It’s hard to believe that one of the most influential Street Fighter games was released twelve years ago back in 1999. With a fighting game like Third Strike, it’s really hard to tell that even that much time has past. Almost a decade ago, this game was one of the best fighters available out there. Introducing a parrying system that was simple, yet challenging, and EX Moves that brought a whole new dimension to how you attack, this game set the bar for how several fighting games that succeeded it would play.
So has Third Strike lost its touch in the last twelve years? Not at all.
Finally an arcade-perfect port, the game plays true to how people remembered it when arcades were still in their prime. However, it isn’t without its additions. Most obviously, the online mode is a welcomed feature of this release. Gone are the days of online input lag and people complaining that they can’t get an attack off. To compensate for lag, the match would just freeze for a couple moments, but it doesn’t happen too often. Given a good connection, matches should play as if you were playing a match in Local Play.
Riding on the high note of the game’s stellar online mode, player and tournament modes have been fine-tuned for competitive play. Instead of the game forcing on the typical “one match, three rounds” rule, players are able to customize each round to either “best of three” rule set or, for the true Street Fighter masochists, “best of seven.”
One surprising feature of the game was actually the ability to save replays and upload them to YouTube. You’re able to save your matches from Ranked and Local matches as forever archive them on your console. Should you choose to upload them to YouTube, they’ll be uploaded in 240p with a standard low quality line-in rip.
A lesser known feature that’s been implemented in almost every port of Third Strike are the game’s dipswitches. Basically, these adjust exactly how the game plays and could drastically change how everything works in-game. Varying from whether or not you could be K.O.’d while guarding, being able to high jump, or even pull off Super Moves and Super Arts, the amount of customization is off the charts. There’s an unlockable set of dipswitches that could really alter gameplay to a larger extent, but it’s only available via clearing Arcade mode with every character (or buying the dipswitch unlock for a buck).
The new Trial mode, which seems to be standard to all Capcom fighting games at this point, gives each character five trials for you to complete. It also adds two levels of parrying challenges and a handicapped challenge which requires you to fight a difficult opponent under certain health restrictions.
If you were a fan of the game twelve years ago and you’ve been looking for a reason to get back into the game, Third Strike Online is a great reason.
Pros: Stellar online matchmaking, lack of input lag is a plus
Cons: If you didn’t like the game back then you still won’t, Default difficulty on Arcade mode is still insanely difficult.