it had to happen eventually. We have had what, 300 versions of
Street Fighter in 2D (this is of course a slight exaggeration that I
have used for effect!). Well, make Street Fighter EX plus Alpha
number 301 in the 2D department but a major change has taken place
that is sure to be the model that Capcom will begin to build future
versions of this series on. The change for those of you that are not
aware is that the Street Fighter series has finally made the move to
polygon characters! Yes I know, each of the previous games was
beautifully done with hand drawn artwork. They also had just enough
tweaks and twists to make it different enough from each of its
predecessors, but for all intents and purposes the most popular
brand of fighter has clearly become the polygon quasi-3D beasts like
the Tekken and Virtual Fighter series.
Considering the fact that we will not be seeing many other showcase
fighting games like Tekken 3 or Virtual Fighter 3 being released
this year, Capcom seems to have entered the polygon arena at just
the right time. But hey, timings not necessarily everything
games gotta be good too. Well guess what, it is! As always
Fighter EX is the next evolution for Capcom's popular series of
fighting games. It takes their tried and true characters from
previous sprite based Street Fighter games and transforms them into
wonderfully animated polygon models.
damn! Chun-Li in all her polygonal glory! It's about time. I was
quite impressed with the overall graphical quality of this title. It
seems to be playing out in one of the Playstations higher resolution
modes running at 60fps. The character "crispness" and
detail fall somewhere in between Tekken and Tekken 2, leaning right
up there with Tekken 2 in graphical distinction.
Speaking about the characters
they are fluidly animated with
nice little details such as articles of clothing and hair that flow
independently from the main figure. Each character is also instantly
recognizable from their hand drawn counterparts. Facial texture maps
and body style/movement are right on the money. This is pretty cool
and the poly's kind of gives the characters a more grown-up and much
more solid appearance.
The special effects are wonderfully done as well. All of the
signature fire bolts, explosions, light trails and rainbow effects
have been faithfully reproduced for your viewing pleasure. Add to
this generous amounts of the famous Playstation light-sourcing and
you have your icing on the cake too!
Backgrounds are unfortunately somewhat of a letdown. Everything is
pretty much pre-rendered and a good portion of the screens has a
rather washed out, less than vibrant earth tone look to them. Since
they are pre-rendered there is no actual interaction with your
surroundings, but there is usually just enough animations going on
to occasionally distract you from pummeling your opponent. The goods
news is that each character has their own location to fight on, so
there are plenty of new and original backgrounds to hold your
interest. Even though I felt that most of the backgrounds were
rather "blah", there are some that truly stand out and are
quite spectacular. One that comes immediately to mind is the sewer
level when you fight as Doctrine Dark. The knee high water that you
fight in is alive with movement and the transparency effects used
when your character walks through or is knocked into the water are
Bottom line: The Street Fighter characters have been transferred to
the world of polygons in grand fashion. I have been waiting a long
time to see this happen and I was in no way disappointed.
hate to keep saying this but once again, if you liked the sound
effects and music from all of the past Street Fighter games you will
feel right at home here.
All of the digitized character voices from their screams to their
taunts are all included and clear as a bell. Every connecting or
missed punch sound has been accurately reproduced and represented in
this game. You even get some nice background sounds depending on the
locale you are fighting in.
The soundtrack is your typical techno-babble battle music that
works just fine in this type of game.
Sound effects and music volumes can be adjusted independently from
the menu screen and you have a choice of stereo or mono (what
those of you familiar with the Street Fighter series and all of
their variations, chances are you are going to feel right at home.
Yes, the graphics have received a complete overhaul that brings the
famous SF characters into the world of polygons but the gameplay has
miraculously remained intact. The combo's and chains that you worked
so hard to perfect in previous SF's have translated surprisingly
well to this new game. Even the special effects of the attacks are
You are given the selection of several modes of play. These consist
of; Arcade mode, Team Battle, Survival, Watch, VS., Time Attack and
finally Practice/Training mode.
The popular Arcade mode is primarily a one-player game that pits
you against the computer-controlled opponents. Another player can
jump in at any time by pressing the START button on a second
controller. Customized controller configurations and various
character-clothing colors are also available from this mode as well.
Team Battle lets you select a group of up to 5 characters and go
head to head against the computer or another friend. The first
player to knock out the opponent's 5 characters wins the battle!
