The daddy of fighting games makes itself comfortable on the iPhone
Like many other Street Fighter fans, I didn’t go into the iPhone adaptation of Capcom's critically acclaimed fighter with particularly high hopes. More than any other, the fighting genre relies on a physical control scheme; on precise combinations of timed button presses and tactile feedback. Naturally I’m a big fan of the iPhone as a gaming platform, and I don’t like to moan about the lack of buttons, but at the same time I respect that there are some games it just won’t be able to do justice. I thought Street Fighter IV was one of those games. The most influential fighting game of recent times would never feel at home on a touch screen device. But perhaps, just perhaps I was wrong.
After tapping the App icon, I was welcomed with the same stylish and energetic intro movie featured in the main game. Production values were clearly high, a notion reflected in the subsequent title and menus that graced the screen shortly after the intro. At this point I knew I was being built up for a fall. It all looked too good to be true.
From the main menu there are a few interesting options to choose from. Solo Play and Versus are of course the main bulk of the game, but there are also headings for Stats, Invite a Friend, Get More (a glorified link to the Capcom website) and Special, which features ‘special movie footage’. Tapping a nervous finger on Solo Play, another four options popped up; Tournament, Free Sparring, Training Room, and the Dojo. Choosing the classic Tournament mode for now, I picked a character, cracked my knuckles and prepared myself for the worst.
Visually, the game looks just as good as the screenshots, and the frame rate manages to hold up well enough too. But I wasn’t worried about the game from a graphical perspective, I was worried about how the game would handle. Although it takes up most of the screen, the virtual button layout is incredibly easy get to grips with, and surprisingly responsive. If it isn't to your liking however, it can be customised to your preferences in the options. I managed to throw a fireball the first time I tried, applying good ol’ Street Fighter muscle memory to the touch screen. I pulled of Hurricane Kick with little effort too; everything worked just as I expected it to. It took a fair few rounds to get fully used to, but the controls were holding up pretty damn well.
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