Street Fighter Alpha 3 is a 1996 fighting game that is also known as Street Fighter Zero 3 in Japan, Asia, South America and Spain, and was originally released for the arcade for the CPS II hardware. Street Fighter Alpha 3 is a sequel to the previous year’s Street Fighter Alpha 2 and is the third sequel in the Street Fighter Alpha series. Its gameplay system sees a complete overhaul from the previous Alpha games with the addition ot three selectable fighting styles based on Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Super Street Fighter II Turbo, including new stages, a longer roster of characters, as well as new theme music for all the returning characters. 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 Takayuki Iwai, Yuki Iwai, Isao Abe, Hideki Okugawa and Tetsuya Shibata.
In contrast with both its predecessors, Street Fighter Alpha 3 totally discards the “Manual” and “Auto” modes by offering players three different playing styles known as “isms”. This includes the standard playing style, A-ism (or Z-ism in Japan) that was based on previous Alpha games in which the player has three-level Super Combo gauge with access to several Super Combo moves, X-ism which is a simple style based on Super Street Fighter II Turbo in which the player has a single level Super Combo gauge and access to a single but powerful Super Combo move, and V-ism (or variable style) that allows the player to perform custom combos similar to the ones in Street Fighter Alpha 2. There is also another new addition in the game in the form of a Guard Power Gauge which depletes each time the player blocks. When the gauge is completely depleted, the player will remain vulnerable for an attack. As for its character roster, Street Fighter Alpha 3 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 main boss character featured in the original game, M. Bison remains as the main Antagonist with the addition of two new boss characters, Juni and Juli who are both the female bodyguards of M. Bison. In addition to that, Street Fighter Alpha 2 also sees the introduction of seven new characters, including E. Honda, Blanka and Vega (Balrog in Japan) who made their first appearances in Street Fighter II, Cammy from Super Street Fighter II, Cody from Final Fight, Karin from Street Fighter: Sakura Ganbaru, and R. Mika who is making her first appearance. R.Mika is portrayed as a Japanese female wrestler who idolizes Zangief, Karin, and Cody. Some critics have the opinion that Street Fighter Alpha 3 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 3 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 3 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.
“The game’s graphical prowess and arcade-perfect gameplay combined with its cache of bonus modes makes Street Fighter Alpha 3 the latest standard for 2D excellence…” (GameSpot, 2009)