Review by Psycho Penguin

"Soul Calibur who??"

Street Fighter Alpha 3 was taunted as being ''Street Fighter perfection'' By Capcom, and I figured yeah right, its just a sleazy way to get innocent consumers to plop down their hard earned cash for yet another boring fighting game. But after reading and hearing great things about it, I quickly decided to rent out the game. After playing it for a while, I realized something. THIS IS THE BEST FIGHTING GAME EVER!!! Trust me, this is as close to fighting game perfection as I've seen yet. Soul Calibur who??

The Street Fighter series has always been one of my favorite fighting game series, mainly because the gameplay of the series has always been top notch. To say that the Street Fighter series is a good series is a bit of an understatement, because in my opinion, the series is a lot better than just ''good''. It is one of the better series ever released, in fact. Well, in my opinion it is, but I am sure there are a lot of people out there who share this same belief.

And of all the Street Fighter games released over the years, I have only truly enjoyed a select few of them. Some of the older ones on the SNES are a prime example of this, mainly games like Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting and the classic Super Street Fighter II Turbo. The Arcade games have always been a lot of fun as well, and most of the console versions are just arcade ports. There is one Street Fighter game I like more than any other one, however.

Street Fighter Alpha 3 was a pretty popular arcade game, and I had enjoyed it very much, but there was rumors swirling about a possible Playstation version of the game being released. I was escatic upon hearing that, and when the game became reality, i was really excited. I had also heard all about the different game modes and secret additions that were not seen in the Arcade version, and I was really excited about how good the game could end up being.

How did the game turn out? This is simply the best fighting game I have ever played. I think it is better than Soul Calibur, Marvel vs. Capcom (albeit barely), anything. It is also one of the top 15 video games I have ever played, bar none. It is a true classic video game, and a true classic fighting game, as well. Capcom really spent a lot of time working on this game, and as it stands, this is truly Street Fighter Perfection, well as close as we have come to seeing Street Fighter Perfection, anyway.

While most fighting games either have no story line at all or one basic story line, Capcom decided to try something different with Street Fighter Alpha 3. The result of this is one of the coolest story lines ever seen in a fighting game. The reason for this is because each character has their own unique story line which unfolds throughout their own world tour mode. I especially liked how each story line led to a different ending, as some fighting games had different endings for each character for no reason whatsoever, so at least this game had a reason for having a different ending for each character.

These are easily some of the best 2D graphics ever, and I am really glad that Capcom decided to make this game 3D, after all most of the good Street Fighter games were 3D so why mess with tradition? The backgrounds are well designed and feature colorful and unique details, such as the swing paint peeling on the background in Dan's stage. It's this attention to deatal, plus hardly any slowdown and animation loss, that makes this game so cool looking.

I really did like the graphics in this game, and I especially enjoyed a certain aspect of them. As some of you may know, a lot of Playstation games feature loading times, and in some games these loading times can get to be pretty bad. However, to combat this problem, Capcom decided to add cool looking loading screens. In each of the loading screens, you see a different character, and a different layout. It looks awesome, and is truly a good idea on Capcom's part. More companies should implement that idea, in my opinion, and the characters on these screens look really cool.

Speaking of the characters, the character designs in this game are simply awesome, and some of the best character designs I have ever seen in a video game. Fighting games have usually been saddled with some poor character designs, but it is safe on my part to say that there are no poor character designs in this game. It is a testament to Capcom's commitment to quality that there are no terrible character designs in the game, and I actually felt that a majority of the character designs in the game were quite cool.

Overall, the graphics in this game were really good, and represent some of the best graphics I have ever seen in a 2D fighting game, especially on the Playstation. One of the problems that arise in a lot of 2D fighting games on Playstation is slowdown, and slowdown does hamper this game, but not as much as you would expect. This makes the already killer graphics even better, because you do not have to worry about something as silly as slowdown.

Music in the game is top notch, and to the quality that I expected from a game like this. One of the things I have always liked about 2D fighting games, especially ones made by Capcom for the Sony Playstation, is the fact that they have always seemed to feature great music. And Street Fighter Alpha 3 is certainly no exception to this. In fact, I think this is one of the best music soundtracks to ever be featured in a fighting game.

Capcom really did a great job when it came to variety of background music, because each of the characters of the game have their own stages, complete with their own unique music. I really enjoyed the music in the game, as I felt it was a blast to listen to, and the music was definitely well varied. I especially enjoyed Dhalism's theme, although I was a little disappointed to hear that it sounded nothing like his classic theme. Regardless, the background music in the game is still well varied and overall top notch.

Sound effects in the game are pretty good, as there is actually a little voice acting featured in the game. The main voice acting you will hear is the commentary. At first, you will think that it has potential to get a little annoying (how many times can you hear ''Go for broke!'' before getting completely annoyed?) but surprisingly it never gets too annoying. Sure, it does have its minor flaws, but overall it sounded really good. And the actual sound effects in the game are pretty good, as well.

Overall, the music in the game is top notch, and I really liked the variety of background music that was featured in the game. Each character had their own stage, and in each stage was a different background theme. So, the variety of music is definitely a good thing, especially considering how good the theme music actually is. Sound effects in the game are also pretty good, and I was surprised by the fact that I never actually got annoyed by the commentator, as much as I expected to be.

