Street Fighter EX / SFEX plus Alpha
REVIEWStreet Fighter EX was co-produced by Capcom and Arika (who actually still owns the rights to some of the characters), and was the first Street Fighter title to feature 3D graphics. An upgraded version of SFEX was released about 4 months after the original, entitled Street Fighter EX Plus, which auto-unlocked the time release characters and also made Garuda & M. Bison playable. This version later released for the PlayStation in 1997, dubbed Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha. The PS1 version added Evil Ryu, an alternate version of Hokuto known as "Bloody Hokuto," and two cyborgs: Cycloid β and Cycloid γ.

Welcome to Street Fighter EX... Shoryuken still works!

Even though EX features 3D graphics, the gameplay remains traditional, with the action taking place on a 2D plane like all of the prequels. Special and super moves are also done in the tried-and-true fashion, and a three-tiered Super Gauge is present, allowing various levels of super moves. EX also offers a few unique gameplay elements, such as: Super Cancels (for longer and more devastating combos) and Guard Breaks which makes the receiving character dizzy for a brief moment, leaving them susceptible to a damaging combo or super move.
Street Fighter EX is famous for " controversially" bringing Capcom's trademark 2D fighting game franchise into 3D for the first time ever. With many fighting games in the mid-late 90's "going 3D," Capcom clearly wanted to keep up with the times. However, Capcom was still a major player in the traditional 2D realm, with their Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter III series still going strong. While it was interesting to finally see some of the classic characters with 3D rending, the overall gameplay and graphics didn't come without some major flaws. 


Street Fighter EX character selection screen.


The infamous "blocky" character models and grainy textures really didn't do the Street Fighter characters the justice they deserve; and for some Street Fighter fans, it was a rather depressing sight to see some of our favorite fighting game characters turned into scary "block monsters". The "infinite" backgrounds which outlined a flat square ring also resembled several of the popular 3D fighting games of the time, such as Tekken 3 and Battle Arena Toshinden 3 (and quite frankly, they were doing the effect better).

Now that that's out of the way, I can talk about the positive aspects of the game. For starters, the animation and "ouch factor" certainly wasn't bad for the time. Also, the artwork (done by one of my favorite artists, Edayan) is definitely top stuff... and definitely helps out the overall visuals and art direction of Street Fighter EX. The quality production value also shines through SFEX's kick-ass soundtrack. "Replacing" the iconic SF2 tunes with new ones could've been a disaster, but SFEX's brand new BGMs are brilliantly composed, and breathe new life into Street Fighter. Even 15+ years after SFEX's release, the awesome soundtrack of this game lives on!


Great impact and "ouch factor" for the PS1 days!


Street Fighter EX
brought some interesting new characters to the series, each showing off some uniquely entertaining special & super moves. However, and unfortunately, many of the basic priority attacks are shared among ALL characters, downgrading the much-appreciated "diversity" of the play styles. Thankfully, all of the super moves in EX are character exclusive, and also present some pretty entertaining "ouch factor"... which was probably the best visual aspect of the game. Those big attacks (and even smaller attacks) definitely hurt a lot when they connect, which is one of my pet peeves when it comes to fighting games.

Another positive aspect of the game, Street Fighter EX presents some pretty cool combo possibilities. A few of which are arguably frustratingly hard to pull off on a regular basis, and thankfully, the home version includes an innovative (and fun) Command Training mode. This mode allows players to perform all of the staple special moves, combos, and requires players to perform every combo to fully clear it (which is a fun playthrough).


The OST "Precious Heart" looking a bit out of place next to... Akuma.


The Japanese version of Street Fighter EX contains text-only epilogues which are displayed on-screen after the player defeats M.Bison in the single-player mode. The PlayStation version features new epilogues (different from the ones featured in the arcade versions) in addition to some pretty cool FMV endings. All in all, EX was a solid console fighting game for the time, but in some ways didn't live up to what many fans expected out of the Street Fighter series.










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Page Updated: April 17th, 2024
Developer(s): Arika
Publisher(s): Arika, Capcom
Artwork by: Bengus, Edayan, Dai-chan
Platform(s): Arcade, PlayStation
Release Date(s): Nov. 1996        Arcade
Mar. 1997
        Arcade - EX plus A update
July 1997
          PS1 - as Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha
Characters Ryu, Ken Masters, Chun Li, Dhalsim, Guile, Zangief, Sakura Kasugano, Kairi, Allen Snider, Blaire Dame, Hokuto, Skullomania, Pullum, Darun Mister, Cracker Jack, Doctrine Dark, Akuma, Garuda, Evil Ryu, M. Bison, Cycloid β, Cycloid γ

Featured Video:

Related Games: Street Fighter EX2, Street Fighter EX3, Fighting Layer, Fighting EX Layer, Street Fighter 6, Street Fighter V, Street Fighter 4, Super SF4, Ultra SF4, Street Fighter, Street Fighter 2, SF2: CE, SF2 Turbo, Super SF2, SSF2T, SSF2T: Revival, SFIII: New Generation, SFIII: 2nd Impact, Street Fighter Alpha, SFA2, SFA3, SFA3 Upper, SFA3 Max, SFA Anthology, SF Anniversary Collection, SF: The Movie, Super Gem Fighter, Pocket Fighter, Samurai Shodown 64, Mortal Kombat 4, Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi, Fatal Fury: Wild Ambition, KOF: Maximum Impact, Final Fight: Revenge, Tobal 2, Tekken 3, Battle Arena Toshinden 3, Soul Blade, Bushido Blade, Rival Schools, Groove On Fight

Gameplay Engine  7.0 / 10
Story / Theme  6.5 / 10
Overall Graphics  5.5 / 10
Animation  7.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  9.5 / 10
Innovation  6.5 / 10
Art Direction  9.0 / 10
Customization  6.0 / 10
Options / Extras  6.5 / 10
Intro / Presentation  6.5 / 10
Replayability / Fun  8.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  8.5 / 10
Characters  7.5 / 10

 7.6 / 10

 Review based on PlayStation version    


Final Words:

At the time, it was easy for gamers to scoff at Street Fighter EX and quickly claim it wasn't "as good" as ___ (insert fighting game here). However, if you allowed SFEX's blocky graphics hinder your enjoyment of the game... you actually missed out on one of the era's most interesting console fighting games and an important stepping stone in Street Fighter history. Like many other underrated PS1 gems, Street Fighter EX was a treat for those who picked it up one of my earliest personal favorite PS1 fighting games, for sure.

Arika and Capcom clearly put a lot of heart into SFEX. A new twist on the classic 2D formula, hard-hitting animations and throws, a fun combo system, an innovative combo challenge mode, animated character endings, and a great soundtrack? SFEX had some special things about it. That said, many PS1 players who accepted the game's visual imperfections were treated to a surprisingly fun game... be it the cool combo possibilities or solid presentation value. Needless to say, the artwork of the EX series is top tier stuff.

Even though many 90's fighting game fans are on record for saying "Street Fighter should never be in 3D"... Capcom didn't agree, and later released SFEX2 and SFEX3. Over a decade later, Capcom finally proved they could visually do Street Fighter justice in a 3D engine, with the much more successful and hardcore-player-approved SFIV.
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen

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Click Here for all character artwork!


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Click Here for all Character Select Art!

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