15 Years Of 3rd Strike


If you’ve been keeping up with the 2014 gaming anniversaries list I posted in January, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike just turned 15 counting from the original Japanese arcade release (the console release wasn’t until a year later). 15 years later it’s still arguably the best 2D fighting game on the market.

Even in the midst of our modern fighting game rebirth with new games BlazBlue, King of Fighters XIII, Persona 4 Arena, and quite a few PC games, when 3rd Strike Online came out I went straight back to it over Street Fighter IV and all the aforementioned games. It’s almost like the Counter-Strike of 2D fighters — a bunch of people still prefer it despite everything else that’s come out in the genre over the last 15 years.

I think the most telling sign for me of the lasting quality in 3S is that I’m actually not very good at it and I still enjoy it more than any other 2D fighter.

Despite the fact that I’ve never even tried to play 3S competitively (except against my brother, usually losing to his Ken) and have never pulled off a deliberate parry — one of the game’s defining mechanics, I still find 3S’s controls, characters, moves, and presentation the best in the series to engage. It’s one of those games that just feels good to play.

Even though I’m not the best Yun player in the world, he’s still my main because his move set is the most enjoyable to me. I could probably do much better with Ryu or Elena, but with Yun I feel like I have to try harder which just draws me deeper into 3S’s mechanics. I say this as even the game’s CPU is a handful for me most of the time.

Part of the reason 3S (and by extension the SFIII series) retains its position is probably because Capcom retreated from the direction it took with that game since it didn’t reach casual SF players. SFIV is one big reminder of Street Fighter II (adding characters from III over time), and other fighters have gone in their own directions. That’s how 3S managed to stand out when re-released on PS3 and Xbox 360. The only modern fighter I think even remotely resembles 3S is Yatagarasu.

I’d talk about 3S’s presentation, but I feel like enough has already been said elsewhere about Hideki Okugawa’s score, Infinite’s lyrics, and Kinu Nishimura’s character designs. They all give SFIII a flavor that remains unique in the franchise and probably the genre too.

To still be regularly played after 15 years, 3S strikes me as the kind of game a lot of people will still be playing years and years into the future.


  • Get well soon Mooney. http://t.co/tcLCBoUReC
  • “How To Win Dynasty Warriors on Steam.” http://t.co/zUVPR5SFTN It’s really not a lot more complicated than that.
  • More stuff just keeps pullin’ me back into ArmA II. http://t.co/W7VOh2w2IW
  • I saw My Neighbor Totoro for the first time. I was surprised at how small the story is. Like Ponyo there’s not a great deal of conflict. It’s mostly everyday life and gradual character development with cinematography most Americans would say is too good for a children’s movie.
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