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Review: Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition


Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike is one of the most highly regarded fighting games of all time. Sadly, it’s also one that many people, including myself, missed out on. The technical gameplay mechanics and the lack of returning characters was more than enough to alienate the majority of fans. Simply put, Street Fighter III just wasn’t as successful or as popular as its predecessor. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a great fighting game. Throw in all the new features included in Online Edition and you have a fighter that not only rivals the most recent releases in the genre, but surpasses them.

Unlike Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, the visuals in Third Strike have not been completely redone. These are the same character sprites from 1999 but displayed at a higher resolution. You’d be surprised at how great this game still looks. Characters are highly detailed and animations are incredibly fluid, even to this day. It’s the pinnacle of sprite based fighters, that’s for sure.

Capcom included a few graphical filters if pixels aren’t your thing. The crisp setting makes the pixel less apparent but the sprites are blurrier as a result. Smooth works similarly, although edges are more noticeable. The developers made sure that each filter was applied on a character by character basis, so these aren’t just generic emulator settings. The one you choose ultimately comes down to user preference since gameplay is unaffected.

As if that wasn’t enough, you can also change the view point from its original 4:3 aspect ratio to widescreen, stretched, or arcade cabinet. You can also add scan lines to the picture for an even more old school look. Purists will definitely want to stick with the normal settings since that’s how the game should be played. It’s not like Capcom properly rebuilt the entire game with widescreen in mind. You’re just getting a stretched imaged. That’s not to say that it doesn’t look good, because it certainly does.

Select the one to fight with. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6. Pick and choose the right one. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Everything outside of the actual gameplay has received a visual facelift. The new user interface features artwork by Stan Lau and shows a different character each time you visit the main menu. Even the character select screen has been overhauled in High Definition.┬áThere are two sets of art now – the original character portraits from Third Strike rescanned in HD, and new artwork for the actual icons on screen. It’s a nice mixture of old and new.

It’s not just the graphics that have been overhauled though, Swedish rapper Adam Tensta provides his musical talents for two tracks in the game – the main menu and character select screen. All of the stages in the game now have remixed versions arranged by Simon Viklund (Bionic Commando: Rearmed). Once unlocked, you can customize the soundtrack to your liking by using a mixture of classic and remixed themes. It’s even possible to change the main menu music to whatever you want. It’s worth noting that the original character select music doesn’t start in the same spot as it originally did, which is a bit of an oversight.

Whilst Capcom have clearly put a lot into the game graphically and musically, they didn’t go crazy by rebalancing or tweaking the gameplay. This is an arcade perfect port of the most recent version of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. Considering the fighting game community’s response to Sirlin’s approach with Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, which changed fundamental properties of moves and made it an entirely new game, this is probably a good thing. Some improvements have been made, however. There’s now an option for random select and you can change your control layout at the character select screen (it uses the same button press setup as HDR).

Third Strike Online features the standard modes you’d find in any fighting game and more. Arcade mode still has you fighting a series of battles until you reach the final boss, and each character still has their original endings. Other modes include offline and online Challenges, Trials, Training, and online multiplayer.

Challenge mode’s challenges occur dynamically as you play matches. Some are easy, such as winning a match, while others are a bit more demanding. Each challenge has multiple tiers with increasing difficulty, so it’s going to take awhile to complete them all. Successfully completing challenges gives you points to redeem in the Vault. This is where you can unlock concept art and new music. Each character has their own section dedicated just to them featuring artwork from various artists around the world. Unlocking items in the vault provides a nice break from punching faces.

The Trials mode is one of the more robust additions. Each character has five combo challenges to complete. It’s pretty similar to the trial mode from Street Fighter IV. The big difference here is that there’s also parry challenges and handicap trials that put you through ridiculous odds. Imagine having to defeat Ryu as Akuma with absolutely no health on the expert difficulty. Yeah, it’s pretty crazy.

