Just from the name alone, many gamers would be inclined to think that this title is based on Capcom's famous fighting game franchise. If you are one of these people (we know some of us are), then you are sorely -and sadly, mistaken. But that does not mean that Street Fight is not worth its salt as a one-on-one, fist fighting, smack down title.
Fight Who on What Street?
First things first, you do not get many choices in terms of characters. Instead, you get to pick between President Barack Obama or former presidential candidate Mrs. Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton. Off the bat, you could tell that the real purpose of this fighting game is to take a lighthearted look at the formerly tight race between the two presidential candidates. That being said, it makes it all the more commendable that the game engine is the way it is. Even just after a few minutes of playing, it is apparent that the creators did not skimp out in perfecting the game engine. With their big super deformed heads, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton are no Ken and Ryu, but they do play like characters from Virtua Fighter Kids and the like.
So yes, in case the idea has not yet dawned on you our dear reader, this is a political game -but with less speeches and more slapstick violence. You can still appreciate this game even if you have no political leanings (you do not have to be either a republican or a democrat to appreciate the concept of the game). If anything, the more you dislike politics, the more likely you are to appreciate how Street Fight works.
An Actual Gameplay
Instead of a life bar, you watch a "Confidence Meter". Every time you land a blow to your opponent, his (or her) confidence meter lowers down. You objective is to, of course, obliterate the other candidate's meter so you could be the last one standing in this presidential smack down.
The controls are standard fighting game fare. Depending on which direction you are currently facing, pressing Left on your directional keypad can make your fighter go forward to that direction or backwards. The same goes for the Right key. Jumping is done by pressing the Up key and Down corresponds to the crouch command. The A, S and D keys give you either an offensive or a defensive move, depending on whether you press the forward or back keys along with them. Basically, A makes your candidate punch, S gives a smack and D corresponds to kick. Also, the two characters have different defensive moves in their arsenal, which means that you will have to fiddle with the controls a bit to find which works and what doesn't.
Yet another fighting game trademark, performing damage dealing moves is not the only thing your presidential caliber fighters are capable of. You can also perform a Taunt by pressing the T key. Pressing W while your Power Move Meter is full lets your candidate pull off a Power Move -the most devastating, confidence busting type of attack.
As for the fighters themselves, their differences are quite pronounced. While they share basic move sets, Hillary Clinton feels much faster, giving a Chun-Li-esque vibe. Obama on the other hand, feels much heavier, and has a solid uppercut to match. Mrs. Michelle Obama and former president Bill Clinton also make an appearance, waving and distracting opponents from the sides. Additionally, if you find yourself cornered, your rival's duo may even push you towards harm's way.
Fighting Roots Really Show
What fighting game would be without combo inducing beats to back it up? The peppy background music certainly fits the bite-sized title. The sound effects are on cue and believable. Every punch or kick is felt and sounds to be quite painful; the perfect complement to the hard-hitting game play.
The visuals look to be straight out of an editorial article, which definitely fits the niche that this game is aiming for. While the proportions are deformed to represent newspaper cartoons, the facial representations are realistic and so they change along with attacks and blows received.
While there are plenty of pros for Street Fight, there are also a few cons to consider before you warm up your gaming hands. The most major of which is the occasional off-screen disappearances; at times, you can maneuver out of this sticky situation by simply heading towards the screen. However, since you cannot see your opponent, he or she may be blocking your path, essentially locking your character out of sight. At that point, the match is pretty much broken and hard to deal with -fortunately, there is plenty of light hearted humor in the game to keep players from getting too frustrated.
Another quirk of the game is the fact that at times it is hard to figure out which direction your candidate is facing at the moment. This occurs when you are right next to your opponent and are currently performing jumps. All things considered, these issues are situational and are normally easy to avoid.
All in all, Presidential Street Fight is truly one for funny fighting game fans. We seem to have seen an up resurgence of late in a cross between slapstick humour and fighting games. One only needs to look as far as the recently created Whack Your Neighbour for this. Presidential Street Fight keeps it's fighting feel on a humourous slant too. Though it may not be the most unique, the bloodiest or the most innovative, it is quite a fun title. Younger players may get bored with the realistic theme of the game. Anyway, considering the two available characters, this looks to be intended for those of voting age if only for the punch line. The American presidential elections may be over, but this game is worth a look for any fighting game fan up for a small taste of US politics -or just a simple melee fight..