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First there was Street Fighter II: The World Warriors. Then there was Street Fighter II: Champion Edition. Then there were people who pretended to have liked the original Street Fighter. Fast forward and you have 3 or 4 other editions of Street Fighter II. Then Capcom spent quite a bit of time with a prequel series and cross-overs with Marvel and SNK. It took awhile but 1997, Capcom finally released a sequel to the numerous Street Fighter II games. It featured an almost all new cast and completely new sprite work that featured smooth animations that the Alpha series never managed. Bonus games were back. Bison was finally gone. It was what the people were asking for!
It was not terribly successful.
If you think Street Fighter III and Akuma, Chun Li, or Yun and Yang not being the same thing, then you missed that awkward period where Capcom had to create two revisions of a game to get back to the success they enjoyed with Super Street Fighter II or Street Fighter Alpha 3.
But with a few revisions, an embrace by the fledgeling fighting came community of the era, and the time it took to recognize the in depth gameplay, Street Fighter III eventually came to be regarded as the ‘grown-up’ iteration of the series. Also the third iteration has an amazing rap song.
After massive success in expanding Street Fighter lore with the Alpha game series, Capcom decided to move forward with the story line with a jump in narrative to the next World Tournament. Chronologically speaking, Street Fighter Double Impact and Street Fighter Third Strike happen after Street Fighter V – and as fans of the series know, Capcom has done a commendable job of recognizing that in Street Fighter IV and V’s respectively story lines.
Street Fighter III was Capcom’s big move from the old CPSII arcade system to the new CPSIII set – allowing for complex spritework and smooth animation frames that even SNK had to respect. In a response to criticism about the Alpha series relying too strongly on the cast of Street Fighter II, the bold decision was made to only feature two returning characters. Ryu and Ken came back again but in a supporting role: American grappler Alex was now the ‘main’ character of the series with new arrivals such as African princess Elena or weird Russian monster Necro filling out the ranks. Also, Dudley. A dandy of a British boxing gentleman who we could all learn a thing from.
Maybe it was a little too new? Street Fighter III: New Generation was quickly replaced with Street Fighter III: Second Impact which re-introduced Akuma, introduced Hugo and Urien, and made Yun and Yang more than just a pallet swap. This was a step in the right direction but not enough of one – it was forgettable enough that I do not remember any of my local arcades upgrading to this version.
Then came Street Fighter III: Third Strike: Fight for the Future. With syllables comes name recognition. Chun-Li was back. More characters entered the ring. Finally, Capcom had their proper sequel to Super Street Fighter II: Turbo. When people think of Street Fighter III, 3rd Strike is the game that they generally remember. It is an exceptional game that delivered on the promise of “The New Generation”.
(It still needed more Cammy).
The gameplay in the Street Fighter III series is not far removed from other 2D fighters. There were a few features borrowed from the failed spin-off series Street Fighter EX such as Super Arts. There is also an innovative parry system where a player can cancel out an attacking characters moves by pushing forward into the attack at a specific moment.
Google “Street Fighter III Justin vs Daigo” if you need help understanding the parry system.
Beyond that, the game is a high-speed 1 on 1 martial arts fighter where low level players will have fun pulling off flashy moves and beating the arcade mode and high level players will spend their days learning to read frames of animation for each character to pull off parries and complex combos. Street Fighter III is a much more technical game than Street Fighter IV which makes it hard to dive in for a quick play-through but rewarding if you practice and gain skill.
Enjoying a renaissance in the last few years, Street Fighter III is available on several modern platforms (well, modern by Racketboy standards) such as the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 via a download or the Playstation 2 / Xbox as part of the Street Fighter Anniversary collection.
Once you dive into this this deep, yet still under-appreciated classic fighter, let us know your thoughts in our Forum thread. We’d love to hear about your techniques, favorite characters to battle with and your least favorite opponents.