Street Fighter Alpha 3
|Street Fighter Alpha 3|
Crawfish Interactive (GBA)
PlayStation and Dreamcast
|Platform(s)||Arcade, Dreamcast, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation, PlayStation Portable, Sega Saturn (Japan only)|
June 29, 1998
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players simultaneously|
|Arcade system||CP System II |
Sega NAOMI (Zero 3 Upper)
Street Fighter Alpha 3, released as Street Fighter Zero 3[a] in Japan, Asia, South America, and Oceania, is a 2D competitive fighting game originally released by Capcom for the arcade in 1998. It is the third and final installment in the Street Fighter Alpha sub-series, which serves as a prequel to Street Fighter II, and ran on the same CP System II hardware as previous Alpha games. The game was produced after the Street Fighter III sub-series has started, being released after 2nd Impact, but before 3rd Strike. Alpha 3 further expanded the playable fighter roster from Street Fighter Alpha 2 and added new features such as selectable fighting styles called "isms".
Alpha 3 has also been released on a variety of home platforms starting with the PlayStation port in 1998, which added an exclusive World Tour mode and brought back even more characters, with further versions on the Sega Saturn, Dreamcast, Game Boy Advance and PlayStation Portable. The game was also included in the Street Fighter Alpha Anthology, as well as the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection.
Street Fighter Alpha 3 discards the "Manual" and "Auto" modes from the previous Alpha games and instead offers three different playing styles known as "isms" for the player to choose from. The standard playing style, A-ism (or Z-ism in Japan), is based on the previous Alpha games, in which the player has a three-level Super Combo gauge with access to several Super Combo moves. X-ism is a simple style based on Super Street Fighter II Turbo (the term "X-ism" being a reference to that game's Japanese title, Super Street Fighter II X), in which the player has a single-level Super Combo gauge and access to a single but powerful Super Combo move. The third style, V-ism (or "variable" style), is a unique style that allows the player to perform custom combos similar to the ones in Street Fighter Alpha 2, but cannot use Super Combos. In X-ism, the player cannot air-block nor perform Alpha Counters, and can only use 1 Super Combo move in its powerful Level 3 version. To activate V-ism's Super Combo, the player has to press both kick and punch of the same strength. X-ism has the highest attack power but least defence, A-ism has more attack power than V-ism and a similar level of defence. All three modes have variations of movesets for each character, adding considerable depth to the gameplay. In addition, there are hidden modes that add handicaps to the player as well as benefits (for example, Classic mode, which prevents the use of Super Combos but also makes the character unable to be knocked in the air and juggled).
Alpha 3 also introduces a "Guard Power Gauge" which depletes each time the player blocks – if the gauge is completely depleted, then the player will remain vulnerable to an attack. When broken the bar shrinks and is refilled to its new maximum, it can be shrunk a number of times. Worth noting, while in X-Ism the character has the least defence of all modes it also has the largest guard bar, vice versa for V-ism with A-Zism being in the middle. Also the guard bar varies between characters, Zangief e.g. has a very large guard bar. The guard bar does not exist in Dramatic Battle matches so no guard crushing is possible there.
I-ism is a customizable style exclusive to the Dreamcast version's Saikyo Dojo mode and the PSP version's World Tour mode.
The controls for several actions have been modified from the previous Alpha games. For example, the level of a Super Combo move in A-ism is now determined by the strength of the attack button pressed (i.e. Medium Punch or Kick for a Lv. 2 Super Combo), rather than the number of buttons pushed; and throwing is now done by pressing two punch or kick buttons simultaneously.
The game brings back all eighteen of the characters that appeared in Street Fighter Alpha 2. As with the previous Alpha titles, several characters were added to the game: Cammy, who was previously featured in the console-exclusive Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold, E. Honda, Blanka, Balrog, and Vega. New characters introduced in Alpha 3 include R. Mika, a Japanese female wrestler who idolizes Zangief; Karin, Sakura's rival who was first introduced in the Street Fighter manga Sakura Ganbaru! by Masahiko Nakahira; Cody from Final Fight, who has since become an escaped convict; and Juli and Juni, two of Shadaloo's "Dolls" who serve as Bison's assassins and guards.
