Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike

REVIEWCapcom's third and last installment to their epic SFIII series marks the return of Chun Li and adds four newcomers: Remy, Makoto, Q and Twelve. The returning SFIII characters have been given new moves, many new outfit colors and even some new (and notably witty) win quotes, many of which are character-specific! The Street Fighter III series quickly became known in the fighting game universe for its breathtaking 2D animation and rock solid gameplay, and 3rd Strike continues the trend... with style.


Make your first move... so what's it gonna be?


The Parrying system from the previous installments is still intact and impressively more solid than before. Parrying is a skillful way to defend against your opponent's incoming attacks (by tapping forward in time with your opponent's attack), instead of just holding back to block. By parrying, you can quickly counter-attack your opponent with a priority attack, special move, or even right into a combo or super move if you have such skills. The fluid pace of SFIII's animation makes it easier for the eyes to anticipate incoming attacks, which is why parrying works so well with this game. You can of course parry while standing, parry low attacks by tapping down and parry in the air (with more punishable outcomes this time around since fighters aren't "pushed back" like in New Generation).

The commands for air parries, throws and leap attacks were changed from 2nd Impact. Additionally, the player can perform a "guard parry" or a parry during a guard stun if the timing is right. A guard parry is also known as a "red parry" due to the fact that the character turns red while performing it. The game also introduces the "judgment system," where the winning player is given a letter grade based on their performance in several different categories: offense, defense, techniques and extra points... pretty cool!

Daigo VS Justin "EVO Moment 37" put 3rd Strike on the map in 2004!


Parrying also adds power to the super combo gauge, which of course allows players to perform a devastating super art (or two) against their opponent. The super combo gauge can also be used to perform "EX specials" which enhance regular special moves by making them faster or more damaging (This mechanic was introduced in the prequel, 2nd Impact). Characters have a great selection of priority attacks, command attacks, special moves and a choice of three hard-hitting super moves. Overall, the characters are represented incredibly well and are some of the "deepest" 2D fighting game characters to date. Thanks to the updated character roster, SFIII is definitely more fun than ever, but that's not all that's changed...

There is no precedent for the brilliant sprites of the SFIII series.
Even more details can be fully appreciated with the original scanlines.

3rd Strike also features a brand new soundtrack which can be summed up as a "mix" of techno, jazz and hip-hop... an interesting choice that takes some getting used to, but the end result is a win! BGMs are particularly well done... each song actually has three different remixes, which kick in during the beginning of each round and brilliantly flow with the "pace" of the fight. The new tunes also do a superb job at creating the feeling of "unique atmosphere" in each location. The 2D backgrounds themselves are also completely new to the Street Fighter series and look excellent for the most part.


Possibly the best traditional 2D fighting game of all time.

Also updated from the prequel was the character voice acting. All voiceovers for each and every character were completely re-done and sound spot-on for the most part. However, I must say that I prefer 2nd Impact's voice acting (and music) over 3rd Strike's... but I was still glad to see that they actually took the time to update the sound in this installment. Capcom definitely paid close attention to presentation this time around, which some of us more "nitpicky" fans really appreciate.

Wanna git gud?  You best learn to parry... and parry with style.


In closing, 3rd Strike's overall presentation is expertly done; from the flashy (yet simple) introduction, to the awesome music & sound, to the slick game menu & options. Visually, it stands out as one of the best looking 2D video games ever made... 3rd Strike is also one of those fighting games that "looks good" regardless of the skill level of the people playing the game. It's literally a "work of art" in motion. And this game is definitely not all about looks, because (if you didn't know) Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike is one of the deepest 2D fighting game experiences in existence. It's a timeless fighting game, and you'd be a fool not to play it and like it.