What’s great about the trials mode in Third Strike is that you’ll get useful tips that actually improve your gameplay. It serves as a tutorial in some regards, but it’s nowhere near as comprehensive. You will learn the mechanics just a little bit more by completing the trials, assuming you don’t bash your face into the wall due to the difficulty. The last parry trial, simply titled EVO moment #37, has you recreating the final moments of Daigo versus Justin Wong from EVO 2004 by parrying Chun-Li’s Super and completing the combo afterwards as Ken. As you can imagine, it’s quite a challenge.

Training mode comes in two different forms – normal and parry. In normal training mode you can manipulate basic dummy settings or fight an AI. There’s a record function but it just does straight playback with no interaction. However, in parry training mode you can set Player 2’s actions and react to it as Player 1. This not only helps you learn the timing for parries more effectively, but it also lets you come up with new strategies to use in various situations.

  1. iucidium
    Since: Jan 2011


    Comment posted on 22/08/2011 at 17:47.
  2. yogdog
    Since: Feb 2010

    So when is Street Fighter IV: Ultimate Super-Duper So Amazing It’ll Even Wash Dishes And Walk Your Pet Dolphin Edition coming out then? :)

    Comment posted on 22/08/2011 at 17:51.
  3. D-Nichol
    Since: Dec 2008

    Ive never been a big SF fan to be honest. More of an MK kinda guy. I got sf2 hd remix with plus. Is it any good?

    Comment posted on 22/08/2011 at 17:52.
  4. Bodachi
    Since: Jan 2010

    Can’t wait to get this on Wednesday, already pre-ordered it. One very in-depth review not many other places go into such detail. Nice work.

    Comment posted on 22/08/2011 at 18:22.
  5. Delriach
    Since: Jul 2009

    I just noticed that I forgot to mention the dipswitch menu. I did for my hands on from E3. It hasn’t changed.

    You can modify things like being able to parry, the timing required, etc. It’s not something you’ll see used often but kind neat that it’s there.


    Comment posted on 22/08/2011 at 19:04.
    • heedbaw
      Since: Nov 2009

      no danger, the dipswitches are DLC. Just noticed on the US store update.

      Comment posted on 23/08/2011 at 23:30.
  6. TSBonyman
    Since: Dec 2009

    Good review and even though it’s not something i would be into it’s great to see the summer lull ending with some quality new releases.

    Comment posted on 22/08/2011 at 19:38.
  7. Foxhound_Solid
    Is a smart cookie.
    Since: Dec 2009

    Want. Now.

    Comment posted on 22/08/2011 at 20:44.
  8. wuntunzee
    Since: Dec 2008

    Yeah, good review, i was surprised to find out about the widescreen issue though, thats a shame. Looking forward to playing this as i skipped SSFIVAE.
    if anyone is interested in a good street fighter community, have a look at http://www.mordor-mashup.com. they are mostly xbox, but i am psn only.

    Comment posted on 22/08/2011 at 21:02.
    • Delriach
      Since: Jul 2009

      I wouldn’t say the widescreen thing is an actual issue. There’s not much they can do except stretch the image since they’re not reworking the in game visuals. That would ultimately change the way it’s played too since the perspective would be different. In SSFIITHDR they zoomed in on the characters to make it seem like it was proper widescreen. Whole chunks of the level were missing. Not really ideal at all. At least with this method you’re still getting the same screen space.

      Comment posted on 22/08/2011 at 21:59.
      • wuntunzee
        Since: Dec 2008

        I guess I was hoping they had expanded the stages, but that would be a lot of effort I suppose.
        and was also hoping for something like this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1StCGhmjvI

        Comment posted on 23/08/2011 at 07:31.
  9. Mundham
    Since: Feb 2011

    Two 9/10 reviews in one day? TSA, you are spoiling us!!!

    Comment posted on 22/08/2011 at 21:23.
  10. elpablo79
    Since: May 2009

    Excellent and incredibly thorough review, I already had this pre ordered, it’s been on my radar for a while now although never been on it. I’m really enjoying the resurgence of fighters recently, although still feeling a little burned by Capcom with multiple disc releases of titles. Traded in MvC3 to await the newer one. Anyway, back on top again, the game sounds just as I hoped and I kinda enjoy the classic looks of games, over the smoother options. Roll on Wednesday!

    Comment posted on 22/08/2011 at 23:25.