Capcom Finally Learns To Count To Three!

User Rating: 9 | Street Fighter III: Double Impact DC
When Street Fighter III came out, that was the biggest news to me in video gaming I had ever recieved at that time. Sadly, I didn't have a Dreamcast, and the only arcades to have either of the first two itterations were too far to bother, plus I couldn't really drive on my own at the time. Until recently, the only SFIII game I had ever gotten a chance to properly review was Third Strike. But eventually a glorious creation called finally allowed me to review III: A New Generation of Street Fighters and Street Fighter III: Second Impact: Giant Attack. I go back to both these games years later and honestly, having grown as a SF player, and having spent much time with the outstanding Street Fighter IV, I have gained more now out of these two classics than ever before.

What I faintly remembered from the arcade version of Second Impact is the same; the gameplay, the animation, the difficulty and the plain fun. What I have never been able experience was quite sad, though. Yes, the game is a perfect arcade version, but that is all. The only extras you have are the staple modes that make a console release slightly better, like practice, versus, etc. So, this game really is, in the absolute pure essence of the famous, hyphenated adjective, arcade-perfect. I guess, deep down inside I really expected it, to be honest, mostly because I got to experience Third Strike first. If Third Strike's console version isn't more, why would the predecessor be? At the time of this review, something like this bothered me, but as I've grown as a Street Fighter player, I've come to love the bare-bones simplicity and realise that what I didn't get out of these games, I got out of 3rd Strike, and what I did get out of these games is more than enough to keep me coming back. The gameplay is magnificant, and way ahead of its time; the graphics are the same.

I'll start things off with III: A New Generation of Street Fighters. This game is the most bare-bones of the "collection". It has no more than about 10 characters, all of which are completely original, save for Ryu and Ken. Although the others make their debut to the series in this game, anyone who's familiar with Street Fighter 2 and the Alpha series' will be immediately familiar with characters like Sean and Dudley, whom are like Dan and Balrog, respectively. Characters like these give fans comfortability to fall back on while at the same time allow them to experience something entirely new. The fact that the characters are likeable makes this easy to execute. There are 4 new concepts introduced in Street Fighter III, one of which I shunned but now love is how only one of your character's Super-Art's is available from a choice of 3 right after the initial character selection. This may seem like a certain restrictiveness would be added to the gameplay, and while that's to some extent true, it actually makes the matches more intense. Every super art has a different meter in terms of how many stocks you can hold and how long the meter is, i.e. Ryu's Shin Shoryuken super art has a very long meter but holds only one stock (which means you can only build up one Super, and you have to use it before you build up more), where as his Shinku Hadouken has a slightly shorter meter and holds 2 stocks so you can build up two supers and unleash them consecutively (if you so with). Your taunts are now called "Personal Actions", the reason being because now, instead of merely being an action done to taunt your oponent, they give certain benefits to your character when completed. I.E. some P.A.'s cause the character to deal a little more damage for a short amount of time, while some allow the character's block stunn meter to handle more blocked hits. That may seem like a minute addition that won't affect players much at first, but it actually gives off more of an insentive to do taunts and adds to the gameplay even more depth, and it is something hardcore fans will appreciate.

The third concept is the "Perry" technique. Instead of blocking an attack and taking chipping-damage, you tap towards your oponent or down, depending on how your oponent attacks, right before you get hit, and you'll "perry" the attack, which defends against the move, leaves you in absolutely no stun what-so-ever, leaves your oponent in a "frozen" state for a split second and allows you to retaliate with any move or combo you chose, and did I mention you take NO DAMAGE!? You can perry any attack in the game except grabs. That's right, you can even perry projectiles and Super-Arts. You can perry in the air as well, which makes up for the loss of air-block (taking us back to the heyday of Street Fighter II). It takes perfect timing and skill, but once mastered, it's the best defensive maneuver in your entire arsinal! The last concept introduced in this game is the grade-judge system. Behind the scenes, the game "calculates" how well you and your oponnent, whether CPU or human controlled, fight. At the end of the round, on the chance that a draw occurrs, boxing-girl-esque models walk out on the stage and hold up signs with their scores of how both characters did, and the character who scores highest wins. This may seem like a wierd concept, but it's a unique twist to an otherwise standard staple mechanic for fighting games that isn't boring. Also, the mechanic is quite fair, as the game technically calculates the score by examining and grading every individual move done throughout the entire round. All these aspects come together to make for a fresh and exciting new Street Fighter game, and the silky-smooth gameplay only adds immensely to the package.

As for 2nd Impact, everything stated above is completely included, along with a few more characters, more rounded and balanced gameplay and slightly improved graphics. In addition, one more new gameplay element was added, the EX move. Everyone in the game has EX moves, except Akuma, Shin Akuma and Gill. When you perform a special move, i.e. Ryu's Hadouken or Ken's Shoryuken, press two of the attack button instead of just one and you'll perform a move theat's even stronger, faster, hits more (most of the time) and even have some differing properties (i.e. a move that usually knocks down may now set up for a juggle with it's EX version). The way Capcom balances out the EX move is that it takes up some of the Super Art meter, so you can chose whether to conserve meter for a barage of EX moves or a Super Art and I especially love how the S.A. selected plays a role in your desicion because Capcom kept in the different length and stock properties of the super's meters. The only gripe I used have about 2nd Impact is the same gripe I have about New Generation; the fact that it's still pretty bare-bones, especially compared to Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 and Street Fighter Alpha 3, both of which have been available on the Sega Dreamcast for quite some time. There isn't an inclusion of exclusive modes to 2nd Impact, there isn't network play, and there aren't that many new characters added. As stated, this has become null and void, and this game is even more legendary and adictive now than it has ever been. This game is probably the most intense and captivating 2D fighting game out now, whether made by Capcom or not. That, right there is a true testamate to what this series really is, and if that's not enough to have you get this game, I don't know what will be.

You will most likely be spending more time with 2nd Impact, as it's the superior game in the compilation and would be well worth the price of admition on its own. To get the first itteration as well for the price of one game is just a chance that any self-respecting Street Fighter fan should not pass up, and casual players would do well with at least a rental.