"Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike" is a two dimensional fighting video game. It was first released for the Sega Dreamcast in 2000 by Capcom. In the United States, the game received an age guidance rating of "T" which deemed it suitable for ages 13 and above. It is a part of the"Street Fighter" series of video games, and is the third installment for the "III" series on the Sega Dreamcast.
There's a sort of retro-chic appeal when it comes to 2D fighting video games. While not making the most of the console's processing power, the simplicity of its execution and smooth animations make for exceptional gameplay in the genre. The Street Fighter series has continued to remain relevant throughout its years of documented history beginning in 1987 by introducing new characters. 3rd Strike remains no different in this respect, and brings forth all but three unique newcomers to create a roster of 19. Enthusiasts will find themselves at home with the simple button mapping of Ken, Chun-Li, and Ryu, but also have access to newer names such as Alex, Dudley, and Elena.
3rd Strike conforms to traditional standards of Street Fighter play which those familiar to the video game would come to expect. It offers an extended arcade mode whereby a player selects a character and embarks on a global tour against 10 other opponents before meeting the difficult and often "cheap" boss, Gill. For more varied play, players may also enter an exhibition mode which allows the selection of different fighters each round. What perhaps draws me most to 3rd Strike is its in-depth option menu known as "system direction". Within this menu is a vast amount of options to alter the fighting mechanisms, such as the enabling or disabling the ability to block while in the midst of a jump. The option menu presents a total of 10 assorted pages of tweaks which would likely fine tune the experience to even the most pedantic of requirements.
The graphics are presented from a side perspective which focuses on the centre of the fight in progress. The animations move at a fluid pace which quickly respond to any command I issue with my gamepad. An abundance of flashing imagery accompanies several strikes which can irritate my eyes after extending gaming sessions, but I do find them appropriate for their intended purpose. The soundtrack is likewise pleasing to the ears. Capcom implemented several voice gestures, taunts, and grunts using a wide spectrum of voice actors to compliment the goings on in game, and nothing which was presented came across as inappropriate for the genre.
Overall, I greatly enjoy what 3rd Strike has to offer as a player. I am someone who regularly finds himself involved with the Street Fighter saga and the title did not disappoint. It does not offer much in terms of new playing features, but through remaining consistent with previous video games made for seamless transition and ease of play. I would happily recommend it to prospective buyers.
As they did with Streetfighter 2, instead of jumping straight into a sequel with improvements, Capcom opted to release improved versions of Streetfighter 3, adding new characters and stages and so on, which, while I suppose is better than trying to market the game as a new title, but it certainly annoys a lot of people, especially when it comes to home conversions of these games, because it's a bit of a kick in the balls to shell out 40 notes for a game, only for an improved version to be released a couple of months later. However, being a die-hard Streetfighter fan, foolish as I am, I don't mind, providing these updates are all as good as Streetfighter 3:Third Strike.
As the title may suggest, this is the third version of Streetfighter 3, the previous two, New Generation and Second Impact, were released on the Sega Dreamcast in a double pack titled Streetfighter 3:Double Impact, which was a moderate success, and given that Capcom's other 2D fighters on the console had proven to go down well with DC owners, Third Strike also made it's way to the little white box close to the end of it's untimely death.
The basics of the game are exactly the same as Streetfighter 3:Double Impact, it's a 2D,1-on-1 fighter where the purpose is to win 2 out of 3 rounds of combat by depleting your opponent's energy bar completely before they do the same to you. To accomplish this, you have a variety of punches,kicks,throws,special moves and a super move, the latter two categories performed via accomplishing the correct motions on the controller. These are still the regular Streetfighter staple move commands, the quarter-circle forward+attack, the charge in one direction before quickly pressing in the other in conjunction with an attack button and the rapid fire tapping of a button.
As is to be expected, the gameplay of Third Strike is the same as the previous SF3 games for the most part, which were awesome. In fact, the only real differences in terms of gameplay seem to me to be that Ibuki isn't as lethal, and the new characters are there. While Im sure if you are a high-level player you will be able to pick up on more, but the only ones that were blatantly evident to me were those two.
So, the gameplay, what more can be said about it?it's wonderful. Streetfighter 3 isn't about 435945 hit air combos and beam super moves as seen in Capcom's Vs. Series games, but more a refined Streetfighting experience. This is all about technique and skill, and is probably as close a comparison as a Capcom fighter gets to Sega's legendary Virtua Fighter games in terms of need of skill. As with previous SF3 games, the major difference between this game and all of Capcom's other fighters is the parry system. This involves tapping towards your enemy the very moment one of their attacks is about to make contact with you. When performed correctly, this parries their attack, allowing you an opening to launch an attack of your own.
So the gameplay itself is wonderful, but what about game modes? we have the expected Arcade mode, where you battle so many Computer controlled enemies until you face the final boss,Gill, who now permanently has ressurection as a super move to make him super-cheap. Defeat him and you will see a short ending for your character.
