Review by Slateman
"The step into 3D is bewildering, but Awesome!"
Review: Street Fighter EX + Alpha
The first Street Fighter in 3D has now arrived in the US, and opinions are abound. Here's my review: (and be warned, it will be very long-there is so much to talk about! And i'm going to tell everything, so if you are looking to be surprised, i've warned you!)
Finally, after so many years, SF has jumped on the 3D
bandwagon. But, while 3D is great graphically, I still think that SF is best off in 2D, and it seems that that is what Capcom thinks as well. Having said that, SFEX+A is really a 2D game, but w/ polygons and whatnot. Very rarely can you change planes, Akuma/Evil Ryu's Ashura Warp, Bison/Dhalsim's teleport and possibly a few more. So,
what makes this different from EVERY other SF? Plenty.
First off, there are plenty of modes to play as. This is
extremely important on home versions of a game. There is Arcade, Vs, Time trial (6 different modes), Survival, Practice, Watch, Option and Team. All are basically self explanatory of course, but the Time Trial mode has 6 different modes. The first and second are just 8 consecutive opponents, the third are the 4 secret characters (Evil Ryu, B. Hokuto, Cycloid Beta and Cycloid Gamma) and the other 3 modes are just going up against Bison, Garuda or Akuma, but all of these characters are pretty difficult. The Watch mode is just that, but it
seems a bit boring and the camera angles usually end up awkward. In arcade mode, you fight 10 consecutive characters. The good thing about this game is that since there are SO many characters (and different versions of characters-23 total), the line of opponents is usually different. And also, which is VERY imortant, in this string
of opponents, you can face off against yourself!!! This, IMO, was an important thing missing from the Alpha games. Another great addition was the quick continue. When your character loses, you have 2 continue options, press start to go back to the character select screen or select which will load up the next match w/ the same character instantly! No annoying load times! This is a great
One section here must be devoted to the training mode. I'm
sure you've all heard about this, but there is regular training and then there is expert training. Each character has 16 objectives. From a simple hadoken, to insane combos. The new combo system is listed below, but trust me...even if you are a great player, some of these combos will stump you for a short time. As you perform more and
more of these objectives, you unlock more characters (Evil Ryu, B. Hokuto, Cycloid Gamma, Cycloid Beta, and then enhanced versions of Bison, Garuda and Akuma) and then finally a secret! The bonus barrel game from SF2! This training mode has it all, and it makes this an EXCELLENT one player game. If you don't have a joystick for this, I
suggest getting one. I know that I couldn't have done half of the combos i did w/ a normal psx controller. This is perhaps my favorite addition to any fighting game in history. It rewards you for practicing by giving you other characters, and it helps you w/ your combos.
The graphics are excellent. It may not have a high polygon
count like other games, but it suits me just fine! The colors and characters are very bright and it gives it a look i've rarely seen in 3D games. It's hard to describe but games like Tekken usually don't have such bright beautiful colors. I think Tobal 2 did...?
The control takes some getting used to though. The gameplay is slower than other SF's, but faster than most 3D fighters i've played. It takes a little while to learn the timing of old moves, but once mastered, the game really feels like every other SF. It actually seems EASIER to pull off some moves too! I'm not very good at 360
chars but I pulled off those moves w/ more frequency than normal. Same goes w/ charge chars. When Super Cancelling (see below) charge moves, you'll find that that 2 second charge becomes 1 second, then 1/2 a second. Unfortunately, the sound effects are a bit of a disappointment. As everyone else will probably say (or have said),
the sound when a character is hit is more like a thud than the awesome crunch sound from SFA/2. It loses something because of that. The background music is mostly good, but Sakura's BGM leaves something to be desired. A small qualm though: There is no auto-load or auto-save option. I don't know why Capcom took this out (it was in the Japanese version), but it makes the game so much better. I guess i'm just too lazy to go to the option menu and load up the saved game every time. But you have to, w/ the
practice mode and all. One other qualm, the arcade mode high score table won't let me get on it, even when i've gotten 100X the amount of points that are listed. Don't know why.
