I know what you are probably thinking, "Who, at CAPCOM, thought Street Fighter IV, arguably the most hardcore fighting game on the market, would work on iPhone?" What's more amazing is that someone over at CAPCOM U.S.A convinced CAPCOM Japan to give this project the green light. Fortunately for the end user it works and it shit's all over your steak, in a good way. It's also every bit as frustrating as it's full fledged PS3/360 counterpart. You may want to invest in one of those high impact cases for your iPhone. I've come close to chugging this thing through the wall however come to think of it, that may be another issue altogether.
When it was first rumored to be on it's way, only Ken and Ryu were expected but I'm happy to report that the full roster consists of 8 playable characters . Classics like Chun-Li, Blanka, Guile, M. Bison, and Dhalsim
man fuck that guy all made the cut along with new comer Able. If you're in anyway familiar with Street Fighter you'll feel right at home here. CAPCOM really found a control scheme that's works beautifully. For a game that requires such precise controls you may be surprised that it basically comes down to Punch, Kick, Special and Focus but the command lists are packed full of kickass. They also managed to bring in one of my favorite aspects of SFIV proper which is the Focus attack. A Focus attack is a basic defensive mechanic that if used effectively can lead to some massive offensive manuevers. Casual players may not notice the minute details of dash-cancels, armor breaks, or even EX moves but they are all here.
It's nothing short of amazing what CAPCOM was able to cram into this little gem of a game. It's quite obvious they are aiming towards a casual market by including an Auto Guard and Special Move assist option but turning those off really makes you not only a non-pussy but it really makes the game shine. Balancing is always another issue that's brought up in fighters and while I can see the concern in full fledged aracde and console versions it's not so much an issue here. I'll simply reiterate that they nailed the control scheme and it's on screen button placements are entirely reconfigurable. With only one button assigned for kick and punch old tactics are thrown out the door, where one could usually counter Blanka's heavy Electric Thunder with a low light punch or jumping light kick, it's now a matter of simply taking the hit or rethinking your old tactics entirely. Super and Ultra combos, even EX moves aren't completely nerfed with assist is set to on, they still require use of virtual joystick and button combinations, they're just simplified. It's hardcore if you want it and casual if you don't. Pussy.
Speaking of pussies, there's no online component but there is multiplayer over Bluetooth, unfortunately all of my friends are pussies and are either afraid of owning an iPhone for fear of being called "fanboys" or would rather play something thats not $9.99 and shits on steaks. While I won't disagree entirely that $9.99 seems like a lot, depending on how much you like or love Street Fighter you'll get hours of gameplay from this little package. In solo play there are 4 different modes . Tournament is the usual run through from one fight to another, Free-Sparring is basically an infinite version of Tournament, Dojo lets you take on different challenges, and Training lets you get comfortable with the controls while also allowing you to give the computer controlled AI different actions to perform while you get acquainted with your characters skill set. You even save any battles using the REC option immediately after a fight allowing you to re-evaluate your strategies.
I didn't have access to an iPhone 3GS for comparison but I would think it runs smoother on it than my 3G. While I did experience some light framerate issues, it was nothing that would hinder gameplay. Again this is not a fighter that will start championship tournaments, the key here is how much fun it will make future visits to the dentist's office.
Street Fighter 4 is available from the the iTunes App Store (click opens iTunes) for $9.99 and was published by CAPCOM U.S.A