This is the mode I spent the most time in on single player, and you probably will as well. The AI is pretty decent, and the gameplay is good enough to keep you rooted into it for a while.
Also to be expected is the Versus mode, where two players fight it out, it's hard to go wrong with this mode, and it would be folly to expect veterans of the genre such as Capcom to do so.
There is also a training mode, and a special training mode to help you with parries as well as your standard options. What is unique to Third Strike is 'System Direction' mode. This is unlocked by completing the game, and offers you more in-depth ways to alter your gameplay experience, such as having the Super-Meter constantly full and so on.
While these modes sufficed for me, the absence of Survival and Team Battle modes is notable, although I rarely use them anyway, so it doesn't particularly bother me.
The story of the game is fairly standard, a Super-Human being known as Gill has organised a martial arts tournament, Gill believes himself to be some sort of god, and humanity's saviour. That's about as deep as the story goes, although the endings do add some depth to the particular characters.
The story is fairly disappointing in terms of how deep it is, but at least it doesn't recycle the same old M.Bison garbage.
The characters in the game returning from previous SF3 versions are the legendary three Shotokan fighters Ryu,Ken and Akuma,Ninja girl and daughter of Streetfighter's Retsu Ibuki,former Mad Gear gang member turned Pro-Wrestler Hugo, One-armed master Oro, British boxer Dudley,young wrestler with a grudge against Gill,Alex,Gill's brother Urien,Ken wannabe Sean,Capoeira fighter Elena,Kung Fu twins Yun and Yang,genetic experiment-gone wrong Necro and the correct article Twelve,the strongest woman in the world Chun Li, her rival for the title and the She-Ryu Makoto, Guile-gone goth Remy and...oddity Q.
The character selection is varied to say the least, and Gill can also be unlocked to play with. While it's nice to see Chun Li making an overdue return to the series, I would have loved to have seen Sagat come back as well. The characters new to Third Strike are a mixed bunch. Remy is pretty cool, like the offspring of Guile in terms of moves, with the look of WWF/E wrestler Jeff Hardy, although you wonder why they didn't just put Guile in instead. Makoto is like an even more boring Ryu, Twelve is a good idea, but his execution is a little lacking and Q is just plain weird. Like a cross between Dick Tracy and the Man in the Iron Mask. One plus is that out of all the new characters, only Remy has a moveset reminiscent of an older character, with Q especially being his own man in terms of moves, making the spectrum even wider in terms of finding a character that suits the player.
Some, in fact most fighter's stages have also changed, with Ryu and Ken now having stages that hark back to their SF2 locales, and Akuma fighting in a forest with those statues that surrounded him in the Streetfighter Alpha Animated Movie. The only change that I feel is definitely for the worse is Hugo's stage, which went from a Munich Beer festival to a sort of demonic play-room.
I should also point out the lovely little nuances the game has, such as Hugo's manager being the infamous Poison from Final Fight, and some of the pre-fight introductions, which are really nifty. While this doesn't really add much in terms of gameplay, for fans of the games, it does add appeal in terms of sheer coolness.
The graphics in the game are at the same wonderful level of animation as the previous release. The fighters are still larger than in any previous 2D fighter, and animated brilliantly. Graphical improvements have even been made over Streetfighter 3:Double Impact. Gill now 'glows' with power, and I'm positive the projectiles have been given a make-over to make them look even better.
The sound could still do with work. The voices and so on are fine, if still in Japanese, however the music still just doesn't do it for me. Capcom is apparently convinced that all SF players are into Urban and techno music, which isn't true. While techno-style music would actulaly suit a fighting game, the tunes used are generic and poor. The only one that stand's out is the Yun/Yang theme, and that's only because it wholesale plagiarises the James Bond theme.
Controls work in the same manner as all Capcom fighters, Three Punch and Three Kick buttons, Weak,Medium and Heavy. As with all previous fighters for the console, the DC controller requires the Heavy attacks to be put onto the Shoulder Triggers by default, making performing special moves with them irritating. Thankfully, this game allows you to use the Analogue stick to control the fighter instead of the lethal D-Pad, but to be honest, I spend any time playing it on an arcade stick, and I would recommend any potential players to also invest in a good stick.
Overall, while it doesn't seem to improve that much over it's predecessor, I can't help but award Third Strike and extra star to give it full marks. Even though I had played Double Impactnon-stop for months prior to getting this, and played it almost to death, Third Strike's additions were enough to see that the game is still getting regular play from me and my friends, and is without a doubt one of the best fighters on the Dreamcast, which is no mean feat, and possibly one of the best fighters ever.
If you have an arcade stick, and are a fan of the series, or 2D fighters in general, I would recommend Third Strike to you in a second. It's a great looking,and above all else great playing game that will keep you streetfighting for literally months. Almost solely for the addition of Chun Li, I would recommend this over the previous version of the game, although it itself is nothing to be sneezed at.