Portable Review

Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max


The Street Fighter series is as big a part of our gaming history as the Mario, Sonic, and Pac-Man franchises are. Without Street Fighter, we probably wouldn’t have Mortal Kombat, King of Fighters, or even Soul Calibur, Tekken, or Virtua Fighter. Capcom brought on a change in the genre that was as significant as what Nintendo did with Super Mario Bros. and the NES. Prior to Capcom’s involvement, the best gamers had to play was Yie Ar Kung Fu and Karate Champ.

Street Fighter has come a long way since its debut. We’ve waded through the many iterations of Street Fighter II, the EX series, the entirety of the Alpha series, and even the three iterations of Street Fighter 3. While not the newest of the Street Fighter games, Alpha 3 has the most complete roster of characters. Just about everyone from Street Fighter’s history is present – even Eagle from the first game is a playable character. He joins the cast along with Maki, Yun, and Ingrid, making the largest character list in Street Fighter History.

The “new” characters each add a good amount of diversity to the mix. Eagle uses a lot of reversal moves while Maki is a mobile character much like Guy. Yun plays just as he did in Street Fighter 3, and Ingrid plays much like she did in Capcom Fighting Evolution—a game fighting fans would like to forget ever existed. That’s not to say that she’s a bad character. In fact, she is quite the compliment to the rest of characters. Perhaps I like her because she feels like a King of Fighters character. Whatever the reason, I appreciate her presence in the game.

Characters aside, what everyone wants to know is how well the game plays. To be honest, I can’t stress enough how important it would be to either obtain Capcom’s directional pad cover that was released only in Japan with pre-orders or to mod your PSP so the diagonals work. Capcom did add a bunch of control options and was a little more lenient with exact diagonals than their last PSP entry. Even with the modifications Capcom made to the controls, certain moves are incredibly hard to pull off consistently. This is, of course, a hardware problem, but Arc Systems managed to make the PSP work for Guilty Gear.

Even though the controls could be better, Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max seems to be the most complete version of the game. With over a dozen modes of play, including an extended World Tour Mode and Reverse Dramatic Battle, you’ll find quite the game here. All the animations are here and look amazing on the PSP’s “mini hi-def screen”. People have said that this is a perfect Dreamcast port, while others claim it to be a perfect Arcade port. Regardless of who is right; this is by far the best fighter on the PSP to date.

To analyze the sound of this game, we have to first analyze what makes for great audio in the fighting genre. Is the stage music memorable? The music is memorable, but it’s not on the level of games like Guilty Gear. Do the hit noises match up to the hit detection? Absolutely! Are there multiple stages with distinct music for each? Each character has their own stage complete with it’s own unique background music. For a sequel like this, are there remixed versions of classic stage music? Of course! Lastly, we come to the question, “If there is voice acting, can you hear it clearly? Street Fighter games have always had a great sense quality when it comes to spoken dialog, and this game is no different. Every “Sonic Boom”, “Shoryuken”, “Tiger Knee”, and “Kikoken” is represented in full stereo. Even the hit sound effects have a good amount of bass to them to make you “feel” the hit when wearing some earphones.

Graphically speaking, Street Fighter games haven’t gotten past the lower-resolution sprites that plague SNK and Capcom fighters. I would really like to see a game with the detailed sprites one would find in Guilty Gear XX, coupled with the animation of Street Fighter 3. Sadly, this game doesn’t match either. Because of the PSP’s smaller screen, however; Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max looks really good on this platform.

It’s truly astonishing that Capcom managed to port this game so flawlessly on the PSP. I was expecting something a bit watered down. Instead, I was treated with extra modes, 3-player dramatic battles, and an extended World Tour mode. Some of the challenges are genuinely difficult and add a good amount to the game, but ultimately, without another person with his own PSP and game, you’ll grow tired of the game after only a short period.

-Originally Posted by Bloodspoor


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