EVO 2015, the year's biggest gathering of the fighting game world's premier players, is over. Done, dusted, KO. If you caught VICE Gaming's beginner's guide to the event last week, you'll know all about the titles on show at the Las Vegas tournaments, from the popular Ultra Street Fighter IV (surely to be replaced by V come 2016's EVO) and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 to slightly less commercially known fighters like Guilty Gear Xrd and Persona 4 Arena. And if you witnessed any of the action as it streamed over Twitch, or if you were there in person, you'll know that EVO 2015 was heavy on the drama.
The biggest contest of them all, with the healthiest prize pot, was in Street Fighter IV. Last year's winner Luffy didn't rank in the top eight, with the final contested between 29-year-old Japanese star and 2014 Capcom Cup winner Momochi, representing Evil Geniuses, and Taiwanese underdog GamerBee, who fought through the losers bracket to unexpectedly make the top two. He'd already come through an epic best-of-five face-off against the Korean ace Infiltration, and wasn't entirely expected to put up another strong showing against a player whose many prior triumphs speak for themselves.
It didn't quite play that way. Momochi didn't walk the Street Fighter final, GamerBee putting up a tremendous defence to take it to a decisive last game, and actually came close to (albeit unintentionally) throwing it away when a stick malfunction had organisers scanning the rules for the official line on how long is too long to not be kicking skulls and tossing fireballs. The competitors are level when the pause menu pops into view, leading to a roar of confusion and disapproval. Momochi's "stick difficulty" cost him a potentially tournament-winning round – but when a new controller was found, and battle recommenced, it was GamerBee whose momentum appeared to have stalled. Momochi, as Evil Ryu, put GamerBee's Adon to the sword – well, introduced him to a decisive uppercut – and that was that: EVO 2015 had its Street Fighter champion. Watch the final stages of the action, and the prolonged pause full of "wha'?" faces, below.
Much earlier in the Street Fighter tournament, this happened, too. First the belt, then the shirt, and not-quite-finally the "unnecessary pepperonis".
But perhaps the biggest Street Fighter story to come out of EVO 2015, in the non-specialist press anyway, had nothing to do with the waggling of sticks and mashing of the strong punch button. Like many live gaming events, EVO attracts scores of cosplaying attendees, dressed up as their favourite fighting game characters, and this year saw a bounty of Ryus, Kens, Sagats and Vegas. And one of the people behind the Spaniard's famous mask was actually pretty famous herself – Halloween and Trading Places actress Jamie Lee Curtis was at the event in disguise, as her teenage son Thomas (dressed as Dee Jay, sort of) wanted to go to celebrate his graduation. Few would have clocked her, had she not tweeted about her undercover attendance to her 156,000 followers.
I dare say she pulls off the role more convincingly than Jay Tavare did back in 1994's so-bad-it's-actually-bad-so-don't-bother Van Damme-starring Street Fighter movie. (And the Animated Movie's version was just too creepy as he tried to deck Chun-Li, only to be kicked headfirst through an external wall.)
A little sympathy, please, for Guilty Gear player Woshige, who fell victim to the classic sporting gaff of celebrating a win just a smidge too soon. Count the rounds, son, count the rounds.
Elsewhere in the on-screen fighting, the Super Smash Bros. tournament was dominated by Sweden's Armada, whose Fox and Peach game was so good that he barely dropped a single round the whole way to the trophy. UMvC3 was won by KaneBlueRiver, aka Chile's Nicolas Gonzales, and the climax to the Mortal Kombat X contest was really rather something – check out 17-year-old American player Sonic Fox's against-the-odds victory over Britain's Foxy Grandpa below. "Pocket sand!" (Full results for all competitions can be found here.)
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