Street Fighter 4: A vision for excellence
The Games

As mentioned in my previous article, Capcom needs to do some serious work to bring Street Fighter back to the top.
It's the end of the original Street Fighter, the credits say something like "You are now the king of the hill.  But, other's are constantly trying to knock you down, so you must keep your skills sharp".
Does that sound familiar, Capcom?  Well guess what?  You got knocked down!  You aren't king of the hill anymore.
But I'm not hear to chastise you.  The point of this article is to offer suggestions to get back your crown.
First of all, let's go with graphics.  It's time for SF to fully go 3D, and I'm not talking about the EX series.  I want a 3D game that is actually part of the actual storyline.  I like the EX games, but it almost feels like a "fanfiction" game with "OC's" thrown in for good measure.
A good example of a 3D game would be MK: Deception.  The graphics are nice and crisp, yet don't have that "blocky" polygon feel that was present in early 3D games.  If Capcom used an engine like that, then the look of the character's would already be in place.
Next, throw out the "sidestepping" and instead just allow people to walk in and out the backgrounds by pressing up or down.  Once again, Deception is a great example of this.  To jump, all you needed to do was hold diagonal up-left or up right.  Ducking was down-left or down-forward.  I feel that is great.  You could move around the entire screen and still have the basic moves from the old games.  I hated the "sidestepping" concept in early 3D games cause it never really accomplished much.  Tekken 3 was one of the few exceptions to this.  Sidestepping in MK 4 and some of the King of Fighter's games was horrible and didn't do much.
Ok...we got graphics and 3d how about some game mechanics?
First of all...the super arts...get rid of them...or rather, get rid of only being able to choose from 1.  Choosing 1 only limits what your character is able to do and also limits the strategies for both offense and defense.  Multiple supers is a great feature in fighting games!  Why limit it to one?
Parrying...I like parrying, but it can be difficult to master.  Keep it in, but also bring back...
Alpha counters.  Those were a great feature in the alpha games.  Block, then counterattack.  A safer method of parrying attacks, but always came with a price (lost of super energy, reduced dizzy meter).  If Capcom had to choose between this and parrying, I'd go for this option more.  A lot easier to perform then parrying, and does it's job.
Air blocking.  Bring that back!  That was a great feature in the alpha games!  Ever heard the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it?"  The same can be said for Street Fighter.  I don't think I've seen any other fighting game besides Street Fighter with air blocking.  Bring it back!
Drop the "EX" moves.   If you did a special attack and pressed an extra punch or kick button, you basically powered up your attack, but used up half of your super bar.  Hated it.  Most people don't rely on it, and it really sucks for Ryu, as that's the only way you can do a Shakunetsu Hadouken or Shinkuu Tatsumakisenpukyaku in 3rd Strike.  Just give the man those moves back without the "EX" option!
Ok, now it's time for the meat of Street Fighter.  That would be the cast of characters that we fell in love with.
There are some people that definely need to be in the game or else the game will suffer terribly (Ryu, Ken,Akuma, Chun Li), but here are some suggestions for other characters that could also make a return.
Sakura.  She is on the top of my list.  If there is anybody that I want to see come back (other then Ryu), it's her!  This girl is without a doubt, the most popular Alpha character!  Speaking of which, she is really the only alpha character that has starred in other SF games (Snk vs. Capcom, the EX games, the marvel games,) as well as a cameo in a SF spinoff called Rival Schools.  This girls popularity is so high, that it now rivals Chun Li's!  I'm sorry Chun, but you're gonna have to work a bit harder with that crown now...
First of all, we've got to have an older Sakura.  No more "teenager fuku" Sakura.  How about a nice light blue dogi for the girl?  She can still keep the white headband though.
Her reasonings for entering the tournament are simple.  She is searching for Ryu again, only this time, it's to tell him something.
Now her storyline can be 1 of 3 of these things or a combo of them.
Option 1: Sakura asks Ryu to be her master again.
Even though I think Sakura has started to give up slightly on being Ryu's disciple, it's still in the back of her head.  And if Ryu actually said yes, this would lead to some nice development between the two.  And also do wonders for Ryu in terms of character development (more on Ryu later).
Option 2: Sakura is starting to suffer from the "Satsu no Hadou" and requests help from Ryu to defeat it.
This is also a nice option, seeing that a "Dark Sakura" exists in the marvel crossovers.  Capcom could very easily take Dark Sakura and throw her in the actual storyline.  This could also make Ryu think about how he got rid of the evil energy inside himself.  More development between the two.
