A few weeks back we posted gameplay videos of an unexpected and since, highly anticipated, title coming to the iPhone this month. Well, the wait is now over, with Street Fighter 4 [AppStore] launching today! Whilst many were skeptical at Capcom's ability to port such an critically impressive console title to the portable devices, our time with Street Fighter 4 reveals a surprisingly faithful rendition, if somewhat watered down to suit the smaller scale of the iPhone.
Street Fighter 4 gives you control over 8 characters from the console version; Abel, Blanka, Chun Li, Ryu, Bison, Dhalsim, Guile and Ken (in order of appearance). The game offers an impressive move list, featuring all the special attacks from the console version, leaving out the low and medium punch/kick buttons and their respective moves. The purists amongst you may find this too much of a downsize as it undoubtedly poses a change in pace from the original and diminishes the ability to hit those ridiculously high combos. Having said that, there's no doubting its authenticity-- this is Street Fighter 4 in all its glory.
It is hard really to see how any additional attacks could have been squeezed in, as the on-screen controls already take up a sizeable portion of the real estate available. Super and Ultra attacks are performed by simply tapping their respective bars (which may irk some), though they can still be pulled off in their traditional, anologue stick fashion via the SP button. This SP button also activates EX attacks and together with a Focus button, complements the kick and punch attacks on the right part of the screen. It should be noted that these on-screen elements can be moved around and have their transparency adjusted, to accommodate left-handers and minimalists alike.
Street Fighter 4 looks and runs exquisitely on the 3GS device we tested it on, with impressive animations and the same gorgeous backdrops we were treated to in the console version. Combat in Street Fighter 4 is fast and fluid, and button input is as responsive as we hoped it would be. The AI does a good job at keeping you on your toes too, and can be configured at 4 difficulty levels from beginner to gruelling. There are a number of game modes, from the standard Tournament mode (against 7 competitors, with Bison featuring as the end boss), to a "Dojo" challenge mode, together with a training mode and a single player versus mode. For those who prefer human competitors, a Bluetooth multiplayer mode is available too.
To round out the impressive feature list, Street Fighter 4 sports a full blown replay system and local leaderboards, to record your matches for later viewing, and to breakdown your winnings in both tournament and versus modes. Capcom has certainly created a comprehensive Street Fighter 4 offering, with only WiFi multiplayer and online leader boards remaining on our wish list, together with the inevitable cries for a more extensive character roster.
Street Fighter 4 is easily recommended to any Street Fighter fan or fighting game aficionado. At its core it is a lightweight port of the exceptional console title, so don't go expecting anything different if you've had your SF4 fill. On the other hand, it is amazing that such a game was ported to the AppStore in the first place and the simple fact that you can now bring Street Fighter 4 around in your pocket should be enough to sway many an eager button masher.
Impressions from our forums are collecting fast and are largely positive. Our readers have noted that there is only minimal slowdown on 3G models compared to the 3GS device we tested, and even 1G users are reportedly happy with Street Fighter 4's performance.
App Store Link: Street Fighter 4, $9.99.