Street Fighter Alpha 2
|Street Fighter Alpha 2|
|Publisher(s)||Arcade: Capcom |
PlayStation, Saturn and PC
|Platform(s)||Arcade, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Sega Saturn, SNES, Windows|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Display||Raster, 384 x 224 pixels (Horizontal),|
4096 colors on screen,
16,777,216 color palette
Street Fighter Alpha 2, known as Street Fighter Zero 2 (ストリートファイターZERO 2) in Japan/Asia and South America, is a 1996 fighting game originally released for the CPS II arcade hardware by Capcom. The game is both a sequel and a remake to the previous year's Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams, which is itself a prequel to the Street Fighter II series in terms of plot and setting. The game features a number of improvements over the original, such as new attacks, stages, endings, and gameplay features. It was followed by Street Fighter Alpha 3.
Street Fighter Alpha 2 retains most of the new features introduced in the original Street Fighter Alpha, such as the three-level Super Combo gauge, Alpha Counters, Air-Blocking, and Fall Breaking. The main new feature in the game is the inclusion of the Custom Combo system (Original Combo in Japan), which replaces the Chain Combos from the first Alpha. If the Super Combo gauge is on Lv. 1 or above, the player can initiate a Custom Combo pressing two punch buttons and a kick or one punch button and two kicks. The player can then perform any series of basic and special moves to create a Custom Combo until the Timer Gauge at the bottom of the screen runs out. The characters Guy and Gen can still perform Chain Combos, but only to a limited extent. Additionally, each character now has two Alpha Counters instead of just one: one that can be performed with a kick button and another with a punch button.
The single-player mode, much like the original Street Fighter Alpha, consists of eight matches against computer-controlled opponents, including a fixed final opponent whose identity depends on the player's selected character. Each character also has a secret "rival" whom they can face during the course of the single-player mode. After meeting certain requirements, the rival will interrupt one of the player's matches and exchange dialogue with the player's character, and the player character will then fight the rival instead. With Akuma now a regular character, a more powerful version of the character dubbed "Shin Akuma" replaces him as a secret opponent. Unlike Super Turbo and the original Alpha, Shin Akuma challenges the player before the player's final opponent, rather than as an alternate final boss.
The game brings back all thirteen characters from Street Fighter Alpha, with M. Bison, Akuma, and Dan now being immediately selectable as playable characters. In addition to the Alpha roster, Alpha 2 includes Dhalsim and Zangief, both from Street Fighter II, Gen, an assassin from the original Street Fighter, Rolento, a member of the Mad Gear gang who originally appeared in Final Fight, and newcomer Sakura, a Japanese schoolgirl who takes up street fighting after witnessing one of Ryu's battles.
According to Capcom senior planner Shinji Mikami, "When we were trying to get the balance of Alpha 2 right we only concentrated on Alpha 2. That's the one that's important. We don't really have to get the actual same damage as Alpha. In Alpha 2 some new characters were introduced, so in order to maintain the game balance we had to increase the damage for the normal hits. In addition, this time for Alpha 2 we wanted to focus on the importance of the normal hits and not just the specials."
Street Fighter Alpha 2 was released under the title of Street Fighter Zero 2 in Japan, Asia, and South America. The American and European versions of Alpha 2 feature three additional characters who were not in the Zero 2 version: Evil Ryu and the EX versions of Dhalsim and Zangief. These three characters were selected by Capcom USA.
Capcom released an updated version of Zero 2 titled Street Fighter Zero 2 Alpha, which features all the additional characters from Alpha 2, as well as other changes to the game. In addition to Zangief and Dhalsim, Zero 2 Alpha also features EX versions of Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Sagat, and M. Bison, all of whom were characters from Street Fighter II′: Champion Edition. Custom Combos are now executed by pressing a punch and kick button of the same strength simultaneously and now require half (1½ level) of the Super Combo gauge filled to perform them. Some of the characters have gained new moves such as Ryu's Shakunetsu Hadouken and Dhalsim's Yoga Tempest. Zero 2 Alpha also features a survival mode, as well as a 2-on-1 Dramatic Battle mode similar to the hidden "Ryu and Ken vs. Bison mode" in the original Alpha. In the Japanese version of Zero 2 Alpha, Evil Ryu has different dialogue exchanges and a different ending from his regular counterpart.
- Street Fighter Alpha 2 was ported to the Sony PlayStation and the Sega Saturn in 1996. The PlayStation port features an arranged soundtrack (in the form of XA-Audio), while the Saturn version uses an arranged soundtrack in a streaming ADPCM format (which looped properly like in the arcade version). Both versions feature Shin Akuma as a selectable character via a secret code (which differs between the two versions, the PlayStation version required players to move the cursor in a pattern which formed the letter Z on the character select screen, the Saturn port required a pattern that formed an X), in addition to the classic-style Chun-Li. The Saturn port is the only one of the two versions to feature the characters Evil Ryu, EX Dhalsim, and EX Zangief from the American arcade version. The Saturn port also features an exclusive survival mode, as well as an art gallery. The PlayStation version of Street Fighter Alpha 2 was re-released for the PSP and PlayStation 3 via the PlayStation Network on June 4, 2009 in North America.
