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GDC 2010: Street Fighter IV for the iPhone out now

Tonight at GDC 2010, I went out and stopped by the Capcom Fight Club party here in San Francisco, and while there, Capcom projected the actual App Store interface for sending their Street Fighter IV app to the App Store on various screens around the room. We actually got to see them press the button on the release live and in person, and sure enough, the game is in the App Store right now for $9.99.

Before you go press buy, though, I'll also tell you that I got a chance to play the game, and while it is about as faithful a Street Fighter IV game as you can get on the iPhone, playing a fighting game without actual buttons is not really an ideal experience. While I was able to pull off a Hadoken and almost all of the other old moves after a few tries, the highest levels of competition in a fighting game require precision and subtlety, and this control scheme has neither of those. If you just want to play Street Fighter on an iPhone, sure -- be an early adopter, pick up the game, and enjoy a few rounds of Guile vs. Ryu. But if you're looking for the kind of in-depth fighting experience that Street Fighter IV on consoles and in the arcades offered, you probably won't find it here -- the controls are a little too inconsistent to really dig into the deep counter and powerup systems on display.


The game does have a lot of extras and addons, including a dojo mode for training and Bluetooth multiplayer. And while the game's eight characters offers up a pretty slim selection compared to the current console titles, these are definitely classic Capcom characters, and all of the old moves you'll remember still work. Save for the controls, nothing about this game is half-done -- it's definitely a premium port of a premium game. But as a true fighting game experience, this one comes up short. Buy it if you want, to see the spectacle of Street Fighter squeezed into Apple's touchscreen, an achievement in and of itself. But don't buy it expecting an ideal Capcom-style showdown that you'll be able to pull up time and time again -- for that, save your quarters for the arcades.

Stay tuned -- we did get to talk with the Japanese producer of the game about what he thinks of the iPhone, the iPad, and the challenges he had to overcome by squeezing this one on to Apple's handheld. That interview is coming up later today right here on TUAW.

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