Written by  :  Zovni (10666)
Written on  :  Jan 10, 2004
Platform  :  PlayStation
Rating  :  4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars
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Back with a vengeance

The Good

Street Fighter Alpha 2 is really the full version of the original SFA, with all the intended characters, backgrounds and features Capcom had originally devised for the Alpha series, as such the easiest way to think about it is as a SFA on steroids.

For starters you now have 18 characters to choose from (setting a new record for SF) including every character found on the original Alpha as well as even more reworked SF1 characters like Gen, Final Fight veteran Rolento, returning SF2 favorites Zangief & Dhalsim, and original characters as Sakura that finally allow gamers to play as a sailor suit-wearing, schoolgirl version of Ryu... Yay!! Sakura is the first "Kawaii" character to find it's way in the SF universe and as such it's a notable (or embarrasing depending on who you talk to) event in SF history...well guess if the KOF series can have 50 nausea-inducing cutie-cutie sugar-coated characters then we can allow Capcom to sneak one in.

Anyway, this time each character has a proper background stage each lovingly detailed and populated as opposed to SFA1's lame deserted stages. There are actually more stages than fighters as the game even comes with a group of special ones used on certain vs and end-game battles, such as the grass field for the Sagat/Ryu end battle that mimicks the opening fight on the Street Fighter animated movie.

Gameplay-wise the game is pretty much the same as the prequel, which is good. The action is still the standard-setting arcade gameplay Capcom is known for, with fast yet rewarding gameplay, balanced characters and responsive controls, while the game works in the same way as the original, as more personal tournaments for each character with middle bosses and end game battles that have to do with their particular stories. Capcom changed a couple of things though, first of all the chain combo system is gone, which is a good change if you ask me as the system was more fit for over the top fighting games like X-Men and Marvel Super Heroes rather than SF. Second, there's a new "Custom Super" that works as a generic super-status upgrade where your character turns into a super-fast version of your former self that can cancel most of his regular moves into really amazing combos while his power bar depletes. Not a really hot addition if you ask me as you don't gain hit priority or damage bonus, but some people seem to like it... The rest of the additions are either new moves and supers for the returning characters as well as small modifications such as both high and low alpha counters that increase the gameplay depth considerably.

Finally, it's worth noting that the PSX manages to port the arcade hit pretty accurately by keeping the load times to a minimum and only losing some frames and misc. features in the process. Sure, it may not be perfect but it earns points for delivering the arcade experience more or less intact.

The Bad

The music is absolutely AWFUL! The Alpha series had brought the game into the next millenium sound-wise with cleaner digitized samples and great SFX, but the music for this particular one is among the worst composed for a fighting game ever. They are a collection of grating bossa-nova like tunes that will have you popping a cd in the nearest boombox in no time. The only barely acceptable tunes are Akuma's and Ryu's but they are still pretty lacking.

Finally, the port itself misses some features from the arcade version, such as a couple of secret characters, color schemes, frames, etc. The game is still the same, but the Saturn version is far superior (as usual). There's also the bare-bones release Capcom did in those days to consider, which still seems to use the same template as the SNES SF2 port...

The Bottom Line

A new and well-earned success for Capcom that delivers a solid port of a great fighting game with superb action and gameplay for any action gamer to enjoy. You can't go wrong with SFA2. Keep in mind though, that the best release for the game is the Saturn one, just in case you want to get the absolutely best Alpha 2 experience.