Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Alpha 3, the Evolution of Custom Combos

Alpha 3 never felt like a proper Street Fighter game to me. It was something quite different than even the prior two Alpha games. It had an abusable air-juggle system, one that necessitated aerial recovery for the first time in a Street Fighter game. The game's new V-ism mode allowed custom combos that could lead to 100% damage (see below). This was all facilitated by the game starting both characters with full meter. How did it come to this?

It all started, obviously, with Street Fighter Alpha. I really liked Alpha 1, especially the ability all characters had to perform chain combos. Alpha 2 took away chain combos and made the general gameplay feel more SF2-ish. There was one major difference: the introduction of custom combos, possibly to make up for the loss of chain combos. Custom combos made supers basically obsolete, as supers dealt less damage in most cases. Also, in certain situations, a properly-timed activation would lead to a completely unblockable combo. Alpha 3's take on custom combos, V-ism, was an even greater threat when combined with the new air-juggle system.

When you trace its heritage, you can see how the Alpha series evolved into something very different from the game it began with. Alpha 3 came a long way from Alpha 1. But even with all of its quirks, Alpha 3 can be fun to play, as it is certainly a unique take on the Street Fighter formula.

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