Video games are entertainment. No matter what we're lead to believe by side-track discussions into art, philosophy, politics or social control. Video games are entertainment.
has always been about entertainment. Sure, there are back stories and Capcom-created mythologies to go with it as well. The movies, manga, animé and other assorted media have attempted (and are attempting) to add more colour. But when all is said and done, what we have here is a franchise that enables you to beat up other people without actually being taken to court or having their dad come round to see your dad.
There's a thought: Ken's dad coming around to your house to complain that you've kicked the blond bombshell's ass for the Nth time.
So, here we are with the Next-Gen incarnation of the venerable gaming tradition: Street Fighter IV
. What has Capcom done to add spice to the formula?
New characters, of course. Well, first-up, we'll (that's you and me) look at the new characters. For its new boss, SF IV
, is drawing on the meta-character beloved of the Heroes
TV series. This new boss goes by the name 'Seth' and like Heroes'
Peter Petrelli, his big thing is the ability to take on board the idiosyncrasies of other characters. Also - and thankfully this isn't at all disconcerting because it's in a video game rather than a piece of bloody realistic cinema – his torso doesn't appear to be connected to his legs.
That's a good thing. It's a good thing because it maintains the ethos of “Sod it, let's have some fun. Let's put an item that vaguely resembles the space/time-ship from the execrable Contact
inside this dude's stomach and see what happens”, fun.
Seth is an all-around psycho-bad creature. Actually, this brings up the issue of whether absolutely every character in the game is psychotic. After all, the urge to arrive at a series of venues for no other reason than to engage in hand-to-hand combat with the same old faces again and again... for decades, well, it suggests to me that no one from M.Bison via the loveable E.Honda to Chun-Li is entirely fully tightened of screw.
Take Dhalsim as the prime example. He looks like a holyman, he's apparently a pacifist, yet he loves nothing more than to rain down elasticky hell with his (by now agonisingly pain-ridden, I'd imagine) limbs. To my mind in this version he's a little more darkly brown than I remember, but he's still got everything going on. I just think it's cheating to use him.
has got me doing it. I'm entering the spirit of what's really just Pong
. Harsh? Not really. Pong
was shockingly fun when it entered my life in Woolworths in whenever that was back then. So was Streetfighter II
when I first played it in a flat in Bath on Japanese import.
obviously lacks that initial thrill but it retains the control, the simple side-scrolling combat and the ability to empathise with your chosen character. It also lacks Kuma the Comdey Bear from that other fighting game - yes, SF IV
is straightfaced but not straightfaced. Well, it is until you get to Rufus. More of him later.
I understand that other people get into SF
due to the learning of all the button and directional combos. It's been explained to me that learning all of these with one's eyes closed, in a silent room (or better still, a catacomb), for weeks on end before actually encountering other real-life players is the best way to go. It's the only way to go if one is to take the great franchise seriously.
Of course, when all is said and done, that is a load of self-aggrandising old prattle.