This is my favorite game play mode when I have a friend over as it
presents a certain amount of depth and requires a good balance of
characters to win the overall battle. You also have the option of
secretly selecting your characters so your opposition is clueless to
Survival mode pits a single player against the computer in one
round matches. Damage that your character receives during a match is
carried over to the next round. The only way to recover some of your
health meter is to score big in the hit department and try to take
the enemy out as quickly as possible.
Watch mode lets you select two characters and watch them fight it
out under the Playstations control. This is helpful if you want to
see the various strategies that each character employs. You can also
change the camera angles on the fly in this mode.
V.S. is a two-player contest. Here you can handicap you character
depending on your skills as compared to your friends. This mode
works pretty much the same as the Arcade mode with two-players
participating, it just adds the handicap option. I usually try to
set an unsuspecting friend's handicap real low
just for kicks
Time Attack is a brutal one-player event in which you select a
course from the menu and must do battle with all of the opponents
within that course. Each battle is timed so you really need to have
your act together on this one to succeed.
In the practice mode you have a selection of entering the Training
or Expert modes. Training mode allows you to select a character and
study/practice their entire arsenal of special and Super Combo
moves. A submenu is available that outlines all of the selected
character's button combinations for each specific move. There is
also a damage indicator represented numerically that shows how much
damage your moves have inflicted.
The Expert mode is a challenge all on it's own. Here you are
presented with the names of the primary fighters available in the
game, with a 16 slots placed in a grid to the right of their names.
Once you choose a character you need to select on of the slots
one corresponds to a special move that you must perform. Slot 1 is
the easiest with slot 16 being the most difficult. Successfully
pulling off the moves for each character not only makes you a more
skilled fighter, but it also opens a bunch of the games hidden
While all of these nice options certainly make the game very
attractive and pumps up it's replay value, it really doesn't mean
squat if the actual game play isn't there. The good news is that if
you are a fan of the Street Fighter series you will probably love
this game. Somehow Capcom has managed to transform all of the moves,
along with each characters signature styles into the polygon world.
For all intents and purposes the game plays exactly the same as all
of the others - it just looks different! Well, maybe that's not
exactly true, I think the new game actually plays faster then it's
predecessors. I guess the bad news is that if you didn't like the
Street Fighter games, you may not be willing to give this one a
chance either. That would be a shame too, as it is a frenetically
paced battle that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
All of the seemingly "impossible to execute" combos,
juggles and Special Moves are in there for your discovery. Response
is pretty much right on the money so there is no getting used to the
"button to character response" syndrome. Press a button
and the character executes the command
clear and simple.
The number of initially selectable characters (19) also floored me!
In addition, you also have a number of unlockable characters and
bosses to bring the count to a staggering twenty-three. This is
easily a record for the Street Fighter series. Hell, there may even
be more characters that I haven't unlocked or discovered yet! In
traditional Street Fighter style a few new character have also been
introduced. I don't want to ruin any surprises, but the guy in the
skull costume is pretty cool.
The only real downside for me in this game was that Capcom really
didn't attempt to bring this new version into the world of 3D. Yes,
the polygon fighters are certainly 3D modeled, but you cannot move
you character in or out of the screen, circle your opponent or side
step. I suppose Capcom is going to nurture their new baby and bring
out progressively better versions of this new polygon fighter with
future revisions. Ah yes, Capcom may have found a new cash cow to
At any rate, the lack of 3D aside this is an extremely competent
fighter worthy of a look and in my opinion a purchase. Check it out!
23 characters to play plus bosses (the most ever offered in a Street
Fighter game), multiple game play options and a great two-player
battle mode, the replay value ranks right up there with the best
fighters available today. The game is also offered at a very
competitive price at most wholesale stores.
If you are a fan of the Street Fighter series or just a fighting
fan, this title offers the goods!
wait is over...Capcom has finally given the long awaited facelift to
Street Fighter. While the game certainly looks different with its
newly modeled polygon characters, the moves have translated
miraculously well. I had really started getting tired of the old
Street Fighter "look" and although this game plays pretty
much the same, it just breathed a whole new breath of life into the
series for me. Perhaps I'm just a sucker for a pretty face...jeez I
must be shallow.
Anyway, this is surely a step in a positive and exciting new
direction for the Street Fighter series. You have loads of
characters and play modes to select from and that good old Street
Fighter "feel" is still there. Looks like a winner to me!