New Street Fighter Characters!
Well not really new, but how on earth would I know? Thanks to the sad state of the American arcade, it would take quite a bit of driving to get to an arcade where I could play Super Street Fighter 4 instead of just down to my local mall or movie theater - and I haven't been to the movies in months, so if they had put in a SSF4 machine I still wouldn't know.
In December of last year, an Arcade Edition of Super Street Fighter 4 was released that includes Yun and Yang from the Street Fighter III series, Evil Ryu from the Street Fighter Alpha series, and a new version of Akuma simply listed as "Oni". "Oni" loosely translates to English as "ogre" - fans of one of Capcom's other series, "Onimusha" may already be familiar with the word. I was hoping to include a link to some video - there's lots out there on Youtube, but since most of it is shot on handheld cameras it's not quite as good as some of the demo videos of the other characters that are available that are direct video feeds. The other problem is that Capcom has been taking down some of the videos of Oni Akuma and Evil Ryu, although it's hard for me to figure out how they choose which ones to take down. It's easy as pie to just search "Oni Akuma", and they're not all taken down, just some of them. As of this writing, there are still plently there to see.
Yun, Yang, and Evil Ryu play largely as expected. While not 100% identical to their counterparts in previous games, it's close enough from what I am able to see.
Oni is a little different and should not be mistaken for Shin Akuma. His super moves are different, and some of his strategy has changed because of changes to his special moves. He doesn't have a 4-way teleport move like regular Akuma does, ((f,d,df or b,d,db) + (PPP or KKK)), but he does have an air dash, and a new move (d,df,f + K – strength determines distance) that moves him forward quickly with a rushing punch. The Roundhouse (Heavy Kick) version will cross up if performed close. It's no teleport, but it could get you out of a corner in a jam. It's hard to tell how safe this move is if blocked because people seem to want to show video of it connecting more than video of it being blocked. His (f,d,df +K) move has been changed from its usual diving kick guessing game to a high-hitting smash that can be used as an overhead if done as an EX move (two kick buttons instead of one, uses one level of meter).
Word is that these additional characters will be available for download for consoles at some point in the future for owners of Super Street Fighter IV. The original Street Fighter IV console version was not programmed in such a way so as to allow additional characters, but apparently Super Street Fighter IV is. Let's hope.
News from the Kiosk
I noticed something new at our local Walmart game kiosk - they had the demo version of LEGO Star Wars 3 for PS3 and for XBox360. My older son and I fired it up on both units in an attempt to see how they looked. Sadly, the XBox360 was not set up for maximum resolution and it looks rather fuzzy compared to the PS3 version. There was no way to adjust the XBox's output resolution from demo mode. I just know that the PS3's video output was set correctly because I was there the first morning that they fired up the PS3 and know that the TV was correctly set for some flavor of 1080. Sadly, the XBox360 looks like it's running in standard-def because it was only scarcely better than the Wii running Mario Sports Mix on the other side of it.
But what about Mario Sports Mix? I have played the hockey and the dodgeball parts at the kiosk. The dodgeball did not have intuitive controls, so I floundered against the computer. The hockey had great controls, so I thoroughly trounced the computer even though I started from way behind (0-3) at nearly the end of the first period. I think I finished the second period with a score of 15-5. I'm going to pass on this game unless someone else can convince me otherwise.