Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max

Review

posted 2/23/2006 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PSP

For people of a certain age playing Street Fighter II takes them back to a time when they would stand in arcade lines for hours on end.  It reminds them of the good old days when 2D brawlers ruled the world and it was all about fireballs, uppercuts, and spinning piledrivers.  These days the arcade scene is a ghost town and 3D fighters dominate console sales, sometimes it feels like there's no place for these old school gamers to go.  Don't worry aging gamer; Capcom isn't going to let you down.  They're here to bring you Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max, a portable version of one of the best 2D fighting games of all time.

Released only a few years after the original Street Fighter II, the Alpha series attempted to wrap other games into the Street Fighter world.  It was a mix of characters from Street Fighter II, Final Fight, and even the original Street Fighter.  It also introduced a few new characters and gave everybody a fresh new look, one that was more animated than what had come before it.  As Capcom added sequels gamers were treated to even more characters from these games, as well as a few other surprise characters.  By the time Street Fighter Alpha 3 rolled around just about every character from the first two Street Fighter games was represented, along with a lot of other familiar Capcom faces.

This PSP version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 is a port of the game found on the original PlayStation, which featured new characters and a lot of single-player activities.  Capcom has also decided to go ahead and add a few modes exclusive to the PSP, along with four additional characters, each with their own stories and endings.  This portable Street Fighter is perhaps the most comprehensive version you can buy, and a great addition to any game library.

But I'm getting ahead of myself; Street Fighter Alpha 3 delivers exactly the type of experience you think it's going to provide.  You know exactly what you're going to get and you get your money's worth.  It features a sizable cast, one that tops 35 people (and includes a few hidden fighters).  Along with Ryu, Ken, Cody, Charlie and Blanka, Capcom has decided to add four more characters to the mix.  We get Maki from the much-hated Final Fight 2 (released on the Super NES), Eagle from the original Street Fighter, Yun from Street Fighter III, and Ingrid, a new character from Capcom Fighting Evolution.

Along with all these characters you get dozens of amazing backgrounds to fight it out in.  Most of the locations in the games draw inspiration from the other games, so if you're a fan of the classic Capcom titles expect to see more than a few references to their games.  Best of all, these backgrounds are simply spellbinding on the PSP's large widescreen display.  Everything from the vibrant colors to the sensational artwork comes alive like never before, making this arguably the best looking version of the game I've ever seen.  This may be an eight-year old title, but Street Fighter Alpha 3 can go toe-to-toe with the current generation of PSP games.

What sets Street Fighter Alpha 3 apart from all the other fighting games is its unique "ism" system.   There are three you can choose from before a match, each altering the way you play and perform your special attacks.  The X-ism is a simple, yet powerful style for people that are used to the earlier Street Fighter II games.  A-ism is the style taken from the original Alpha series, allowing you to use multiple special moves when you have the energy.  And then there's the V-ism, which allows you to string together powerful combos.  Mastering which "ism" goes best with which fighter is one of the subtle joys of Street Fighter Alpha 3, a fighter with a surprising amount of depth.

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