Street Fighter Alpha 3 on the PlayStation was a great translation, and the extra modes really brought a lot to the game. The Dreamcast version of Alpha 3 keeps all the great modes and additions from the PlayStation version but also uses the more powerful hardware to its benefit, delivering larger character sizes, sharper and more colorful graphics, and extremely minimal load times.
With Street Fighter 3 shooting off into an entirely new world with lots of new characters and Capcom's versus series of fighters pitting the Street Fighters against various comic book characters, the Alpha series is really the only "classic" Street Fighter line left. That's not to say that it's grown stagnant. Even though it's chock-full of characters that we've been extremely familiar with for close to a decade, the little touches here and there and the addition of new fighters keep the game fresh enough to maintain its relevancy.
Moving on from Street Fighter Alpha 2, Alpha 3 maintains the same gameplay, though a few new options bring a lot of variety to the game. After you select your character, you're given a choice of three different fighting styles, termed "isms," which govern the way your super combos work. A-ism gives you multiple super combos that can be executed at three different levels, much like the standard alpha combos in Alpha 1 and 2. V-ism gives you variable combos, which behave much like the custom combo feature introduced in Alpha 2. X-ism returns to Super Street Fighter II Turbo-style combos, where you only have one combo, but it's much more powerful than your average A-ism combo. There are also a few other subtle differences in the isms, such as the ability to air block.
World Tour mode brings a ton of single-player value to Alpha 3. The mode is basically set up a lot like Soul Blade's edge master mode. You travel from stage to stage, fighting in matches that have various requirements, such as time attacks, survival matches, and fights where only combos do damage. As you progress, you'll earn experience points and add-ons called ism-pluses, which grant you things like air blocking, charging super meters, and increased block meter damage. You can then import these world-tour fighters into the game's other modes, but they won't gain any experience in other portions of the game. Add to this little quick modes like survival and dramatic battle (which lets you play a three-player, two-on-one game), and you've got enough modes to keep you busy whether you're playing alone or with friends.
Graphically, Street Fighter Alpha 3 has an outstanding look. The characters are large, colorful, and well animated. The backgrounds also look quite nice. The audio is about what you'd expect from a Street Fighter game, making good use of stereo separation as the action travels from one side of the screen to the other. The music is also quite good.
The Dreamcast controller again proves that it isn't cut out for Street Fighter-style fighting games. Though not as bad an offender as Marvel vs. Capcom was, the controller's top buttons simply aren't as responsive as they need to be for this type of game. It may work well if you're driving a car, but trying to pull off Dragon Punches with them is a different story. Again, as with Marvel vs. Capcom, you're going to want to spend a little extra money and get Sega's arcade-style joystick, which solves every single problem posed by the DC's standard controller.
If you've already purchased Alpha 3 on the PlayStation, that may very well be enough. But the Dreamcast version is a flawless conversion of the arcade game, with more options than its PlayStation counterpart, making it a more than worthwhile addition to the DC's already-deep 2D fighter lineup.