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How I’m… fuck it… STREET FIGHTER IV Bitches!

February 18, 2009

hadouken1

It’s been a long time coming, and it’s finally here.  The one game that instantly made me feel like I was 13 all over again, and that is Street Fighter IV.  I don’t just mean playing the game, I mean everything leading up to it.  The last few days have been spent calling various stores, trying to get it as early as possible.  When a game is coming out that I’m really looking forward to, I always put money down at Gamestop just to be sure I get one, but 9 times out of 10, I can get it early through several spots I frequent that don’t have issues with breaking street dates.  But seriously… someone fucked this release up… big time.

Between my friend Chris and I, we musta annoyed the shit out of just about every video game store employee in NYC over the past 4 days.  Constantly calling, “Do you have it yet?  Do you think you’ll get it early?  When are you getting it?  Can I put my name down for one?  How about one for my friend?”  I haven’t gone this nuts for a game since the SNES days.  Calling around, trying to secure a location.  Come Monday, the hope was gone.  There was no weekend SF4 to be had.  So we moved on to the next possible solution, midnight release parties.  At this point, I’m really thinking it’s a good thing I got my reservation.

So there Chris and I go, calling different stores, “Are you doing a midnight release?  Are you opening early on Tuesday?  Do you know what time you’ll have it in?”  Sure most of this doesn’t matter, we’d be at work anyway, but it’s all about securing the game first.  Again… dreams are shattered.  Now I’m really glad I’ve got my prepayed reservation… but Chris doesn’t… bummer.

So that brings us to today… Tuesday.  I wake up and head on into work, and I’m fully expecting to pick up my copy on my lunch break, between noon and 1.  I call up to Gamestop and check to see if they got them in yet.  Not until around 1ish… ok, that’s fine.  I figure they will be in early, I hope they are.  I had to be at a client site by 2 and I really didn’t want to have to go there without some Street Fighter love in my bag.  I decide to play the glass half full and walk over to the Gamestop on my lunch break without calling.  I wanted some Taco Bell anyway and they are near each other.

I get in, and the place is packed with mid 20’s to mid 30’s guys, basically putting me smack in the middle of this demographic.  I do a quick lap and do my spy impression by listening in to convos… everyone is talking old school games and Street Fighter… yup, it’s not in yet.  So I went to Taco Bell and headed back to the office.  Just as I walk in the office, my phone rings with an 817 #… has to be them.  So I figure I’ll eat and then head back up.  I eat, and before I leave, I decide to check the voicemail and sure enough, it’s the super bubbly voice of some chick calling from Gamestop… this is a recording by the way, and sadly, it just says that SF4 will be in this afternoon.  So I call, and no, it’s still not there.  BALLS!

I head to the client, and I’m chatting with Chris via IM in my spare moments, he’s searching frantically as everyone is saying that they aren’t getting the game now until sometime Weds afternoon… wtf?  I finish up at the client after a few hours and head back to the office to drop off some stuff.  Chris says he was told the same thing by everyone he called, not til Weds afternoon.  I’m not having that.  I head over to Gamestop and the crowd of people is still there.  I mosey on up to the counter and I’m listening in and it sounds promising.  I ask the guy behind the counter what the story is and he says that they are still coming tonight… just not sure when, good enough for me.  So I start hanging out.  I call up Chris and let him know.  Shortly after, they start having everyone pay up in full their purchases so we can get out quicker when the games actually show up.

I get my turn at the register and I ask if they know about any extras for the PS3 since that’s what Chris wanted, me, I’m a 360 fan myself…  He said he’s not sure about extras but the best hting to do would be to get him a preorder right then to make sure he bascially got one before anyone without a preorder did.  That way, if they only have 2 left that weren’t already payed for, he’s got one for sure.  So being the cool homie I am, I pay him up in full also and I wait.

