Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition Review

By Brian Leahy - Posted Aug 23, 2011

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike is considered by many in the competitive scene to be the best Street Fighter game to date. Now, Capcom is resurrecting the title with what they are calling an "arcade perfect port" with some additional trimmings around the edges.

The Pros
  • Perfect Port
  • Great Use of GGPO Netcode
  • Tons of Challenges
  • Ability to Save and Upload Videos
The Cons
  • AI Is Still Pretty Bad
  • Lag (When It Happens) is Odd
  • Character Trials Can Feel Half-Hearted

Street Fighter 3: Third Strike Online Edition Review:

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike is a game that many people missed out on in the US. It featured a cast of mostly new characters, some of whom are very different from the fighters of Street Fighter II. The gameplay system was quite complex and unforgiving to new players. It basically signaled the end of Street Fighter in the West until Street Fighter IV was released despite being an amazing game. Now, it’s back in the new age of fighters with online play sporting GGPO for its netcode (more on this later) as a downloadable title.


Not Really an HD Remix

When Capcom re-released Super Street Fighter II Turbo for XBLA and PSN, it did so through an “HD Remix” which got updated HD visuals and a full re-balancing. For Third Strike, Capcom hasn’t touched the actual code of the game and the only visual work done is some updated character art in menus and some cool visual filters.

This was the right decision. Fans have been requesting an exact port of 3rd Strike and Capcom did right by them by leaving the game, as it was released in 1997. Now, the game wasn’t exactly balanced across its entire roster and you’ll probably end up seeing a whole lot of Ken, Chun-Li, Makoto, Dudley, Yun, Urien, and maybe some Ryu leaving the other 12 characters in the lurch, but changing things up would have been a big mistake.


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Parry on My Wayward Son

If you’re coming from Street Fighter IV, you’re going to quickly find out that Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition is a much faster and more unforgiving game. As you fighter more skilled opponents, you’ll need to learn how to build and manage your super meter for EX moves and Super Arts (think Super or Ultra combo from SFIV). At a certain point, you’ll want to dig into the parry system.

Parrying is a special type of blocking that takes no damage whatsoever and puts you at a frame advantage over your opponent. It is the only way to avoid chip damage from special moves and can elevate your game if you can wrap your head around the system. While you hold back (or down-back) to block, you’ll press forward or down to parry high and low attacks respectively. You need to do this at the same time to move would hit you and if timed wrong can leave you open to eat big damage. If the opponents attack hits multiple times, you’ll need to parry each hit independently.

It can be scary to new players, but it’s exhilarating to pull off an amazing parry of a super art or parry into a punishing combo of your own. It can even be performed in the air, which is the only way to protect yourself while jumping. And now, here’s an obligatory link to EVO Moment #37. Recreating this moment is even the final parry challenge in the game.

Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition

Let’s Talk about GGPO

There’s a reason that every time a fighting game is released, those in the know ask if it will be using GGPO or GGPO-like netcode for the online component. It’s just that good. I won’t get too technical here, but it basically works by running a full copy of the game locally and if anything gets out of sync, it rolls back to the last matching state between both players. It does this so quickly that it usually cuts out all lag.

Now, it isn’t perfect and you will see some lag if you or your opponent just aren’t paying enough for your Internet service or have a bad connection, but 95% of my games were lag free. More importantly, they are input lag-free. This is especially important in 3rd Strike because of the parry system, which would not be possible with the netcode of Street Fighter IV or Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition

How About the Extras?

While the underlying game has not been touched, Capcom has added a suite of features that encapsulate this version of the game. Chief among them is a persistent challenge system that tracks numerous aspects of the game -- parry 25 attacks, perform 75 super arts, win with a perfect round, etc. – and reward you with “Vault Points” which are used to unlock concept art, music tracks, and videos.

There’s nothing in the vault that effects gameplay, but there are some cool bonuses for people that like looking at character art. Mode wise, you’ll find the standard arcade mode, versus gameplay, and a series of trials. The trials will have you parrying, fighting at a handicap in a few scenarios, and running through 5 combos with each character. The trials are a bit half-hearted, though, and don’t really teach you how to play each character, but they do provide a good challenge.

Online, you’ll get ranked play, lobby matches, and a built-in tournament mode as well as the ability to save, share, and watch replays with friends. There’s also a feature to upload your replays directly to YouTube, but this was not yet available in the Xbox 360 version and will come in a patch to be added after release.

Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition

Fight for the Future!

I encourage all fighting fans to jump in on Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition as it is truly one of the best fighting games of all time, and this release brings it back to the realm of (legal) online play. It’s a great port and has enough little bonuses added in to make it a solid package. Sure, a little more could have been done to help ease new players into the game, but the inclusion of GGPO for netcode means that this should become the definitive version of the title.