Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 10/24/00 | Genre: Fighting
Probably the most popular fighting game franchise around the world, Street Fighter is a legend. Though the series hasn't changed its basic formula much over the years, Capcom adds enough to each chapter to keep the series going strong. A few years ago, Capcom took the series into 3D for the first time with Street Fighter EX Plus for the PSOne. The play mechanics were basically the same, but the characters were all modeled in 3D along with the backgrounds. Spectacular light shows also accompanied the special moves and super combos. It was one of the PlayStation's greatest fighting games and the start of the Street Fighter EX series. Now, with the launch of the PlayStation 2, comes Street Fighter EX 3. Unfortunately, it's not as good as it could have been.
First things first, the original Street Fighter EX Plus looked a lot better. The character models were a bit chunkier due to a lower polygon count, but the overall appearance of that game seems better than the new PS2 game. Street Fighter EX 3 seems to have a darker look than the previous EX games. The vibrant, screen-filling explosions of color that were all over the first game are gone now. There are a lot of fireworks and particle effects, but none of it helps make the game look as flashy as previous installments and none of the special effects come close to showing off the PlayStation 2's abilities. That wouldn't be such a bad thing since its a launch title, but it doesn't even look as good as a PSOne game. Considering the leap in available technology between the two systems, this is simply unimpressive. In short, Street Fighter EX 3 looks like a rushed effort made only in the interest of making a quick buck.
Adding to the unimpressive presentation is a selection of lackluster sound effects, mainly the voices. Ryu's "Hadouken" sounds like he's yelling it from underneath a scarf. Blanka is even worse. I can't even begin to describe how horrible he sounds, so I'll leave it to your imagination. Each voice sounds muffled and, since the Street Fighter games have always had great sound, this is yet another disappointment. On the plus side, all of the old songs from Street Fighter EX Plus are present along with some new ones. So, while the voices and other sound effects are nothing special, at least you'll have the excellent soundtrack from the first game and a few new tracks to savor.
As far as gameplay goes, the EX series has always been kind of different from all the other Street Fighter games. Some people love it; others prefer the more traditional gameplay of other SF games. In Street Fighter EX 3, things haven't changed much in the basic gameplay since EX Plus. There are no more one-on-one fights, but, no matter how many opponents you are facing, the gameplay is still just like the previous EX games.
The only difference this time is that you and your opponent have partners that either fight at the same time as the character you're controlling or that can be tagged in and out at will. Now, the idea of four characters battling at once may sound fun, but it's just you against 3 CPU opponents at once. It's not a free-for-all or anything like that. Also, the three enemies all have shortened life bars so that when you total them up, they equal your single life bar. It's the same thing if you use two characters at once. They each get half of a life bar. They'll only get full life bars if you chose to fight in tag mode. Despite the cool idea of having a tag mode and simultaneously using two characters at once, Street Fighter EX 3 still feels cheap and it doesn't deliver the greatness that Street Fighter fans have come to expect of the series.
This is not a bad game; it's just an average game. However, average does not cut it when it comes to Street Fighter. When you consider the power of the PlayStation 2, it's easy to say that there is much more that could have been done with this game had it not been so rushed. If you are looking for a fighting game for your PS2, buy Tekken Tag Tournament or DOA 2: Hardcore. If you simply have to play a Street Fighter game, play a PSOne or Dreamcast version. Street Fighter EX 3 is a rental at best.