Name: Street Fighter 3: W Impact (76.67% in 3 votes)
Release date: 1999
Reviewed by: KurenaiJiku
Again with another version of Street Fighter is released, however it is the first pure Street Fighter game on the Dreamcast. Unlike the versus series like the insanely action packed Marvel VS Capcom, Street Fighter 3 heads back it's roots when the first Street Fighter 2 was dollied out onto the arcade floor for many gamers to salivate over. Basing it's gameplay back onto timing, skill and knowing how your opponent fought is what Street Fighter 3 is all about. The game isn't about destroying your enemies with tons of super combos, nor is it about just button mashing. Street Fighter 3 requires the same amount of finesse that Street Fighter 2 needed, and in fact more so than it's predecessors.
Street Fighter 3 W Impact is a package of two games on one disc. At first, I thought it was two games on two different discs, but instead it's just on one disc. Makes sense since DC game discs are a gigabyte large. Anyways, the first game is Street Fighter 3 New Generation which isn't really an impressive game, and it's more like a souvinir for Street Fighter fans. The focus of the game package is Street Fighter 3 2nd Impact. This game is absolutely about finesse, timing and knowing your enemy; it's almost like real martial arts. So why is it called Street Fighter 3 W Impact? I noticed that the western version is going to be called Street Fighter 3 Double Impact. When you say "double" fast, or at least taking the front part of the pronounciation, you get "dub". In theory, the letter "W" has some sort of relation with the pronounciation of "double".
But anyways, I suppose everybody's wondering what's so damn great about Street Fighter 3 right? 2nd Impact in a short statement is much better than any Street Fighter game that I've played; including the versus series. It requires an amazing amount of skill to play, but there is definitely one thing which brought this game down many notches. We all know that one important aspect of a fighting game is the appeal of the characters. In 2nd Impact, the characters aren't appealing simply said. Aside from the carry over characters; Ryu and Ken, the other characters simply don't have the same amount of magic that traditional Street Fighter characters have. They're good characters and definitely have their own style of gameplay and diverse enough to extend the replay value a great amount. However, that "special" magic that Capcom characters always seem to have just isn't there. What makes it worse, is that the characters are entirely strange a bit too unique to be realistically consorting with more or less realistic characters like Ryu or Ken. There's a gothic, opera singing, Dhalsim wanna-be character called Necro. He's interesting but he looks more stupid than the first. There's the "chick" of the game who's name is Elena; she's basically an African girl with a skimpy outfit and carries the same type of cutey slapstick Chun Li carries. However, I think that everybody believes that Chun Li has more character and personality than Elena. However, she is probably one of the most nicely animated characters in the entire game. I believe she was 3D modelled, motion captured and then rendered to a 2D sprite set. The motion she performs is just too fluent to be animated, and I'm sure there had to be some sort of base upon a real human. There's a typical ninja girl, who I find to be incredibly cute, called Ibuki. She's a bit too "cute" though, she looks cute, but then I believe they tried to do the "Morrigan" thing with her by having her change back into street clothes during one of her win poses. I think her character would have been less stereotypical if she just remained a cool Strider-like ninja throughout. Then there's a kinda lame French boxer named Dudley; much better counterpart compared to Bison (Balrog in the US) in terms of gameplay, but his character and personality is more laughable than admirable. He has the funniest voice based upon Elvis; yes the rock legend, or something along those lines. There's another character which is pretty noteable named Gill; he's a lot like God on acid. Half of his body is colored red, and the other half is colored blue. The red half uses fire, and the other half uses blue; fire and ice-type thing. Interesting yes, but I found him to be one of the more appealing characters but totally inconsistent with the original Street Fighter story. Ryu and Ken are the only ones which remain consistent and true to the gameplay. In fact, I believe their Street Fighter 3 forms are the best versions of them in the entire series.
As for Street Fighter 3 game play; every character has 3 super arts. Each super art has it's advantages and disadvantages like in speed, power, range, and amount of bars can be charged up at one time. Much like how Street Fighter Alpha's system is, the super art bar will fill when you perform fierce attacks or each characters' specific attacks. A lot of the game is based on where to use these super arts and could spell victory or loss depending on how you use it. Also, the game's blocking system has been slightly modified; there's still holding back the stick to block whenever your opponent attempts to hit you. But another type of blocking has been added called "parrying"; you perform this by pushing the stick in the direction you are facing on the very instant you are hit. This will allow your character to instantly block one hit without losing any damage. After the parry, there isn't much freeze time therefore you can execute your counter attack or super art. This is where the art of fighting and choosing your preferred super art comes in. There are super arts which do rapid, multiple hits which are difficult to parry multiple times; you can only parry so many times in so many seconds. So parrying against something like that would be virtually impossible because the second hit from the super art would hit you anyway. However, there are super arts which are much slower, more powerful and inflict less hits. For example, Ryu's Shin Shouryuken relies on the initial hit for the rest of the combo to be potentially powerful. Ryu performs the first hit, then follows up with the rest; if you parry the first hit, then you're guarenteed taking no damage at all as long as you normally block the rest of the hits. Also, gone is air blocking and has been replaced by air parrying; exactly the same as how regular parrying works. However, instead of pressing in the same direction you're facing, you pull the stick downwards on the instant you're hit. Besides the parrying, is the almost unblockable move cancelling. This is something I haven't been able to figure out, but it enables you to perform one move and perform another move (with similar joystick movements) right after without any inbetween animation to slow the performance of the second move. For example, Gouki (Akuma in the US) can hadoken, then messatsu gou hadou without any freeze time in between. It's incredibly fast, and in 2nd Impact it's practically impossible for an opponent to block the super art if they sustained hit from the first.
Aside from the fairly generic, but gameplay that works perfectly, combat system, the graphics is one thing to commend. I must say that Street Fighter 3's sprites are some of the most beautiful I've seen and truly seem like an Anime. It's hair razing to see Ryu's clothes flap and flare up when he hadoken's, or when Ibuki's baggy pants bounce around. It's something the screenshots on the side simply cannot show; since it's animation. Although character animation is beautifully done, backgrounds is kinda half baked. Although colorful and extremely detailed, it's animation level is equal to Street Fighter Alpha 2's background animation level. Not very good, but the characters make up for it. For sound, it's Capcom sound; no improvements there, but at least you can understand all the voices now as they are clear as crystal now.
Street Fighter 3 W Impact I must say is a perfect arcade port, but because SF3 is a bit dated compared to some of the more advanced upcoming fighters like Guity Gear X or Marvel VS Capcom 2 it could turn off a lot of people. There isn't a lot of sparkle spatter, but if you're a long following fan of Street Fighter, I highly suggest SF3 W Impact. It's a great souvinir and a great tide over till 3rd Impact comes out for the Dreamcast.
Graphics (technical) - 3.5/5
Graphics (creative) - 4/5
Sound (technical) - 4/5
Sound (creative) - 3.5/5
Technical Gameplay - 4.5/5
Fun Factor - 4/5
Diversity of Features - 3/5
Story - 3/5
Overall Value - 4/5
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