Remakes of old games seem to appear on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace every week, with most retro classics available on the consoles. The most dense genre on the stores has to be that of the fighting game, where classic franchises like Guilty Gear, Tekken and King of Fighters benefiting from a HD upgrade. The next game to make the cut is Street Fighter III: Third Strike. This Online Edition of the Dreamcast original features updated visuals, and as the name suggests, online matchmaking. That said, is it worth heading back for those accustomed to Street Fighter IV?
Visually, this is a much better conversion that that of Street Fighter II: Turbo’s HD Remake, thanks in part to the improved graphics of the original game. By using the ‘final’ version of the respective game again, the speed of the game is as fast as Street Fighter gets, making the overall experience feel fresher than ever. Characters appear just as you remember them from the late 90s; those who have only seen their current gen counterparts will feel right at home too.
Parrying is the name of the game in Street Fighter III, taking the combos of II to a new level. Each character has a unique set of moves, with some of them doubling as Parry moves to block oncoming attacks. Special attacks are even more important in SFIII too, the timing and execution of these making the difference in the closest of matches. In general, it’s a tough game to master, going through arcade mode a few times is much more difficult than most fighting games. No matter how good those new to the game will be against the CPU, nothing will prepare them for the massive step up to the online multiplayer portion of the game.
When competing against people online, slowdown is usually an issue in games with such pinpoint precision combos. The developers have avoided this, with matches running smoothly each and every time I booted the game up. The game does sometimes find it difficult to match your current skill level, a problem caused by the expertise of the other players rather than the matchmaking itself, but for those looking for a challenge, online is a great way to extend the experience.
At this bargain price, the experience that you get from Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition is as complete as the series can get. There is so much content here for fighting fans to get to grips with, even if you have experienced the game before. The graphics are brilliant, the original character designs coming to life in HD. This is 2D fighting in its most complicated and purest form, and SFIII is all the better for it. Essential for fans of the genre.
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