as "Street Fighter Zero 3 Double Upper" in Japan, Street Fighter
Alpha 3 Max is the most recent (and probably final installment) to the Street
Fighter Alpha series. Capcom's first Street Fighter project
for the Sony PSP, SFA3: Max is hands down the best handheld Street Fighter
title in existence... still to this day. Finally, a handheld Street Fighter
gamethat is actually "arcade perfect" (and then some)! SFA3 was no doubt
one of the best arcade & home Street Fighter installments ever made
due to the engaging gameplay, great selection of modes, and large character roster.
valiantly once before to bring the Street Fighter Alpha series to a handheld
with Street Fighter Alpha 3: Upper
for the Game Boy Advance. Although Upper was decent, it lacked arcade quality due to the GBA's control pad
and graphical limitations.
The best part about Upper was the fact that Yun,
Maki, and Eagle
(ripped straight from CVS2) were added to the roster... but now, those same characters are selectable in SFA3: Max,
in addition to yet
another new face to the series, Ingrid
from Capcom Fighting Evolution!
And you thought Alpha 3
"vanilla" had a lot of characters? Wooo!
Although the PSP doesn't have the preferable 6 button layout, the PSP really isthe ideal handheld system
for a game of this caliber. Compared to the arcade version and the
Dreamcast port of SFA3, the PSP version looks and runs like a near-perfect port! There are also a ton of extra
modes available that make Alpha 3 Max stand out on its own. All the classic
console-exclusive modes from the previous released of SFA3 have returned in Max
including: Arcade, Training, Survival, Dramatic Battle (1 player & 1 AI VS another AI),
Reverse Dramatic Battle (2 AI's VS 1 player), World Tour mode, Edit mode,
And if that's not
enough for you, Capcom went ahead threw in a brand new mode exclusively
for the PSP called "Variable Battle." AKA... Tag mode. When you're close
to your opponent, hitting LP & MK or LK & MP will allow your current
character to tag out. After tagging, your partner
will jump in with a flying kick similar to that of MVC2.
I was hoping this mode would be 2 vs 2 (which would've been stellar), but
unfortunately it can only be played 2 VS 1...
Grrrrr. However, three people (with 3 PSPs) can
actually play at the same time in either Dramatic or Variable Battle... which is
pretty cool indeed, and especially fun if you have friends with varied skill
The dramatic battles are still as intense as ever. Having 3 street
fighters on the screen at the same time is always entertaining, and quite
a challenge if you're going up against 2 decent computer AIs, or perhaps
two skilled human opponents. At the very least, the various Dramatic Battle
modes in SFA3: Max are far better than
the "limited" Dramatic Battle featured in the original Playstation version
Balrog shouldn't have
talked about Dan's father like that.
Fighter Alpha 3's graphics are as sharp as ever on the PSP. All the background and character details that you might
have missed before are actually more vibrant than ever on the PSP's bright
screen! Something else worth mentioning... as the fighters move around they create "trails,"
which is a common trait of the PSP's graphics
when certain colors/contrasts blend together. Although some may consider
this a graphical flaw, the trails are actually a rather cool effect if you ask
me... some bonus
eye candy to an already beautiful work of art that is SFA3: Max.
trails also allow for a better appreciation of the smooth animation in
this game (and yes, it's possible they'll look even cooler when you're
So really, how are
the controls, you ask? Well... I can pull off
perfect 360s, shoryukens, hadokens, and double hadoken movements with
absolutely no trouble or hesitation at all. I can even nail my sub-par
custom V-ism combos rather consistently.
However, finding those diagonals may take some getting used to on certain PSP's, but you can
always find a replacement D-pad for your PSP if the default one doesn't suit
your fancy. With
a little practice, you'll be pulling off all your usual combos and gameplay
strategies... "b.b.b.but I'm used to a 6 button controller!"
we all know you have an excuse for losing now.
It's called "adapting,"
you should try it out sometime.
Ingrid fears no psycho
power chip damage.
On the flipside,
there are some moves that are notably tougher to pull off. Throwing
can be difficult, since by default you have to hit two buttons at the same
time to throw in Alpha 3... but of course, that all depends on how
you set up your buttons. You can either make it easy or hard for yourself. It's not the game's fault if you cant get a throw off, you're just "special"...
I kid, I kid. Ohh,
and for all 4 of you that use Akuma's
teleport (I kid again), you guys can pretty much forget about hitting 3
buttons at once. Yeah, it's damn near impossible to get a PPP or KKK off
consistently, but you can assign those commands to one button... don't forget, you can even use the select button if you need to, so
there's usually a way to make it work.
the load times in SFA3: Max are lightning fast and sometimes nonexistent! That's pretty damn
impressive for a handheld... thanks Capcom. All
in all, SFA3: Max is definitely among the best Street Fighter games
ever, not only for a handheld...
and that's saying a lot. With the most characters and modes ever in a Street Fighter
game, this title has substance and style. A solid solid
effort from Capcom... the "Capcom" that us long-time Street Fighter fans remember.
I don't say this about many
fighting games... but I LOVE EVERYTHING about SFA3: Max. Seeing an
old favorite of mine updated with new content & characters is just awesome.
Maki, Eagle & Yun make awesome additions to the SFA3 roster and mesh
perfectly with the existing graphics and character sprites.
Along with mp3s, movies, videos, internet and porn, now "arcade
Street Fighter Alpha 3 is in the palm of your hands.
Technology has come a long way, hasn't it? Blazing fast load
times, great graphics, tons of characters, and one of the best Street Fighter
installments ever... anywhere! Need I say more?
If you don't have a Sony
PSP (or Vita) and you're a Street Fighter fan, SFA3: MAX is a good
enough reason to own one. Now you can play Street Fighter all day, anywhere, and maybe even come up
with a few new combos on the run... or on the pot. Wherever.
One final cool thing about playing SFA3: Max on PSP (or Vita), is that if you
don't have time to finish all 8 stages in Arcade mode (for example), you
can turn "off" your PSP... and continue right where you left off next time
you turn on the system. Sorry, but that's just awesome... and a pretty cool new way to enjoy a
fighting game 1-player.