With the resurgence of fighting games going on, Capcom decided to once again reach back into their catalog to pull out what has been considered the best game of the Street Fighter series: Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. Iron Galaxy Studios has taken the arcade game and gave it some modern touches, most notably, online play. Fans of the original will go nuts over this port, that’s a given, but will those inexperienced with the unforgiving execution of 3rd Strike feel the need to create their own Evo moment?
Arcade Perfect - 3rd Strike Online is a port, but thankfully, it’s a well done port. Capcom made sure the game was made absolutely spot-on to the arcade version from looks, sounds, and most importantly, gameplay. Those that played the original game back in the arcades have found it difficult to point out any inconsistencies with this version and the original. Parrying moves, frame combos, and that deep gameplay that kept the game in the tournament scene for years is all here.
Have an Evo Moment - Similar to the trial of Street Fighter 4, 3rd Strike Online trial does a combination of two things: teach you some of the essential combos for your character and give you some particularly challenging combos to pull off. The one prime example of the more challenging trials is the recreation of the 2004 Evo match between Justin Wong and Daigo Umehara. If you haven’t seen the move, you can check it out here:
Other challenges include high execution combos along with combos that are only effective on certain characters. Although not as comprehensive as the Street Fighter 4 trials - in which you started from doing simple moves to complex combos – 3rd Strike Online’s challenges are much more entertaining to try. The parry trial in particular has you parrying a variety of moves letting you get the feel of the parry system as well as making you feel like a kung-fu god as you swat away moves left and right…if you practice enough that is.
Online Works - It’s pretty evident that online play was going to be some importance for a game called Street Fighter III: 3d Strike ONLINE. To assure optimum performance online, Capcom made use of GGPO, which is middleware designed to provide lag-free gaming especially for fighting games. Lag is a big deal in fighting games where 1 to 2 frames of lag can mean the difference between a combo working or not, or in the case of 3rd Strike, it could mean the difference between parrying a move and getting hit with it. Thanks to GGPO, 3d Strike Online is very playable at the higher skill levels. After all the matches I played, I rarely saw a noticeable amount of lag, and veteran 3rd Strike players have said that they are satisfied with the online experience as well.
Is There Anybody Out There? - Leave it to Capcom to take one step forward by implementing GGPO in 3rd Strike Online, only to take a big step back by not letting you create your room to play against others online in a ranked match. Why does this annoy me so much? See how long it takes to find a ranked match by simple matchmaking. It took me at least a minute at best and upwards of ten minutes at worst to find a match. This same problem was there with Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and it’s so frustrating because all I want is a ranked match. You can make a room just fine in a non-ranked match and people will join fairly quickly, so why not the same for ranked matches? Each version of Street Fighter IV has an option to create a ranked match and you’ll have an opponent to play within seconds. In fact, when I play Super Street Fighter IV AE, I can create a room, find a match, and finish a match in the same amount of time it takes 3rd Strike Online to find me just one match.
For those that have heard about the epic-ness that is Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, but never spent a significant time with the game, then Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online is a must get for you. Not only is it a spot-on port of the game, it adds enough extra content to make it more than just an arcade port. Capcom realized that players would need a helping hand with the 3rd Strike system, and they did a great job of making it easy for anyone to learn the ins and outs of the game. $15 gives you not only what many people consider to be the best fighting game ever made, but also one that teaches you how to be a better player. That’s a hard deal to pass up if you ask me.
*This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game with a review code provided by the publisher.*
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