Page Updated: August 21st, 2021
Developer(s): Capcom
Publisher(s): Capcom
Designer(s): Tomoshi Sadamoto     Producer
Hidetoshi Ishizawa      Planner
Obata Shinichiro          Planner
Yasuhiro Seto

Tomonori Ohmura
Halachie du Harais
Artwork by: Daigo Ikeno     Character Art
Harumaru         Soundtrack & Covers
Platform(s): Arcade, Dreamcast, PS2
PS2, Xbox  (in Street Fighter: Anniversary Collection)
PS3 / PSN  (as SF3: 3rd Strike Online Edition)
Xbox Live
  (as SF3: 3rd Strike Online Edition)
Release Date(s): May 12th, 1999               Arcade
June 29th, 2000              Dreamcast
Oct. 4th, 2000                  Dreamcast
July 22nd, 2004               PS2
Oct. 28th, 2004               Xbox
Oct. 29th, 2004               Xbox
Feb. 22nd, 2005              Xbox
Aug. 23rd, 2011             PSN - as SFIII: 3rd Strike Online Edition
Aug. 24th, 2011             XBLA - as SFIII: 3rd Strike Online Edition
Characters Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Remy, Makoto, Q, Twelve, Alex, Yun, Yang, Ibuki, Dudley, Necro, Sean, Oro, Elena, Hugo, Urien, Akuma, Gill
TFG Links (NEWS | June 2021): Early SFIII: 3rd Strike Portraits by Daigo Ikeno

sf3-t6.jpg (77571 bytes)sf3-t5.jpg (73370 bytes)

Featured Video:

Related Games: SFIII: 3rd Strike Online Edition, SFIII: 2nd Impact, SFIII: New Generation, Street Fighter, Street Fighter 2, SF2 Champion Edition, SF2 Turbo, Super SF2, Super SF2 Turbo, Super SF2 Turbo: Revival, Super SF2T HD Remix, Ultra SF2, Street Fighter 4, Super SF4, Super SF4: 3D Edition, Super SF4: Arcade Edition, Ultra SF4, Street Fighter 5, Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter Alpha 3, SFA3 Upper, SFA3 Max, SFA Anthology, SF Anniversary Collection, Street Fighter EX, SFEX2, SFEX3, SF The Movie, Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo, Super PF2T HD Remix, Pocket Fighter, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, KOF '99, KOF 2000, Martial Masters

Gameplay Engine  10 / 10
Story / Theme  9.0 / 10
Overall Graphics  10 / 10
Animation  10 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  9.0 / 10
Innovation  8.5 / 10
Art Direction  9.5 / 10
Customization  9.5 / 10
Options / Extras  9.5 / 10
Intro / Presentation  9.0 / 10
Replayability / Fun  10 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  10 / 10
Characters  10 / 10

 9.8 / 10

 Review based on Dreamcast version    


Final Words: As far as traditional 2D fighting games go, it really doesn't get much better than Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. You're simply not a fan of 2D fighting games if you haven't at least attempted to "learn" how to play 3rd Strike in some form. Very few will ever master the game, and I know I haven't... but 3rd Strike is the type of fighting game that demands respect for its depth and quality.

Flawless animation, awesomely memorable characters, and breathtaking martial arts action. In retrospect, considering some of the "silly" things added to 2D fighting games in the modern era (even in future iterations of the series like SFV), you have to respect the characters of 3rd Strike for actually... Fighting. Y'know, actually using martial arts. The impact and "follow-through" behind kicks and strikes. 3rd Strike features a typical amount of projectiles for a 2D fighter, but is mostly fighting. Also, parrying is so much fun... all thanks to the excellent martial arts animation.

The character roster of 3rd Strike isn't huge, but this time it's about quality not quantity. The gameplay & parry system is spot-on, and while imperfect in terms of certain balance issues, 3rd Strike is fun to pick up and play for players of all levels, but an incredibly tough and satisfying game to master. SFIII: 3rd Strike is timeless, one of the most technically sound, and one of the most beautiful 2D fighting games ever made. Masterpiece.

Honorable mention to the stepping stones that truly made SFIII: 3rd Strike great. The foundation, artistry, and brilliance of SFIII: New Generation and SFIII: 2nd Impact surely paved the way for this "based" 2D fighter a game that didn't need to change very much from its earlier versions. While I miss the crispy hand-drawn stages, brilliantly composed music (and even voices) of New Generation and 2nd Impact, 3rd Strike's streamlined, polished gameplay is where it's at. "Yeah, that makes sense!"
~TFG Webmaster | @Fighters_Gen