Title :Street Fighter EX 2 Plus
Platforms :Sony PlayStation
Publisher :Capcom
ESRB Rating :Teen
Game Rating :6.8
Review by :Ken Gagne

The Street Fighter series has always produced my favorite fighting games. Keep your games with their 3D "ring outs," physics-based attacks, and fatalities; I prefer my fighters with a bit of surrealism, which means fireballs and dragon punches. 

Gamers of any system, be their wallets fat or thin, have many choices of how to experience their Street Fighter. 

Street Fighter Alpha 3 was released last summer for the Sony PlayStation, and is now available for the Sega Dreamcast. This 128-bit version features a few extra frames of animation and sound effects, making for a more authentic port of the arcade original, but it's hardly a noticeable change from the PlayStation version. 

Of greater import are all the gameplay options. All the modes are immediately available, including Survival, Time Attack, Dramatic (two players take on the computer), and World Tour. A new Internet mode challenges players to perfect their characters in World Tour, then pit them against a set of specialized challengers. With victory, players can download a master challenge from Capcom's web page. These challenges change biweekly, and feature several difficult conditions under which victory must be won. Whereas World Tour might ask you to "defeat Ryu in 60 seconds," a downloaded opponent might require you to "defeat Zangief, using only combos, starting at half-strength." 

Alas, there is no online mode which allows players to compete against other players. Why not? Capcom released this game in Japan last summer; I don't see a year's worth of improvements here. 

Those of you happy with your PlayStation version (and you should be!) but still needing a Street Fighter fix, can check out Street Fighter EX 2 Plus. This game continues its predecessor's attempt at giving a 2D game a 3D feel, while retaining the same tried-and-true gameplay mechanics. 

A few new fighters, such as Volcano Rosso and Area, join the previous game's lineup, with returning fighters Blanka and Vega, making their first 3D appearances. The gameplay introduces "Excel" attacks, identical with the Custom Combos found in the Street Fighter Alpha series. 

Bonus levels revive the pastime of beating up rolling barrels, while a new director mode lets players control the camera during a dramatic reenactment of a battle. 

Yet these additions don't outweigh the game's poor presentation and aged gameplay. The graphics appear more pixelated than they should, and the voice acting is just terrible. Sagat sounds like he belongs in a nursing home, and Ken's effects are obviously performed by a member of the simian race. The battles are slow and fail to offer the same excitement and variety other Street Fighters do. 

Gamers intending to invest in the PlayStation 2 later this year may be better off waiting for Street Fighter EX 3, a confirmed PS2 launch title. 

Street Fighter Alpha 3 on either PlayStation or Dreamcast is a guaranteed winner. 

This article is copyright (c) 2000, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.

Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 26-Jun-00