Street Fighter IV

Publisher: Capcom Price: �39.99 Format: Xbox 360 (also on PS3) Age rating: 12+ WHETHER you want to brawl your way around the world in single-player mode or duke it out with friends, Street Fighter IV is one of the most instinctive fighting games you wil

Publisher: Capcom

Price: �39.99

Format: Xbox 360 (also on PS3)

Age rating: 12+


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WHETHER you want to brawl your way around the world in single-player mode or duke it out with friends, Street Fighter IV is one of the most instinctive fighting games you will ever play.

Its most stunning improvement over previous games in the series is its beautiful hand-drawn characters that have all the warmth of painted artwork coupled with the ferocity of a Japanese cartoon. At its heart it is still a 2D game, but you would never think so as your gorgeously animated 3D fighters pirouette, spin, punch and kick their way across the screen.

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All 12 fighters from Street Fighter II return to the fray as well as four newcomers. Thankfully, there is not a dud fighter amongst them, and there is a further nine to unlock as you progress through the game. While it would not be fair to spoil the fun of you discovering each character's unique abilities, one particular fighter stands out. The game's big boss, Seth, is able to assimilate other fighters' moves and abilities. Perhaps his strangest power, though, is his special attack that involves sucking you into a vortex, imprisoning you in his stomach and whirling you around like you are in a washing machine.

To unleash a special attack a player has to first build up their Super or Ultra gauges. This is done by either launching a string of successful strikes or soaking up a barrage of blows. Once filled, either bar's energy can then be spent on deadly combo moves to finish off an opponent. To help counter this, there is also a new Focus Attack system. This enables you to neutralize an attack by holding down the medium punch and kick buttons, absorbing the energy of the blow, and then firing it back at your adversary. It is a great way of evening up the odds.

A comprehensive training mode, cinematic camera angles and the ability to instantly swap between single-player matches and online duels help make Street Fighter IV one of the best brawlers ever released. If you are looking for an early contender for game of the year, this is it.

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