The PlayStation version adds the remaining characters introduced in Super Street Fighter II: Dee Jay, Fei Long and T. Hawk, along with Guile from Street Fighter II, and Evil Ryu and Shin Akuma from Street Fighter Alpha 2, the latter three being unlockable. The Sega Saturn and Dreamcast versions move Guile, Evil Ryu and Shin Akuma to the default roster (although the latter shares a slot with his regular counterpart and is playable via a special button combination). The more powerful version of M. Bison who is the true final boss of Alpha 3 with the special Shadaloo-ism meter, Final M. Bison, is also made playable in these Sega ports via a code.
The Game Boy Advance port contains all of the characters from previous versions, as well as three additional characters: Yun from Street Fighter III, Maki from Final Fight 2, and Eagle from the original Street Fighter, all three based on their incarnations from Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001. The PlayStation Portable version, Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX, also adds Ingrid from Capcom Fighting Evolution, to bring the total playable character count to 39 characters.
|Character||Street Fighter Alpha 3
|Street Fighter Alpha 3 (PS1, DC, Sega Saturn)
Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper (Arcade)
|Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper
|Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX
|Final M. Bison||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||4|
- Street Fighter Alpha 3 was initially ported in 1998 to the PlayStation, selling a million copies. This version replaced the "hit" sprites with "hit" polygons in order to focus more memory on character animations. Juli, Juni and Balrog were added to the immediate regular roster, and they were given new character portraits and their own storylines. Dee Jay, Fei Long and T. Hawk (the remaining "New Challengers" from Super Street Fighter II) were also included in the roster. Guile, Evil Ryu and Shin Akuma (the latter sharing a slot with his regular counterpart) were also added as secret characters that can be unlocked through the World Tour mode, a mode that allows the player to strengthen and customize their chosen character's fighting style while traveling around the world. An additional feature in the Japanese version also made use of the PocketStation peripheral, which allows the player to build up their character's strength. In this version, Shin Akuma serves as the final boss for Evil Ryu, as well as a secret boss in Final Battle. Due to RAM limitations, the only unique pairings available for a complete campaign in the Dramatic Battle mode are Ryu & Ken and Juli & Juni; other character combinations can only be used for one-match battles. The AI for the Dramatic Battle and Survival modes is exceptionally poor with the CPU neglecting to defend against sweep attacks, perhaps due to RAM again. As is frequently the case with home ports of arcade games, the lesser amount of frames allows for certain combos, often infinite, that are not possible in the arcade version (particularly when using V-Ism mode and in Dramatic Battle and Survival stages).
- This version was re-released for download on the North American PlayStation Network on October 18, 2011.
- The 1999 Dreamcast version, titled Street Fighter Alpha 3: Saikyo Dojo (or Street Fighter Zero 3: Saikyō-ryū Dōjō in Japan), uses all the added features from the PlayStation version of the game, but features a different World Tour mode. Guile, Evil Ryu and Shin Akuma are immediately selectable, although the latter still shares a slot with his regular counterpart and is playable via a special button combination. An online mode was added, allowing the player to display their high score. In addition, a Saikyo Dojo mode was added which pits a very weak character of the player's choice against two very strong opponents. The Dreamcast version was re-released in Japan in 2000 as Street Fighter Zero 3: Saikyō-ryū Dōjō for Matching Service as a mail order title via Dreamcast Direct. The Matching Service version differs from the original with the addition of an Online Versus mode.
- The Sega Saturn version of Street Fighter Zero 3 was released in 1999 in Japan only, shortly after the initial Dreamcast version. This port makes use of Sega's 4-MB RAM cartridge and uses all the features from the PlayStation version except for the polygon usage and PocketStation mode. The Saturn version uses the extra RAM to include more frames and sprites, making it near arcade-perfect. Similarly to the Dreamcast version, Guile, Evil Ryu and Shin Akuma are immediately selectable, with the latter sharing a slot with his regular counterpart and playable via a special button combination. While the World Tour and Survival modes are virtually unchanged from the PlayStation version, the Dramatic Battle mode received some improvements with the inclusion of a 2-player mode and the addition of the Reverse Dramatic Battle mode, in which the player faces two computer-controlled characters simultaneously. This and the PlayStation Portable versions are also the only ports to feature the Dramatic Battle mode against the entire roster of characters, as all other versions limit this mode to boss characters only. The AI for the Dramatic Battle mode is far superior to the PlayStation version. Another minor change is the revised scoring system for some moves in the game: for example, many characters that earn 3000pts per hit from a grab move (a very important fact to exploit for the World Tour mode, where the score is the player's experience points) do not receive as much in the Saturn version. The features, characters etc. of the first home port on the PlayStation are available straight away in the Saturn version.
