Street Fighter Alpha 3
Street Fighter Alpha 3 is considered the finest of the Capcom 2D brawlers. The PlayStation port was a success due to the near-perfect arcade translation along with a number of extra goodies specific to the home format. It would stand to reason that a Dreamcast translation would further improve upon the greatness of the 32-bit incarnation, and for the most part, it does. Street Fighter Alpha 3 for the Dreamcast includes all the bonus modes of the original and tosses in Internet applications and load times that are almost non-existent. As a result, the Dreamcast version is a excellent product, and the best version of the game to date -- even surpassing the coin-op.
In terms of visuals, the differences between the versions are minimal at best. While the Dreamcast version may have a slightly smaller character size compared to the arcade game, it does not detract from the presentation. The character animations are smooth and realistic, with a great attention to detail. The trademark Capcom eye candy is also present: flashy explosions, fireballs and super moves are all here. Nevertheless, the most important component of the package is the frame rate. To be blunt, Street Fighter Alpha 3 never slows down. Even with multiple characters on the screen, the engine keeps chugging along at a constant rate, which helps to keep the action flowing in a smooth manner (a must for fighting games).
The sound of the game is equal to the greatness of the visual presentation. The music is diverse and well composed, helping to set the frantic mood of the fighting. Each character also possesses his or her own trademark music, although the classic Street Fighter II tunes are sorely missed. In addition, all the traditional Street Fighter sound effects are present in crystal-clear fashion. The Psycho Crushers and Sonic Booms come out loud and clear on the Dreamcast, and the game also offers a small amount of voiceovers, including another goofy Capcom announcer. In all, it is a very nice job in the sound and music area.
The play of the game is a near-perfect effort as well, taking the Street Fighter series to new heights. Street Fighter Alpha 3 boasts over 30 unique characters, each with a variety of different moves and abilities. As to the fighting engine, it couldn't have been done in a better way. Street Fighter Alpha 3 sticks with the old-school six-button layout, so players can link the different moves and attacks into massive amounts of combinations. Also, the game gives players a choice between three different kinds of super moves, allowing them to customize their world warrior to fit each individual battle. The in-depth fighting system makes Alpha 3 a technical fighting man's dream.
The only downfall of the game is a slight control problem. Unfortunately, the Dreamcast control pad is unsuited to fighting games. It can be hard to access the two buttons on the back of the controller, making the more powerful combos a major pain in the rear. Still, it's a hardly noticeable flaw in light of the game's many strong points. After all, no title can be perfect, but this is as close as it gets for fighting fans. ~ Bryan Melville, All Game Guide
The eye candy is all over the place in Street Fighter Alpha 3. The 2D world is looking better than ever, due to the amazing background and character modeling. In every way, the game is a work of art. ~ Bryan Melville, All Game Guide
Capcom has once again managed to create a completely engrossing soundtrack, which is amazing, considering the number of Street Fighter games on the market. Still, some of the older tunes for the returning characters would have been a nice touch. ~ Bryan Melville, All Game Guide
At the least, Street Fighter Alpha 3 is an unquestionably fun game. The World Tour mode will eat into your life, and the Dramatic Battle fights never get old. Unfortunately, the controller problem keeps the game from a five-star rating. Fans will definitely want to consider purchasing Capcom's Arcade Fighting Stick. ~ Bryan Melville, All Game Guide
It's a fighting game, so at some point the fun will fade after you have mastered the characters. Still, the customization of the World Tour will keep you going for a long time. ~ Bryan Melville, All Game Guide
The bad: the included manual is an ugly black-and-white booklet. The good: it does showcase a list of moves for the characters. ~ Bryan Melville, All Game Guide