FIRST LOOK: WizKids Games STREET FIGHTER HeroClix
Classic video game meets superhero action on the tabletop...
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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few decades, you’ve certainly heard of (if not played) one of the games in the Street Fighter series. The first debuted in Japan in 1987, and the franchise has never looked back. The sequel Street Fighter II achieved true worldwide dominance in the early '90s, and was a staple in arcades everywhere. At its core, Street Fighter is a one-on-one fighting game pitting contestants from around the world against each other. Each fighter represents his or her country of origin with unique fighting styles, looks, and attitudes. Popular for its varied gameplay and the sheer diversity of characters, moves, combos, and more, Street Fighter has spawned not only plenty of sequel video games but also films, comic books, toys, and more. But now WizKids Games is debuting the most exciting spinoff of all, Street Fighter HeroClix!
Bringing back many of your favorite characters from Street Fighter (mainly in the second series), this new HeroClix expansion offers existing and new players several options. All Street Fighter figures are 100% compatible with existing HeroClix, meaning you can drop them into games alongside all of your Marvel and DC figures, in addition to the upcoming expanded licenses of Gears of War, Halo, and Lord of the Rings. If you’re a hardcore SF fan and only interested in that world, you can play pure Street Fighter games, and the SF Starter Set comes with brand new rules for the “one-on-one format.”
The Street Fighter component of HeroClix includes two new releases that will be in your local comic book and games stores today (8-10): the Starter Set and the Gravity Feed. Each year WizKids puts out one HeroClix Starter Set which is the perfect jumping off point for new players, and also a great resource for existing ones. Meanwhile, the gravity feed is a new distribution model for smaller sets with single figure blind boosters; this has been very popular with Green Lantern and Captain America sets thus far and will continue with Gears of War and more. Let’s take a closer look at each one!
Starter Sets have everything you need to start playing HeroClix immediately. The Street Fighter version comes packaged in a slick bubble/card that shows off the six figure of the set amidst plenty of dynamic artwork. The figures are listed on an insert in the left side of the bubble, and the bottom of the back panel lists all of the contents that you can’t see (rulebook, cards, etc.). The back of the card also shows some of the great figures available in the gravity feed booster packs like M. Bison, Vega, and Zangief.
The six figures in the Starter are Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Guile, Blanka, and Dhalsim. In the past, starter set figures have come in at various point totals that worked to make team building fairly straightforward, but Street Fighter takes that to a whole new level. In this set, all six figures are 50 points each, which means that you can grab any two at random and play them against each other. Or, make teams of two or three figures apiece and you’ll always be evenly matched; it’s never been easier to play HeroClix right out of the box. Of course, each figure comes with its own card that explains the character’s powers and provides some additional information.
The Starter also includes the new and improved 2011 HeroClix rulebook (good for the entire game as well as Street Fighter) and the similarly updated Powers and Abilities Card that outlines and defines every single standard power and ability that appears on the figures’ dials. See a red square around Chun-Li’s movement number? Go to the PAC to find out what Flurry does! As mentioned above, there’s also a sheet with one-on-one format rules offering new ways of playing with your friends. These will work with most HeroClix figures from any set, but are particularly well suited to Street Fighter and other single booster expansions. Finally, the Starter Set has two new double-sided maps that recreate combat areas from the games!
Taking a closer look at the figures, you’ll find the premiere six in their standard player colors and costumes (Ryu in white, Ken in red, Chun-Li in blue, etc.). WizKids has seen massive improvement in their sculpting over the last few years, and they really got a chance to show off with the new Street Fighter figures. Every single figure is captured performing one of his or her signature moves, and each one has translucent effects that really show off the power of these fighters; Blanka crouches in his Electric Thunder, Ken performs his blazing Shoryuken, and Guile flips over in his Flash Kick!
The figures are dead on to their video game counterparts down to the most minute details like the American flag tattoos on Guile’s shoulders to Dhalsim’s face paint and jewelry. Paint apps are good across the figures, with only minor blurring and bleeding. The translucent effects are great across the board and even feature intricate sculpting like Chun-Li’s Lightning Kick and Ryu’s charging Hadoken.
At 50 points apiece, the Starter Set figures represent the Rookie versions of these fighters. Each one has a uniform six clicks of life and the Street Fighter Team Ability (use of a power action to move up to 3 squares and then make a close combat attack), but that’s where the similarities end. Each figure has numbers and powers that represent his or her specific fighting style, from Blanka’s 0 range, Poison, and Blades/Claws/Fangs to Ryu’s 4 range and starting Energy Shield/Deflection and Ranged Combat Expert. 4 range is the farthest combat will occur among this group, but there are plenty of close combat powers to go around. Guile is the only figure in the Starter with a Special Power - “Flash Kick” says when you give him a power action he can move up to 1 square and then make a close combat attack for 1 damage that also applies a token! All of these figures are quite playable, and their straightforward power sets make them attractive to newcomers and veterans alike.
Of course, you can’t recreate all of the amazing Street Fighter battles with only six figures, and that’s where the Gravity Feed set comes in. Large boxes with matching artwork from the Starter Set open up to reveal 24 blind booster packs that each contain one figure and its respective card. As noted on the outer box, the set consists of 23 figures, but that’s just the “regular” set (more on chases in a bit...). You’re not likely to get a full set of regular figures in each case, but that’s the fun of collectible miniatures; you never know what you’re going to get and there are always people looking to trade what they want for what you need.