- The SNES version was also released in 1996. Since third-party publishers such as Capcom were increasingly concentrating on CD-based consoles, outside of Japan this version was published by Nintendo instead of Capcom. It makes use of the S-DD1 chip for on-the-fly graphic decompression. Despite the graphics decompression chip, this version has loading times when entering matches while sounds are loaded onto the sound chip. Unlike the PlayStation and Saturn versions, the only secret character available to the player through normal means is the classic-style Chun-Li. However, it is possible to unlock Shin Akuma as a playable character by using an Action Replay code (7E1C2714 for player 1, 7E1C4F14 for player 2). This port was re-released for the Virtual Console in North America on December 7, 2009 and in the PAL region on January 29, 2010 for the Wii, and in North America on May 22, 2014, and in the PAL region on October 2, 2014 for the Wii U.
- A Windows PC port was also released; based on the PlayStation version (but using the arcade soundtrack in 22 kHz WAV format) in 1997. This version was sold as a bundle with the original Alpha in Japan.
- A home version of Street Fighter Zero 2 Alpha was released under the title of Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold in North America, Street Fighter Alpha 2 (Prime) in Europe, and Street Fighter Zero 2 (Dash) in Japan. The game was released as part of the Street Fighter Collection, a compilation that also includes Super Street Fighter II and Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Alpha 2 Gold features most of the same changes, features, and game modes as the arcade version of Zero 2 Alpha, only omitting the 2-on-1 Dramatic Battle mode from the arcade version. In addition to all of the characters featured in previous versions of Alpha 2, Gold features a version of Cammy based on her rendition from X-Men vs. Street Fighter, who appears as a hidden character selectable only in the game's Versus and Training modes. This version was re-released in Japan as a standalone game in the PlayStation the Best and Satakore budget games lines.
- The 2006 PlayStation 2 compilation Street Fighter Alpha Anthology features a version of the original Alpha 2 based on the arcade game, as well as a revised version of Alpha 2 Gold which features Cammy as a selectable character in the game's arcade mode (with her own storyline and ending). Both games feature Survival and Dramatic Battle Modes in addition to the Arcade, Versus, and Training modes. The Japanese version of the compilation (Street Fighter Zero: Fighters' Generation) features the arcade versions of Zero 2 and Zero 2 Alpha, as well as the US version of Alpha 2 and a revised version of Zero 2 as hidden games.
- A Windows PC port was re-released on GOG.com in 2012.
- Street Fighter Alpha 2 was ported to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam, and Nintendo Switch as part of the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection scheduled for May 2018. This version is in arcade perfect form and does not carry the original coding sent to console version ports of the past. Though it comes with save states, Street Fighter Alpha 2 (30th Anniversary version) does not include Alpha 2 Gold as an update.
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A reviewer for Next Generation gave the arcade version 3 out of 5 stars, praising the large number of characters, smooth animation, innovative backgrounds, and "wonderful" character design. He deemed the custom combos "an unprecedented, new, and complex innovation in Street Fighter gameplay", though he found some points of their implementation to be odd. He concluded, "Although it's just another 2D fighter for those who aren't paying attention, this is a fine new addition for true hard-core gameplayers."
In the Japanese arcade magazine Gamest, Street Fighter Zero 2 was voted Best Game of 1996 in the Tenth Annual Grand Prize. Zero 2 was also No. 1 in the category of "Best Fighting Game", No. 9 in "Best Graphics", No. 6 in "Best Direction", and No. 4 in "Best VGM (Video Game Music)". Dan Hibiki and Sakura Kasugano were depicted on the cover of this issue, who were placed No. 1 and No. 3 respectively on the Top 50 Characters of 1996, with Ryu at No. 13, Zangief at No. 18 (sharing the spot with Mature from The King of Fighters '96), Guy at No. 26, Chun-Li at No. 32, Akuma at No. 37 (sharing the spot with two other characters), Rolento at No. 45 (sharing the spot with the Elf from Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara) and Ken at No. 49 (sharing the spot with two other characters).
The Saturn and PlayStation ports both received praise for their faithfulness to their arcade counterpart, large selection of characters, and replacement of the easily exploited chain combo system from the original Street Fighter Alpha. Some critics, while acknowledging that the 2D fighting game genre was outdated, held Street Fighter Alpha 2 to be equal or even superior to any of the 3D fighting games then on the market. The Saturn version tied with the PlayStation version of Tomb Raider for Electronic Gaming Monthly's "Game of the Month". Though EGM never reviewed the PlayStation version of Alpha 2, in an overview of fighting games released in 1996 Sushi-X commented, "Both the Saturn and PlayStation versions are great, but the Saturn version has a few advantages", citing frames of animation that were missing from the PlayStation version and the Saturn-exclusive illustrations mode. The Saturn port was also a commercial success, selling over 400,000 units in Japan.
The Super NES version was much less well-received, with reviews commenting that the sound quality is exceptionally poor and that the overambitious graphics cause the game to play at an agonizingly slow speed compounded by bouts of slowdown when performing special moves. Shawn Smith and Dan Hsu of Electronic Gaming Monthly deemed it the worst Street Fighter game for the Super NES. Co-reviewers Crispin Boyer and Sushi-X and GamePro's The Gun Nut were more forgiving, concluding that despite the port's flaws it was a decent buy for gamers who did not own a Saturn or PlayStation.
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