Street Fighter III: Third Strike: Fight for the Future
- Platforms: Arcade, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Xbox PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Suggested Platform: PlayStation 3
- Developer: Capcom
- Genre: Fighting
- Release Date: 05/12/99 (NA)
- Why Play It?: In my opinion, it’s the best Street Fighter. Solid and tight gameplay that rewards the skilled. Catchy music, and a great presentation.
- Why Skip It?: If you don’t like fighting game or you don’t have friends to play it with. Without friends, it’s replayability is severely limited.
Street Fighter III: Third Strike: Fight for the Future is one of those games that when my friends come over, we can always default to. Many nights were spent playing Third Strike for hours on end, slowly learning each character one by one. When we were at our peak for Third Strike, I was playing with nearly every character, and playing pretty well too! (by my friend’s standards, certainly not on a professional level) It’s just one of those games for us.
At first glance, Third Strike seems like any other fighting game. And at first glance, you’d be right. Your super bar fills up when moves come out, and plays like a fighter should. Unlike Arc System Works fighters, which rewards the aggressive and punishes the defensive, Street Fighter has a tendency to reward slow, deliberate play, planning and strategy. It’s important to know your opponent and read how they’re going to play. Parrying adds a whole other level of game play. When an attack is about to connect, press forward instead of back for block and you can parry, negating any special move chip damage and giving yourself a moment to retaliate, assuming another attack isn’t right behind it. It adds a new level of gameplay and really makes you have to weigh whether or not going for the parry is worth it; it’s a risky maneuver after all, as missing the parry means you’re going to take damage.
The music and presentation in Third Strike is great. Catchy, popping tunes will have you humming them for days afterwards, and are instantly recognizable. The sprite style artwork is beautiful, and the characters and backgrounds really come to life, especially when supplemented by their appropriate background tracks. Each character in Third Strike is unique, as they deliberately shied away from many Street Fighter mainstays, but of course, you’ll still find Ryu, Ken, Akuma, and Chun Li among the ranks. Some fans chided the entire Street Fighter III series for not including some of their favorite characters from past games, but in my opinion, Street Fighter III and Third Strike do a great job of introducing a number of new, unique characters, and for that reason, it makes Third Strike a great jumping in point for newbies to the Street Fighter series, or even old fans looking for something new and unique.
The superior version of Third Strike is definitely the versions for PS3 and Xbox 360, as these versions include multiple versions of the music to choose from, many different unlockable color palettes, challenges to complete and unlock, and most importantly, online play.
The only gripe that I really have with Third Strike is the same as any fighting game really: if you don’t have friends who like to play it, you probably won’t have a great time with it. At the same time, if you don’t improve quick enough, online play will just turn into ass-whooping after ass-whooping, as people around you learn high-level moves, combos, and skills. It’s important to have a number of people around your skill level in any fighting game to truly enjoy them. While the occasional rout can have you learning a few things, loss after loss can quickly become frustrating.
There are a lot of great fighting games out there, but Street Fighter III: Third Strike: Fight for the Future stands out in my mind as one of the Best Games Ever.
Prepare to do battle!