Street Fighter IV iPhone Review

Street Fighter IV is a beast on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, with millions of fighting fanatics duking it out all over the world. Still, we were a bit curious how Capcom was going to make the game work on the iPhone/iPod Touch. Now that the final product is here, our minds are at ease. Our thumbs? Not so much.

This is a condensed version of Street Fighter IV. Not all of your favorite fighters made the cut (there are only eight world warriors, and C. Viper isn't one of them), and some parts of the presentation, namely the 3-D backgrounds, were condensed to allow the game to run on a handheld. With that out of the way, here's why Street Fighter still kicks loads of ass.

First, the gameplay works, thanks to a great virtual analog stick that allows you to pull off special moves with little-to-no difficulty, even more complex maneuvers like Ken and Ryu's Dragon Punch (the Shoryuken). Still, if you have trouble, you can turn on a special move assist function, which gives you the option to lob fireballs and perform other moves with the press of a button and a direction on the virtual stick. You can also pull off Ultra Combos (a fancy term for super moves) by pressing the icon on the top of the screen.

Second, despite the limitations in the background graphics, Street Fighter IV looks exceptional. The fighters animate just like their current-gen counterparts, and the on-screen controls don't get in the way of the action. Even the smaller things, like the slick intro movie and the close-up of fighters when they're about to unleash an Ultra Combo look cool. We're also big fans of the in-game music, which is just as good as ever (especially with headphones). In addition, most of the voice acting was toned down, so you'll be able to hear the soundtrack without being subjected to cornball dialogue, particularly from Blanka.

Finally, there are plenty of options. You can go through a tutorial and learn everything you need to know in the Dojo, hone your skills in a regular exhibition tournament or go all-out to become the Street Fighter champion against a series of opponents. The game also supports fights with others over Bluetooth, so if you know a buddy that owns a copy of the game, you can hook up with him or her and trade blows; the versus fighting moves without a hint of slowdown. Still, the lack of online match-ups might leave some gamers feeling a little sore.

Not only is Street Fighter IV a very capable port of the original game, but it's also one of Capcom's better iPhone/iPod Touch efforts, and definitely a must buy if you're a fan of the series. Sure, the graphics were watered down, and there could've been more fighters and online play. But, as it stands, this is a commanding App that's worth its $9.99 price tag.

What's Hot: Eight world warriors, simple-to-use control scheme lets you perform Ultra Combos and special moves with ease, several modes to choose from including Bluetooth multiplayer, looks and sounds remarkable.

What's Not: The virtual stick requires some training, only eight fighters and no online play.

4/5