You can now test your fighting prowess using the iPhone as the arena with Capcom's new release of Street Fighter IV.
With its roots in the arcade, the popular game found its way onto the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3, and the PC before finally hitting the iPhone and iPod Touch last week. Using similar gameplay and a few of the same characters as its bigger screen brothers, Street Fighter IV works better than one might expect on the smaller format.
You can choose to play from among any of the six featured characters, including Japan's Ryu, French martial artist Abel, the Green Goblinesque Blanka, and the appropriately named M. Bison. If you're anxious to jump into the mix right away, you can enter solo play mode. Try for a free sparring match if you want a quick fight to get the juices going. Or you can enter a tournament to battle one opponent after another and build up your character's skills and reputation. You can choose from among four different levels of gameplay from beginner to "grueling."
If you don't want to get your butt kicked right away, you might want to train first. In the training room, you can face off against opponents without them fighting back, a good way to learn the controls and special moves. You can also gain the wisdom of a street-fighting master by signing up for lessons in the dojo. Your teacher guides you through a series of classes in basic training and then reveals various strategic moves and fighting secrets.
The game's "versus" mode lets you battle someone else in your household or office through your device's Bluetooth connection. You can even replay your matches to savor your victories or cringe at your defeats. The game's visuals are decent. You face your opponents in the usual 2D environments, with some cool scenery in the background to create a 3D effect.
The iPhone version naturally has some minor limitations compared with the larger arcade and game console editions. The onscreen controls cover a fair portion of the screen and do take some getting used to. You move, jump, and crouch around with your left thumb and throw your punches, kicks, and special moves with your right. Capcom does provide some helpful onscreen tips and tutorials. And you can always pause the gameplay in the middle of a match to refesh your memory on each control's function.
The arcade and game console versions also feature more characters, but the six ones included for the iPhone provide a good mix of personalities and fighting skills.
At $9.99, the game is a bit pricey for an iTunes app, but SF IV devotees and new fans will get their money's worth.