Game Review: Street Fighter Alpha 2
Introduction: OK, it's time for a quick quiz. Which game spawned a never-ending slew of sequels and updates? Which game was responsible for the standard beat em up format we all know and love today? Which game always had a mile long line of people waiting to play it at the local arcade? Which game was responsible for sucking up the allowance of adolescents the world over? If you're anything like me, the answer can only be Street Fighter 2. Exactly how many sequels to this game were there? Well, you'd better have a couple of hours free to read the list. I've been hooked on Street Fighter ever since my dad bought me a copy of Street Fighter 2 for my beloved SNES. Since then, I've accquired Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter Alpha 2, which brings us to the review.
Review: Well, what can I say about this game? Nice graphics, nice sound and a nicely mixed selection of Street Fighter regulars and new faces. Regular characters include the likes of Ryu, Ken, Zangief, Dhalsim, Chun-Li, Sagat and M. Bison, whilst the roster of new characters consist of scrappers such as Gen, Sakura, Dan and Rolento (whom you may recognize from Final Fight 1 and 2). A low point in some incarnations of Street Fighter has been the music. Unfortunately, SF Alpha 2 doesn't change this tradition, but in its defense there are some reasonable ditties in there, particularly levels such as Charlie's and Ryu's.
The graphics, although in 2D, are well drawn and provided you have a decent graphics card will look quite nice on the Final Burn emulator. Better than the proper PC version anyway.
There are quite a lot of moves to learn as well. You thought there were enough moves already? You ain't seen nothing yet pal. Not only do you have your typical fireballs and flying kicks, you have the Alpha Combos to learn as well. These are deviously long, and can only be performed when your Alpha Combo bar is at a certain level. If you can manage to pull one of these things off, the resulting moves can only be described as devastating. These can sap as much as three quarters of your energy. All fighters have a taunt they can use once a round by pressing the start button. Once it starts, you have to let the animation run all the way through its 3 seconds or so, during which time your opponent might have already Dragon Punched you half way across the screen. The best time to taunt is when you have performed a powerful special move or Alpha Combo on your opponent and jumped back across the screen. Hopefully, by the time the taunt is finished your opponent will walk straight into your fist.
The difficulty level is worth mentioning as well. Street Fighter newbies: You're gonna have to put in the hours at first and try hard. The difficulty level is about equivalent to 4 or 5 star difficulty in the SNES Street Fighter games, which could be quite hard for newcomers. If you're prepared to put in the effort with this game though, you'll reap the rewards. Each character has different endings and once you've seen one you'll want to see the rest. This is a good way of adding lastability to the game and also will help you get used to all the characters. By the time you've played all the way through the game with all the characters, you'll know practically every move, and you'll be able to put your knowledge to good use by scrapping with your friends. Watch as they lose for the 23rd time as you unleash your Alpha Combos on them. See the shock in their faces as you demolish them with a Tiger Uppercut without them even getting a chance to hit you. Beating a human player will almost definitely prove how good you are and give you something to smile about.
Conclusion: Beat em up games have never been terribly popular on PC, but thanks to emulators all that may easily change. Finally, PC gamers are starting to get some decent beat em up games to play with, rather than the mediocre rubbish we've had to put up with in the past. Street Fighter Alpha 2 however is every Street Fighter fan's dream. Download this ROM and the Final Burn emulator from Emuparadise and let the good times roll.
Ratings: (scale of 0.0 - 5.0)
|Gameplay: 4.0||Graphics: 3.5|
|If you ever get tired of playing against the computer, call a friend over for a round and thrash them at this game. The different character endings and massive move list will keep you coming back for more as well.||Nice graphics. Well cell-shaded characters but it is in 2D, which saps marks. However, if you don't mind games with cartoonish graphics you'll love it.|
|Sound: 3.0||Overall: 4.5|
|Like I said before, the music is pretty bad at times. However, there is the odd reasonable tune. You might not even notice becuase the gameplay will envelope you.||If you want a classic Street Fighter game to play, SF Alpha 2 cannot be faulted. Capcom got it just right this time: more characters than Super Street Fighter, better playability than Street Fighter Alpha 1. Can it get any better? Definitely one of the best Street Fighter games to date.|