Everyone knows about Street Fighter. If you?re a gamer, it really needs no introduction. If you?re not a gamer, you still know it?s about grown men lobbing fireballs in each other?s faces while checking out Chun-Li?s knickers. One of the most memorable and impressionable arcade series of all time, it has had countless iterations since its debut over two decades ago, with the introduction of hidden combo moves and local fat bloke M. Bison. Certainly, Capcom haven?t let you forget about one of the biggest fighting franchises ? particularly given how many editions of Street Fighter 2 there are ? and as long as people forget there was ever a Jean Claude Van Damme (or an EX), the series still has a more-than-favourable opinion with the game playing population.
Now Capcom?s released Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max for the PSP, you really can take the fight to the streets (oh God, we?re using the press release puns now! Spare us! - Ed). Not one to break free from the compound adjective nature of its predecessors (such as Super Street Fighter II Turbo), Max is in fact a remake of Alpha 3 on PS1 and Dreamcast. Not necessarily a bad thing, considering this was one of the best in the series. And graphically, it doesn?t put a foot wrong ? the character animations and lush backgrounds are all faithfully recreated and actually look better on the sharp LCD than it did on home consoles.
The premise is simple. Pick a character and start raising hell. Each of the 37 playable characters has their own story to unfold in the Arcade mode, which has you doing battle with ten opponents one after the other. Some characters you may find familiar ? the ?comfortable couple? that is Ryu and Ken return, along with Chun-Li, Sagat and the ?cheapo characters? Dhalsim and Blanka. There are also characters not quite so well known, such as Cody, Juni and new cheapo Eagle. There are a wide variety of skills and abilities between the characters, each having differing traits in speed, strength or? flexibility from each other.
High, Low and Medium Punches are assigned to L, Square and Triangle respectively, while R, X and Circle achieve the same power to your kicks. You can use either the D-Pad or the analogue nub to control your character, although it?s a bit Catch 22 here. For fighting fans, analogue is out of the question ? and indeed the nub is quite dodgy to use in a heated battle due to its not-so-ideal location on the console. While the D-Pad is far better, you?ll need to give it some time to get used to.
We found that in trying to jump forward we instead kept jumping upward (or simply walking forward) due to a bit of unresponsive control. Maybe our PSP was just as knackered as our hands ? the location of even the D-Pad on the PSP will eventually kill your left hand after a few hardcore bouts. After the game broke us a few days in though it didn?t hurt anymore, and fighting on handheld was giving us hours of arcade ecstasy.