#400 Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike

Posted: 28th September 2012 by Mulholland in Games
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182nd played so far

Genre: Fighting
Platform: Arcade, Dreamcast
Year of Release: 1999
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom

And so Dreamfest comes to an end after a whistle-stop tour through some of the major genres in gaming. For this final game there were a number of games in the running which we will, of course, have to come back to later in the blog.

Since we are (annoyingly) behind on our fighter games it is time for us to get to another game in the Street Fighter series… as well as doing four games from 1999 in a row… we were really far behind.

Our Thoughts

In 1997 Capcom did a really ballsy thing when launching Street Fighter III… they decided to introduce a new roster of fighters at the expense of the vast majority of their already established characters. In the original incarnation of this game (since 3rd Strike rightly implies that this was second remake of Street Fighter III) only Ken and Ryu survived the slaughter and this version saw the reintroduction of staple Chun-Li. If we just look at this move… I mean that took guts. When Soulcalibur V decided to introduce new characters at the expense of old ones there was a sizable amount of annoyance on the interweb.

The main change that we can observe in this installment versus Street Fighter II is that things have slowed down. Is this a bad thing? Well it depends mainly on your style of play since in order to now win these bouts you need to try to string together counters and combos rather than rely on jumping and reaction time. (I love it)

There has also been a substantial graphics upgrade due to the rapid progression technology made in… wow 7 years apart? No wonder things look so much better. That being said, whilst the sprites and backgrounds are definitely improved the colours feel slightly more muted which, I guess, is to give this game a bit more realism despite the fact there are mutant stretchy monsters. Even so, don’t worry too much – while things look better, they’re still quite cartoony and realism hasn’t gone leaps up… In fact, the colour difference could just as much be the change in console we’re experiencing here.

Despite the obvious technological leaps in sound and graphics it does not feel as if there has been too significant a leap in gameplay (something which is hard in fighting games to be fair).The leaps between the first three Tekken games felt more substantial because, unlike Capcom, they don’t release the same game three times with minor tweaks and instead focus on an endgame. Then again, as I mentioned, in fighting games there is only so much you can revolutionise before you cross between genres. That’s why games like Grand Theft Auto get a lot of press because not only do they have the room to branch out and revolutionise but they take full advantage of it. Street Fighter III really did the best with their style of game (still vehemently a 2D fighter) could do with the technology available to them. Since  playing BlazBlue and seeing how they chose to persure 2D cel-shaded figting I am not really looking forward to Street Fighter IV when we cover it in the future.

At the same time, as a counter point, you could ask whether that’s always a good thing… some of the best games out there came from people experimenting with genre boundaries and pushing them, meaning that we got roleplaying and adventure elements in our shooters. While I sort of noticed a slight difference in gameplay, the different characters seemed to make more of a difference there than the changes in the game itself and for all I know, the new characters could’ve been old ones with a different look. While they’ve tried some new mechanics (especially in the more exotic characters), it’s not universally so. At times, you wonder whether they tried.

It’s a bit hard to judge, really. It’s not an early entry where we can forgive the game for continuing to evolve, but this Street Fighter game also isn’t the pinnacle or innovator. It continues and adapts, looks and plays a bit better, but there’s just nothing to be wowed with. I think we’re just jaded now.

Final Thoughts

Is it a good fighting game? Sure, it’s probably about as close as you’re going to get in the 2D fighting realm at the time. It’s been improved on, and BlazBlue clearly feels superior, but it’s good fun. It’s simpler and more straight forward, and that’s a good thing – in the end, its simplicity means the game’s easy to pick up by someone like me, while still leaving plenty of room to master it. That might well be its one main advantage, though.

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