The Street Fighter booster set consists of four “rarity” levels that work a little bit differently than in normal expansions. At the “Common” level, designated by white tabs on the figure bases, are ten figures that include repaints of the Starter Set characters in their alternate color schemes (Ken and Ryu in blue, Chun-Li in pink, Dhalsim with green skin, etc.) and new versions like Guile performing his Sonic Boom attack. Joining them are newcomers Zangief, E. Honda, Cammy, and Dee Jay.
“Uncommon” figures with green tabs are eight in number, with Fei Long, T. Hawk, Balrog, Vega, Sagat, Ken, Dhalsim, and Guile.
Five “Rare” silver tab figures round out the basic set with M. Bison, Ryu, Ken, Akuma, and Evil Ryu. The duplicative characters in the Uncommon and Rare slots are a mix of repaints (like Flash Kick Guile in blue fatigues) and new versions (Hadouken Ken in yellow vs. Tatsumaki Senpukyaku Ken in red, etc.). Note: the repainted figures have all new dials and power levels, just sharing the same sculpt.
But that’s not all. Hidden amongst those figures are extra special booster boxes containing the rarest Chase figures, alternate universe color scheme versions of some of the fighters! In the case I opened there were 18 of the base 23 figures (9 Common, 6 Uncommon, 3 Rare) and one chase figure; of course with different collation your results may vary. Good luck!
Just like the Starter Set figures, the booster pack versions continue to impress with unique and dynamic sculpts, and even the repeated ones have totally different color schemes to make them new versions. Among the Commons there’s E. Honda with his Hundred Hand Slap and Cammy hitting with her Spin Knuckle. Uncommon figures include Fei Long’s spinning Shienkyaku kick with its translucent dragon-like energy trail, Balrog’s massive uppercut, and Sagat’s two-fisted Tiger Shot. The Rares bring the aforementioned Ken performing the Tatsumaki Senpukyaku and Evil Ryu standing in front of a huge explosion of red energy.
Some of the most outstanding sculpts include Dee Jay with his spinning leg kick that trails translucent orange energy, Vega who perches on a brick wall with one clawed arm extended, and the brutal Akuma performing his Goshoryuken. As with Atom in the previous Blackest Night Starter Set, Akuma is really three sculpts in one with two translucent figures building up to the airborne fighter! It’s great to see that such amazing sculpts are pretty much across the board in this set, meaning you’ll never be disappointed when you open a booster box.
Befitting the game and its visually interesting characters, the Street Fighter figures are nothing if not bright and colorful. Each character brings a unique palette that’s a combination of his or her clothing and energy effects, and no two look the same. Even the more straightforward figures like Common Ryu and Ken with their dark blue clothing are differentiated by the American’s translucent yellow Shoryuken and the Japanese fighter’s blue energy trails. Chun-Li looks great with the intricate painted details on her ‘qipao’ and jewelry, while Balrog and Vega bring in lots of color with the boxer’s bright blue outfit and red gloves and the Spaniard’s multi-colored costume and accessories. The Uncommon and Rare Ken figures show the bright and vivid side of Street Fighter while Evil Ryu and Akuma exemplify the dark side with their somber yet deadly color schemes.
While the Starter Set figures were all Rookies, the full booster set takes thing up a notch. All of the Common and Uncommon figures are Experienced, with varied point costs from 75 point Dee Jay to Uncommon Ken and Sagat at 110. The Rares are all Veteran figures ranging from a subdued 105 Ken to the frightening Bison at 180 (Evil Ryu and Akuma are close behind at 170). Again, different power sets reflect the unique fighting styles of the characters, from those focusing on close combat to the ranged experts, harassers, and everything in between. Many of the Street Fighter figures have a Special Power or Trait, of which one of the more popular ones is “Block” that increases a figure’s defense if it has no action tokens. Other unique fighting moves captured by Special Powers include Guile’s Sonic Boom (Incapacitate that also does 1 damage) and Balrog’s Turn Punch (Flurry that must target a different character for the second attack which does +1 damage).
Ranges go from 0 to 6 (among the Rares), meaning that any SF games will still be close and brutal, especially with the Team Ability to get in close and make attacks quickly. Street Fighter also debuts the new Double Power Action game mechanic that gives some figures incredibly powerful attacks that always cause some feedback damage. These include Common Ryu’s Shinku Haduken increasing his ranged damage by +3 and E. Honda’s “Super Killer Head Ram” that grants three close combat attacks! One interesting thing to note is that within this set there are relatively few figures with game-altering effects like Perplex (Evil Ryu), Outwit (M. Bison), and Probability Control (Dhalsim, Chun-Li). Also, while there is a good amount of mobility via Leap/Climb, Phasing/Teleport, Hypersonic Speed, and move and attack powers, only two figures have Flight and that’s through a Special Power. Guile is the only character with the Sharpshooter ability (on two of his figures), and if you’re looking for Indomitable you’re going to have to get Chases; thus far the four revealed Chase figures all have Indom.
Street Fighter HeroClix releases today in both Starter Set and Gravity Feed booster configurations. And while they’re great for new players you’d better hurry; with their exciting sculpts and solid playability these figures won’t last long when the existing players come to snatch them up. Get yours at your local comic book or game store and prepare to FIGHT!
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Samples Courtesy of WizKids Games