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
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.
When it comes to different modes Street Fighter Alpha 3 is second to none. On the first screen alone there are some
fifteen different things to do, which can be a little overwhelming the first
few times you play the game. But as you
explore the game's menus you find a
lot of exciting modes that cater to people that want to play for a long time
and those who only have a few minutes.
No matter what type of mood you're
in, Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max has
something for you.
The game has your standard arcade mode, which unlocks each
characters animated ending. Then there's
Survival and Training, which work pretty much as they do in every other
fighting game. But if you really want to
mix things up you can fight two different computer-controlled opponents at
once. Or maybe you would rather have a
partner on your side going against another person? Well, you can do that too. In fact, you can play this game in just about
every way imaginable.
But when it comes to single-player treats, there is none
sweeter than the World Tour mode. This
is a lengthy game that has you traveling all over the world fighting under
specific conditions. The computer will
do everything it can to prevent you from winning, including giving you
handicaps (less life, weaker attacks, shorter timers, etc.), but if you can
overcome the obstacles your character will level up and go on to fight another
day. This mode is great fun on the go,
and fits perfect in this PSP title.
This wouldn't be a Street Fighter game if it didn't have
exciting two-player matches, and Capcom wasn't about to disappoint their
fans. The wireless support (this game is
Ad Hoc only, much to my disappointment) is flawless, the game is just as fast
and exciting with multiple people as it is against the computer. Not only is the game extremely responsive,
but it also comes with a number of ways to play the game with friends, making
it a great party game for those who remember playing these types of games in
The game does have a few quirks that you need to get past in
order to have a good time, one of which is the way the game feels. There's no doubt that the graphics look
exactly like those in the arcade, but the PSP's D-Pad does not do a good job of
recreating that arcade joystick feel. No
matter how long you try, this portable game is never going to feel like the
arcade version … but after you get used to its control it ceases to be a
problem. Give it a few games and you'll
be able to pull off just about any move you want without any pain or problems,
a mighty feat for a portable fighting game.
Although it might not look like it at first, Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max offers a
whole lot of content ready to be discovered.
Earning the endings to the nearly 40 different characters alone will
take you more hours than you would care to admit, and that's not even looking
at all the other ways you can play the game.
If you can get past having to re-learn the controls on the PSP you will
find Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max to
be one of the most rewording games you can play for Sony's portable
system. If you're a fan of 2D fighters
then there's no reason you should avoid this game, it's just the type of game
your system has been yearning for!
Forget Darkstalkers, Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max is the must-own fighting game on the PSP. In many ways this is the best version of the game yet, despite having a few quirks associated with the system's D-pad. If you can get past that you will find a highly rewarding game that is hard to put down!