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Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha
Review By: Joel Fajardo
Developer:   Capcom
Publisher:   Capcom
# of Players:   1-2
Genre:   Fighting
ESRB:   Teen

Punch, Kick, SHORYUKEN!!! Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha comes in with a bang, as Capcom's first quality 3D fighter in the US. Play as Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, or new additions like Skullomania, Blair, and even your favorite Alpha chick- Sakura (!) To kick the crap out of your opponent in this huge and crazy 2 1/2Dbrawler! One of the most enjoyable games I've played, SFEXPA manages to combine the best 3 and 2D elements in one game, giving those hardcore fighting gamers a great buy and enjoyable experience for their money. Utilizing the board from Namco's system 11, SFEXPA not only has great gameplay, but graphics as well. When seeing this game in motion, you finally realize that Capcom (with the aid of Arika, the company name of the original SF2 developer), after all these years, has been able to jump to a new level of gaming.

Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha brings some of the best graphics to date seen on the Playstation. Using the Namco system 11 board, SFEXPA adds new visuals to those previously animated Capcom characters, who were otherwise flat. All the fighters in SFEXPA retain a crisp, bold, new look unlike their 2D counterparts, though the game remains 2D in technicality. The bulging muscles of Zangief, the extending arms of Dhalsim, the blocky bust of Chun-Li all point in the direction of 3D, giving this SF title a new feeling. Yet the backgrounds, in the other sense, remain flat. Scenaries, taking you to the scorching plains of India, to the hard, cold land of the USSR, and even to modern China where the actual Chinese president is posted on the wall, expand your mind to a whole new level of excitement with these lush, colorful, beautifully rendered backgrounds.

Two MAJOR flaws occur in the graphic category. One, the backgrounds, and two, the endings. Each stage has three screens in which you can get knocked into, which is an extension of the first, yet no matter how spectacular the layout is of each stage, due to the extreme amounts of playable characters, stages are limited to being shared. In addition to this is the biggest flaw of game-the endings. Each completion of the game is rewarded with a heinous FMV sequence, where you will most likely find the selected character in combat with a black screen. Dull. You really can't find a reason to beat the game, except to say that you've mastered every character.

The music on SFEXPA…what should I say? Brilliant? Ingenious? Magnificent? No, that would be too much of an understatement. The sound and effects on SFEXPA are truly something to marvel at. Taking away from the electric guitar sounds of the standard SF series, SFEXPA comes in bringing style with it. Jazz music and a fresh new beat add to the fighting, making up for the somewhat lacking, shall I say, graphics. Every sound excites your heart, giving a new sensation to the SF series. Each effect, like a punch and kick deliver a mental blow, as if you were there, willingly fighting your opponent. The smooth sound and awesome effects in SFEXPA deliver a stunning impact, leaving you motionless after you've experienced it.

Playing SFEXPA is a breeze with the enhancement of expert training mode. This new little sucker lets you learn devastating combos, destroying enemies that lie in your path. Learn twenty hit combos and master all the fighters, giving you the advantage over everyone. The new supermove system also adds new playability to this game. Master the level three supermoves by connecting three supermoves together. Do one super move, then as it begins to end, do another, and afterward another, ending up in a devastating level three combo, leaving your opponent in agony. Two factors, which are a bit, well… tedious, shall I say, are occurred when you are in combat with another fighter. The fights are extremely slow, ending up in irritability. The second disappointing factor is the occurring, slight, problem that arises when you attack your opponent. There is a small, noticeable pause after you deliver a blow; nothing horrendous, just pickiness.

The concept in SFEXPA is innovational- Take your favorite SF characters of all time, into 3D enchantments, and mess up the face of your next opponent. Okay, so it's not totally innovational, but a 3D SF is, along with the new training system and the barrel game, plus others I have yet to acquire. The all-new characters and new, never before seen combo system, leave SFEXPA in a league of its own among its other 3D competitors.

Fun. That is the one thing that SFEXPA is able to pull off brilliantly. Every battle brings new sensations and extreme overall excitement. Every day you try to master new combos on the training mode, to master all 304 (at the current time I am at 224). The most fun, though, had to be the barrel game. Taking you back to the original SF2, this barrel game is LOADS of fun. Choose your best fighter to take into a small arena where you try to destroy 100 barrels in 2 minutes. Exciting. All the fun you get from the barrel games, just puts chills on my back. I have played the barrel game alone for 1-½ hours straight, just trying to destroy all of them.

Replay value is one thing that SFEXPA is able to pull off nicely. Look at all I've written and see for yourself if this game isn't fun. You can play for hours at a time doing so much. The barrel game and training mode alone are masterpieces, but getting everyone's ending is just freakin' damn fun.

To sum it all up, if you are looking for a new PSX fighter this X-mas, or just want to beat the hell out of your friend, look no further because SFEXPA is on the PSX…

Overall: 8.9
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