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Have you ever wanted to work in video games? Well that's what the guys at GameBizCo Inc. do. Literally.

Join the cast of Another Videogame Webcomic as we peek behind the curtain to see what exactly goes into bringing your favorite video games to the small screen. It may be a job in video games, but it's still a job.

Street Fighter IV

Platform: Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Price: $59.99, $79.99 (Collector's Edition )

I miss the arcades. I've plunked down quarters in just about every incarnation of Street Fighter I can remember. From accidentally pulling off Chun Li's "spinning bird kick" in Street Fighter II at the Cherry Hill Mall, to running into my high school math teacher while playing Street Fighter Alpha at the Deptford Mall, to finding out exactly what Gill's super was in Street Fighter III at a comic book store in Queens... Street Fighter has always been synonymous with arcades to me.

So, a part of me was sad when I popped the Street Fighter IV disc in and gripped a controller that didn't have those classic joysticks and arcade buttons. As I began my first match of Street Fighter IV, I was almost immediately interrupted by a message saying "A New Warrior Has Entered the Ring!" as another player challenged me, I remembered why I liked it when the arcades were empty...

Street Fighter IV is the latest sequel in the long running fighting game franchise and in many ways, the game returns to its roots. If you've played one of the incarnations of Street Fighter II in the arcades or at home on your Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis, you'll feel right at home. The original twelve characters from Street Fighter II return, so if you dominate your friends with E. Honda like you did back in middle school. But it wouldn't be a sequel if Capcom didn't add more characters and it wouldn't be a Street Fighter game if those characters weren't slightly off-the-wall, so you can find new ways of dominating your friends with the frustratingly hyperactive El Fuerte or surprisingly fast Rufus.

Gameplay hasn't so much "changed" as much as "evolved" in this new installment. All the special and super combo moves you remember from the previous games remain but a few new features add a layer of depth and help keep matches competitive. The new Focus attacks provide an easy way to counter attack but also provide avenues for players to develop new strategies. In addition to a super meter gauge, each character has a "Revenge meter" which fills when your character takes a beating. When the meter fills, you can execute an Ultra combo move which does massive damage so a well-timed Ultra combo can turn a losing round into a winning round in the blink of an eye.

If you prefer solitary street fighting, the game offers a number of different modes. Arcade mode is the classic mode where you fight a number of opponents on the way to the end boss. You also get to see an anime prologue and ending for the character you choose, but most are as nonsensical as a luchador cook. Challenge mode offers three different types of challenges (time attack, survival and trial) designed to train and test your street fighting skills.

If you prefer the non-Tyler Durden version of street fighting, the game offers a local versus mode so you can kick the ass of your friend sitting on the couch next to you as well as a network versus mode so you can kick the ass of someone you've never seen sitting on a couch thousands of miles away. For the most part, the network play is smooth. Of the 70 or so matches that I've played online so far, only a handful matches had any noticeable lag. However, the online component isn't flawless and higher level players may be frustrated by the sometimes imprecise timing.

Not only is Street Fighter IV a great game to play, but it's also a great game to look at. This is the first in the franchise to utilize 3D rendered models instead of 2D rendered sprites (yes, I'm conveniently forgetting Street Fighter EX...) but the art style and direction is so outstanding that you may forget that fact. When you aren't busy looking at the fight, you may notice the highly detailed background stages and how the fighters inadvertently interact with them. The only low point in the visuals are the anime prologues and endings for each of the characters. While I expected them to be ludicrous (wait until you find out how they explain Gouken's return!), I didn't expect them to be so poorly animated. I'm no anime connoisseur and I wasn't expecting Akira, but considering the high quality of just about everything else in the game, those cutscenes were a huge dissapointment.

Rating

If you've read my review of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, then you already know I'm a huge Street Fighter fan. But setting that aside, this is a great game. Its a great game to look at and a great game to play. It remains accessible to people who have only played Street Fighter II as well as providing depth for more advanced players. The online component is not without its shortcomings, but most players won't notice them and it's fun to have someone halfway around the globe jump in to your game as if they just walked up to an arcade machine. So even though I may be biased, this one is a definite "buy" for me.

Oh, one more thing... Street Fighter IV comes in both a regular and collector's edition variety. There's a 20 dollar difference between the two and that 20 bucks gets you a 65 minute anime movie, a soundtrack, a free downloadable costume pack, and a figure of either Ryu (PS3) or Crimson Viper (Xbox 360). Is it worth it? Really only if you're a Street Fighter fan. If you're new to the game, all the extras are nice but aren't essential to the experience.

Recommendations

Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix - I know when I originally reviewed this game I gave it a "rent", but if you've played Street Fighter IV and are looking for more, this game is right up your alley. Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 - If you can find it for less than a small fortune, pick up Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. This is probably one of my favorite Street Fighter games because it combines my love of comics with my love of Street Fighter. Plus hey, I think it's the same announcer guy as Street Fighter IV! Unfortunately, it had such a small print run that copies can run into the hundreds of dollars. Don't feel like spending that much money? You could always do what I did and buy a Dreamcast specifically for this game. It's totally worth it.

Player Two

After the resurgence of multiplayer co-op, GameBizCo Inc. hired Player Two to be the Goose to someone else's Maverick. His workload isn't quite as heavy as most of the other people working at GameBizCo Inc. and as a result, he spends a lot of time in the break room or playing computer solitaire.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction

Player One

Player One is top dog at GameBizCo Inc. Nearly every game, from Pong to Mario Bros to Grand Theft Auto, requires Player One's expertise. His cocksure and sometimes inappropriate attitude is an annoyance to his coworkers but seeing as every game needs a first player, they make due.
First Appearance: Bonus Stage! Here comes Player One!

Damsel I. Distress

Whether it be a castle, a dungeon or mystical island, Damsel always needs to be saved... and she hates it. Damsel longs for the day when she's given the role of a strong female lead character who doesn't have huge breasts with hyper accurate physics.
First Appearance: LittleBIGPlanet

Final Boss

Underneath the huge brute that is Final Boss lies a timid creature who wouldn't hurt a fly. He puts on his "angry face" when throwing barrels down ramps or breathing fire but deep down he feels sorry for doing so. He's been known to throw a game or two in the player's favor.
First Appearance: World Record

John Minion

John Minion, or Min for short, is the hardest working employee at GameBizCo Inc. Playing everything from Goombas to no name thugs, Min gets beat up on a daily basis but loves every minute of it. He always wanted to work in the gaming industry and was originally hired as an intern. After years of getting coffee, his big break came when someone called in sick... and the rest is history.
First Appearance: Watchmen: The End is Nigh

Middle Manager

Middle Manager works in the Human Resources department. He runs staff meetings and interviews prospective employees. The other 90% of his time is spent playing Freecell on his computer.
First Appearance: Another Videogame Webcomic?!? An Introduction

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