Bout 45 minutes later, Chris shows up and he’s just as geeked as I am.  Oh, and he brought me a Mt. Dew too, awesome!  So we’re just chilling in line, talking games, and oddly enough, everyone is keeping to their own little cliques.  The guys in front of and behind us we just listening to their headphones, anyone else, little groups of 2 or 3, no interaction.  I found this kinda weird.  It’s usually at times like this that I make some new gaming buddies, finding guys with similar interests, albeit they likely still live with their parents and don’t shower nearly as often as I do, but at least I kinda know the person I’m playing online.  But no, even when Chris and I would try to kinda involve other people in our convo… nothing.  Anyway, I don’t even know what time it was, but suddenly one of the guys comes out of the back room with a hand truck and goes out the front door… it must be time.

About 10 minutes later he’s back in with a stack of boxes and everyone is going nuts!  Only takes a couple minutes to get up to the front of the line and we get our copies.  I got the limited edition for mine, cuz hey, I rarely get these things, so I figure Street Fighter was worthy of it.  We get seperate bags and bust out the door.  Chris and I part ways as I jumped into a cab and headed home.

I promptly bust open the packaging and I’m wanting to check out the so called “action figure” that I believed I was getting with my game.  I pulled out the plastic holder and must say… I am sadly disappointed in it.  From all the pics I’ve seen, the figure looked to be about 9″ tall, posable, etc.  What I got?  about 2″ by 3″ long figurine.  Just a piece of plastic that has been painted.  WTF?!  Whatever, no biggie, I got the game, who cares.  I also got a DVD, soundtrack cd, and free DL content, so my extra $20 doesn’t feel too wasted.

I get home and I throw the disc in, and here’s the odd thing… I watched the opening video sequence… and it was amazing.  The art direction was phenomenal.  Get to the title screen and lets do this!  Quick change of the button mapping and I’m off.

Arcade… default settings… Ryu… default settings… and what is this?  Some anime opening sequence?  OK, neat, kinda lame, you shoulda done this with the in game engine.  It’s ok though, SF is not about story telling, it’s about the game play.

Round 1… Fight!

Now, I’m playing with the standard Xbox 360 wireless controller here.  Even my late grandparents know that this thing has quite possibly the worst D-pad ever conceived, but yet, it plays good and responsive.  I want to get a nice arcade stick, just need to find one I like.  The 360 controller isn’t doing that bad though.  I’m throwing fireballs when I want, doing dragon punches on command, and hurricane kicks right when I tell it to.  The timing and controls are amazing.  I feel like I’m back in middle school again when SF2 first came out for the SNES, I’m giddy, excited, and I’m kicking ass like I’ve been playing this game for years.  Actually, I have.  That’s how familiar this all feels.

I cruise along through the first few fights, the difficulty is ramping up right where it needs to be and it poses a good challenge without being frustrating so far.  I complete the game with Ryu, and now I’m moving onto Guile.

Oh, Guile… what hell hath you wrought that they decided to gimp you so bad?  If you’re familiar with using Guile in any previous game, you know he’s a finese character. He’s a bit unwieldy, and has plenty of shortcomings.  In the right hands, he rules.  I feel like my hands have been transplanted to lesser hands with him now.

Where the fuck did his super sonic boom go?  It’s gone!  Vanished!  The only super move you get is a super flash kick, which is cool and all, but it poses a problem when you are at the later stages of the game.  The computer controlled characters are moving faster than any human player could, pulling off moves at times when they should not be able to, and here you are with Guile.  The only decent attack you have, and you have to crouch and charge.  Sounds all good and wonderful except that this leaves you open for 1 of 2 things… a grab… or a super.  Awesome.  So far, I feel that Guile has been horribly gimped for no reason.  I’m not a fan of this.  I’ll come back to him later.

Guile aside, the game is amazing and really well put together.  The creators definately made this with an arcade machine in mind, which should tell you that a controller is not going to be the way to win.  No sir.  The button combinations you have to press, ends up coming in awkward combos of trigger and bumper presses, or trigger and face button presses.  Sure you can get by, but it’s not intuitive.  So if you are serious about your Street Fighter… I have plans for some major tattoo work based on it… then you should get yourself a stick.  Til then, I’m gonna go kick some ass on Xbox Live… come find me, you know my tag 😉

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