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A.P.I Review: Street Fighter Alpha 3
Developer: Capcom OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Capcom 1-2 Player
Game Type: Beat-em-up Memory Card
Review Date: June 1999 Dual Shock/

Setting the Scene

Here we have yet another in a rather large and continually expanding series of 2D fighters offered to us by the master of this genre, Capcom. This time around Capcom has decided to go back it's Street Fighter roots and offer gamers a finely tuned, lean and mean fighting machine.

Street Fighter Alpha 3 adds some new custom characters to the now familiar core body of Street Fighter champions. It also blends in some new gameplay elements and peppers the whole mix with a finely tuned control scheme in an attempt to make this the very best Street Fighter you can find for the Playstation.

Does it succeed or is it merely another rehashed attempt at bringing home a 2D arcade brawler to a machine that doesn't much like 2D games? Guess your just gonna have to read on to find out…

Sound & Vision

If you have ever played a Street Fighter game before, expect to hear some familiar melodies and raging soundtracks that the series is famous for. As usual, the music has a distinct Tecno beat to it that keeps your blood pumping for the matches at hand.

An announcer's voice jumps in to start off the round and returns briefly at the end of each fight.

All of the action is accompanied by some brutal sound effects. Punches and kicks land with resounding thuds and Special Attacks are often highlighted with a wide array of sound effects. Throughout the game your auditory faculties end up getting assaulted quite nicely.

On the graphics end of things, it seems that Capcom has ironed out all off the 2D issues they had in the past in porting their arcade hits to the Playstation. Gone are the awful frame hits and lost animation. SF 3 Alpha for all intents and purposes is damn near to arcade perfect as you can expect.

The characters are big and boldly colored and move about the best I've seen in a 2D PSX game. Even when the game is throwing another fighter into the action or pumping out some cool visual effects, there is never any slowdown to be seen. And believe me when I tell you that there is a whole shitload of special effects that are being thrown out to the screen in this game. Just wait until you get a peak at some of the special attacks and you will see what I mean.

Even the nifty background animations have managed to survive in the PSX version. There is also a very enjoyable intro that features some superb Anime.

Finally, beautiful Street Fighter graphics are gracing the Playstation without all of the drawbacks…Wa-Hoo!


As with any Street Fighter title, control is the name of the game and SF 3 Alpha is no different. The character control is right on the money and won't leave fans of the series disappointed. The only drawback is the control pad itself. In Street Fighter games you really need a nice arcade joystick with six buttons laid out three over three. To get your high hard kicks and punches out with the Playstation pad you have to use the R1 & R2 buttons. It is certainly something that you can get used to, but it's not optimal. Speaking of optimal, the broken directional pad layout of the controller doesn't help much either when it comes time to pulling off some of the more difficult Special Attack moves. My advice is to get a nice 3rd party arcade stick or learn to suffer with the pad.

This time around, Capcom has added a bucketload of fighters to mix (over 30) that will surely keep you busy for months learning and perfecting all of their moves. Of course, if you are like most people you will probably latch onto a few favorites and just go through and slaughter all of the competition in sight.

New to the Street Fighter arsenal of moves is something called ISM's. Players get to experiment with three (X, A & V) ISM's that can be developed throughout the matches. ISM's will give the fighter new custom moves, super combos and special attacks. Before each fight, players can choose which ISM to focus on and grow in experience points that are garnered from each victory. It's too bad the PocketStation option was removed on this game for the US release. Growing each player's abilities would have been a fantastic use for that peripheral (as it was used in Japan). Supposedly the code is still in the game somewhere and can be accessed with a series of button presses for those of you that have been lucky enough to import a PocketStation.

Capcom has decided to include a nice base of fighting options including Arcade, Vs., Training and the awesome Wold Tour. In addition, they have also thrown in a bunch of hidden modes that are unlocked when you win at other modes in the game. Nice job!

The World Tour mode totally kicks ass and will add a good deal of playing time for those of you willing to take each character through it. The object is to travel the globe and face opponents with different objectives that must be met to clear each location and progress to the next. Some of the objectives are killer…the one that comes immediately to mind is where you have to use that characters Super Combo moves to defeat the enemy. Regular kicks and punches cause no damage to the opponent…just learning to throw around some fireballs will get you killed here. Besides being extremely difficult to pull off, your ISM experience level must be built up to a specified point before you can even pull off the Super Combo!

Of course no fighting game would be complete on the Playstation these days without the Dual Shock option thrown in and SF Alpha 2 makes good use of feature. Each punch and kick that is landed on you or the opponent is relayed back through the controller in a nice series of vibrations.

While I can honestly say that I have never been a big fan of 2D fighting games, this one is totally addictive and I can really appreciate all of the hard work that Capcom has obviously put into this game to make it enjoyable for everyone. Perfecting a player's moves is certainly no walk in the park, but the visuals and action of this game will have players sticking it out to become the ultimate Street Fighter. If you like fighting games, do not pass up this title!

GRAPHICS: 18/20 This has got to be the best version of Street Fighter yet to hit the Playstation. Capcom seems to have addressed all of the 2D issues of the past and have brought an arcade perfect fighter to the console for our enjoyment.

The wonderful hand-drawn graphics move and animate the best that I have ever seen in a 2D fighter and the action is non-stop.

So, if you are a Street Fighter fan and want the very best version that the Playstation has to offer or you are just interested in seeing what a truly marvelous 2D fighter can look like, than you owe it to yourself to check out this title!

If there was even a Capcom fighting game to get, Street Fighter Alpha 3 is it.
SOUND: 7/10
VALUE: 17/20


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