I have always had problems inputting special moves in fighting games, and this game is no different. However, I am pleased to say that I did not have as much trouble doing moves in this game as I expected. The game actually controls at a fairly decent speed, as the combos and other special moves are easily controlled. I also liked how one of the three ''ism's'' were so easy to control when it came to combos, all I had to do was push a few buttons at the same time to do my combo.

The first thing you'll notice when playing this game is the vast amount of playbale characters you can choose from. You get a choice of over 40 total characters to play from, and most of the characters that have made appearances in the Street Fighter series are in this game, as well. The fighting action is pure Street Fighter action, with the addition of Guard bars (block too much and you'll be guard crushed!!) and special attack meters.

After choosing a character, you get a choice of three attack methods, which each have their own advantages and disadvantages. This is a very, very cool idea that was implemented well. The attack methods are actually called Ism's, and you have a choice of three of them at the beginning of the fight, as I have already mentioned. I have always preferred to use the A-Ism, but there is different styles for different players, so you are sure to find the fighting style that is right for you.

As I have already mentioned, you have a lot of characters to choose from. Character selection has always been important in a fighting game, in my opinion, and I believe that a fighting game has to have a good character selection if it has any chance of being a good game. And that is where Street Fighter Alpha 3 comes through and delivers. This has got to be the most well rounded roster of fighters I have ever seen. You have everything from classic Street Fighter characters (Cammy, Chun Li, Edmund Honda) to guys from Final Fight (Cody, Guy), and it definitely is a good idea. You will find a character that is right for you, and that is a Ladies Man guarantee!

The game also features a lot of modes and secrets which I feel I must discuss. The number one new addition to this game is the World Tour mode. This has got to be one of the coolest ideas to ever be featured in a fighting game, without a shadow of a doubt. To those of you that have not heard by now, the World Tour mode of Street Fighter Alpha 3 actually controls like a role playing game, in the point that you go through fights to gain experience points. You gain a certain amount of experience points after each fight, and you can also increase combo levels and more. This is definitely a great idea that I enjoyed very much!

Overall, this is one of the coolest fighting games ever, and is definitely my favorite, without a shadow of a doubt in my mind. I really enjoyed this game, as I feel as it is an all time classic video game. It raised the level of fighting games to a whole new level, and is truly as close to ''Street Fighter perfection'' as we have seen yet. The control in the game is top notch and actually aided me in my quest to perform combos, which is a really good thing because I am usually not very good at doing combos during fights in a fighting game, especially in ones of this nature. The World Tour mode was a novel idea that really went over well, and the variety of characters and game modes increased the replay value bigtime.

Speaking of replay value, Street Fighter Alpha 3 has some of the best replay value you will ever see in a fighting game. The one thing that increases the replay value more than anything in this game is definitely the world tour mode, as this is one of the coolest and most original ideas to ever be featured in a fighting game, so of course the replay value is going to be increased because of it. The mutli-player mode will also increase the replay value, as well, mainly because it is a lot of fun to beat up on a friend in this game. This game is definitely one of the best fighting games ever, and my all time favorite, so it definitely has outstanding replay value. You will play this game for a while after getting it, no questions asked.

One of the flaws that have been found in some of the other Street Fighter games released over the years have been the challenge level of those games. The Street Fighter series, while having several games that can be described as ''challenging'', has never been known to be a hugely challenging series. Now, I have never been a fan of games which are too challenging, but I was hoping that Capcom was increasing the challenge level for Street Fighter Alpha 3. And that is exactly what they did, as this is a pretty challenging game. I also like how the control does not make the game challenging, I hate fighting games that are very challenging simply because you cannot pull off the moves needed to win a fight.

Overall, this is truly Street Fighter Perfection, and is a definite purchase in my book. Not only is this my favorite fighting game of all time, it is also one of my all time favorite video games, period. I really enjoyed the arcade version of this game, and I did not know how Capcom could possibly improve on the game for the PLaystation version, but they surprised me because the game is so fun to play! The addition of all these new modes (the World Tour mode kicks major butt!) and the character selection make this game an all time true classic. You should definitely buy this game! And that is Da Ladies Man's personal guarantee!

Good Points
-This review is almost as long and tedious as a King Broccoli review.
-The graphics in the game are simply awesome.
-I really enjoyed the World Tour mode featured in the game, it increased the replay value a lot.
-The character selection is incredible.

Oh dear, I have to name four not so good points!

Not So Good Points
-Some of the moves are still kind of difficult to pull off.
-It is still not to the challenge level I would have liked.
-The sound effects could use a little bit of work.
-You will want to play this game for weeks on end.

Whew! That was quite a challenge...

I Run Down the Ratings... Da Ladies Man style!
Storyline - Varies from Character to Character
Graphics - 9.8/10
Music and Sound Effects - 9.4/10
Gameplay and Control - 9.9/10
Replay Value - Way Above Average
Challenge - A Little Above Average
Reccomended Purchase? - Totally Reccomended!
Overall - 9.8/10
The Last Line: This game totally reeks of awesomeness! It would be total heinocity to find a fighting game better than this one!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 09/03/00, Updated 07/16/01

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