I recently picked up Super Streetfighter 4 for a crazy-cheap price. I had the original Street fighter 4 and probably racked up over a thousand games. I enjoyed it greatly, but over time I got increasingly annoyed with it till I was shouting at the TV. Mostly I’m a calm kind of guy (despite what you might see on this site) so I stopped playing and traded it in. Rooting around a local game shop I found the new super version dirt cheap though so I went for it. The gaming drought coupled with my increasing mellow-ness convinced me it was time to pick up my hadouken again, and the recent Evo tournaments have relit a fire in me.
Now Streetfighter is a complex game. Crazy complex. Way, way more complex than anything in any other genre. It assumes a deep and historic knowledge of a fighting system which has evolved over time. I think if you came from Street Fighter 2 in the arcades and played all the intervening titles, SF4 probably seems quite simple. If you jump straight in at SF4 though, you’ll be adrift in a world of cancels, link combos, target combos, ultras, whiffed SPD’s and FADC’s.
All of this stuff is too complicated for a beginner in my opinion, but if you’re brave enough to wade in you’ll find Streetfighter is the most compelling, rewarding, challenging and beautiful fighting game there has ever been.
So heres my top 5 tips to getting good at Streetfighter 4:
1. Get the knowledge
Get yourself to shoryuken.com. Watch the videos. Learn. Read the forums. You won’t understand whats being said, but you’ll soak up some of the attitude and background of the game. Like going to a gym, it won’t make you a fighter, but that site has the smell of fighting fans.
Watch the videos from the tournaments. See hundreds of fans cheering. Look at the pressure on the faces of the players. You can get that feeling too. When you practice, you’ll have that feeling every time you start the game.
2. Get the attitude
Get ready to lose my friend. Over and over and over. Its how you learn. The most crucial, brutal lesson you must learn is how to handle defeat. If you ever, ever call someone a scrub you are a fool. In an idiots mind, a scrub is someone who abuses a move that is unfair. In the real world, you are the scrub for failing to defend yourself from a predictable and repeated tactic. Your opponent is right to keep using that tactic. Only by learning how to defend it will you ever get better You should thank them. Every attack has a viable defense and if you don’t learn that defense, you will be the scrub forever.
It’s okay to get annoyed, to turn off in disgust or to swear or shout. Don’t disrespect your opponents. This isn’t Modern Warfare you’re playing, this is Streetfighter. The best players respect and value each other. If you throw you’re toys out the pram, call people names or disconnect from games, you’re insulting the greatest community of fans any game has ever had.
3. Get the tools
A player called Vangief did well at Evo 2010 to the surprise of many pundits. It was a surprise because he used a gamepad. Almost all fighting game fans use the expensive arcade-style sticks. I won’t say what you should choose, but try different options to find one that suits you. You should know that of all available options, the Xbox d-pad is certainly the worst. Personally I bought one of the madcat controllers and like that best.
4. Play the old games
I think one of the best ways to come at SF4 is to try the older streetfighters. If you go back to Street Fighter 2 turbo then you will learn many of the key techniques of the newer games. As well as being cheapo and easily available on download services, these games are also great fun and still played in tournaments. Seeing the evolution of your favourite character is great and playing with the basic rules of a game like Street Fighter 2 turbo focuses your skills and helps you get the basics right.
5. Choose your character
The roster for Super Streetfighter 4 is huge. Theres so many options it can be difficult to pick a character to learn with.
First off, you should consider which characters appeal to you visually and thematically. If you’re gonna be stuck with a character as a main for many years, you better pick one who you think looks cool. I think you should always have a mix of characters you can use for different situations, so why not try all at first and slowly whittle down to your three or four favourites. Try to pick characters who are different, there’s no point in using Dan, Ryu and Ken when there’s so much variety to choose from.
From here, think about which characters suit your playstyle. Are you aggresive, careful, technical or tricky? Some characters are so versatile they can adopt a number of these different approaches, others can only play one way. There’s a fundamental difference in the two main categories of characters; charge and command. This relates to how you use the character special moves: by charging for two seconds or by inputting tricky commands on the d-pad/stick. There are exceptions with some characters sitting between the two, but generally charge characters are a little more tricky or defensive with command characters a little more technical and aggressive.
With all this said, all that remains is to wish you luck. If you see me on xbox live, I go by the tag Val1s and I look forward to facing you. Teach me something, beat me and I’ll learn from you. If you’re not good enough, rest assured I’ll take you to school.