Street Fighter Alpha - Capcom
by The Allmighty Cain (Jaso1670@Mars.Rowan.Edu)
For those of you who are familiar to the SF series this game takes place between SF1 and SF2. The characters are a mix of ones from both earlier games, as well as 2 new ones. I'll cover the returning characters first. First off , the master of Shotokan Karate, Ryu returns. Ryu is a karate master who searches the world for worthy opponents in order to prove his skill by defeating them. He is a good honorable fighter and the main character of the series. Next up is Ken Masters. Ken is a close friend, rival, and training partner of Ryu. Originally a palate swap of Ryu, his style has diverged from his. Both have pretty much the same basic fighting style, but where Ryu is more controlled and powerful, Ken is flashier and brutal. He is searching for Ryu in order to prove himself to be the better. Next comes Sagat. Originally the boss of the first Street Fighter, Sagat was given a humiliating defeat by Ryu. Sagat now carries with him physical, the Scar on his chest was caused by Ryus' dragon punch, and emotional scars that force him to hunt down Ryu in order to defeat him. Next comes every ones' favorite, and first lady of fighting games, Chun Li. Chun Li is a detective trying to shut down the mysterious leader of the crime Syndicate Shadaloo. Next up is a new comer to the SF series, but not to Capcom game fans, Guy. Guy was originally from a game called "Final Fight". Guy has almost nothing to do with the original SF storyline but is a great character none the less. Guy has no "Fireball" attacks but is the fastest, not to mention most graceful character in the game. For those familiar with SF2 he plays alot like Vega. Guy is also hunting for the mysterious leader of Shadaloo. Another character from "Final Fight" Sodom, no jokes please, is also in Alpha. Sodom looks like a football player on a team coached by Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurasawa. He fights using weapons called Jitte, not sai, not tuning forks. He was a member of the Street Gang "Mad Gear" who were defeated by Guy in "Final Fight". He's pissed, he's after Guy for Revenge, and he's named Sodom; what more could someone ask for in a character. For those who have played SF2, he is a cross between Zangief, and Fei Long in play style. Next up is Charlie Nash. Charlie Nash is a US Airforce officer after the head of Shadaloo. For those of you familiar with SF2 you will recognize him from Guiles' story line, "Mr. Nash; do you have any last requests?". As expected he plays alot like Guile, don't expect the old turtle tactics to work with him. Charlie is an offensive character. Adon is next. Adon is Sagats' student, and the second to the last character in the first Street Fighter. Adon plays nothing like Sagat and is well, original. Adon hearing of Sagats' defeat decides to finish off his teacher and take his place, yeah, and Blanka might fly out my butt. Birdie, the British punk from SF1 also returns in Alpha. For those who remember him from his original incarnation, expect a dramatic change. He looks like he gained about 400 pounds of muscle. He is trying to join Shadaloo. He plays like a cross between Zangief and Balrog from SF2. Next is Rose. Rose has magical "Soul Powers". She is completely new to any Capcom game, she looks alot like the young girl Anita from "Darkstalkers Revenge", coincidence? She was sent on a mission to kill the leader of Shadaloo for abuse of his "Gift" by an unknown third party. She is an outstanding character and is fun to play. She is not like any other character in the SF series.
The First secret character is the head of Shadaloo, M. Bison. M. Bison is much different in this game. He not only is more powerful, but has bulked up immensely. To play as M. Bison move the character select icon to the ? hold down the L & R buttons and tap L L D D L D D and hit either A&B or X&Y, on the player 2 side substitute R for all L.
Next up is the king of all idiots DAN! Dan was designed as a joke character. He is based on Robert Garcia from the "Art of Fighting" games by SNK. He sucks, he wears pink, he's Dan! Dan is after Sagat for the murder of his father. His father cost Sagat his eye. For those with either a great amount of skill, balls, luck, suicidal streak, etc the code to play as Dan is this. Move to the ?, Hold L&R hit Y B A X Y, or Y X A B Y.
