighting mechanics. Street Fighter IV needs schooling in the sort of features expected in a portable fighter to complement its streetwise core, but in most respects it's a knockout.
Street Fighter IV
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 12 March 2010
Wise to the ways of tight touch controls, Street Fighter IV knocks out impressive fighting without the features and modes of play to back it up
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