Friday, 22 April 2011

That Age Old Battle...But Can It Only Truly Be Fought On The Home Consoles?

We'd already had the pre-fight preamble weeks prior on Facebook chat, the intimidation sparkling with all of the finesse and all of the offense of Zack Snyder's latest train wreck: Mortgage dodging Ryu, flamboyantly fabulous flaming Ken, unprintable stuff about Ryu and Eliza on that weekend break. Wait a minute Eliza your kid looks a little of the oriental persuasion. That kinda thing. So the stage was set, in the Ryu camp, my friend over in Leeds and fighting for the might of Ken fans everywhere, in Nottingham, me and my Nintendo 3DS cramped as close to my wi-fi router as possible for a lag free slug fest. Triumph or die!

The combination of Facebook chat and Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition can't be underestimated. I must admit I'm something of an online game phobe, the online arena intimidates me, getting screwed nightly in brown palette shooters by bed ridden teenagers ain't my idea of fun. But on the other end of this wi-fi signal was my old school friend, with a history of competition on countless games over the years, a genuine challenge. We wait in the lobby and the chat window beeps into overdrive. 'Kabbboooooomm', 'Oh Fuck Yeah!' 'Wiping time!' gradually becoming swiftly drafted, poorly spelled, half messages as we reach the final menus. 'I,mmna gonna# kilgg'


The blows come thick and fast, Ryu playing a defensive game, attacking with a constant and perfect stream of fireballs, I'm a close quarters kinda fighter and I'm finding it hard to get through, but once I do, I slam in with a combo all on the heavies, kicks and punches so fast they break the animation frames. The classic uppercut to dragon punch combo (the famous glitch later worked into the combat from the original World Warriors board) connects and its almost round over, But Ryu is back with an impressive string of fireballs and once again I can't get close. I attempt to break it, I dodge one, but get caught by the 2nd. K.O!. What???? I lost...

I immediately jump on the chat, but my friend has beaten me to it, 'So who's using the touch screen prompts?', I plead I haven't used them, 'So you're nailing perfect dragon punches every time?' I'm 15 again. There is something deep rooted in the competition of Street Fighter II. It has been the backbone of score settling punch ups since its release in 92 and its endurance is testimony to the basic move sets laid down 19 years ago. Its the new Chess. I have played this game in all its iterations over those years and throughout that time always with Ken.  'I am only using the touch screen for the ultras' I admit. 'OK, rematch, no touch screen'. 'Not even for Ultras?' I ask. 'No Touch Screen'.


The fight takes the same pattern as the last: defense versus offense. I struggle to get through finally landing an ultra earning combo for Ryu. At the next opening Ryu's teeth crunching Metsu Shoryuken ultra dragon punch knocks me high into the sky for a sweet K.O.

'I thought we weren't using the touch screen?' 'I didn't' comes my friends reply. I don't believe him. The only way to settle the score, a fight on the home consoles, in person. I challenge him. He accepts.

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