to the first ever 3D Street Fighter game, Street Fighter EX2 was
originally released in arcades in 1998, followed by an upgraded version titled Street Fighter
EX2 Plus (also released in arcades). The "Plus"
version Street Fighter EX2 was also the version later ported to the
PlayStation 1 in 1999-2000. Along with most of the original cast of SFEX1
returning (everyone except for Blaire Dame & Allen Snider), SFEX2 adds a
mix of newcomers and veteran Street Fighters to the roster.
Continuing the trend of "cool" and interesting new Street Fighter
character designs, EX2 introduces newcomers such as: Area, Vulcano Rosso, Nanase, Shadowgiest, and
Sharon... each offering something we haven't seen before in the series.
Thankfully, several old school (and rather important) fan-favorites also enter
the 3D arena for the first time ever, including: Blanka, Vega and Sagat. Right off the bat, the classic veterans look pretty cool in 3D
(overlooking some 'rough' edges due to 1998's polygonal limitations).
Their classic movesets retain most of their iconic special moves but have been tweaked quite a bit, as
the veterans seem to have lost some of
their trademark priority moves.
While the veterans don't play "exactly" like they did in their 2D glory days, they retain
their "basic" play-styles.
a better looking selection
screen than EX1's.
Street Fighter EX2 keeps the majority of
the gameplay systems from the first title intact, including Guard Breaks and Super Cancels
(arguably the most fun parts of the first game). EX2 introduces the Excel
(AKA custom combo) system, allowing players to rapidly connect a series of basic and special moves for a limited
time. Also new in EX2 are Meteor Combos, which are basically HUGE super
moves that require all 3 stocks of the Super Combo Gauge. (Meteors can even be
seen during these combos... they weren't kidding.)
Now with more options, EX2's gameplay is a small yet significant step forward. As
a whole, EX2 is probably the pinnacle of the series in terms of new content and
competitive gameplay. The console version of
EX2 packs a similar amount of modes to the first title. One of the most prominent modes
is once again the Command Training / Trial Mode. Like in SFEX, this
mode allows players to run through special moves and advanced combos for every
fighter in the game. No doubt a great asset to playing the game competitively, Trial introduces
players to the basics of each character, all the way up to some of EX2's most
challenging (yet rewarding) combos. Completing some of the ultra hard combos is
a satisfying experience all on its own, and definitely gives you a feel for some
of the combo possibilities in the game.
Two of the newcomers: Area
Overall, EX2's gameplay still feels very
much like the prequel, which could either be a good thing or a bad thing
depending on your tastes. Yes, it still has slow and clunky moments... but EX2
very "playable" competitively (more-so than some other console
fighting games of 1999-2000) and the game overall can definitely be enjoyed casually, as well. Like in the original, there are many cool
animations, badass combo possibilities, and the
EX2's exclusive (Arika) cast boasts slightly more well-rounded movesets this time around. Classic
characters also acquired some pretty cool new combos options as well (many of which
are rather fun to perform, especially using Excel)!
Now with a more impressive character roster and the return of fan-favorites like
Sagat, Vega and Blanka, SFEX2 was a bit more appealing to the typical
returning Street Fighter fan. However, in my opinion, EX2 didn't make as big
"splash" as EX1. I for one thought EX1 was pretty solid
overall. SFEX2's presentation, music, and overall "wow factor"
didn't quite live up to the original in some ways. Although gameplay-wise, SFEX2
was definitely a step in the right direction.
Even so, many would say SFEX2's overall gameplay
experience (and again, presentation) didn't
match up to Capcom's latest 2D offerings in Street Fighter Alpha 3 and SFIII: 2nd Impact. No doubt, those beautiful
Fighter titles were several levels ahead of SFEX2 in nearly every
way... but at least Capcom was attempting something
different outside of their traditional 2D recipe (and you can't fault them for
it). Not to mention, Capcom's 3D effort in SFEX2 was leagues ahead of
SNK's similar offering with Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition. (SFEX2
seems brilliant compared to that game.)
Also worth mentioning (and perhaps a very under-appreciated aspect of SFEX2), is the
amazing "art direction" of the game. For starters, all character artworks
(below) were drawn by the
masterful Bengus. Need I say more? Artworks like these don't come around too often folks.
Personally, I think SFEX2's character artwork is some of the ALL TIME
BEST of the entire Street Fighter series. ~TFG