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10 things you have to know about Super Street Fighter IV

Gamers have grumbled about Super Street Figher IV's separate retail release instead of the content just being in DLC. The issue isn't just price, but in worries that it will divide the community. Well, if you're wondering what's the big deal that makes the upcoming version "super" check out these info-vitamins full of street-fighting nutrients...

1) New challengers

Super Street Fighter IV is such a huge update any other developer would have named it Street Fighter V. Super is adding another ten new challengers including T.Hawk and Dee Jay from Super Street Fighter II; Adon, Guy and Cody from Alpha; Makoto, Dudley, and Ibuki from Third Strike; and Juri and Hakan – brand new to Super SFIV.

Juri has been softened up a little since we last played her andgrappler Hakan is so new we don't really know what his deal is yet. It brings the count up to a colossal 35, making it one of the biggest fighting games ever. Best of all, the huge number of fighters means you now have 34 chances to not pick Ken.

2) New balance

Why hello there, Guile. Still a big flouncing ladyman, are we? No. Despite the 80s boy band look, Guile is a truck now, and all it took was some tweaked hitboxes and an all-new Ultra Combo to make one of the game’s weakest fighters a solid competitor. Every fighter from SFIV has been rebalanced for the Super edition of the game. Vega and Guile are stronger, Sagat and Zangief are weaker, and the ‘tiers’ have been compressed to make the gap between weak and strong slimmer than ever before. It’ll make for a more competitive game, make even uncommonly-played fighters like Fuerte or Rose worth experimenting with, and make for a more varied and exciting battlefield online and off.

3) New stages

Street Fighter IV already had some pretty stages but Capcom have gone nuts-o-mental with the new African Savannah stage: grinning hippos, meerkats, giraffes, and zebras all make the cut. There’s a Korean street stage for Juri, an Indian street stage with trumpeting elephants for Dhalsim pictured here, and a Crumbling Lab stage for no good reason whatsoever. Stepping even further outside reality than the friendly animals on the Africa stage, you can take a trip to a building site high above Final Fight’s Metro City, complete with Mayor Mike Haggar statue and Hugo from Street Fighter III knocking aroundin the background.

4) New multiplayer

The new online multiplayer supports up to eight players in one lobby, and if you’re short on numbers for a tournament you can even have casual fights while the lobby fills up. You can play with two teams taking turns to fight, or an online Endless Battle mode where the winner stays on and the loser makes way for the next in line. Non-combatants can sit and watch fights as they play out. The five smiley faces are out and a new comment system is in, so you can communicate in lobbies even without a mic, and all character selection is now double-blind, so nobody will be able to counter-pick a better fighter to beat yours.

5) New sticks

Bang your old weapon of choice on Ebay now if you fancy picking up one of Mad Catz’ new SSFIV Tournament Sticks. The difference? It’s slimmer and lighter than the original, and that faceplate stretches to all four corners. Meanwhile in Japan, Hori are releasing a more expensive, even nerdier stick. The Real Arcade Pro EX Premium VLX has the same Sanwa components but is twice the width of the Mad Catz stick and has a doubled price to match. It comes with an even more humongous base-plate and can be easily rewired thanks to its flip-open top. Whichever way you go, they’re the best tool for the job of battering heads and kicking testes.