In light of Ultra Street Fighter IV‘s inclusion in digital pre-orders of the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, I’ve decided to dedicate some time to examining the most slept-on online-capable Street Fighter title: Street Fighter IV: Omega Mode. Packaged as a free alternate version within the edition select of USFIV, Omega uses leftover game files, recycled taunts, and repurposed animations to completely change each character’s toolset; it’s essentially a completely new and unique Street Fighter title built within SFIV’s engine, with an entirely different balance philosophy than Ultra.
Omega was not popular at release due to some easy infinite combos — not to mention players’ interest in Ultra as a more serious, competitive game. I personally think Omega went woefully unexplored for being an extremely interesting venture, and I’ve started a series where I document each character’s Omega changes, and then show off some basic optimal combos.
This week I’m looking at Balrog and Vega. Balrog was given two things he could only dream of in Ultra: a high-stun command grab, and more juggles from his Buffalo Headbutt. Immediately he has more damage, more combo versatility, and more ability to create momentum. Additionally, Balrog has possibly the only three-bar attack in the entirety of SFIV, albeit it’s a followup to his EX dash punch and thus costs four bars total, dealing super-comparable damage with animation that draws back to his Gigaton Blow from the Alpha series. Overall he’s not terribly different from his Ultra version, and he has various nerfs to his dash punches to keep him in check. He’s one of the least-changed Omega characters, and most of his changes reflect significant shortcomings to his Ultra design. He’s very easy, and ideal for beginners, especially those who played USFIV but not Omega.
Vega is almost the opposite. He has a number of changes which seem to do nothing other than nerf him and make him more difficult to use. All claw punch normals now push the opponent back dramatically farther, and EX Flying Barcelona will no longer pick up distant opponents, or any crouching opponent near or far. Without these one-bar combo completions, Vega struggles to end most of his links in a knockdown at all. However, he saw a few massive buffs to compensate for his losses. First, he gained an invincible, unthrowable reversal in EX Rolling Crystal Flash, which costs two bars but does extremely high damage. Second, his flip kicks had nice buffs to their damage, range, and juggle potential. Finally, Vega has a large number of one frame links compared to most characters, and he appreciates the input buffer. This version of Vega is interesting because it introduces the idea that he plays significantly differently with his claw on or off, while his claw dives will either knock down or leave the opponent standing. These ideas are present in the SFV version of Vega, which also maintained his new launching target combo.
Click here for a playlist of all Street Fighter IV: Omega videos I’ve released thus far. I’ll add future videos to this playlist as I finish them.
I plan to go through the entire roster over time, so subscribe to the ShoryukenTube YouTube channel if you don’t want to miss out!