Street Fighter Alpha 2 / Street Fighter Zero 2

REVIEWStreet Fighter Alpha 2 is the 1996 sequel to Capcom's original Street Fighter Alpha "reboot," which saw considerable success at the arcade scene and brought excitement back to the hit franchise. Branching off from the wildly successful Street Fighter 2 series, the Alpha series still had a lot to prove at the time... especially in such a competitive era of the fighting game genre. Thankfully, SFA2 was a much bigger, badder, more vibrant, and more playable fighting game than the prequel!


Street Fighter Alpha 2 character select screen.

gave returning Street Fighter Alpha players exactly what they wanted: more characters, more moves, and more balanced gameplay. New characters in SFA2, include: Gen from Street Fighter ( 1), Dhalsim & Zangief from Street Fighter 2, and even the mysterious mid-boss from the arcade version of Final Fight, Rolento. All returning characters received some solid updates to their movesets and became even more fun to use in SFA2 all around, also in part thanks to the expanded gameplay system...

Street Fighter Alpha 2
retains most of the mechanics introduced in the prequel. Returning from the prequel, are the Super Combo Gauge, Air-Blocking, Alpha Counters, and Fall Breaking. What's new this time around is the Custom Combo System, allowing players to perform a series of basic and special moves to create a custom combo of their own (until the timer gauge for the custom combo runs out). Universal Chain Combos from the prequel were removed, although Guy & Gen can still perform a select few. Street Fighter Alpha 2 also fixed up the balance and high-damage combos from the original Street Fighter Alpha.

The Yoga master returns!

Presentation-wise, Street Fighter Alpha 2 succeeded the original in every way imaginable. For starters, the visuals are brighter, the backgrounds are more exciting and lively (with some featuring epic character cameos), and the special moves and hit sparks are more vibrant. Simple things like the HUD gauges are even more appealing to the eye, and the amazing in-game artwork by Bengus speaks for itself. Every character now has his or her own unique stage (with no cheap re-colored versions like in SFA1), and the new music tracks are incredible. You'd be hard pressed to find a 2D fighting game with a more well-rounded presentation than SFA2 in 1996.

Epic and humorous background character cameos!

In closing, Street Fighter Alpha 2 pretty much had it all together for a fighting game in the mid 90's... a great character roster, fun gameplay with an open-ended combo system, a badass intro, an amazing art direction (Bengus, Edayan & Dai-chan), catchy new music tracks, and plenty of throwbacks for fans of classic Capcom games. All of these elements came together in harmony, making SFA2 a very impactful and memorable fighter for its time. No doubt, fighting game players in 1996 knew they were looking at a "quality" 2D fighting game when SFA2 was on the screen. This game was ahead of its time!

Cammy is a playable character in SFA2 Gold.

FUN FACT:    In 1996, Capcom released an updated version of Street Fighter Alpha 2 in Japan titled "Street Fighter Zero 2 Alpha". This version gave characters several new moves and added additional modes, including: Dramatic Battle, Shin Gouki Mode, and Survival. The update also added classic versions of returning SF2 characters along with Evil Ryu. The updated version later arrived in North America / PAL as Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold (Street Fighter Zero 2 Dash in Japan), which also hosted the first Alpha series appearance of Cammy. However, the NA / PAL version does not feature Dramatic Battle mode.









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Page Updated: January 25th, 2023
Developer(s): Capcom
Publisher(s): Capcom
Designer(s): Noritaka Funamizu
Haruo Murata
Hideaki Itsuno
Character Design
Artwork by: Bengus (CRMK), Dai-Chan, Edayan
Platform(s): Arcade, Super Nintendo, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Windows
Release Date(s): Feb. 27th, 1996                   Arcade
Mar. 6th, 1996                     Arcade
Aug. 9th, 1996                     PS1
Sept. 30th, 1996                 PS1
Sept. 14th, 1996                 Saturn
Sept. 30th, 1996                 Saturn
Nov. 1996                             SNES
Dec. 20th, 1996                  SNES
Mar. 12th, 1998                  Windows
1998                                          Windows
Characters Ryu, Adon, Chun-Li, Guy, Ken Masters, Dhalsim, Gen, Sakura Kasugano, Rolento, Zangief, Charlie Nash, Birdie, Rose, Sodom, Sagat, Akuma, M. Bison, Dan Hibiki, Evil Ryu, Shin Akuma

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Featured Video:

Related Games: Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 3, SFA3: Upper, SFA3: Max, SFA Anthology, Street Fighter, Street Fighter 2, SF2: CE, SF2 Turbo, Super SF2, Super SF2T, Super SF2T: Revival, Super SF2T HD Remix, Ultra SF2, SF3: New Generation, SF3: 2nd Impact, SF3: 3rd Strike, SF3: 3rd Strike OE, Street Fighter 4, Super SF4, Super SF4: 3D Edition, Super SF4: Arcade Edition, Ultra SF4, Street Fighter 5, SF5: Arcade Edition, SF Anniv. Collection, SF30th: Anniv. Collection, Street Fighter EX, SFEX2, SFEX3, SF: The Movie, Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo, Super PF2T HD Remix, Pocket Fighter, Art of Fighting 3, Samurai Shodown 4, King of Fighters '96, Killer Instinct Gold, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Warzard, X-Men VS Street Fighter, Final Fight Revenge

Gameplay Engine  9.0 / 10
Story / Theme  10 / 10
Overall Graphics  9.5 / 10
Animation  9.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  9.5 / 10
Innovation  9.0 / 10
Art Direction  10 / 10
Customization  8.0 / 10
Options / Extras  8.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  10 / 10
Replayability / Fun  9.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  8.0 / 10
Characters  8.5 / 10

 9.0 / 10

 Review based on Arcade version    


Final Words:

Not only is SFA2 an attractive game visually, but for decades, SFA2 has held up as a particularly fun & competitive Street Fighter installment... one of the all time best, for sure! Some hardcore fans would even swear up and down they prefer SFA2 over SFA3 for the custom combo system (and other reasons). If I had to choose, I personally still prefer SFA3... but I have to agree, SFA2's custom combos are stupidly fun. The memorable soundtrack, gorgeous backgrounds, and cool vibe of SFA2 also makes me want to return to the game regularly. SFA2 is indeed something special, and definitely one of Capcom's strongest, yet most underappreciated fighting games of the mid/late 90's.

In 1996,
SFA2 was definitely a huge step for the Street Fighter series... particularly making a statement to fighting game enthusiasts who appreciate the "small details". Lots of other fighting games were competing for "attention" and, some, "shock value"... but SFA2 was an honest fighting game that 2D fighting game fans loved to play. There's so much beauty, polish, and fan-service packed into this game. SFA2 instantly became one of my top favorite Capcom fighters when it debuted, and is still on my "all time faves" list. I'll throw down in some Alpha 2 (or Alpha 3) any day of the week.

As great as SFA2 was, certain disgruntled fans might've thought the game "wasn't all that" because it was still missing fan-favorite SF2 characters such as Vega (Claw), Blanka, or E. Honda, for example. However, Capcom answered fans prayers with with yet another brilliant sequel to the hit Alpha series, the epic SFA3!
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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