Upper is the Gameboy Advance port of Street Fighter Alpha 3. This
version includes all the characters from the console versions of SFA3, but also
adds 3 more fighters to the roster. Yun, Maki and Eagle from Capcom VS SNK
2 make the jump to the Alpha series!
If you squint, you'll
notice a lot of characters!
handheld version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 looks pretty good on the GBA,
but the sprites definitely aren't arcade perfect. If you're well-acquainted with
the visuals on the arcade or previous console versions, you'll immediately
notice a few "cut corners" here and there. Character sprites have drastically
been shrunk down in size, offering less pixels and less detail, but at least they still
part" and resemble
the originals fairly well. The graphics might be slightly disappointing to those who are quite familiar with
SFA's vibrant animated sprites, but a 9 year old kid who never played Street Fighter
in his life wouldn't know the difference.
I will say that the stages translated rather nicely though. The stage BGMs now
have a "midi" sound to them, and are a bit too tinny and
over-synthesized for my tastes. Even so, the "new versions" are kinda cool to listen to if
you're a fan of the SFA3 soundtrack, even though
they're quite downgraded from the originals.
A pretty good visual
The main flaw of SFA: Upper is
expectedly, the controls. Depending
on the character you choose, the controls will feel either subpar or just plain
bad. The GBA directional pad can pull of hadokens
and shoryukens okay, but 360s were damn near impossible (at least on the GBA I was
using). This flaw renders characters like Zangief and R. Mika pretty useless,
and that's a major flaw if you like using grapplers like I do. I
haven't tried playing this game on a Nintendo DS, so I'm not sure if there would
be an improvement with the controls or not.
Dramatic Battle on
As far as modes go, SFA3: Upper features
standard Arcade, VS (requiring 2 GBA systems & 2 games), Survival, and Time
Attack. The Dramatic Battle mode also makes the jump from the Dreamcast version
to the GBA version... and is arguably the most enjoyable aspect of the game.
Three-man free for all battles are still pretty fun, even with non-perfect
Bengus, Harumaru (Rough drafts for
endings), Uji, Shinsuke Komaki
Upper was a decent attempt at handheld
version of Street Fighter Alpha 3. The downgraded graphics and iffy
controls made me a bit sad though.
I personally didn't find a reason to play this version very much, since all the
game did was make me want to play the Arcade or Dreamcast version.
SFA3: Upper was succeeded by Street
Fighter Alpha 3: Max for the PSP, which offers the same character roster
(plus Ingrid). So if you're looking for the best handheld version of SFA3
and one of the best Street Fighter titles on the market, you should
definitely look into SFA3: Max. ~TFG