Ah, Street Fighter, one of the biggest fighting games that has ever been produced. Fighting games have made a massive resurgence in the past few years with the release of Street Fighter IV. Many people began playing fighting games with SFIV. Others, like me, started with the older games that paved the way for the ever-popular fighting game. One of those games was, of course, Street Fighter III. SFIII had 2 other iterations balancing the game and adding new characters to the mix. The definitive version was Third Strike. Between the release of Third Strike and the coming of Street Fighter IV, nearly 10 years passed, so many hold Third Strike in very high regard. Capcom has decided to bring back the classic 1999 game to XBLA and PSN in the form of Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition.
Everything from the original Third Strike is here. The graphics have been smoothed and the sprites look just as good as they did back in ’99. You can change the look of the game at anytime. There’s even a cool arcade cabinet look that gives off the rounded edges. You can even turn on scan lines.
Of course, with the Online Edition in the title, you can probably guess that there is online play for Third Strike. Let me say, the new net code is amazing. I played a good amount of matches and never once experienced lag. The online feature suite includes ranked matches, player matches, and online tournaments. 8 player lobbies, with a full spectator mode, made the cut, something a recent, high-profile Capcom fighting game lacks (I’m not mentioning any names.)
One of the biggest, and most unique, aspects of Online Edition is the customization. The game allows for Dipswitches, giving you your very own customization tool for the game. You can set timing of blocks and parries, turn off jumping, make everything cancel into another move, and much more. It is very extensive and really shows the player that you can make the game play however you want.
One really great thing is the replay feature. The game will allow you to record matches and save them as replays. The really cool thing is you can automatically upload your replays to YouTube through the game itself. I was not able to try out this feature, but Capcom has stated it will be coming very soon after launch. It’s just a nice feature for all the video junkies out there.
Taking a page out of Final Fight Double Impact, Online Edition has challenges to complete that reward the player with points they can spend unlocking things in the vault. Those things include art work for each character and remixed music that you can custom set for the game. There’s a ton of stuff here for the Street Fighter fanatics. The challenges themselves are things you would normally get by playing through the game: perform super moves, parry a number of attacks, win a number of rounds, that sort of thing, but the fact that it’s always popping up on the left side of the screen is what keeps me going for them all. It can become addicting.
The game also features an extensive trials mode that puts you in situations and asks you to perform a specific combo. These will not only earn vault points, but it will also help out the players looking for bit of combo practice. There are character trials, parry trials, and even a handicap trial that requires you to make a comeback to win.
Now, I won’t get into the main mechanics of the game itself. I mean, it came out in 1999, but for those of you who don’t know, Street Fighter III was different than many of the Street Fighter games out there. Almost the entire roster is new characters and the parry mechanic is something an advanced player must learn in order to succeed. The game just feels very different from the previous games as well as SFIV. I Those new to fighting games may need to be a little wary. This game is very technical, and is one of the few Street Fighter games that can be difficult to get into. In all honesty, I am a big Street Fighter player, and really couldn’t get into SFIII. It is a matter of preference. I can still say it is one of the most competent fighting games that has ever been released. I was never a fan of the character roster for the game. It just played too differently from SFII and the Alpha series, but once again, that is just my opinion.
In closing, Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition is one fine game. The fans of the original release will love it, and the newer fans of Street Fighter IV should take a good look at Street Fighter’s past. For $15, you will get a ton of features and online play that is almost second to none. With the challenges in place, a guaranteed large player base, tons of fan service, online play, and the customization of the entire game, the price tag for Online Edition makes it a steal. If you enjoy Street Fighter or enjoy fighting games, you owe it to yourself to pick this game up.
Review copy provided by publisher. Primary play on Xbox 360.