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Gaming: Street Fighter V

One of the oldest fighting game series in existence, Street Fighter came into being in the early 1990s. One of my earliest memories of the game was how many remakes there was of Street Fighter II in particular; there was the Champion Edition, Turbo, Super, Super Turbo, Hyper, and HD Remix. The success of the game inspired developers to create their own fighting games which appear in arcades today. There was also a 1994 live-action film starring action star Jean-Claude Van Damme who played Guile, and the late Raul Julia who played M. Bison.

The game takes place between Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter III canonically; Shadaloo, a criminal organization headed by M. Bison makes a return by planning Project C.H.A.I.N.S. which will utilize a weapon of mass destruction that can destroy entire cities. Street Fighter V follows the style of most 2D fighters: inputting complex button combinations to create devastating hits to destroy your enemies. Long-time fans of the series may feel right at home doing this, but first-time players may need to learn the ropes.

Eight familiar characters return to the game: fan favorites Ryu and Ken (who have been in every Street Fighter game since the beginning), Vega, Dhalsim, Zangief, Chun-Li, Cammy, and M. Bison. Some characters that haven’t been seen since Street Fighter Alpha 3 include R. Mika and Karin, and there are also several brand new characters: F.A.N.G., who is also a boss in the game’s Story Mode; Laura Matsuda, a Brazilian fighter (her brother Sean is in Street Fighter III: New Generation); Necalli, an Aztec fighter with wild hair; and Rashid, a laid-back fighter of Middle Eastern descent. Other fighters are rumored to be released in later patches, but one of the biggest disappointments to me was that Akuma (my personal favorite character) was not available at launch.

The game seems to follow the Street Fighter Alpha series, with EX Special moves (powered-up special attacks) coming back into the game. This allows players’ special moves to gain additional properties. For example, the EX Special version of Ken’s Tatsumaki Senpukyaku (Tornado Whirlwind Leg) knocks down opponents and travels in an arc (as opposed to the regular move which only travels in a straight line). If the hard variation is done, he knocks an opponent into the air and does the arc, which can make for a devastating juggle combo. The Guard Break meter also makes a return, which means one can only guard so much before taking increased damage.

An interesting new feature in Street Fighter V is the V-Gauge, which is separate from the Super Combo Gauge. One can use V-Skills (which build up the gauge), which are unique to each character; V-Triggers, which can either power up a character or perform a single devastating move, and depletes the V-Gauge; and a V-Reversal, which allows a character to go on the counter-attack after blocking an attack. The series now also includes interactive backgrounds (which are generally present in 3D fighters), where walls can be destroyed and characters can be knocked into background objects such as a bus.

Players can also buy new characters via Fight Money or by purchasing Zenny. 16 characters are available at launch, and six more will be added as downloadable content (DLC). More characters are rumored to be added as well, which means playing a lot of games can get you the Fight Money you need. A Story Mode will also be added in the summer of 2016, which will be single-player and will flesh out the characters’ stories. Fight Money can also be won this way.
Another interesting tidbit about the game is that the game debuted to much fanfare. Grammy Award-winning American rapper Lupe Fiasco beat Japanese Street Fighter legend Daigo Umehara at the Street Fighter V launch in San Francisco, CA on February 15. Umehara holds the Guinness World Record for the most wins in Street Fighter tournaments. Umehara also has a sponsorship deal with gaming hardware company Mad Catz. Mad Catz makes headsets, keyboards, mice, and “fight sticks” (controllers specifically designed for fighting games). Fiasco used Ken, while Umehara went with Ryu, with Fiasco prevailing in five games.

If you’re a longtime Street Fighter fan and want to keep playing, Street Fighter V is a work in progress that will only get better as more content comes out. If you love 2D fighting games and seek the comfort of a tried and tested franchise, Capcom’s latest brawler is one you shouldn’t be missing.

Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE April 2016 Issue

Developers: Capcom, Dimps

Publisher: Capcom

Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC, Linux

Words by Jose Alvarez