Street Fighter Alpha 2 is a 1996 fighting game that is also known as Street Fighter Zero 2 in Japan, Asia, South America and Spain, and was originally released for the arcade for the CPS II hardware. Street Fighter Alpha 2 is a sequel to the previous year’s Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors’ Dreams which was produced after the release of Street Fighter II in 1991 with the introduction of several new endings, stages, moves and gameplay systems. The game is developed and published by Capcom for the PlayStation 3 platform under the genre of fighting games with an ESRB rating of T for teens. It was designed by Noritaka Funamizu, Haruo Murata and Hideaki Itsuno, and composed by Syun Nishigaki, Setsuo Yamamoto, Tatsuro Suzuki and Naoshi Mizuta.
Street Fighter Alpha 2 retains most of the new features which were originally introduced in its predecessor, Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors’ Dreams, such as the three-level Super Combo gauge, Alpha Counters, Air Blocking and Fall Breaking. However, there is a main new addition in the game in the form of the Custom Combo system (known as the Original Combo in Japan) that replaces the Chain Combos from its predecessor. Not only that, each character also has two Alpha Counters instead of just one, including one that can be performed with a kick button and another with a punch button. As for its character roster, Street Fighter Alpha 2 retains all 10 of its main characters including Ryu, Chun-Li, Charlie (Nash in Japan), Ken, Guy, Birdie, Sodom, Adon, Rose and Sagat. Besides that, the three boss characters featured in the original game, of which appear as the final opponent in the single-player mode consisting of M. Bison, Akuma and even the relatively new secret character called Dan remain. On the contrary, Street Fighter Alpha 2 also features five new additional characters, extending the selectable roster to 18. The new characters include Zangief and Dhalsim which both made their first appearance in Street Fighter II, Gen from the original Street Fighter, Rolento from Final Fight, and Sakura which is an all new character, portrayed as a school girl who idolizes Ryu and emulates his techniques. Not only that, Street Fighter Alpha 2 also features an alternate version of Chun-Li in her Street Fighter II outfit as a hidden character, as well as Shin Akuma who is a more powerful version of Akuma who appears as a secret computer-controlled opponent in the single player mode. In ther US version, there is an addition of three hidden characters including Evil Ryu (an alternate version of Ryu who uses the same power as Akuma), as well as extra versions of Zangief and Dhalsim as their counterparts from Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (including the omission of gameplay features such as super moves and air blocking. Some critics have the opinion that Street Fighter Alpha 2 is one of the most popular game series in the history of video games as it has superb timing, control and character design as well as unbelievable special moves. Street Fighter Alpha 2 is said to be very similar to the II series although it does sport a significantly different animation style that makes it look more like Darkstalkers. In terms of gameplay, Street Fighter Alpha 2 incorporates an arcade mode that is essentially your standard tournament mode that pits you against CPU opponents around the world as you make your way to the final confrontation with perennial end-boss M. Bison. In addition to that, there is also a versus mode in which your standard one-on-one competitions take place, as well as a training mode that allows you to practice your special moves and combos against a customizable artificial intelligence opponent.
“Street Fighter Alpha 2 ups the ante on the prequel to the Street Fighter saga with 18 fighters and several new options, including high and low Alpha counters as well as more moves and combos for each character. In addition, the second title launches the Custom Combo system which lets players use up a super meter to perform devastating multi-hit combos.” (IGN, 2009)