Fans of the latest Street Fighter game might be disappointed that fan-favourite Rose still hasn’t made it back into the roster, even with the generous number of new faces. Personally, I never really bothered to learn her in Street Fighter IV – although other people I played online with clearly demonstrated how much of a threat she could be in the right hands. However, it almost doesn’t matter now – the introduction of Menat in SFV brings enough orb-flinging, reflecting and jumping grabs to satisfy any fan of the Soul Power-wielding lady from previous games. And even if you didn’t like Rose in SFIV, there’s a lot to like in Menat once you find that she’s much more than a reskin.
Using Soul Spheres with Menat in SFV
Things immediately get interesting when you dive into the command list and only find a handful of special moves – when playing as Menat in SFV you can throw a soul sphere out until it stops at a certain distance, bring it back, and do an upwards grab move similar to Rose’s Soul Throw. However, her normal moves change significantly depending on whether or not the soul sphere has been sent out or not. With the sphere in hand, normal moves have better range and you can focus on your positioning a lot more as you make the most of those far-reaching attacks. Then, as soon as you perform a fireball motion and a punch attack, Menat throws her soul sphere out to a certain distance until it stops. This counts as a projectile when moving, and changes the properties of normal attacks, but the same command can then be used again to bring the soul sphere back.
What this means is that when you’re learning matchups with Menat in SFV you’ll be trying to create scenarios where the soul sphere is an onscreen threat and the opponent will always have to consider the fact that you could pull it back at any moment. Do you throw it out so that it stops behind them, pressure them into attacking Menat and then bring it back? Do you take advantage of different punch strengths which change the trajectory of the soul sphere when it’s sent out and brought back? It’s a very versatile ability and explains why the special move list doesn’t have too many other tricks.
A moment to reflect with Menat in SFV
Then again, if the Rose comparisons sounded a bit of a stretch before, they start to make a bit more sense when you get into the V-System. Players picking up Menat in SFV will not only have a V-Skill that reflects projectiles thrown at her, but her V-Trigger also causes a number of glowing orbs to materialise around her. However, these aren’t just the instant-hit hazards of Soul Satellite; instead, the six orbs act as single-use projectiles, each one being sent out a the corresponding normal attack. Meanwhile, the V-Reversal teleports Menat around the opponent, making for a neat escape route if a player is cornered.
Even outside of the moveset, Menat can be appreciated purely from a design perspective – all of her moves have neat flourishes to their animations, and the use of individual attacks commanding individual V-Trigger orbs makes it look like the character is batting each orb away with different normal attacks. And even though I was hoping Season 2 of SFV’s DLC would bring back more under-used existing characters rather than newcomers… I’m happy to see more newcomers if they’re as good as these. Speaking of which, Season 2 intially promised “Akuma and 5 brand new fighters”, so after Menat, Ed, Abigail and Kolin we’ll just have one more newcomer before the season’s over. Hopefully they’ll be as fun and diverse as Menat.
Menat for SFV is available now, as is the Season 2 character pass. We will cover future season 2 additions as they become available.