Review by PTsang

"Fun, but ugly."

Street Fighter EX plus Alpha is the first Street Fighter game to feature polygonal characters, albeit on two-dimensional backgrounds and with the good old two-dimensional Street Fighter gameplay we have all come to know and love -- there is no side-stepping in this game. Unlike the Alpha series, there are no custom combos, chain combos, air-blocking, alpha counters, or isms. There are, however, two new gameplay innovations: guard breaks and super-cancelling. The guard breaks are moves performed by pressing a punch and kick of the same strength which will hit your opponenent even if he/she is blocking, rendering them unconscious for a short time. They use up a level of your super meter, so they don't come for free. The super cancels are a very, very cool new idea. Instead of pressing heavy punch (as in Alpha 3) or all three punches (as in Alpha2/Alpha) to do a level three super combo, you have to first perform one super motion, then do another (different) super motion while the first one is executing, then do another super motion while the second is executing to do a level three super combo. In effect, you cancel out of the super combo into another, and so on. This requires a fair amount of skill, but you can do some truly cool combos this way.
There are 23 characters to choose from: Ryu, Ken, Guile, Zangief, Chun-li, Bison, Dhalsim, Sakura, Akuma, Allen Snider, Blair Dame, Cracker Jack, Cycloid Beta, Cycloid Gamma, Darun Mister, Doctrine Dark, Garuda, Hokuto, Kairi, Pullum Purna, Skullomania, Evil Ryu, and Evil Hokuto. There are arcade, versus, watch, team attack, survival, and training modes. The watch mode allows you to watch the computer fight against itself from different angles. Ever want to see through Zangief's eyes as he gets pummeled by Sakura? Well, you can, in watch mode.
The training mode is very cool. There is an ordinary practice mode, and then there is the expert mode. In this mode, almost every character (save for Evil Ryu, Evil Hokuto, Cycloid Beta, and Cycloid Gamma) has sixteen missions to complete. These range from doing simple moves like fireballs to more intricate combos. Many of the missions are very challenging and will require a lot of skill to perform. That's also what makes them so fun and rewarding to do. The expert mode is a good way to learn some sick combos that you probably wouldn't have figured out all by yourself. The expert training mode is one of the main reasons I like this game.
The graphics in this game are not very pretty. Some characters are pretty ugly (like Zangief), and others are pretty nice, like Doctrine Dark, Sakura, Guile, and Garuda. In terms of number of polygons, EX plus Alpha probably has about as many as Tekken 2, but Tekken 2 has better textures. The backgrounds are okay -- some have pretty ugly colors, but Ryu's really stands out as being excellent.
The sounds are very high-quality. The speech and sound effects are clear and audible. The music is actually played by human beings, not computers, and is okay. Bison and Zangief have good, heavy guitar-based theme music, while Sakura has a happy, upbeat theme.
The controls are, of course, excellent. You'll have no problems whatsoever in that area.
Street Fighter EX plus Alpha is a good game. It's one major flaw is that the characters are blocky looking. Most of the backgrounds could have been a bit better, too. Other than that, EX plus Alpha is a very fun game that I still play frequently after the two years or so that I've owned it. I just love the super-cancelling and the expert mode.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 02/26/00, Updated 02/26/00

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