Street Fighter EX 3 Review
Let's face it, everywhere you go, almost every console you play, you have seen or played a Street Fighter game. Whether it's Fighter Street in a Funcoland store, Street Fighter 2 at your friend Jon's house, or Marvel vs. Capcom for Dreamcast in your local EB World. You can't escape Capcom's biggest phenomenon and the world's most recognized fighting game franchise, if not gaming franchise period. We truly have come a long way since Street Fighter 2 on Super Nintendo, or Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo on the Arcades, or even Street Fighter Alpha 3 for the Playstation. The Street Fighter series has landed on almost every single console that has graced US store shelves, the exception of course being Nintendo 64. Capcom has released more than five Street Fighter games on the Playstation alone in a five year period, and just over five for the Dreamcast in less than a year's time. Capcom honestly doesn't know when to quit, and with around 40 different Street Fighter games available, the Street Fighter franchise is without a doubt the largest videogaming franchise ever. It seems though that Capcom has really hit a jackpot with their Breath of Fire series, Resident Evil series, and definitely their Tag Team VS games, such as X-Men vs. Street Fighter (the game that started it all), Marvel vs. Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and Capcom vs. SNK. Well now Capcom has adopted the idea of tag team fighting, and added Street Fighter characters in full 3D, in a game that they like to call Street Fighter EX3, one of the very first Playstation 2 games to be released in Japan. Capcom promised a little visual refinement so see if they lived up to the promise and much more in the review of Street Fighter EX3.
Looking at games like Tekken Tag Tournament and Dead or Alive 2, Street Fighter trails at a distant third. The graphics aren't very bad, and have more positives than negatives, but the game is surely flawed though so I'll kick it off with the "pros" and head into the "cons". The fighters are incredibly big and Capcom put good effort into making them look very sturdy and muscularly built just like they should be. All of the characters are very smooth and the body parts that each fighter has are incredibly created with a wholesome amount of attention to detail. The frame rate is one thing that has improved, unlike the Japanese version where if more than two fighters were on screen and the game would crawl, the US version screams by without any noticeable frame rate drop, so that's a promise that Capcom fulfilled. The special effects are a bit over done, and the contact sparks are definitely a cue from the Tekken games, although EX3 really over exaggerates the look of the sparks. As the final "pro", I would like to describe the pretty looking 3D backgrounds, the detail is very nice, not as good as TTT's or DOA2's, but still they have great looking lighting effects such as fire and sun.
Now what I found disappointing is that I know that the game could have been better, this is certainly something that the Dreamcast would be able to do easily, and I know that if Capcom pushed themselves a little more for the US release of EX3, like Tecmo did with DOA2, we could have had a much more polished and sleeker looking game. Instead what we got was a somewhat dated looking fighter that can't really compare to the likes of Tekken Tag or Dead or Alive 2: Hardcore. The backgrounds also flicker, so Capcom didn't eliminate that, and I believe that the anti-alising wasn't implemented as well, because when I took a close look, I noticed a few jaggies on the legs of fighters, but trust me, it won't bother you because the aliasing is hardly noticeable. I'm now hoping that the next Street Fighter EX game will have individually skin toned characters, with their own unique skin tone color, anti-aliasing, more advanced looking characters with a more realistic look (think Tekken Tag) and more navigative arenas would be very nice.
What is there really to say about this game? Well, okay I'll start with the tagging feature and how it works. Just like the VS titles the tagging works by hitting the High Kick and High Punch buttons at the same time, and doing double team combos is done the same way as the combos in the VS games are. What's great about EX3 is that you can have a 2 on 2 simultaneous match with all four characters on one screen, I really liked the addition of that to the EX series, a great way to challenge the PS2 I think. What bugs me about the game is that the last boss is always M. Bison and there are no endings, just an update written in text which was a really dumb idea. I think that companies have forgotten the great importance that endings hold, you beat a game to see the characters ending, so why must you be disappointed when all you see is a paragraph of writing and that is it, I loved the Street Fighter 2 Turbo days, the endings were great and totally worth the experience. I don't only scold EX3 on this topic, I also commenting on games like Tekken Tag and DOA2, both games had severely short endings and I would greatly appreciate more detailed endings in fighting games.
Street Fighter EX3 includes over 25 characters, sixteen of which that can be chosen from the start and the others that need to be unlocked. Of course Ryu, Ken, Sakura, Chun-Li, Bison, Vega, Sagat, Guile, Blanka and tons of other EX and original Street Fighter characters have made it, but a new introduction has been made, a new fighter called Ace is the newest Street Fighter, although he is actually your customizable Street Fighter, that you can edit, build his skills, buy a new move, save the data and fight with him. Street Fighter EX3 is also a lot like Tekken Tag, every time you beat the game with a different character you are rewarded a new character such as Bison, Garuda, Shadow Geist, or Sagat. Street Fighter EX3's Original mode really impresses me with its recruitment system, the first round would pit your character against three fighters (all on one screen) that need about two hits each, the last fighter beaten will be the fighter that you have a choice of recruiting so that in the next round you can tag. As the battles go on, the last beaten character will be asked to join, make sure you pick your path correctly, because the last battle with Bison is a 4 on 1 gauntlet fight, so if say Ryu gets knocked out, Ken will come in, your fighter that you picked will always be saved for last. Street Fighter EX3 is quite the enjoyable game, its got a few tweaks here and there over the Japanese version, but nothing that the average gamer would care about, I like the action, and this is probably the best four player fighter of the three games, because of the more edgy and arcade gameplay.
For some reason, Capcom re-used the sounds from Street Fighter EX2 for PSOne, made them more crisp and better sounding, then stuck them into EX3, thank you Capcom! I loved the soundtrack in Street Fighter EX2, I thought that the tracks fit the characters very well, balanced out the game, and just overall felt snuggly. Thankfully SFEX3 doesn't suffer from any poor Japanese to English voice translation like DOA2: Hadcore did, instead the voices are in Japanese, and it just feels right that they are. Although I like the sound, Capcom didn't do anything that great or new to make me want to give this game something higher, good stuff, but nothing very new.
The controls play out exactly like the previous EX games did or Alpha games. Pulling off super combos is done the same as it always has been, instead of pulling of a motion from down to right and hitting Punch 3X for a Hadoken super combo with say Ryu, you would need to repeat the motion twice and then hit any punch or kick button depending on what super it is. The Dual Shock is a great punch here, every fall, punch and kick is felt with the sweet recoil of the Dual Shock 2, it is just too bad that the analog sticks aren't supported, it would have been a great addition. Solid true to the series controls keep EX3 from being anywhere near complicated.
In the end Street Fighter EX3 is a decent launch title, but those looking for a whole new fighting experience should look else where, EX3 is a fun game but it offers little of anything new to keep fighter enthusiasts going for a very long time. If you enjoy rhythm fighting with ten hit combos then Tekken Tag is your choice, if you are a die hard fan of Street Fighter fan, love the VS series then go with Street Fighter EX3, or you prefer huge environments, fast furious action then Dead or Alive 2 is your field, either way I feel that you can't go wrong, all three games are a good time and will keep you company for a reasonable amount of time.
11/13/2000 Arnold Katayev