Featuring the largest and most colorful Street Fighter
roster to date, Street Fighter Alpha 3 was a dream come true for
long-time fans of the series in 1998-1999. In SFA3, previously missing fan-favorites like E. Honda,
and Vega make their epic debuts into the Alpha saga. Naturally, the
classic fighters were given completely new sprites, animating
smoother than ever before and even boasting a few new moves.
The returning veterans are joined by 3 newcomers: Karin - Sakura's rival who first appeared in the manga
Sakura Ganbaru, R. Mika - an acrobatic Japanese female wrestler who idolizes
Zangief, and Cody - one of the protagonists from Capcom's classic arcade beat-em-up, Final
Cody's Street Fighter debut is particularly epic (especially to any old school
Capcom fan), since he appears as an escaped convict (which makes perfect sense,
considering he relentlessly beat the hell out of 100's of street thugs in Final
On a side note, one of Cody's super moves is even a throwback to his classic
"jab infinite" in Final Fight. That level of epic fan service
is unprecedented, and it's one example of many in SFA3.
Still in love with that
selection screen artwork.
The core gameplay system from the prequels has been
streamlined in Alpha 3, keeping most of the gameplay trademarks intact, but giving
players a host of new options to play with. Alpha 3 discards
the "Manual" and "Auto" modes from the prequels, introducing
3 different playing styles known as "isms". After
selecting their character of choice, players choose from "A-ism" (three-tiered super combo meter), "X-ism"
(one-tiered super meter style based on SSF2T),
or "V-ism" (custom combo style based on SFA2's system).
allow players to play SFA3 characters how they want to, as X-ism is based on a
more classic formula, while A-ism and X-ism offer the newest and freshest
mechanics of the Alpha series. There
are tons of tiny nuances that change for each character depending on which ism
is chosen, ranging from animation changes, to alternate move commands, and of
course how specific attacks function. These new
modes of play add
awesome customization value
never before seem in a fighting game, and allows each fighter to
be used very differently depending on their "ism". Each character also has 6 different color
options (and in the arcade version, character color depends on which
"ism" is selected).
Aside from the Ism System, innovative mechanics such as Air Blocking, Air
Recoveries, and Guard Breaks provide a very different Street Fighter experience
from what returning fans might expect. All of the unique gameplay elements
combined create a very unique experience in Alpha 3.
Vega never looked so
The home versions
of Street Fighter Alpha 3 weren't simple ports like previous installments,
and actually include some great bonus modes and even new characters. The
console exclusive World Tour mode allows players to choose a character and level
them up with various power-ups and abilities as they fight their way through the
roster (and even some 2-VS-1 battles). Dramatic Battle is a 2-VS-1 battle mode
which enables 3 characters on screen at once... and considering all of SFA3's
flashy gameplay mechanics, the action can get pretty crazy at times.
Additionally, the home versions also include the final three characters from Super
Street Fighter 2 (who were previously missing in the Alpha series): Dee Jay, T.
Hawk and Fei Long, along with the old school SF2 icon, Guile...
completing the original cast from Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo!
There are two sequels to the original version of Street Fighter Alpha 3 which
add even more characters to the superb roster, and they can both be found on handheld
Fighter Alpha 3: Upper on Gameboy Advance adds Yun, Maki & Eagle and
the later Street
Fighter Alpha 3: Max adds those same 3 characters to the line-up, plus Ingrid!
On that note, don't miss TFG's full review of SFA3: Upper and SFA3:
Max for more details!
SFA3 is, by far,
one of the finest iterations of Street Fighter known to man. The
gameplay mechanics, the character / gameplay customization offered by the 3 Ism
System, the excellent roster, the music, the backgrounds, the beatufiul artwork
by Bengus.... Yes, pretty much everything about SFA3
is simply feng shui.
I put quite a lot of time into SFA3
competitively back in the day, and well over a decade later, SFA3 is still one of my "all time" favorite Street Fighter
games. SFA3 was succeeded by 2 handheld ports, SFA3 Upper in 2002
and SFA3 MAX in 2006, which added new characters to the roster. ~TFG