Then to the gameplay--of course the MOST important part of
this game. No air blocking, air hurricane kicks, alpha counters, parries etc. New to this are the guard break, a new super combo system and of course, super cancel. This is by far the most important new addition to the game. Now, combos get truly insane, simple old combos like a jumping fp, c short, shinryuken are now much much
different. Imagine a jumping fp, c short, shoryuken, shoryureppa, shinryuken. That's how crazy it all can get. Actually, it gets much worse than that...but you get the idea. Guard Break is just an anti-ticking tactic, which uses up 1 level of your super bar. It breaks through your opponents block, and leaves them stunned for quite
a long time-plenty of time actually. In this time, they'll be vulnerable to horrible horrible combos. And the new super combo system is different too. You still have up to 3 levels of your super meter, but now each combo takes off 1 level (except for certain level 3 supers-all basically spin offs of Akuma's Raging Demon.) This means
that there is no level 2 or 3 Knee Press Nightmare, just level 1. So, you can link a few moves and up to 3 super combos in a row. It seems ridiculous at times. I know that there will be ppl who hate the implementation of this system, but I don't care. I have enjoyed EVERY
Street Fighter ever (but played SF3 very little unfortunately) and I like this new system. Maybe cheap, maybe lame, but I don't care.
Finally...there are new throws. Each character has 2 throws, some the same as old SF throws (Ken's rolling throw etc.) and quite a few new ones. (Chun Li has a cool 5 hit throw, if you can imagine that) Also, no dizzies in this game...
The Characters: As stated earlier, 23 different characters
appear in this game. While many of them are just different versions of a certain character, there are plenty of new players to learn. The classic Ryu, Ken, Chun Li (sporting her SF2 outfit!), Dhalsim, Zangief (his SPD looks poor IMO), Bison, Akuma Sakura and Guile are all familiar
faces. Guile's Sonic Boom doesn't look all too great. His voice is ok, but it doesn't look like he's throwing anything. His Flash Kick rules and he is still a pain in the ass to fight! Bison's Psycho Crusher is now a normal move again (Yes!) and so he has a new fireball-type super. His Knee Press Nighmare has a new ending to it, which adds a few hits. Cool. Chun Li has her Spinning Bird Kick
again (Love it!), but no fireball, Rising Spin Kick or Split Kick. Zangief has his SPD, but it just looks awkward. His new super is ok, and his new FAB is cool looking, w/ some new moves added. Sakura is virtually the same...but now also has a Raging Demon type move. No
taunts in this game that I know of, except for her's which is short, short ---> jab, fierce (opposite of raging demon). She still has her dance win pose too! Dhalsim, Akuma, Ryu, and Ken are all virtually the same. All HK's now must be performed multiple times. I know that
sounds odd, but for Ken to have a 4 hitting Hurricane Kick, he must perform the motion 4 times! This is good b/c you can now mix it up more. Akuma's red fireball super (forgot Japanese name!) is now just 2 qcb, as opposed to 2 half circles, which makes it easier.
To the new characters. Hokuto, Blair, Darun, Allen, Kairi,
Garuda, D. Dark, Skullomania, Pullum, and Cracker Jack. Allen and Kairi are both new shotokan characters. Allen offers very little new, but Kairi has 4 supers! 1 raging demon (so many!), 1 dp-esque, an air fireball and an air kick super, so he is actually pretty useful. Darun is a 360 character, w/ some cool moves. Garuda is completely
cheap, but he looks cool. He's sporting some huge fur shoulder pads etc. and has spikes that come out from everywhere. Skullo is a quick character who has a lot of jump moves and a couple of cool throws. Pullum is almost all kicks, she's cool. D. Dark actually is really
innovative, but takes Scorpion (or Reptile--)'s move from MK where he throws a cord to attach to the opponent and can pull them in. Cracker Jack has a baseball bat and can bat away projectiles. Blair has some cool supers, and some real cool kick moves...one of my fave new chars.
Then to the new/alternative characters. There is Cycloid Beta and Cycloid Gamma, one is a wireframe char, and one is just a transparent entity. Both take tons of moves from other characters. Evil Ryu is here as well as an evil (and a holy) version of Hokuto.
This game isamazing. From the animation, to the moves to the modes and so on. The best thing is that it is very different from other games. Switching between this and SFA2 (my (old?) favorite game) may take a few moments, but they are very different...and can both be enjoyed. I
know that when SFA2 came out, I basically NEVER played SFA. Not the case w/ this. And that is one of the greatest parts about it. The few little things that annoy me don't mean anything in comparison to the greatness of this game. And even if I get better, there are ALWAYS
new combos to be learned!!! So, that concludes this review...Thanks for reading if you actually got this far!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/30/00, Updated 03/30/00
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