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Don’t call it a port--Street Fighter 4 for iPhone and iPod touch is an entirely new game with the same look and feel of the console games and classic arcade cabinets. What’s different, of course, is the way you play the game. With a bit of added UI ingenuity from the "visual pad" engine, Capcom delivers a surefire hit that’s definitely going to tire out your thumbs.
The game pits eight characters against each other, including original favorites like Ryu, Ken, Chun Li and Street Fighter 4 newcomer Abel. There are four ways to play the game: Tournament, Dojo, Free Spar and Training Room, with the most notable being Dojo. The Dojo mode of game play is like a basic boot camp for newbie Street Fight players (like myself), or fighters that want to hone their special-moves skills. You can either quickly spar with a character of your choice or choose to engage in Tournament mode, which pits you against seven AI-controlled opponents each more difficult than the last. Multiplayer mode is an entirely separate entity and it will not be available via Wi-Fi or your iPhone’s 3G network, but rather through Bluetooth, which limits game play to you and a friend within feet.
The simulated touch controls were incredibly accurate, even though there is only a directional pad and four on-screen buttons. The fluidity of the joy stick movements and button pushes were almost exactly as if we were in the arcade smashing buttons on a wooden cabinet. The controls are also entirely customizable, as you can place them anywhere on the screen. There’s also a special move assist that automatically engages your move with just the touch of a button, instead of requiring you to memorize a sequence of buttons. And for the more cautious types, the optional Auto Guard feature automatically shifts your character into a defensive position to block simple attacks.
The new Street Fighter 4 was designed to appeal to handheld gamers who don’t have the time, money, or interest to purchase a dedicated console. "[We just want to] get them back to playing games," said Takeshi Tezuka, General Manager of Capcom's Mobile Contents Development Department. We’re pretty confident that the game will do just that.
The game will be available in the App store sometime in March for $9.99.