Developer(s) – Capcom
Publisher(s) – Capcom
Designer(s) – Yasuhiro Seto, Tomonori Ohmura & Obata Shinichiro
Producer – Tomoshi Sadamoto
First released for Japanese arcades in 1997, and brought overseas in 1999 on the Dreamcast, Street Fighter III received critical acclaim upon release; albeit to a much lesser extent of commercial success than the universally influential Street Fighter II, but enough of an effort for many long-time fans of the series to go so far as to hail it as the perfect fighting game, due to the fluidity of it’s controls compared to every other fighting game around at that time, as well as previous entries in the series. Curious, I approached it with fairly high expectations, and whilst I didn’t find it to be my favourite fighting game of all time, by far that honour would go to SoulCalibur IV, I wasn’t disappointed for the most part, and had a lot of fun playing it.
Graphics – 7.5/10
Instead of incorporating 3D graphics into the franchise, like most other gaming franchises were doing at this time, Street Fighter stuck with the more traditional 2D visuals, as well the more traditional 2D style of play, and even against many fighting games released at the time, it still look looked particularly impressive. What I was most enticed by personally was how detailed, varied and visually striking the backdrops to each stage are, and the amount of effort that went into the conceptual design in general. Although I found the character roster to not be the strongest of the series (my personal favourite being Ultra Street Fighter IV), Capcom tried to branch out in different directions in terms of character design, and some unfortunately work better than others. I personally would have liked to see one or two more classic characters than what was present in III, but overall, the roster is fairly solid, and the visuals did well to make the game stand out.
Gameplay – 8/10
The third game is essentially a carbon copy of the second, but with added features thrown in for good measure, as well as of course new characters and move sets. The main addition to the series that came with Street Fighter III was the ability to parry opponent’s attacks, and to also string together more elaborate and powerful combos; the bars for which are charged up every time the player lands a hit on their opponents. They made for robust and welcome new features to the series that built upon that which made Street Fighter II undisputedly the most influential fighting game of all time, which is in turn part of the reason why many fans consider it to even be superior to the second game. Whilst fighting isn’t my favourite genre of video game, I’ve had fun with a fair few of them, and Street Fighter III is no exception.
Controls – 10/10
As I alluded to earlier, despite the fact that there were many fighting game series’ that were able to implement 3D movement relatively well, including my favourite fighting game of all time, I’ve always favoured 2D movement for it’s simplicity and lack of additional complication. It’s because of this that Street Fighter III, like almost every other entry in the series bar the original game, poses no problems in terms of controls. It’s certainly very satisfying to witness how far Capcom have come after creating one of the worst fighting games of all time to some of the greatest.
Originality – 6/10
Both the game’s visuals and general style of traditional fighting gameplay are the key elements that make the third instalment standout among others. Though I may not have like every new character implemented, Capcom did reasonably well to keep things fresh in this respect. However, I was surprised at the lack of game modes in Street Fighter III, since by this time every other major fighting game franchise had implemented new game modes, such as survival, time trial etc. The only thing closest to an additional game mode in Street Fighter III is the return of the Crush the Car mini game from Street Fighter II. Otherwise, there’s nothing beyond either arcade mode or multiplayer (online or offline) that makes it stand out from the point of view of variety in gameplay.
However, despite my qualm I have about the lack of gameplay modes in comparison with most other fighting games released at the time, Street Fighter III still remains an extremely enjoyable fighting game, and one coming highly recommended from me. It has excellent and fluent controls, as well as challenge and a great feeling of intensity in it’s gameplay, and the hand-drawn visuals make for a 2D feast for the eyes that whilst may have been more or less fazed out during the sixth generation, have since inspired many current developers, both indie and mainstream, to create more games throughout the seventh and eighth generations using the same rendering methods; and the industry is all the better for it in my opinion.