Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX ReviewCain Dornan
Pulling the fight from the classic arcade and into the modern-day portable world, Capcoms Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX is a clean and accurate port of a classic arcade game. Fans and admirers of the classic 2D fighter will be pleased to learn that all the features, characters and modes that you loved have made a triumphant debut onto the PlayStation Portable, further backed with a number of additional extras that is sure to put the smile on any fans face. Unfortunately, the game also suffers from a small number of minor problems, mainly in the form of the PSPs hardware functions, which may prove to frustrate some fans as they tackle with the somewhat awkward controls that just dont feel quite right.
Far from a small and shallow fighter, Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX packs plenty of playable content within the single UMD. The game comes packaged with some 40 different fighters to play as, a whopping twelve different modes of play and a pleasing collection of options and other customizable functions. While some modes arent quite as large and deep as one would hope, the sheer number of different gameplay offerings combine to provide plenty of gameplay life for any Street Fighter fan.
One of the key modes available is the Arcade Mode, which allows you to select a character and then progress through a series of fights that are followed with short story pieces. Each character offers their own background story that provides a rough explanation for why they are traveling around the world and battling various strangers, which offers a further level of variation which is topped off with each characters unique fighting style. No two of the characters fight with the exact same style or moves, with each offering their own distinctive appearance, movement and general feel that allows the game to feel surprisingly different with each character that you play as.
When selecting a character, you are offered the choice of choosing one of three different fighting styles, known as the isms. Theres the A-ism fighting style, X-ism and V-ism styles, each slightly altering the way in which your character performs moves by either simplifying or altering the actions of different button combinations. You can also determine the speed in which the fights are performed, with either a fast or slightly slower alternative available for your choosing.
World Tour is another of the key modes that is on-hand. Essentially, the mode allows you to select a character and then travel across the globe in aim of building your fighters strength and experience. For each battle that you win, you are awarded with experience points that build to improve your selected characters fighting ability.
Theres also the classic Survival mode, which sees you fighting through a never-ending stream of progressive fights without your health completely regenerating between fights. The Survival mode comes complete with a number of small variables, such as Survival Dramatic, which allows you to compete in two-on-one survival matches. The next mode available is the Variable Battle mode, which allows you to select two characters and then progress through an Arcade Mode styled series of battles that allows you to battle with two different characters by swapping between both whilst in fighting. If one of your fighters is defeated, you can instantly continue the fight by using your secondary fighter. A similar mode is Dramatic Battle, which allows you to fight with two players simultaneously, although one of your fighters is controlled by the computer. This essentially creates some interesting two-on-one battles, which proves to be quite different from the standard one-on-one fare that is available in the other modes. The game also offers a variant of this mode, which sees you fighting against two competitors simultaneously on your own, rather than having the two fighters on your side.
The VS 100 Kumite mode pits you through 100 fights to see how many of the fights that you can win. The fights progress regardless of whether you win or lose each battle, with the ratio number of wins to losses being rewarded to you upon successfully plowing through each of the 100 fights. If youre not up for the 100-in-a-row fights or being forced to fight against randomly-generated characters, you may be pleased to learn of the Free Battle mode, which allows you to select a character and an opponent and then battle in a variety of different conditions, which are essentially spin-offs of the aforementioned modes that have been discussed. If you dont want your competitor to fight back for whatever reason, or if you simply want to learn the basics of the game, your best bet is to head into the Training Mode, which, as the name suggests, trains you in the basics of fighting.
The last of the gameplay modes is Final Battle, which pits you directly against the king-of-all-fighters himself. A tough brute who is capable of diminishing almost all of your health with a single hit, this mode is definitely not for the faint hearted.
If fighting against computer characters begins to grow stale, you can verse your friends through the wireless Ad-Hoc multiplayer mode. This allows for simple head-to-head two player fights, or, if you have a few friends handy with their own PSPs, you can create your own tournament to determine who is the best fighter within your group.
Although Capcom has not made any noticeable graphical enhancements over the original game, Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX looks surprisingly good on the PSP. The games background environments are full of cartoon-styled, 2D scenery that offer plenty of charm. The games characters, while somewhat blurry on the detail, offer a great appearance that is only marred with the occasional choppy animation. Any of the problems with the visuals are almost negligible, and certainly do not subtract from the charm and beauty that this classic fighter offers.
Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX for the PSP proves to be a great port of a classic arcade game. While the level of enjoyment can be lowered due to the small control problems that are associated with the PSPs hardware, which makes the game somewhat awkward to play with the handhelds buttons, this classic port offers a great opportunity for fans of the franchise or fighting games in general to play a solid fighter on the PSP.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.