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Street Fighter III: Third Strike – Online Edition Hands On Preview

Third Strike is back again, and better than ever.

Street Fighter 3 was released about 13 years ago. The game and its updates, Second Impact and Third Strike, were often overlooked in favour of the Street Fighter 2 and Street Fighter 4 series. But true fans haven’t forgotten about 3rd Strike, and Capcom has taken notice. Thus we get Street Fighter 3: Third Strike Online Edition, which aims to be the premiere version of the game.

SF3 Online Edition is not just a straight port of the original game. For starters, it has online play (obviously), supported by the acclaimed GGPO online system which nearly eliminates lag and preserves frames. For those curious, GGPO stands for “Good Game, Peace Out” and is a netcode designed for the sole purpose of making a smooth online experience for fighters and emulated arcade games. Based on what I was told by a producer of the game, lag should not be a problem. Spectator mode and saved replays are making a return as well. Online is the main attraction here, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Capcom went out of their way to add brand new features that fans have been asking for.

One of the new features is a trial mode. Similarly to games like Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter 4, players select a character and are asked to complete certain challenges utilizing the character’s abilities. Some argue that trial mode only teaches you how to do unrealistic combos, but Capcom states that in this game, the majority of the combos the game teaches you will be ones that are actually useful. Along with that, there are parry trials that are completely based off of defensive techniques. They start off easy, like having the player parry one move but eventually get more difficult, ultimately leading up to the famed "EVO moment #37" where top player Daigo Umehara using Ken parried Chun-Li's lightning leg super. Challenges are yet another addition. Displayed on the side bar of the screen are markers which track your progress with certain challenges and achievements. When these challenges are completed, you unlock things like concept art and different music.

But wait, there’s more! The game has a nifty feature allowing you to save your replays and upload them directly to YouTube. Dedicated fans of the fighting game genre should be particularly excited about this. Now they can easily show their stuff to the world without having to use a camera or capture card.

This game is packed with features. For $15 it offers more content than some full retail-priced games. A nice final touch is that this port is arcade-perfect. This means there are no rebalances and no new characters and pretty much anything that people may have gotten used to in the arcade version is back. This doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be future additions, though, as DLC is still an option. Some graphics filters are included, but they all preserve the original look and style of the game. For anyone like me who didn’t get to experience the original Third Strike, this is a must buy. And for people who loved the original, there are tons of reasons to get back into the game, from its additional features to its smooth online support. Street Fighter 3: Third Strike Online is due out this summer.



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