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February 11 2009
Street Fighter IV - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
20/2/2009THQCapcomCapcom
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
1-22$119.95 Std Ed.
$199.95 Ltd Ed.
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Two favourites are in the game.
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Newcomer Abel about to smash Balrog?

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Chun Li in her own gorgeous stage.
When it comes to reviving franchises everyone seems to be hopping on the bandwagon with new versions of anything and everything being released these days. But Capcom have a bit of a dilemma here. The Street Fighter glory days ended years ago, but the hardcore gamers still line up - particularly in Japan - to play the game.

As most of you would be aware the Street Fighter series sees more iterations of each generation then almost any other series. Street Fighter 3, for example, had three main versions (with some smaller tweaks within each version) while Street Fighter Alpha also had three main versions released. It has now been 11 years since Street Fighter III hit the arcades, so this new version is more of a 'reinvention' of the series, and Capcom are taking the game back to its roots.

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Another very impressive SFIV screenshot.
The events and storyline in Street Fighter IV actually take place between those in Street Fighter II and Street Fighter III. While there has never been much of a story as such Capcom released the following tidbit recently. The year after the legendary World Warrior Championship (Street Fighter 2) suspicious incidents begin to occur, and behind it a mystic organization is on the move in the shadows. Those chasing and being chased in the complicated middle of frienship and betrayal. Now, the curtain rises and a new fight begins.

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American boxer Balrog appears in Street Fighter IV.
Gameplay in Street Fighter IV is, thankfully, going to retain the 2D style of the original games despite the fact that the game looks much more 3D graphically (more on that later). The biggest change to the gameplay is the that the "parry" system from Street Fighter III has been dropped altogether. In its place is what is called a "Saving" System (or "Focus" system in America) which sees a four step gauge fill up. This can then be used to unleash special attacks which immobilise the opponent, or go towards the EX Specials which make a return. Super moves will also return in the game, and Ultra moves will also be incorporated however the developers are working out how to best include these in the game.

So what about the characters then? Well returning characters confirmed to date include Blanka, Chun-Li, Dhalsim, E. Honda, Guile, Ken, Ryu, Zangief, Balrog, Vega, Sagat and M.Bison. That's not a bad list with Capcom confirming they are including all the original Street Fighter II Turbo characters, and possibly some extras that made their way into more recent Street Fighter titles (Street Fighter Alpha or Street Fighter III).

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Two old foes battle in SFIV on PS3.
That's not all though with Capcom throwing in several new characters as well, and to date we know of four - French martial artist Abel, American female Crimson Viper, Mexican luchador fighter El Fuerte and Rufus who remains a bit of a mystery.

Online gameplay should also be supported in this game. Capcom have now had several generations of Street Fighter games playable online dating back to the Dreamcast days and Capcom's upcoming Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix which is due out later this year will also include online gameplay.

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Blanka decides to jump on Dhalsim!
One of the obvious changes to this game has been the graphics. Capcom has gone for a fairly unique look with 3D rendered characters and backgrounds which seem to blend cel-shading with normal 3D visuals. It certainly is an interesting look, and one which is certain to make the game stand out from the crowd. The animation looks superb, and the backgrounds a more certainly more active then in previous games in the series.

Just after the 2008 E3 show Capcom confirmed that Street Fighter IV would be released in Winter 2009 (that's American Winter). Just prior to the end of the year a late February release was penciled in but here in Australia in January that release was thrown into the air with distributer Red Ant going broke. Fortunately Capcom have just signed a deal with THQ to distribute their products here and the February 20, 2009 date is now settled. Get those button mashing fingers ready.