There's no denying SFIII: 3rd Strike
is one of the best fighting games of all time. What 2D fighting game is more deserving
an enhanced, feature-rich update than good old 3rd Strike? While I can
of a few other deserving titles, 3rd Strike would definitely be at
the top of my list. It's great to
see 3rd Strike back in the limelight since it was considerably under-appreciated
when it launched in 1999, and (some would say) "ahead of its time". I personally enjoyed
the entire SFIII series since the beginning for its fluidity, solid gameplay, and interesting
SFIII: 3rd Strike Online
Edition doesn't present anything "new" in the way of the game
itself. Basically, this is the original arcade version of 3rd Strike with no
balance or character changes. While it would've been amazing to see a new
character or two appear in this classic title, the fact that Capcom left the game unchanged
keeps the nostalgia and historical value intact. Of course this is an instant
purchase for hardcore fans, but Capcom added some interesting new features which should appeal to
Aesthetically, 3rd Strike Online features brand new character
artwork by Stanley Lau and significantly higher quality versions of the classic
artwork by Daigo Ikeno. There are several
filters to choose from and a variety of screen sizes as well (including a retro "arcade cabinet"
mode). A few years back, I remember putting my PS2 copy of 3rd Strike
(Anniversary Collection) into
my backwards compatible 60-gig PS3 and being blown away at how good it looked.
While this version looks good, I can't say that I'm equally as blown away for
Overall, the filters give the character sprites a good clean look, but a few backgrounds appear
"washed out" and low-res by today's standards.
Online Edition offers the standard Single Player, Multiplayer, and
Training modes, in addition to Trial, Vault, and Challenges. Trial Mode features
a set of 5 combos for each
character, as well as basic and advanced parrying
challenges. Trials are especially fun to do since you can quickly repeat the
challenge if you fail (and you will).
They're so fun, in fact, that I really wish there were
a wider variety of them (future DLC maybe?). Worth mentioning, one of the expert parry challenges requires you to recreate the
Moment #37 with exactly the same set-up.
Going through Trials will give you an appreciation for the deeper mechanics of SFIII's
engine, but is really only a "taste" of how to play the game on a
higher level. If you truly want to master your skills, playing online against
solid competition is your best option (if you don't have any local friends that
By default, various tasks or "Challenges" are
displayed onscreen as you fight, and the game will track your progress in real
time. From parries, to projectiles, to cancels and taunts, pretty much everything
the player does is tracked. When performing a certain task enough times,
"VP" points are given which can be used to unlock various extras from the
Vault. The Vault contains an interesting variety of official and fan
artwork, remixed music tracks (which can be used in-game), and the classic
character endings. The remixed
music tracks are indeed a mixed bag... some good & some not-so-much. I like a few
of them, but overall I still highly prefer the originals.
Make your first move... so
what's it gonna be?
The main menu is straight forward, proudly
displaying the awesome new Artgerm
character art, and it starts
off with the new "Knock You Out" rap remix. I have to admit I'm not a fan of rap
music in general,
and after listening to the track a few times through, I wanted to make it go
away indefinitely (especially since the menu music plays and repeats
during online battle lobbies). I was confused at first, because the Options menu
only features one lonely sound option.... Sound ON or OFF.
Uhhh... am I crazy, or do 99.9% of all video games have sound effect and
music volume options...? So, why are 3rd Strike Online's sound options
limited to doing the same thing that my TV remote does.... Seriously Capcom?
Can I get some SF3: 3rd Strike Online Sound Options Edition please???
Anyhow, after I ventured to the Vault, I stumbled upon the music area which allows you
to change the background and menu music to your liking (from the selection of
remixes). Still, the fact that I can't change the sound effect & music
volume levels is annoying (especially because it hinders my process of uploading
match videos). However, on that note, Capcom actually included their own "Direct
Upload to Youtube"
feature within the game itself, which is a brand new feature to fighting games
and works very well. At first, the video quality wasn't very good, but about a
month after the game's release, Capcom released a patch which improved the
quality significantly! I hope to see this direct upload feature used in more
fighting games in the future.
I wasn't impressed with Online Mode at launch, but Capcom seems to have cleaned
up most of the connection issues. However, there are still some freaky sound glitches during Multiplayer,
including "incorrect" sound effects and the music going completely
silent. For instance, a "connected hit" sound is heard during a block
or whiff, or a "KO" sound is heard before the last hit is even landed.
I even saw my opponent's 100% life bar decrease after
"hitting them" (accompanied by the "hitting them" sound
effect), but then it abruptly decided that, in fact, I did not hit
them... and their life bar returned to green (100% health). I guess it's a GGPO
thing. Lastly, where the hell is Twelve's altered character voices when he uses
X.C.O.P.Y.??? That's just unforgivable.
Capcom, you seriously seriously need to fix that.
Despite the weird and disappointing sound issues, online mode is straight
forward and gets the job done overall. There are tons of skilled players to meet
online and there's no doubt that playing online will improve your game...
especially for players who don't have much local competition.
Thankfully, I've able to have some very smooth and "parry
rich" matches with many people on PSN. I've heard the Xbox 360 online mode is better, but I personally haven't noticed
too much delay on PSN overall. (Verizon FIOS!)
The original 3rd Strike scored a 9.8
and is still one of my personal favorite 2D fighting games. I expected a bit
more out of Online Edition
at launch, but if Capcom fixes the sound issues, cleans up Online Mode a bit,
and adds some satisfying DLC, I'll gladly raise the score.
Again, I'm glad 3rd Strike
finally got its online version. I'm looking forward to bringing back (and
improving) my skillswith other players across the country and maybe
uploading a few awesome match videos in the process. Aside from the online
aspect, I was really hoping for some more bonus features. I understand a
full-fledged Color Edit Mode could be abused by those "less artistic"
gamers out there, but maybe they could've designed one with certain
"limitations" (like the upcoming console version of KOF XIII).
The DLC color packs offer some variety, but could've been a lot better.
I would've simply gone crazy if the classic New Generation and 2nd Impact
stages made their epic return (even if I had to pay for them), but unfortunately... they didn't make the cut.
I couldn't imagine those beautiful, hand-drawn backgrounds looking
"worse" than 3rd Strike's
backgrounds... but maybe the old resolution just couldn't transfer over (or
Capcom is just being lazy). At least they added the New Generation & 2nd Impact
soundtracks via DLC, which can be set to their "respective" stages...
but unfortunately the soundtracks don't loop between rounds like the used to.
All in all, 3rd Strike is a must have for any 2D fighting game
connoisseur, and is still a very fun game to this day. Whether or not
you want to purchase this Online Edition depends on if you plan on
playing online, or just want a convenient, shiny upgrade on your next-gen
system. For only $15, there's little to no reason not to pick it