Option 3 would either be the most popular or most hated option, depending on your point of view.
In short, Sakura would travel to tell Ryu that she is in love with him and wants to always be by his side.
Come on...I'm not the first person to think of R/S pairings...I'm just the first one to have the guts to write about it...
Anyway, I think a lot of people agree that Sakura has a crush on Ryu.  I mean, why else would she travel around half the world to see him?  I don't think that she is traveling just to learn a couple of moves...
Plus, in Alpha 2, Sakura is not asking to just learn a couple of moves, she is asking for him to be her master.  That means spending a lot of time by his side.  Sakura could learn how to fight from anyone, but she is choosing Ryu.
Sakura does have an enormous amount of respect for Ryu, but I feel that it's more then just that.  If I'm wrong, then how come I can search the net and find doujinshi (fan made manga) and hentai pics of Ryu and Sakura together?  There are obviously some R/S fans out there in the world besides me.  This would be nice.  Plus, the odds of a R/S pairing are a lot more realistic then RCL when those 2 don't even really communicate with each other.
For specials and supers...I feel that her Neketsu hadouken super from EX3 should make it.  That was a great move.  Also, Sakura should be a lot better at summoning ki.  She should be able to throw fireballs at a greater distance now without them fizzing out.  The exception is when she is charging them up.  They go a bit further then before, but still fizz out after a certain distance.
All in all, Sakura is among one of the most popular SF character's period.  She needs to come back.  She should come back.
Dan.  Yep, I feel that Street Fighter's underdog for being the "technically worse fighter" should make a comeback.  He had a great storyline.
For his "comeback", here is what I have for Dan.
In terms of the actual SF storyline, Dan's ending in Alpha 2 came true.  He defeated Sagat.  And then opens up a dojo.
In his SF4 storyline, Dan's dojo has gone bankrupt due to lack of finances.  People just don't wanna learn "Saikyo-Ryu"'s considered a joke martial art compared to stuff like Muay Thai...or Shotokan.  Enraged by this, Dan sets off to enter the tournament to prove the power of Saikyo to the world and get some recruitment for his dojo.
Yes, this is basically E.Honda's storyline from SF2, but it really seems to scream "Dan" more.  Dan has an ego and tons of pride about his fighting style.  Saikyo is known as the "strongest" style, so for people to insult it really gets to Dan.  He must prove why it is great and why it's better then other styles like Shotokan.
Now for special moves...I feel that Dan should have gotten better with ki just like Sakura did. Maybe a Gadouken doesn't go completely across the screen now, but at least make it halfway.  Even Chun Li's fireballs go halfway at least.  And when he throws a Shinkuu Gadoken, then it completely goes across the screen.
Seeing that character's can taunt infinitely in SF3 to raise their super bar energy a bit, this would kind of hurt Dan, since he was known for his taunting.  For Dan, his advantage would be that successful taunts raises his super bar energy at twice the rate and speed of everyone else.  And Dan should have his Otoku Michi super from the Marvel games thrown in as a level 3 super.
Dan was actually a pretty decent character in the Alpha games.  It was just that his projectiles sucked.  Just increase the range a bit, and he can be a force to be reckoned with.
Balrog.  Seriously, he needs a comeback.  More then anybody else.  He is probably the most hated SF ever.  Even Dan gets more respect then Balrog.  And Dan is supposed to be a joke...
First of all, he needs a couple of new moves to keep from being so predictable.  Let's see what he has...dash punch, dashing uppercut, dash low punch, dash low uppercut, and a rising headbutt.
Sadly, the headbutt is his best option.  He really could have benefited from the rising uppercut or "cross counter" counterattack that his successor Dudley picked up.
Well let's see...while Dudley's boxing style is more refined and classy, Balrog's is more "street" and barbaric.  If Dudley is like Lennox Lewis, then Balrog is Mike Tyson.
For starters, increase the speed at which Balrog travels to connect with those dash punches.  When I hear the word "dash", I think very fast.  Balrog however is anything but fast.
Second, make the dash uppercut more effective.  It's supposed to be a counter to opponents who jump, but it really doesn't seem to help.  Dashing before the uppercut is probably what hurts it the most.  Increase the speed of the dash uppers, but also reduce the distance to about half screen.  That way, you aren't just a sitting duck.  Also, change the command for the move.  Instead of charge back for 2 secs, go with a forward, down-forward, forward motion, and change the attack button to punch.