The third secret character is the staple Capcom fighting Game secret character Akuma. Akuma is the lord of Chaos and Destruction, an inhuman killing machine from the bowels of hell itself, his wallet says Bad Mother F%#&*r, and is the man responsible for the murders of Ken and Ryu's Sensei and his Sensei, he also cried at the end of the Joy Luck Club (thanks Jenn) and makes a mean peach cobbler. To play as my favorite character in the SF series, not to mention the king of funky hair highlight the ?, hold L&R tap L L L D D D and hit X&Y or A&B, on the player 2 side replace the L's with R's. Akuma is da man, one word of warning, He is the most powerful character in the game, but when not controlled by the player he can't take that much damage, be careful.
I had to rate this two ways. The reason for this is the change in the style of graphics from the rest of the Street Fighter series. In the past the Street Fighter game has had, "as real looking as possible cartoon like graphics." These were very good for the characters, but some of them didn't look just right ex. Sagat was a tall, thin, Manute Bol looking character. The decision was made to make the characters for Alpha in the Anime style. Anime are highly stylized Japanese cartoons. If you like Anime this game is paradise. If you don't like Anime, as the majority of my friends, the graphics will be a let down. I asked some of my friends who don't like anime to rate the graphics and they gave them a 6. I myself love Anime so I rate the graphics an 8, It would have gotten higher but the backgrounds have only two layers of scrolling, not a fault of the Saturn it was this way in the Arcade. Compared to the backgrounds in X-Men and the Darkstalkers series, both Capcom Fighters with Anime graphics, they seem flat and not very lively. The background art is highly detailed but seems just, well, flat. Another problem is that you can see the dithering, but it was that way in the arcade too. The good points are many though. The Anime style graphics really improve the charm and personality of all the characters. For example Sagat has gone from an anorexic basketball player to a huge hulking Brute, he looks awesome. Another example is when Ryu does his super combo fireball, it looks the same way it does in SF2 the Animated movie. All the characters move smoothly and there are very few missing frames of Animation, the Saturn version has a few more frames then the PS version. All in all the graphics are excellent.
The sounds are excellent. For those who have been doubting the sound quality of the Saturn after VF2 and that hideous conversion of MK2 look no further. All of the sounds from the Arcade are included. The music is excellent, both the original and remixed versions are included. The only problem comes if you can't support Q sound, then some sound effects are a little weird sounding. This can be fixed by setting the sound to mono.
The gameplay is outstanding. It is very similar to SSF2T with the Super Combos. But there are a few changes. First off each character has multiple SCs, with the least being 2 and the most with 4, guess who. The SC bar now has multiple parts, the more parts filled the more powerful the move. Secondly there are Alpha counters. Alpha counters are player specific moves that allow you to counter moves. These are useful in certain situations, i.e. trapped in the corner, but do very little damage, and drain 1 level of your super meter. Another change from SSF2T is that throw softening has been renamed "Teching" and are harder to do. You can also roll from a fall. The control is swift, responsive and just feels right. The speed is adjustable, you can configure your joystick and a whole bunch of options as well as a few modes not in the Arcade. The two modes are VS, a SF staple, Ranking, and Training. In training mode you get to practice your combos on an immortal opponent. These really improve the game. There are a few things that have changed from the arcade though that must be classified as negative. The most annoying thing changed is taunting. In the arcade taunting was done by hitting the start button, only 1 per round. Now you have to hold the L&R buttons. Even then they don't come out all the time, thus sometimes you get the taunt off late and get stuck in it when you opponent has recovered. Second two of the specials have been changed. *Spoiler* Both these specials are Akumas'. Akumas ground SC fireball no longer works the way it did in the arcade, as does his Raging Demon SC. His Ground SC fireball can easily be done in auto block "wimp" mode. I have heard reports that the Raging Demon was changed too Jab, Jab, tap forward, A, Z when powered up to level 3. I have not been able to get it to work so any help would be appreciated.
If you are into 2d fighters you will love this game plain and simple. Note this is not a realistic fighter or a 3d game. Thus if you don't like unrealistic or 2d fighting games this is not your game. If you do buy it. It is the best 2d fighter on any home system till X-Men is released, even then Acclaim will probably screw up the conversion of the Japanese version. Buy this game. *Spoiler* There is a code in the game that allows 2 players to fight a computer opponent, this is a blast. Also there are reports of there being things added to the Saturn version :-)
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