Back in the day, my friend Todd and I used to play Street Fighter II in just about any venue we could, usually the local 7-11 or bowling alley. Now, many years later, Street Fighter IV is out for the home systems.

Despite my fond memories of SF2, I didn’t pre-order SF4. The other entries in the SF series just never captured my attention like the second one did. But after reading glowing review after glowing review, and also because I was rained in for most of the weekend, I ran out and bought it.

The verdict? It’s marvelous. The gameplay is very similar to what I remember of SF2, but it’s been completely remade with a modern aesthetic and modern specs (it looks great on an HDTV). Aside from some really hideous character fight intros, it’s a pretty game, and visually arresting. The new “black splatter” theme that adorns the game and its new “focus” moves is neat. It’s fun to play these classic characters on a modern system (in my case, the Xbox 360) that out-powers a handful of the original arcade machines.

My only regret now is that I didn’t pre-order it and also get the real arcade-style joystick, which is now sold-out everywhere. The gamepads the youngsters all use these days don’t cut it for an old joystick-loving fogey like me.