After exceeding all expectations with the DLC for Mario Kart 8, Nintendo gave fans pretty high hopes for what could possibly be added to the new Smash Bros. post launch. On a Saturday in mid-June several videos, screen shots and audio files leaked claiming of Street Fighter’s Ryu making an appearance in Nintendo’s venerable fighting franchise, and the very next day, along with Earthbound’s Lucas and Fire Emblem’s Roy, he was actually made available. $5.99 nets you Ryu, 8 color variations straight from Super Street Fighter II, his stage Suzaku Castle, again a near direct transplant, this time from the classic original SFII, and several original and remixed music tracks, along with multiple trophies of Ryu and Ken.
In form and function the Eternal Challenger hews closely to his classic SNES appearance, most fans’ introduction to the character and franchise and surely the big N’s nostalgia baiting impetus for including the mascot from a series now woefully exclusive to Sony’s Playstation 4. As a matter of fact the SNES was the last Nintendo home system to actually host a “Street Fighter” game, with none of Capcom’s brawlers appearing on N64 and only Capcom vs. SNK 2 and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom being available for the Gamecube and Wii, respectively, making Nintendo’s decision for Ryu to join the ranks of Smash a curious one indeed, though I’m not complaining, because he’s fun as hell to use.
What we have here is almost a perfect version of the Shotokan master, having access to the donkey kick he was sorely lacking in the various permutations of Street Fighter IV and even employing a damage absorbing focus attack, that game’s main innovation. Pressing the special button in addition to various directions will cause Ryu to whip out his trademark Fireballs, Dragon Punches and Hurricane Kicks, but actually performing the familiar quarter circle directional maneuvers plus the regular attack button will produce stronger versions of the moves. And in a first for the series, Ryu actual has two final smashes, a shinkuu hadoken that clears the screen of opponents in front of him, and a devastating shin shoryuken performed when standing directly next to a single unlucky adversary.
Nintendo has recently announced that every single character in Smash 4, including those added in post-launch DLC will have an Amiibo, so look I can forward to hunting down another little plastic visage of Capcom’s karate champ sometime in the future. They also revealed that none of the characters released thus far have been part of the official poll they held several weeks back, so even more varied and unique new challengers are on the way. Don’t blame me, I voted for Simon Belmont.