Street Fighter 3 is one of those games. A game loved
by pretty much all who played it; it’s depth, the art, the
love put into it. Unfortunately, it was also one of those
games released at the end of the arcade era (in the United States at least), in an already over saturated fighting game market. Because of that, it seemed to be glossed over and forgotten by most. And it now seems Capcom has finally come around to releasing it for today’s crowd, but this time in arcade perfect form.
For those who haven’t played Third Strike, it’s one of the most beloved titles in the fighting game community. With it’s gorgeous animation and almost infinite depth of gameplay, it’s almost hard not to see why. However, if you are used to SFII or SSFIV, chances are you will have to take some time to adjust.
For starters, Third Strike has a much stricter input for moves. I can’t recall how many times I threw a simple little punch, rather than the dragon punch I intended. And believe me, you will be punished
for these mistakes. Third Strike has probably one of the most ardent fan bases. Some of which have been playing the game since it came out in 1999. So expect to come up against some expert level players,most of whom will take openings like I described and teach you the meaning of pain.
Another aspect of Third Strike is the parrying mechanic. Parrying pretty much negates any attack; the catch however, is that you have to tap towards your opponent at the moment a hit lands to parry. So the risk/reward is very high, and for a combo you have to have your timing down exactly. Master it, and you will feel like the baddest of bad asses to enter the arena. Parrying changes the game almost completely, making you think much more randomly. As any pattern that you make noticeable, can lead to an easy parry, and your subsequent demise. The mechanic has effects on nearly all aspects of the gameplay, and it’s probably the biggest barrier of entry, as sometimes it’s a very necessary tool.
Luckily the game does give you tutorials to tackle the mechanics and combos of the game. The sad thing though, is it’s not a very well done tutorial. The parry tutorials don't really give you any measure of timing, and rather just send different attacks your way. And although it teaches you some nice little bits, I felt it could have been more intuitive.
But it’s the character tutorials that really irk me. In fact, they just plain suck compared to SSFIV’s gently sloping 20 challenges, that go from basic to advanced at a good pace. Third Strike has a paltry 5 challenges per character. And they almost seem to all start at higher levels, leaving out the basics. And with Third Strike's need for precise timing and control, it’s almost unrelenting. With no explanation of the timing, or even an example clip of the combo for reference, it quickly becomes frustrating for newer players.
But the core gameplay is very solid. In fact, this is one of the best fighting games I’ve ever played. From the back and forth of two players, to the super arts and combos. This game is very solid, if you enjoy Street Fighter Anything, you will enjoy this; just know that you will be getting into a slightly different beast.
The game is absolutely gorgeous, and maintains it’s 4:3 aspect ratio. But it does some nice things with the side bars worth noting. A sort of ticker feed goes by, the updates in real time, counting how many throws, rounds, parries, and more. It’s a nice way to see your progress, and as you go through the levels of challenges on the ticker, you gain points to unlock art in the Vault. A really nice touch, and it really makes good use of empty screen.
Online matchmaking is a breeze. With ranked, and player matches out there, it’s very easy to find a game and just roll. And an added bonus is you can save replays of matches, and upload
them to YouTube. What is to note though, is it doesn’t update to your account, and nor does it tell you where it uploads (sf3onlineedition is the YouTube account). So you best title that video better than I did (I merely put Ryu vs. Ryu…I am very smart).
Overall though, this game is very good.
It features a breadth of options for nearly everything, including how you want the game to look and how the game behaves while you play in a custom match. A very solid core gameplay, deepened by the addition of mechanics that truly change it up from both past and future Street Fighter titles. But as I said, the tutorials that this game gives you aren’t very good. So to battle that, YouTube or a fighting game-centric forum is probably your best bet at learning.
But god damn….this game is amazing regardless.
Humor Tumor is hermetically sealed away in a cube, hoping to one day exact revenge on those who put him there.