- Street Fighter Zero 3 was re-released for the arcade in Japan in 2001 under the title Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper (officially promoted as Street Fighter Zero 3↑). The game was released for the Dreamcast-based NAOMI hardware (rather than the original game's CP System II hardware) and features all six characters from the home console ports as well as some balance changes, most notably the removal of the "crouch canceling" glitch which allowed for V-ISM infinite combos. Upper also allows the player to upload any customized characters from the Dreamcast version of the game by inserting a VMU into a memory card slot on the cabinet.
- A Game Boy Advance version developed by Crawfish Interactive was released in 2002 under the title Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper (Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper in Japan, officially promoted as Street Fighter Alpha 3↑ and Street Fighter Zero 3↑ respectively). The port is compressed and lacks several stages and music tracks from the previous arcade and console versions, although all of the characters are present. In addition, Eagle, Maki, and Yun, all of whom were characters from Capcom vs. SNK 2 (released in 2001), were added to the game. Only a small number of character voices were included in this version due to storage limitations, which the developers worked around by having characters share voice samples, modified with real-time pitch shifting, such as using a higher pitched version of Ken's voice for Sakura's attack calls.
- The PlayStation Portable version, titled Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX (Street Fighter Zero 3 Double Upper in Japan, officially promoted as Street Fighter Zero 3↑↑), was released in 2006 and features the additional characters from the GBA version as well as Ingrid from Capcom Fighting Evolution. This version is a near-faithful port of the arcade version with minimal (almost non-existent) loading times and all frames and sprites intact. All of the added characters now feature their own in-game storylines and endings. The Dramatic Battle mode in this version is the only one where both the player and partner characters can be selected individually (allowing for any character pairing). It also includes the Reverse Dramatic Battle mode from the Saturn version, an exclusive tag mode called "Variable Battle", which is similar to the Dramatic Battle mode but in which the player can tag in and out their partner, and a mode called "100 Kumite" (a 100-fight series).
- Street Fighter Alpha Anthology (Street Fighter Zero: Fighters' Generation in Japan) was released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2. It contains the arcade version of Alpha 3 as one of the immediately available games, along with a revised version of Zero 3 Upper called Alpha 3 Upper as a secret game. Both games feature Dramatic Battle and Survival modes in addition to the Arcade, Versus, and Training modes, but not the World Tour mode that was featured in the previous home ports nor the extra characters introduced in the portable versions of the game. In Upper, all six characters that were added in the home console ports are readily available.
- Street Fighter Alpha 3 has an arcade-perfect inclusion via Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch & Steam. The original 28 characters appear in the title, but those introduced in the home console, Game Boy Advance and PlayStation Portable versions are not included due to the game being an emulation of the original arcade. Save states are available to allow the player to resume from where they left. The game, along with Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike - Fight for the Future, has online functionality.
|Eurogamer||9 / 10|
|Famitsu||33 / 40||32 / 40||32 / 40|
|GameFan||288 / 300|
|GamePro||18.5 / 20 |
4 / 5
|5 / 5|
|GameSpot||9 / 10||8 / 10|
|IGN||9.5 / 10||9.3 / 10|
|PSM||9 / 10|
|Dreamcast Magazine||27 / 30|
In Japan, Game Machine listed Street Fighter Alpha 3 on their September 1, 1998 issue as being the second most-successful arcade game of the month.
On release, Famitsu magazine scored the Sega Saturn version of the game a 32 out of 40; they later scored it 30 out of 40. The PlayStation version also scored 32 out of 40 on release. The Dreamcast version scored slightly better, receiving a 33 out of 40.
The Official UK PlayStation Magazine said that the game would outlast Tekken 3, and stated "the only thing to tarnish this is the graphics. So if you think gameplay is more important than texture-mapped polygons, consider the score to be a ten."
Next Generation reviewed the PlayStation version of the game, rating it four stars out of five, and stated that "Capcom may have outdone itself with the most playable and innovative fighting game since the original Street Fighter II."
Game Informer gave the PlayStation portable version of the game an overall score of 7.75 out of 10 praising how the game being a great port of the classic fighting game and the gameplay and loading times as being seamless and stating “a perfect arcade port that will please Street Fighter fans.”
In 2019, Game Informer ranked it as the 18th best fighting game of all time.
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