Street Fighter IV packs a few new punches

It looks like the beloved Street Fighter franchise has come back for another round. Super Street Fighter IV is the newest installation in the series and it builds upon everything the past games have created, stepping out of the shadows to be a worthy addition to the lineup.

The game boasts the largest number of characters since Street Fighter III: Third Strike. Cody, Guy, and Adon make their first appearances since the Alpha series and they do not disappoint. With strong normal and special attacks, the three are looking pretty good, especially considering that they have been out of commission for over a decade.

But Capcom didn't appease just Alpha and Third Strike fans. They took it back 20 years and brought back Dee Jay and T. Hawk, the two characters that were missing in Street Fighter IV. Hawk's thundering grabs do some of the best damage in the game and Dee Jay rocks to his own beat.

The greatest surprise was Capcom's unveiling of two brand new characters, Hakan and Juri. Hakan is a Turkish oil wrestler with an eclectic move set. He oils himself up, slides around and hugs people to death. Juri is a South Korean Tae Kwon Do master who seeks only to fight for fighting's sake. Her move set is eclectic as well, but fans will rejoice regardless of her playing; her sultry figure and nonchalant attitude is sure to win over many players.

New players will be relieved to know that the game utilizes the same concepts as Street Fighter IV, so expect links and lots of them. However, the Ultra system has been slightly changed. Instead of just one Ultra, you now have access to two different ones, similar to the system used in Third Strike. While interesting, some characters received a crappy second Ultra and as a result, their style remains much the same.

For older veterans of the series, there have been quite a few noticeable changes to each character, tweaks that buff a character in certain aspects or nerf them in others. The universal nerf that everyone received was the lowering of damage on all the dragon punches. Cammy players start weeping; her double cannon spike combo does a lot less damage now.

But in the end, the game is still very much like Street Fighter IV. So if you're just starting to learn to play the game, no worries. The game isn't as hard to pick up as the Alpha series or Street Fighter II. As for returning players, there are ten new characters to experiment with, along with new Ultras for everyone.