San Diego Comic-Con 2012
The X Button at Comic Con: Thursday, July 12

by Todd Ciolek,
The Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Panel brought news about a new tournament and a new web series...but not a new Street Fighter game. Of course, Capcom released Street Fighter X Tekken months ago, and it now shoulders much of Street Fighter's celebration.

Capcom added to the previously announced Street Fighter 25th Anniversary Collector's Set, which contains Street Fighter X Tekken, Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, Super Street Fighter II HD Remix, and Street Fighter III Third Strike Online Edition, plus a documentary, several Street Fighter anime productions, and a whole mess of soundtracks. Yet the package now favors the PlayStation 3, as Sony's throwing in download codes for the PlayStation versions of the three Alpha games and the PSP version of Alpha 3 Max.

Street Fighter X Tekken producer Tomoaki Ayano unveiled the North American cover for Street Fighter X Tekken, but not before showing a mock-up cover of Street Fighter's female cast drawn in explicitly cutesy “moe” style. This was quickly revealed to be a joke, and several in the audience seemed disappointed.

Ayano also introduced a new Street Fighter tournament, set to begin July 28 in Austin, Texas. Other locations worldwide will host the tournament in the months to follow. Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, Third Strike, HD Remix, and Street Fighter X Tekken will all be part of the tournament, with prize money for each category. Street Fighter X Tekken leads the pack again, as its top prize includes a new car.

The biggest surprise was Street Fighter: Assassin's Fist, a new live-action series by the makers of the Street Fighter Legacy shorts. The series will be set in Japan and explore Ken and Ryu's background.

Yoshinori Ono, producer of all things Street Fighter, had a more subdued showing this year. Last year's panel saw him dressed as Poison and running a contest with Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada, but this year found him crashing the panel in a Blank costume. Harada was also on hand, making a joke about “headhunting” Ono for Namco Bandai.

Ono also dropped his traditional hints about Darkstalkers, Capcom's long-neglected fighter about creatures of myth and legend. Instead of asking the crowd to wave cash in the air, Ono stated that the fans “don't need to do that now.” He was also quick to add that this isn't necessarily bad news. Such a tease, that Ono.

Mirror of Fate tries its best to marry two sides of Castlevania: the Symphony of the Night school of exploration and the Lords of Shadow realm of up-close-and-personal bloodshed. It's a 2-D game in terms of play, but it's all built with 3-D graphics and based in the Lords of Shadow Universe. And it doesn't quite work. It adopts a few of Castlevania's underused ideas, such as using a whip as a grappling hook, but the 3-D effect seems strangely unnecessary. In fact, the game has to highlight ledges that the main character can grab, as they'd otherwise blend in with the background. The combat also mimics Lords of Shadow in ways it shouldn't; humdrum skeleton warriors have to be repeatedly pounded before they disappear, and the non-linear stages simply lead to switches that unlock doors. It's an evidently early build (one man sampling the demo crashed the game), so perhaps it'll improve before Konami and Mercury Steam button it up.

Play Sound Shapes on a crowded, noisy Comic-Con floor, and it won't seem all that interesting. You'll simply guide a bouncing ball through caves and ruins, like a blandly abstract version of Loco Roco. But there's a reason Sony's demo station has headphones. When you can hear it, Sound Shapes is remarkable. Each action creates a different note, and the items that litter the stages reveal new sections of a longer, constantly expanding beat. As with Lumines and Patapon, Sound Shapes has a curious and entrancing quality to it, and the game's platformer-puzzle levels show promise.

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