Super Street Fighter IV for the current gen consoles still reigns as one of the best 3D fighting games ever made. The fluid animation, simple yet powerful combo and control system, and the range of familiar favourite characters made a large impact on gamers the world over. In addition, the online features made going to the arcade a thing of the past - it was now possible to hand out a whipping without leaving the comfort of your own home. With this 3DS edition, not only can you dispense whippings without leaving the house, you don't even need to get out of bed.
When you fire the game up you are treated to a slick intro cinematic, one that doesn't feel quite at home on a handheld Nintendo platform. This kind of splashy title sequence usually helps to hide the holes in a game, but this is not the case here.
Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is a very well executed and surprisingly solid fighter. For a portable title, there really seems to be nothing missing from the game. Typical modes are all there (Arcade, Versus, Training, Challenge) as well as Internet Match and the 3D exclusive mode '3D Versus'. The only mode worth further comment is 3D Versus as the others have been covered extensively elsewhere. 3D Versus is an attempt to show off the newfangled capabilities of the 3DS.
In essence, it's the same as normal VS mode, but from a slightly off-centre over-the-shoulder viewpoint. With the 3D slider pushed all the way up, it's meant to provide an aggressive and new view on the fighting process. All it really serves to do is deliver headaches and frustration, as it's almost impossible to use. Gauging the distance to your opponent is a critical aspect of timing your shots, and as a result this mode serves only to frustrate any chance you have of landing a proper hit.
As this is a DS game, the touch screen is forced into play. In SSFIV:3D, the touchpad is split into quarters and each is treated as a programmable button that particular moves can be mapped onto. In the basic configuration, your character's primary special moves are simply a tap away, as well as their more powerful finishing moves (which are unlocked when the correct amount of damage has been dished out - or received).
While this may seem like a cheap way for inexperienced players to rip out powerful moves with ease, it ends up being something of a trap, as moving your hand away to use the touchpad often hurts control fluidity and impacts on your timing on the regular controls. An interesting development nevertheless, and one that will be welcomed by newcomers to the series.
Joining a multiplayer battle, whether it be via local (ad-hoc) wireless or over the Internet could not be any more simple. The game takes care of matching you up with a foe in either normal versus mode or 3D versus and away you go. For now, you'll be pitted against a variety of players at different skill levels. My own experience was enjoyably random: I was destroyed twice in a row by someone who I can only imagine has minuscule and infinitely more dexterous hands than my own, and easily put away a couple of other players in turn. Whether the in-game ranking system is a little fresh to be effective remains to be seen, but as detailed stats are kept it's likely the online experience will balance out.
The upgraded performance of the 3DS really comes to the fore with this game. The increased power of the CPU/graphics system is put to great use delivering spectacular animations, beautiful effects and a solid frame-rate all the way through. With 3D turned on especially, the character models appear 'full' and very well defined - quite a sight on such a small system. The sound design is pitch-perfect, sharp and clear on the 3DS' speakers.
Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition is a very strong launch title for the 3DS, one that makes reasonable use of the 3D capabilities of the new system and excellent use of the console as a whole. It's fun, fast and tight - just like any fight you could hope to be involved in.