Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition clearly illustrates why this title deserves to be in the pantheon of fighting games and it achieves that through some smart design decisions, updates and new features.
To this day, Street Fighter III is probably one of the most under-appreciated fighting games ever made. Its deep combat system was hard to learn, its roster originally didn’t feature iconic characters and its art style failed to impress. As a follow-up to Street Fighter II, the divisive fighting game was an odd duck from the start, but while it took most players a few revisions and some years to understand the game, by the time the title reached 3rd Strike, Street Fighter III had a devoted fanbase. Street Fighter III 3rd Strike Online Edition clearly illustrates why this title deserves to be in the pantheon of fighting games and it achieves that through some smart design decisions, updates and new features.
As it’s usually the case with most high-definition remakes, the star of the show is the visual overhaul. For this game in particular, you can select different filters or play in widescreen, stretched normal or a view that emulates that of an arcade cabinet. As you can probably tell, these graphics options cater to both purists and newcomers, so you can choose how old or new you want everything to look. In fact, you can even turn the scan lines on or off if you’re the kind of person who’s into that level of detail.
There are also some new modes. Apart from the ever-present arcade mode, this game sees the introduction of trial mode, training mode, challenges and a vault. In trials mode, you can learn how to parry, learn the combos for each character or revive the EVO Moment #37. Although this is one of the most substantial additions to this version, learning combos is a cumbersome process because the game insists on telling you its technical name instead of showing the buttons you need to push to pull off that move and not every one knows how to combo into Kongo Kakuretsu Zan. To be clear, you can see the command list, but to do so, you have to press the back button and this process takes precious seconds.
The other mode that deserves an explanation are the challenges. As you play, the game keeps track of everything you do, that includes the modes you play, the matches you win or lose, the moves you perform and several other stats. If you win a round using a super move, for instance, you complete the challenge and receive VP. At the same time, you level up that challenge and to complete it you now need to win 15 rounds with a super move instead of ten. There are dozens of challenges and the best part about them is that you unlock them as you naturally keep playing the game. The VP you obtain by completing challenges, you can spend in the vault. The vault is a virtual place where you can purchase character movies, artwork, concept art, cutscenes and music. It’s worth pointing out that the multiplayer has a series of challenges of its own that are separate from the single-player.
Although you can play on your own and there are new additions that make this one of the best single-player games, everyone knows that Street Fighter is best when you’re playing against someone else. You can choose local, ranked or tournament matches, as well as watch replays (and upload your favorites to YouTube from the game.) During my playthrough I couldn’t find players online, so your best bet is to play locally with a friend. It’s a shame that no one’s playing online since developed Iron Galaxy added GGPO-enabled online, making this portion of the game a near lagless-experience.
Other than the visual overhaul and new modes, Street Fighter III 3rd Strike Online Edition remains pretty much untouched and that’s terrific. The game offers an incredibly deep fighting system that’s hard to master and thanks to the parry system you no longer use a super move knowing that the chipping damage will defeat your opponent if they have low health. This is a flexible system that you can keep learning for months if not years.
There might have been several revisions of this game over the years, but Online Edition is the best one yet thanks to new modes, graphical filters, a remixed soundtrack, online mode and the ability to upload replays to YouTube. It looks better, it teaches you how to play the game and it’s probably the best way to play against a friend. In other words, if you’re looking to go back to Street Fighter III or if you’d like to know what all the fuss has been all about, check out this inexpensive and improved version.