Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams
After many iterations and variations of the basic Street Fighter II engine, Capcom finally realized that gamers wanted more than just rehashes. Street Fighter II was a great game, but after seeing ten or more iterations with small changes, players clamored for something different. That something different came in the form of the Alpha series, with Street Fighter Alpha being the first.
Street Fighter Alpha is a prequel to the original Street Fighter II, and is supposed to relate the events leading up to the famous tournament. But in practice, Street Fighter Alpha's storyline, like virtually all other Capcom fighters, is threadbare at best and laughable at worst. There's nothing interesting about the story, and you're not going to be playing for the story anyway. Instead you'll be playing for the somewhat innovative gameplay.
Yes, it is innovative for having Alpha counters and, for Capcom fighters at least, innovative in having super moves. But despite these changes, Street Fighter Alpha basically sports the same SFII gameplay that you've grown to love and adore. That, or learned to become bored of. The easy-to-pull-off combos and super techniques make the game a bit more novice friendly, but unfortunately also makes the game more button masher friendly.
The graphics are really nice, and show the most improvement over previous games the Street Fighter II series. The characters are drawn with a lot more detail than their SFII counterparts, and move quite smoothly with more frames of animation. Capcom has also gone with a more anime inspired look for characters as well as more exaggerated movements in animation, giving the game's visuals a distinct stylized look that's actually quite pleasing.
But while the characters have been drawn and animated with great care, it seems as if the backgrounds were slapped together in one coffee break. There are just six stage backdrops in the game, and the best of them can only be called mediocre if you're kind and forgiving. There's little going on in any of the backgrounds, and in some cases you just get a still picture with no movement whatsoever. Gamers have come to expect more from backgrounds even with Street Fighter II, so the poor environments goes a long way towards burning away all the good impressions the game makes with its character art.
The music and sound effects are typical fare from Capcom. A few of the tunes are vaguely catchy, but for the most part they're so forgettable that you'll instantly be able to block them out from your consciousness. That's not to say they're bad, as they aren't. They're just not good. The sound effects are likewise average, although some of the voices sound a little hollow and tinny.
Despite the few new elements, the question of whether you will enjoy Street Fighter Alpha really hinges on whether you like Street Fighter II. If you're still looking for more of that style of gameplay, albeit done in a more over-the-top way, then Street Fighter Alpha is for you. But if you've become bored of Street Fighter II and its many kissing cousins, it won't bring you back to the fold. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
The game sports great looking and well-animated characters set against bland and lifeless backgrounds. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
Average sounds and music that neither add nor detract from the game. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
Despite the Alpha combos being prone to abuse and the chain combos leading to masher friendliness, the game, with its Street Fighter II derived engine, is still quite enjoyable to play. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
The game has ten regular characters plus a fair amount of secrets to uncover. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
Average documentation. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide