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Available on

Xbox Live Arcade!

 

Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Fighting

 

Publisher

Capcom

 

Developer

Capcom

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

August 24, 2011

 

 

- Pixel-perfect port of an Arcade classic
- Smooth online netcode and replay uploading
- Multi-tiered challenges encourage even further replayability

 

 

- Could use a few more extras, modes
- Could also be more user-friendly, particularly with parry challenges
- Gil is the cheapest Street Fighter boss of all time

 

 

Review: Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition (3DS)

Collectible Review: M. Bison (Street Fighter) Mixed Media Statue

Collectible Review: Blanka (Street Fighter)

Review: Street Fighter Alpha Anthology (PS2)

 

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Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

street fighter iii third strike online edition          street fighter iii third strike online edition

 

You could argue that the original release of Street Fighter III was both ahead, and behind, of its time. When Capcom finally decided to give their premiere fighting franchise a proper sequel instead of bolting an extra adjective or two unto the title, it was around the time that Arcade machines began their downward slope in relevancy in the US. However, the game eventually found renewed interest from the fighting community with the rise of fighting game tournaments. When EVO met YouTube, it became a match made in heaven, and the demand began to grow for Capcom to put out Street Fighter III online.

Their wish has finally been granted with the Online Edition of Street Fighter III: Third Strike. Simply put, this is a download release of the Arcade original, now featuring the ability to take on fellow opponents online. But Capcom isn’t just

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putting out a quickly emulated port; the company has promised that this digital release of Third Strike features the most flawless port of an Arcade game ever attempted. A rather bold claim, considering the number of dedicated (and often obsessive) fans who could easily spot the most miniscule of missing frames or lag that is often expected from Arcade re-releases.

While I myself am not

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one of these people, I will gamble and confirm that Capcom has made good on their promise; never before has Street Fighter III played as smoothly in a console as it does in this version. The game has zero load times, glitches, slowdown, or anything other than an incredibly fast and smooth experience. It would take some sort of half-man half-microscope to spot any visual differences between the formats, but for anyone who has ever played an Arcade machine (back during the ‘90s, when they were still popular), your hands will tell you that this version is indeed perfect.

But how does the game itself hold up? While it’s unfair to call SFIII the black sheep of the series (that honor goes to Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game, as well as the original unnumbered Street Fighter, which most tend to delude themselves into thinking SFII was the first ever Street Fighter), but it has been divisive among players for its gusty decision in replacing nearly all of the World Warriors from the previous game; only Ryu and Ken remained as returning veterans, until later editions included Akuma and Chun-Li due to public demand. The remainder of the cast is all new, and make up the most wildly varied roster in the fighting franchise’s history.

While characters like the ninja Ibuki, karate master Makoto and British boxer Dudley fit in well enough in the SF universe (and eventually made their way into Street Fighter IV, along with twins Yun and Yang), there are also a good number of oddballs like the stretchy electric cyborg Necro, the one-armed bird-like Oro, and underwear-sporting Urien. None of these characters play anything like the original cast, which became a bit of a turnoff for longtime fans, but put enough practice into each of them and they can turn out to be just as lethal in battle as their predecessors.

Indeed, SFIII requires a bit of a learning curve; don’t expect to jump in straight from SFIV and recreate the same techniques that might have put you ahead of that scrubby Flowchart Ken player online (and if you are that type of player…you should have your online privileges revoked. forever.); Third Strike adheres to its own rules about the proper timing to link combos together, and what kind of moves have priority over others. But the hardest technique to master is the Parry system. With a single directional tap, players can parry incoming attacks and specials, receiving zero damage and recovering far faster than they would by blocking. It takes a special kind of hardcore to be able to parry effectively, and while it’s not an essential requirement, even the most basic understanding of parrying can quickly turn the tide in your favor.

 

street fighter iii thrid strike online edition          street fighter iii third strike online edition


It’s unfortunate, then, that the parry challenges featured in the game’s Trial mode doesn’t actually teach newcomers on when to parry an incoming attack. Instead, the game offers several levels of challenge where players must parry a specific attack or special and says “good luck”, resulting in hours of failed attempts until they develop the superhuman instincts necessary to time every single hit. Then there’s the final parry challenge, which gives you the daunting task of recreating a certain well-known moment seen on YouTube…

One thing that fighting fans can definitely agree on is how great SFIII looks. While it may be disappointing that the sprites have not been redrawn like the previous HD Remix of SSFIIT, they still hold up exceptionally well; featuring some of the best hand-drawn 2D art ever seen, the amount of detail and fluidity in each character’s animations is as impressive now as it was back then, if not more so when put head-to-head with current fighters (including SFIV’s polygons). Little animation touches like how Ryu’s gi blows back with every Hadoken, or how Ken’s hair flaps with his Shoryuken, or even Hugo’s psychotic eyes whiten during his charges make every kick, punch, and projectile come alive with brutal beauty.

As far as extras go, you have the usual unlockable concept art (as well as fan-art, much which should be familiar to anyone with a DeviantArt account) as well as remixed music (which can be activated in-game to replace the original stage tunes), but the real bonus is what you use to unlock these features; taking a cue from Call of Duty and Halo, this version of Third Strike features a progressive challenge system, where players are presented with a list of feats to pull off during every match. These challenges range from performing a certain move X number of times, or winning matches Y times in a row, to earning a perfect Arcade run without losing once. Fulfill the requirements of a certain challenge (throw 25 projectiles, for example) and you’ll unlock the next level of that challenge (throw 50 projectiles, then a hundred, etc), and earn points to be used to purchase the extra artwork and music. While it will only take a few hours to unlock everything, the real fun comes from the incentive to fill out these challenges, continuing a slow-moving trend of non-Achievement recognition that should encourage every seasoned fighter to keep on playing, even with characters they normally wouldn’t use. Online multiplayer also contains its own challenge tiers, offering further replayability.

Speaking of online, Third Strike takes advantage of GGPO, the preferred system for creating nearly lag-free online matches, as well as the ability to upload replays on YouTube, for all the wannabe Daigos in the making. Both of these features alone put Third Strike’s multiplayer a cut above modern releases like Marvel vs Capcom 3, and with the usual inclusions of spectator mode and tournament play, there’s no doubt this will bring in as many people as SFIV.

While a few missing extras and features might keep Third Strike: Online Edition from being the ultimate edition of Street Fighter III, the amount of care put into the core game as well as its online multiplayer easily elevates this release as the definitive version. The fighting game community is truly privileged to have another great button-masher to ruin controllers with, and the number of players are only destined to expand with this release.

 

- Jorge Fernandez

(August 25, 2011)

 

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