Not often do you get to praise a game for being identical to one you played over 15 years ago - but then few games carry the historic significance of Street Fighter II. To recap: this is a fastidiously accurate recreation of Capcom's legendary fighter, with hit-boxes so authentic that, after just a couple of bouts, those intervening years just melt away.
We managed to catch two sides of the SFIV phenomenon at this year's Tokyo Game Show. The first was the buzzing arcade community which, thanks to arcades dedicating entire floors to linked SFIV cabinets, has reconvened with even more vigour than it had before. For what roughly equates to 50p a go, you can trade fireballs and Spinning Bird kicks with endless local opponents, the networked machines setting up matches automatically.
The good news is that the other side, the forthcoming PS3 version, looks and plays exactly the same. Sitting down with an arcade stick linked to a near-final build, the experience was indistinguishable but for the gentle smell of fag-ends sat in the coin-op's built-in ashtray. The Dragon punches came as naturally as the game's new focus moves - blocks which absorb predictable attacks before retaliating, rewarding any subsequent damage to your health bar. We weren't able to test the previously announced online support, but there wasn't a single dropped frame in the action we saw.
Capcom has been steadily revealing new characters over the last few months, the game's roster looking increasingly healthy as its spreads out beyond vanilla SFII. We know about the new guys and gals: Abel, Crimson Viper, Rufus and El Fuerte; and we know about the returning bosses: Vega, Sagat, M. Bison and Akuma. But at TGS we saw the latest exclusive additions to the PS3 game: Dan (from Street Fighter Alpha), Fei-Long (from Super Street Fighter II) and Sakura (from Street Fighter Alpha 2). The game's still a short while away - March 2009 is the rumour - so don't be surprised if a few more world warriors and game modes enter the contest before you get the chance to play.