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Street Fighter 3: 3rd Strike Online review

Great
AT A GLANCE
  • GGPO online experience
  • Excellent practice and game mode options
  • Virtually no loading times
  • Being 14 years late to the skill party
  • No option for original HUD graphics
  • Overall steep difficulty curve

In the realm of fighting games, few are held in as high regard as Capcom's 1999 effort, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. The second follow up to 1997’s Street Fighter III, 3rd Strike is beloved by die-hards as one of the pinnacles of the genre. It doesn't take a genius to realize that replacing M.Bison with an anime version of Fabio in a banana hammock is going to cost you some fans, but Capcom wanted a different experience, and made sure 3rd Strike played and looked differently than Street Fighter II. So does this HD Remix live up to the hype?

Above: DON CHAAAAAAAAN

The short answer is yes, absolutely. So what does Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online bring to the table? First off is the much mentioned "arcade perfect" gameplay, this means that the game is 100% loyal to the definitive arcade version. Unlike previous ports, each move’s animation frames, damage and hitboxes are all true to the original, glitches and all. This is good news for long time fans, but means little to newcomers.

More importantly, 3SO is the first Capcom game to officially support GGPO, a fan-made netcode system that sidesteps input lag by recording seconds of the gameplay at a time, and subtly tweaking the visuals so that inputs are precise regardless of connection strength. This worked perfectly in the matches we played online, though extremely bad connections lead to some odd visual stuttering as the game fiddles with what you’re seeing in order to preserve the inputs. Even so, it completely removes the “underwater” sensation you normally get when playing on bad connections.

3SO includes Trial modes, two of which briefly explain the game's parry system, but they go from reasonable to crazy quite fast. The last challenge asks you to perfectly imitate Daigo Umehara’s come from behind EVO victory against Justin Wong, so don’t think you’ll be clearing all of these on day one. Each character also has five individual trials to complete, though these also quickly become quite difficult.

Above: Da na na na nuh nah, My Shoryuken

Almost all of the Trials involve very tight links or specific spacing that isn’t always explained. A video replay of the combo being performed would also have been a huge help, and should really be standard in training modes at this point. More practical combos or tutorials would have been more helpful to new players, especially given how technical 3rd Strike is. As usual, expect to boot up YouTube or your favorite fighting game community site for help.

The game also features Challenges, in-game milestones that reward the player for performing specific tasks like performing ten Super Arts moves, or parrying a jumping attack. Completing these Challenges gives you Vault Points, which can be used to unlock music and concept art. The unlocked songs can be manually set to replace existing menu music which is a nice touch. 

For a lot of players, this will be their first exposure to 3rd Strike, and there’s some major differences to note. One of the first things SF4 players will notice when switching to 3rd Strike is the much stricter input requirements. Sloppy Dragon Punch and double fireball motions will result in little more than whiffed standing punches in this game. It may sound like a minor complaint, but you really will have to tighten up your gameplay if you hope to survive in the world of 3rd Strike.

Above: Even his wince animation is classy

Unlike the modern "fun comes first" design of MVC3 and SF4, 3rd Strike is a game based on skill, and the better player will generally always win. For dyed in the wool fighting game fans, this is a huge plus, but for casual players looking to have a little fun, their experience with 3SO will be brutally difficult and unforgiving. Bear in mind that the oldest 3rd Strike fans have been playing this game for 14 years already, so don't feel too bad when you get perfected online.

If you've never played 3rd Strike, this is a great, convenient way to check it out, and the $14.99/1200 MS Points price is more than fair, but be prepared for the brutal difficulty of a fighting game, and rabid fanbase, circa 1997. If you're a long time 3rd Strike fan or just a fighting game fan in general, you'll find more than your money's worth here. 3rd Strike is an incredibly rewarding game to play, and you can easily spend hours in training mode trying to master the tricky links and parries you'll need to win. It's been a long time coming, but 3rd Strike has finally gotten a console port worthy of its legacy.

Aug 23, 2011

More Info

Release date: Aug 23 2011 - Xbox 360, PS3 (US)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
Genre: Fighting
Franchise: Street Fighter
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Suggestive Themes, Violence

Topics

Capcom review

20 comments

  • birdro - August 24, 2011 8:33 a.m.

