Of all the Nintendo 3DS launch titles, it’s surprisingly the Beat-‘Em-Up genre that is one of the most well catered for. Not typically a staple for handheld devices, it appears that developers working on Nintendo’s groundbreaking new system saw worth in bringing their top-performing fighting game franchises to gamers in stereoscopic 3D as early as possible. One of these early-bird titles is of course Capcom’s Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, a surprisingly complete rendition of one of the most widely respected home console Beat-‘Em-Up games in decades.
Of course, Street Fighter is as Street Fighter does, and here on Nintendo 3DS it is just as it most probably always will be. An entirely fantasy based combat game wherein a player’s ability to fluidly string together a series of minor blows and special moves will command more respect than any button bashing, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition brings an accurate rendition of the most recent Street Fighter games to the handheld format. As respectable as Street Fighter IV was on iOS systems, it simply doesn’t compare in the recreation of the most important mechanics seen here on the Nintendo 3DS.
The control system mirrors that of the home console and arcade editions of Super Street Fighter IV perfectly, with the usual light, medium and heavy attacks present, and were it not for the Nintendo 3DS’s diminutive L and R triggers the set-up could almost be considered superior to that of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 thanks to the typically responsive D-Pad featured on Nintendo consoles. As the player progresses through the game’s core gameplay mode for the first time, unsurprisingly labelled ‘Arcade’, the memories of Hadokens, Sonic Booms and Spinning Bird Kicks will come flooding back, and if you’ve been a regular on either Street Fighter IV or Super Street Fighter IV of late, any techniques learnt there will translate almost directly into your fighting style in Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition. Of course, a new addition comes in the form of touchscreen-controlled special attacks, a concession that has undoubtedly been made for beginners that more experienced players will largely ignore in favour of sticking to their familiar fluid motions on the D-Pad.
The Arcade mode is typically presented as the meat of the game, but in reality Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is packed with enough additional gameplay modes to absorb hours of your time before even contemplating experiencing the stories of the thirty-five strong cast. Challenge gameplay modes will put you through your paces with a series of combos and attack strategies, while Car Crusher and Barrel Buster offer the famous Bonus Rounds without the need to play through the Arcade mode to reach them. A versus gameplay mode is present for both local- and internet-based wireless play, but perhaps the most interesting multiplayer option is that of the Street Pass and Figurines functionality.
Allowing gamers to exchange data without even directly communicating – let alone participating in a virtual a fight – Street Pass tasks the player with selecting a team from the figurines the have unlocked. Figurines come in a variety of different levels, and are unlocked randomly for an exchange of coins earned by playing other gameplay modes. Your team must adhere to a maximum points value, with higher level characters costing more, and will then automatically battle against other players you pass. Once the data has been exchanged, you get to use the rewards to further your collection.
A new addition to the series brought on by Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition new technical capabilities is that of the Dynamic View. An option available in most gameplay modes, Dynamic View positions the camera at a forty-five degree angle to the player’s rear. An interesting concept to say the least – whether playing in stereoscopic 3D or a traditional 2D – though for long-time fans of the series it does mean relearning all the distances required for each special move; from a different angle, that lunging attack may not seem to be lunging quite so far.
As an early showcase of the Nintendo 3DS’s power, that very first Street Fighter IV teaser trailer in which Ken and Ryu battle it out in a heavily stylised, low-detail environment has not only been redrawn for Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, but also extended greatly, incorporating a number of additional characters. If this is your first taste of the Nintendo 3DS system, ‘impressive’ is not the word. Having said that, it’s still simply an animated movie, failing to capitalise on the stereoscopic capabilities of the console – that, of course, is saved for the game itself. In stereoscopic 3D the characters look fantastic, almost as if it were possible to reach in and grab the animated action-figures, but the 2D effects of some of the backdrops suffers from the added depth. Often looking like unanimated cardboard cut-outs where before they had been perfectly balanced against the other 2D objects behind and in front, certain stages have been remodelled to accommodate for the change but this just serves to highlight the poor quality of others by comparison. A mixed bag visually then, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is commendably close to its home console sister titles, but is both remarkable because of and let down by its new found technical capabilities.
As one of the first titles to tread such new, fertile ground for the Beat-‘Em-Up genre, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is certainly a title which any new adoptee of the Nintendo 3DS console should consider bringing home with them on day one. However, that doesn’t mean its leaps ahead of the home console versions of the game, and for those already well acquainted with the franchise it may be a considerably less impressive presentation. Ultimately, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition may be exactly what you are thinking: a stereoscopic 3D revision of a game that has already been revised twice. And in that regard, players who have already invested a considerable amount in the Street Fighter IV arm may not wish to reinvest further, but those who do will find a game that is both a pioneer for its genre and a perfect compliment to its host format. What more could you ask of a launch title?