I like the low dash punches, but make it easier to perform.  Holding down-back makes it obvious to your opponent what you are trying to do, so they will block low.  I feel that the command shoud be changed to down, down-back, back and then a punch to let this out.
In all honesty, I feel that the low dash upper is useless.  The only way they could fix this is make Balrog rise into the air as he connects.  Also change the motion to the same as the low dash punch, only substitute kick instead.
Supers...well, seeing that Cracker Jack from the EX games was based off of Balrog, I feel that Balrog can take C.Jacks "beating" super.  It would add some diversity instead of the same charge moves.  Don't get me wrong. The Crazy Buffalo and Gigaton blow are some of the strongest supers in SF history period, but the fact that Balrog charges towards the screen for both of them makes it hard to connect with them.  It also gives people a chance to block, then counterattack with something stronger.
Basically, Balrog should be easier to use like in SNK vs. Capcom 2.  I feel that game is the best game to do justice to him.  In that game, Balrog is part of my 3 man team (Ryu is leader, and the 3rd character changes depending on my mood).
Now that we've fixed Balrog's moves, lets give him a storyline. SF 2 he was trying to be great and get great wealth and power.  In his ending, he fumbled up and messed up cause he was an idiot.
Not so in SF4.  Balrog sets out to gain power using his greatest asset...his punches.  Balrog is trying to form his own "Shadowloo" or something like that, but he needs lots of money in order to do that.  He hears about Gill's tournament and figures if he can defeat Gill, then his money and resources will be his for the taking.
This sounds like a suitable storyline for Balrog.  Next...
Before we move on to the next character, take this time to get a drink or a snack.  I'll be hear when you get back.  And bring me something too! (lol)
You back?  Did you bring me something as well?  You didn't?  Oh well...anyway, let's move on to another character that desperately needs a comeback.
DeeJay.  That's right.  The Jamaican kickboxer is in need of a comeback even more then Balrog.  At least Balrog made it into SNK vs. Capcom 1 and 2.  When DeeJay was introduced in Super SF2, he automatically became "the other black guy".  Even though I am grateful for what Capcom of America did (especially to James Goddard, the man who created Dee Jay), I can't help but feel that DeeJay was only put into Street Fighter because the "black community" needed a character to associate with, and nobody gave a crap about Balrog.  It almost feels like DeeJay was created due to "affirmative action" and to keep the NAACP at bay.
Well let's see...first let's go into moves...
His Rolling Sobat (aka the "Double Dread kick) got severely toned down in Alpha 3 not just in power, but speed.  Unless your opponent doesn't know what they are doing, you manage to catch them off guard, or you are fighting a cpu opponent with the iq of a cheese sandwich, you aren't going to connect with this move for they will block both kicks and then counterattack with something else.
His machine gun upper was another move that suffered greatly.  In the SF2 games, it was invincible to nearly everything but a nice low attack or a projectile.  It became slower in Alpha 3 and didn't last as long.
His "max out!" projectile was untouched except for the fact that it was very weak due to the projectile rule they had in Alpha 3 (the farther it goes, the less damage it does).
Finally, he had a rising kick attack that couldn't be done in Aism.  Yet the super version as well as a super version of his machine gun upper could only be done in Aism!
Basically, DeeJay got screwed over.  He was almost too cheap and powerful when he was introduced, but when they brought him back in Alpha 3, they balanced him out almost too well.  Now instead of being too cheap and powerful, he isn't powerful enough and now every move that he does has a severe drawback if he misses!
So how should we rectify this mess?  Should Capcom change DeeJay back to the way he originally was?
No way!  I hated fighting that version of DeeJay!  In SSF2Turbo, Deejay was always the hardest character for me to defeat!  I would have rather fought Akuma then DeeJay!
But...Deejay needs some work, so what do we do?
Let's see...first of all...change the double sobat back to the way it was in SSF2, but reduce the damage.  For the machine gun upper, same deal.  More speed, less power.  Give him his rising kick back.  And for a nice twist with Deejay, give him the ability to throw 2 waves of his projectile.  The attack damage would be cut in half if you decide to go with 2 though.
Now for his supers...first of all, make all 3 available.  Second, change the command input for the ones that require you to hold down-back for2 secs, then down-forward, down-back and finally up-forward.  That mess is too complicated with DeeJay based on his supers.  It works for Charlie and Guile, but nobody else.