    Am I supposed to be singing the Akuma caption to "My Sharona"? As much as I will fail at this, I'll do my best to try and learn it. For whatever reason SF just doesn't jive with me, cannot competently for my life.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - August 24, 2011 8:20 a.m.

    So this is the CounterStrike: Source of online games.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - August 24, 2011 8:20 a.m.

    Erm, fighting games. Derp.
  • Vordhosbn - August 24, 2011 5:09 a.m.

    One thing I hated about SF4 online was the community. You'd get abused for winning, abused for picking the wrong character (which applied to ANY character), but worst of all was getting abused for LOSING. Who wins a game online then messages the other person to tell them how much they hated it and how you're a scrub who should never play fighting games ever again. and SF was the only community I've ever actually got more than 1 or 2 messages, which kind of put a downer on the experience really. Not expecting it to be much better on SF3, but I'm gonna try the demo anyway. I loved the animation playing it back on the Dreamcast, though I never played it enough to learn the ins and outs.
  • tareq - August 24, 2011 8:09 a.m.

    I've actually never had that happen to me apart from a few instances and I have something like 500 Ranked games on SSF4/AE
  • Vordhosbn - August 24, 2011 10:25 a.m.

    Maybe it's a PSN thing. For some reason (better D-pad I guess) I bought it for PS3, whereas I play almost all other games on xbox live. Played many hours of Tekken 6/VF5/Soul Calibur on Xbox live with no sad messages.
  • lewis42025 - August 24, 2011 10:32 p.m.

    I know exactly what you're talking about -___- I played Super Street Figher II Turbo HD Remix (whew) a lot when it came out and countless times people who lost messaged me saying I'm cheap (I'm not) or people who one called me a scrub or told me how much I sucked etc. I hate it too...
  • DirkSteele1 - August 23, 2011 11:47 p.m.

    Alas I am just not good enough at fighting games to get the most out of this.
  • F4G1TR0N - August 23, 2011 10:25 p.m.

    Trying my best at this game hopefully I will get better.
  • acimut - August 23, 2011 9:03 p.m.

    BEST GAME EVER!!! X_x
  • Ampatent - August 23, 2011 9:01 p.m.

    Weird, for how much you seemed to talk this up I was expecting a higher score. Still, I was buying it anyway. Also... there you go Grimmtecks!
  • LSZ - August 23, 2011 8:25 p.m.

    I only played this a bit on Dreamcast years ago so I downloaded it today. This game is kicking my ass so bad right now. I think I've been spoiled by the relatively forgiving timing in the Street Fighter 4 series (which kicks my ass online too). Great game though but I may punch a hole through my wall in the next couple weeks.
  • Mexicutioner - August 23, 2011 8:15 p.m.

    Man, I saw you play this freaking game on ranked not too long ago. Really looking forward to playing this game. I really missed out on this game. The hell?! My reCaptcha is showing a map?
  • meh - August 23, 2011 8:08 p.m.

    oh my god its here, Oh My God its here, OH MY GOD ITS HERE!!! YES, FINALLY!!! SO EXCITED!!!
  • soranamineforever - August 23, 2011 7:19 p.m.

    Seems like the best thing to come all year on the PSN and XBLA. Possibly the best fighting game, too. I will be so getting it.
  • FauxFurry - August 23, 2011 7:04 p.m.

    That first item under "You'll Hate" is going to result in an ocean full of salty new players and fairly briny brought-backers as well. It's going to be rough but fun, like some kind of online S&M club.
  • tareq - August 23, 2011 6:42 p.m.

    Ahhhhhhhhh I have to wait for it to come out on XBL
  • A_Dirty_Joke - August 23, 2011 6:35 p.m.

    Can't wait to play it. You are going down GRIMM!
  • Its_Over_9000! - August 23, 2011 6:26 p.m.

    Awesome, can't wait to get it.. especially after watching evo monet #37 ,, also my first ''FIRST'' i think (apologies)
  • Its_Over_9000! - August 23, 2011 6:26 p.m.

    Moment* (curse my dang typos)

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