• Street Figher III: 3rd Strike - Fight for the Future Review - Sony PS2

    “Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind”. Never have the words of Parrapa the Rapper’s Chop Chop Master Onion been more applicable than to the original fan reaction to Street Fighter III. In trying to create a game that was truly different to both Street Fighter II and Street Fighter Zero III, Capcom almost alienated its entire fanbase. Complaints ranged from criticism of the unfamiliar characters to the disappointment that players could not choose between different fighting styles. Over the years though, most players would come to realise that their initial reservations were all in their minds, a product of their expectations being met by something no one had expected. Instead of evolving the Street Fighter franchise along the path set out by the Zero series, Capcom had reduced the amount of characters and moves and then filled the void left by these with quirky techniques not seen in previous iterations of the game or those of their rivals.

    Third Strike is the third and final tweak of Street Fighter III and is one of Capcom’s finest games. The first thing newcomers will notice about the brawler is the gorgeous visual presentation. Whilst the resolution is lower than that of the Guilty Gear series, the detail and animation is unparalleled by any other fighter. Clothes ripple as if real wind is actually blowing against individual pixels, muscle definition is expertly shaded and the use of light and shadow adds a subtle depth to character animation that somehow achieves a level of realistic movement that is uniquely different to that of 3D fighters. If you’re sceptical about this then load up the game and get someone to play as Elena; watch her duck and weave across the screen and you’ll swear she has been rotascoped. The backgrounds can at times be just as aesthetically stunning as the fighters can. So much so that players will often find themselves trying to launch their opponent as far into the sky as possible just to catch a glimpse of every last corner of the scenery. Hugo's attic stage is a particular highlight as flooring an opponent triggers a number of incidental animations as the wrestler's belongings bounce in reaction to the impact of fallen warriors.

    Whilst none of the musical themes will ever be as memorable as those from Street fighter II they are adequate at their worst and exuberant at best. Unlike many of the orchestral themes that accompany the big budget games of modern consoles these are tunes that unmistakably belong to videogames; a quality that some dev-cos seem to underestimate these days. Some of the character themes seem to ape the classic Streets of Rage soundtrack, but no one in their right mind would complain about that. The same thing, sadly, cannot be said about the blatant James Bond rip-off score on Yun’s stage.

    The attention lavished upon the presentation would all be a shallow waste of time if the game played like Poker without a complete deck; thankfully Capcom’s hand is good and the aces are high. For the most part Street Fighter III plays like a regular 2D fighter except that each combatant can only use one of three selectable super moves (known as Super Arts). This removal of too many over-the-top combos encourages the player to experiment on their actual fighting strategies rather than relying on cheesy energy depleting moves. This is helped along by the addition of parries: a strategic type of blocking that reduces damage to zero and gives the player a split second to counter attack. Performed by tapping forward at the precise time that an enemy attack would connect, the parry is a risky manoeuvre that could leave the player even more open to a beating. Get the trick right though and the rewards are plenty, the score bonus and the ability to turn the tide of battle to the player's advantage are well worth the risk. Mastering the parry in single player mode is an essential exercise if a cocky victory in versus is desired; there has never been a greater feeling of euphoria in any Street Fighter than parrying oneself out of a corner and using that split-second pause to achieve a win.

    The ability to increase the damage of special moves (by pressing two attack buttons simultaneously) also adds an element of strategy as doing so drains the player’s Super Art meter and also has some interesting side effects. Doubling up a fireball, for example, can often catch an opponent off-guard as they block the first ball but not the one that sneakily follows on its heels. Capcom’s bonus rounds make a welcome return in Street Fighter III. The ritualistic destruction of the motor-car makes its third appearance since Final Fight and Street Fighter II and the blocking training, where the player is bombarded with Sean's basketballs, is a great opportunity to practice high and low parrying.

    Only previously available on the Dreamcast, the PS2 version offers a handful of refinements that only the most hardcore of World Warriors will notice. The vertical borders are gone and the graphics and sounds are slightly augmented although no one could ever improve the dreadful Street Fighter rap, which remains in this edition. The most significant improvement is the addition of the arcade moves that were removed from the DC version, although some may see this as a detriment to the game as many of those moves are unblockable. The thorough customisation of the versus mode thankfully makes the transition from Dreamcast intact and Capcom have clearly learnt from their mistakes with Hyper Street Fighter II and wisely included a save function.

    As with Street Fighter II, Third Strike has the perfect mix of accessibility and depth needed to make this a hit with both amateurs and veterans. For owners of the DC version the PS2 incarnation can only be recommended to the ultra-hardcore who long for a near arcade perfect rendition. Everyone else though should consider this an essential purchase. “We await your return, Warrior”.

    Score: 8/10

    Text by: Ashley Day
    Comments 19 Comments
    1. fuse's Avatar
      fuse -
      First screenshot isn't Third Strike. Just putting it out there before another pedantic third strike fan *cough* points it out
    1. charlesr's Avatar
      charlesr -
      lol, really? I just included the shots from when it went up originally. Thanks. Removed.
    1. Asura's Avatar
      Asura -
      Quote Originally Posted by fuse View Post
      First screenshot isn't Third Strike. Just putting it out there before another pedantic third strike fan *cough* points it out
      Street Fighter III's interesting really. I know a lot of people who say they like it, but really they're talking about Third Strike. I played W-Impact on the Dreamcast first, and though Third Strike is certainly the best game in the series, I really preferred the background design of 2nd Impact.

