Hot on the heels of Capcom's double whammy of Street Fighter III action, Double Impact, comes 3rd Strike, the third game in the Street Fighter III series. While the two releases are roughly the same, 3rd Strike delivers new characters and enough new options to make it a worthwhile product, even if you already own Double Impact.
The main attraction that 3rd Strike adds over Second Impact and the original SFIII is the addition of more characters. The most notable addition is the return of Chun-Li, who has been done up in true Street Fighter III style, and she now possesses more frames of animation than she knows what to do with. Other new characters include Twelve, the alien creature; Q, the robot guy in a trench coat; and Remy, who looks like he escaped from a King of Fighters game. Aside from a few minor gameplay tweaks, it's business as usual, with selectable super arts, parrying, and Gill, the game's ultracheap boss.
What really makes 3rd Strike special is the system-direction option screen. This separate screen gives you ten pages of choices that alter the gameplay, allowing you to cancel super arts into super arts, enable air blocking, turn on chain combos, and lots more. Suffice it to say that if there's something about 3rd Strike that you don't like, odds are you can alter it with the system-direction settings.
Graphically, the game is smooth. The new characters are as frame-laden as the older characters, and they fit into the world rather nicely. The backgrounds occasionally look a bit flat, but they still look decent. The game's sound has been given a pretty major overhaul since Second Impact, with the addition of a new announcer, a few altered voices, and a couple of Street Fighter raps that play over the select screen.
If you bought Double Impact, that may very well be all the Street Fighter III action you need. But if you skipped out on Double Impact - or if you're fanatical about your SFIII - 3rd Strike is a good, refined 2D fighter that won't disappoint.