Street Fighter X Tekken


Written by Chris Price
19 Monday 19th March 2012

A collaboration between producers Yoshinori Ono (Street Fighter) and Katsuhiro Harada (Tekken), with the former taking over development duties and Capcom handling the crossover with surgical integrity. The respect paid to every character, strike and familiar combo from the away side is all up on screen. King’s Jaguar Step feels familiar in speed and strike as Law’s Somersault Kick, and every member of the away side has been lovingly reinterpreted in Capcom’s wonderful 2.5D anime-esque stylings.

I always get a bit misty eyed with Street Fighter games. Like many, my first proper big videogame crush, the constant in many a great childhood memory of my youth. Since it’s re-emergence from relative cult obscurity (Third Strike and EX3 anybody?) the Tekken series concurrently receded after its initial explosion onto the scene as the lantern of the Playstation Generation. But - Tekken’s 3D world allowed for 360 degree movement, with it’s 4-button chains input, for pro's to ‘juggle’ their opponent in the air. Street Fighter gave us tight input windows, circular inputs, 6-buttons, chain combination bars, EX strikes and Alpha attacks.

The ‘Sultan of Saikyo’ Dan introduces a vital series of tutorial missions in his TOTEMIC! EXCITING! AWESOME! STYLE! all key to understanding the fighting system that has evolved to accommodate two fundamentally contrasting titles, while remaining familiar to both franchise fans of the 55-character strong roster. While the world of Cross Arts and Alpha attacks will prove unfamiliar to Tekken fans, chain combos and juggles will prove equally the same to SF fans. Both elements are brought together under a ‘lifting strike' – pressing both heavy attack buttons to send your opponent skyward. Tekken players can then attempt a juggle, whereas SF players can use a hot tag system - familiar to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 fans - allowing you to bring in a team mate mid-bout to deliver additional damage before they hit the ground.

It also introduces the 'Gem system', which allows you to assign offensive and defensive attributes to your character – such as auto-defend against throws, or extra damage once you pull of a specific move. This allows the player to remove some attacks from your opponents arsenal and give inexperienced players more of a fighting chance in the ring. Obviously, this has been to the chagrin of the hardcore fans – but then, the hardcore have always been resilient to change. That’s what makes them hardcore. But this is partly a softening of the edges of a series that proved habitually confusing, ever since Guile and co. merrily danced around our TV screens in 16-bit glory 20 years ago. The series is still recognisable, but not as familiar as it once was, with muscle memory only propelling you so far into a mille feuille of “Ex Charges” and “Cross-Arts” – and many were sent running to the world of 3D brawlers for a more realistic experience. The Gem system provides a simple, highly customisable route of stripping out unfamiliar elements from ’08 plus Street Fighter, allowing unfamiliar Tekken players to adopt its ways. Capcom should be commended for taking a brave step to broader appeal.

Street Fighter X (pronounced “cross”) Tekken is no gimmick. Bold additions have been made to the Street Fighter engine to accommodate two games that occupy opposing sides of the fight game spectrum. But in sticking so faithfully to the characters of each franchise, the inequality offered to Tekken from the unfamiliar 2D plane of action often creeps in – perhaps even this is psychological due to a new environment for Kazuya and co. But it’s an assured first step at broadening the Street Fighter world, featuring an intriguing series of modifications with the stunning presentation we’ve come to expect from the franchise. With the Namco-produced Tekken X Street Fighter slated next surely aiming to level out any bumps from this, the future is looking rosy for gaming’s special relationship’. Oh yes, and get an arcade stick if you own an Xbox 360 version – it’ll save the RSI further down the line.

Street Fighter  X Tekken is out now on Xbox 360 and PS3, and on PSVita in Autumn 2012.

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