      Come to think of it, this might be a general Capcom thing - as I preferred the backgrounds of SF Alpha 2 over 3.

      Both 3S and Alpha 3 have a more subtle, rendered style, whereas I prefer the more cartoony look.
    1. Superman Falls's Avatar
      Superman Falls -
      I might be wrong but I have it in my head that Third Strike and Alpha 3 came along as Capcom tried to make the games appeal more to the US so they tweaked the styling to suit. I've always been the same in that what A3 and Third Strike offer is the best but my heart loves the preceeding entries more. Especially in the case of Alpha 2. Pretty much SF ambrosia for me.
    1. Dogg Thang's Avatar
      Dogg Thang -
      Samesies.
    1. speedlolita's Avatar
      speedlolita -
      I did spot that fuse but this review only gave the best fighting game ever an 8 so I didn't care to point it out.
    1. Asura's Avatar
      Asura -
      Quote Originally Posted by Superman Falls View Post
      I might be wrong but I have it in my head that Third Strike and Alpha 3 came along as Capcom tried to make the games appeal more to the US so they tweaked the styling to suit. I've always been the same in that what A3 and Third Strike offer is the best but my heart loves the preceeding entries more. Especially in the case of Alpha 2. Pretty much SF ambrosia for me.
      I used to feel that way about Alpha2/3, but after going back to 2 recently, I have to say that I think 3 is the better game. I just prefer 2's look/sound/styling.
    1. S3M's Avatar
      S3M -
      Quote Originally Posted by charlesr View Post
      lol, really? I just included the shots from when it went up originally. Thanks. Removed.
      FYI charlesr, I noticed you have put this in the PSP categories in error on the site, should be in PlayStation 2 one.

      Anything less than a nine is shameful not Ash's best review I feel SF3TS is a true master piece of a game. Only negative I have with SF3 is what an old pro player told me is that the unlimited parry system was to elite and put off a lot of new players. Once you've mastered it you are almost unbeatable
    1. speedlolita's Avatar
      speedlolita -
      I wouldn't say that is necessarily true, although you did say "almost unbeatable". The parry is an extremely powerful tool though, yeah. I main Makoto and her command grab sort of puts parries on ice if I play my cards right... But even so, it has been a long time since I've popped down to London to play Third Strike properly - offline. Did occasionally get candidly bodied by veteran Yun players but that pretty must just confirms what people say about him and Chun Li really, though some people go as far as say the game isn't worth playing because those two are so powerful which is frankly ridiculous.

      Still, I need not repeat how much I love this game. I never get bored of it, all the characters are extremely fun to play (well, maybe not Twelve) and I seriously doubt anything will rival the feeling I have when I'm playing against someone of similar or superior ability to me. Amazing game.

      Edit: I'm just gonna embed a "player video" of my idol.

    1. charlesr's Avatar
      charlesr -
      Quote Originally Posted by S3M View Post
      FYI charlesr, I noticed you have put this in the PSP categories in error on the site, should be in PlayStation 2 one.

      Anything less than a nine is shameful not Ash's best review I feel SF3TS is a true master piece of a game. Only negative I have with SF3 is what an old pro player told me is that the unlimited parry system was to elite and put off a lot of new players. Once you've mastered it you are almost unbeatable
      Ash wouldn't have chosen the score himself. When I read the text it could be a 9. (I just put the score that was given to it originally).
      If there wasn't a score at all, would you still have anything to say about the text?

      And thanks for the PSP spot!
    1. ShadowDancer's Avatar
      ShadowDancer -
      10/10 - The End. (My Review)
    1. Decider-VT's Avatar
      Decider-VT -
      What's with the filtering on the banner? Those lovely sprites...
    1. speedlolita's Avatar
      speedlolita -
      Probably from Third Strike Online - has tons of awful filtering options.
    1. charlesr's Avatar
      charlesr -
      It was difficult finding a picture big enough - resizing smaller ones looked equally rubbish. Needs to be 1000x. Link me one and I'll replace it.
    1. speedlolita's Avatar
      speedlolita -
      I don't think it is that much of an issue really! Maybe Barrie thinks different?
    1. Dogg Thang's Avatar
      Dogg Thang -
      Are you resizing in Photoshop, Charles? If you find an image at the original res and transform using Nearest Neighbour, you'll retain the sharp pixels no matter how big you go.
    1. speedlolita's Avatar
      speedlolita -
      I'm not especially fond of newer versions of Photoshop since CS2 having inferior filters selected by default.
    1. charlesr's Avatar
      charlesr -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dogg Thang View Post
      Are you resizing in Photoshop, Charles? If you find an image at the original res and transform using Nearest Neighbour, you'll retain the sharp pixels no matter how big you go.
      Ah right! I'm using irfanView. I turned off sampling completely and just used resize.
      Hope that's more to everyone's liking. CTRL-F5 to refresh images (in windows stuff)
    1. Dogg Thang's Avatar
      Dogg Thang -
      Nice!
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