+ Great Music
+ Street Fighter characters included
+ The “Focus” move is born
- Blocky-looking Graphics
- New characters are less than exciting
- Long load times
What’s the story: The original Street Fighter EX was made on the Playstation based Sony ZN-1 Arcade System and released in 1996. What this new system did was give Capcom the ability to finally create a Street Fighter game in a 3-D world. Unfortunately for fans of the series, it wasn’t a very good looking 3-D world.
Accompanying the so-so 3-D graphics are 9 new characters, some of which needed to be unlocked in the arcade version. By the time the game made it home on the Playstation in July of ’97, a “plus” had been added to the title, as well as an “a” for Alpha, and all characters were made available from the start. Two new fighters were also made exclusively for this Playstation version (Dahlism & Sakura).
Whats to like: First and foremost, the most appealing factor EX has is that it features most of our beloved original Street Fighters; Ryu, Ken, Guile, Chun-Li, Zangief, Dahlism, M. Bison, Akuma, and the “fairly new” Sakura are all on the EX roster. Any time I get to play as these guys, I’m usually happy. Since Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha was co-produced by Capcom and Arika (a company founded by former Street Fighter II planner Akira Nishitani), the second half of the roster features a new cast of characters owned by Akira.
As for the newcomers, we get Hokuto, Pullum Purna, Doctrine Dark, Cracker Jack, Skull-o-mania, Blair Dame, Allen Snider , Kairi, Darun Mister and Garuda (one of the EX bosses). Out of this new bunch of characters, Skull-o-mania, Doctrine Dark, and Pullum Purma are the most original and fun to play as. Evil Ryu is also included.
EX Plus Alpha also brought us the “Guard Break”, a move refreshed by the recent Street Fighter IV and Super Street Fighter IV. In those two games, they’re called “Focus Attacks”. Instead of using only MP+MK to use them, in EX these “Guard Breaks” are performed by using any combination of the same two attack buttons. For instance, pressing either LP+LK, MP+MK, or HP+HK will unleash the unblockable move, setting your opponent up for a devastating Super Move. Using a “Guard Break” consumes one level of your Super Gauge.
The final major addition to the series is the “Canceling” of Special Moves as well as Super Moves. When executing a Super Combo, another can be performed during, therefore canceling your current Super. This “Super Canceling” is another gameplay feature that SFIV and SSFIV have taken from EX and it actually works well here.
Whats not to like: When I went back and turned on Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha,I was horrified. 3D graphics on the PS1 have simply not held up well. Like an adolescent going through their “ugly” stage, the same can be said for mid-nineties 3-D gaming. Polygons are blocky beyond belief, and load times are horrendous. Of course, when I looked up some pics of the Arcade Version the game looked much better, so it may indeed be a case of PS1′s “Slandered Composite” cable being the culprit.
As far as the gameplay, it’s still a Street Fighter game, and although a little sluggish compared to the 2-D incarnations, it’s still pretty fun. The new characters leave much to be desired, but I’d still much rather play this then say, Battle Arena Toshindin or Ehrgeiz.
Check out a few rounds from Street Fighter EX Plus A in the video below. While the graphics may not be impressive, who can argue the awesomeness of the music…and Skull-o-manic!
With Street Fighter EX plus alpha, Capcom attempted to bring their most beloved series into 3-D, and almost got it right. Only when it’s compared to its 2-D brothers (or 3-D heavyweights Tekken 1 and 2) does the gameplay feel mediocre. This PS1 version features 6 game modes, CG animated endings, and some of the best music in the series to date. If you’re a fan of Street Fighter, grabbing EX Plus Alpha is an easy choice – not only because it’s a Street Fighter game but mainly just to see how far these polygons have come.