Street Fighter Alpha 2

Street Fighter Alpha 2

Capcom brings another quarter crunching arcade game home, but there's something not right on PlayStation.

Jewel Case Release Jewel Case Release

Genre:
One on One Fighting
CDs: 1
(?? Megs)
Players:
1 to 2 Players
ESRB: Teen
Animated Violence
Publisher:
Capcom
Retail Barcode:
0 13388 21020 6
Memory:
1 Block
Developer:
Capcom
Sony ID:
SLUS-00258
Accessories:
None
Released:
November 1, 1996
PSRM:
003300

Street Fighter Alpha 2 Explodes on-screen with lightning-fast gameplay and amazing innovations. Quick Move Reversals, Alpha Counters and the incredible Custom Combo System create a new standard for all games to fight by.

KILLER CUSTOM COMBOS – Push your talents to the limit as you discover new hidden moves and reversals for every character. Neutralize opponent’s attacks with high and low Alpha Counters and execute incredible Custom Combos to create your own rapid-fire assault of attacks.

18 LETHAL FIGHTERS – All your favorite warriors are back for more. Previously hidden characters Dan, Akuma, and Bison are joined by 5 new fighters: Sakura, Rolento, Gen and classic favorites Zangief and Dhalsim.

INTENSE ACTION  

  • A Precise Transaltion of the #1 Arcade Hit
  • 18 Brutal Fighters – The Most Ever in Street Fighter Legend
  • Vibrant Character Animation and 20 New Backgrounds
  • 3 Modes of Play: Arcade, Versus, and Training Mode

Review

Ah, custom combos, how I miss thee. I can still recall 1996 very vividly; I was able to run a Capcom sponsored Arcade Tournament at a comic convention. While waiting for the sign-ups to finish, I stepped over to a machine and just happened upon a devout Street Fighter player, and watched him annihilate me with a Chun-Li Custom Combo. I never stood a chance. But damn, the game was and still is fun.

For me, Alpha 2 was the pinnacle of Capcom’s ‘Fan Service’ days. If you ignore the game’s sequel status for a moment, you begin to realize just how much love was thrown into this game. The way Rolento gently tapped his fingers on his weapon, all the various cameos and in-jokes, Dan’s hidden Super taunt, references to other canons (specifically the anime), and other little things created a play environment that could not be touched.

18 characters, 5 new and the rest returning, provided a balanced and fully fleshed out roster. Each character had their own stage (unlike Alpha 1), with multiple moves, win poses, and several even had hidden opening animations. By providing each character with their own stage, Capcom went all out with cameo and interactive references. In Guy’s stage, you can see various Final Fight characters in the background. Should the player use a female character, Cody’s girlfriend will slap him. Dhalsim’s wife will cheer or hide her face depending on Dhalsim’s situation. Ken’s stage featured everyone from Darkstalkers and Alien vs. Predator to Captain Commando. This abundance in references really helped give the game an atmosphere, something sadly missing in the later Alpha 3.

Gameplay brought in the Custom Combo; essentially a move that would ignite your entire stored Super Meter, and allow any move to be come part of a Super strength. This allowed for standard combos to become more powerful, as well as let players get creative with how they linked various moves; several fireballs juggled me on multiple occasions.

Animation and gameplay are fast and furious, but the Saturn definitely has the PlayStation beat. Besides the better options and slightly (by millimeters) bigger characters, the Saturn controller allowed for easier custom combo starts. There’s also the instantly accessible Survival Mode and extra hidden character variants that the PlayStation version lacks. There are also concerns on the PlayStation version. Missing fonts, an awful low resolution opening movie, missing frames of animation, and some other nit-picking brings the overall experience down just a little.

With time, Street Fighter Alpha 3 became the standard thanks to its multiple options and amazing World Tour mode. However, it lacked that certain charm that Alpha 2 provided in its heyday. Despite the Saturn’s superior version, the PSX one still holds up, if only for the nostalgia.

Media

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Variants

Fighters Edge Release - You can tell the discs apart as this version's Q Sound Copyright info is with the other Copyright Text. Fighters Edge Release – You can tell the discs apart as this version’s Q Sound Copyright info is with the other Copyright Text.

Trivia

  • A measly 10 Points in the Fighters Edge Program.
  • The Sega Saturn version featured an exclusive art gallery as well as improved menu visuals in some instances.
  • Besides the usual missing frames and loading times, the PlayStation version of Street Fighter Alpha 2 is also missing a font. The on-screen combo counter in-fight is based on two fonts – the PS only uses one; the Saturn has both.
  • The opening cinema is a poorly compressed video file, where the Saturn has it proper.
  • Also released for the Super Nintendo, which all things considered, turned out to be a darn impressive (if admittedly rough) conversion for the hardware involved.
  • Street Fighter Alpha as a series has a peculiar claim to fame – no two games were released across the same alternate variant. SFA was Long Box and Fighters Edge, SFA2 was Jewel Case and Fighters Edge, and SFA3 was Fighters Edge and Greatest Hits.
  • The Alpha series and Street Fighter 2 series were the only Capcom fighting games to have their full release list on PlayStation. DarkStalkers missed Night Warriors due to Sega Saturn exclusivity, and Star Gladiator’s sequel would appear on Dreamcast.
  • Alpha 2 brings back the Alpha Counter, but more importantly, it also introduced the Custom Combo. Essentially you pressed One Punch and Two Kick Buttons, and whatever you pressed within that time frame became your ‘Super Move’. Players quickly found exploits, especially with Chun-Li, and began racking up insane 50+ hit combos. Capcom would eventually split the Styles in Alpha 3.
  • There is some interesting lore with one of the game’s cameos. In Ken’s stage, among the various Capcom characters is Strider holding a Teddy Bear. When a character performs a Super Move, Strider tosses the bear up and catches it. Legend has is it that this was a small ‘Get Well Soon’ message to a fellow Capcom programmer. The worker was apparently under great stress while working on a port of Strider (different sources have it as the Super Grafx or Neo Geo Pocket), and when the project got canned, he was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. In the PlayStation version, Strider is not animated.
  • New characters to the game included Gen, Rolento (of Final Fight), Sakura, and returning characters Zangief and Dhalsim.
  • In Sakura’s stage her sibling is apparently playing Final Fight on the Super Nintendo. When the match is over, they throw the controller.
  • If you can go undefeated for the first 5 opponents, and win using a Super Move, you will fight a surprise Rival on the 6th character.
  • The Saturn version features several ‘alternate mode’ characters like Evil Ryu that the PlayStation version does not have.
  • Funny observation: Both this and the similarly troubled Samurai Shodown IIIhave the phrase, “A Precise Arcade Translation” on the package’s back. If you see that on a PlayStation game, run! 

The Verdict

7Solid

The Good: Expanded Roster | New Moves and Special Moves | Fan in-jokes and references

The Bad: Inferior in ways it shouldn’t be | Feels Incomplete compared to Sega Saturn Version