(Disclaimer: if you haven’t read the previous article published on Street Fighter III then some of the information may confuse you, please read that before continuing unless you already have knowledge of the game that came before this.)
This is the penultimate article in our month long deep dive into the titles released in the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary collection, for this we are covering the follow up to Street Fighter III under the title Street Fighter III 2nd Impact: Giant Attack, released in Japan the same year as its predecessor, this release is an updated version of SFIII with a multitude of changes, the game was also ported to the Sega Dreamcast in a double pack containing the first and second release of Street Fighter III, I only have access to the Arcade version so I will be focusing on that for this review.
Street Fighter III 2nd Impact: Giant Attack – Arcade (1997-1998)
Released in October of 1997 to arcades in japan and then worldwide in 1998 Street Fighter III 2nd impact is both a sequel and a update of the previous game, maintaining the same graphical style with new backgrounds for some locations, the addition of new characters and new gameplay mechanics, the new additions to game improve some of the issues that the game suffered from while also adding some of its own.
Here is a list of the new features added to the game with this release.
- An expanded playable character roster with two new characters, a pallet swap made into a separate character and a hidden character with a powered up hidden boss variant.
- An expanded single player experience with a bonus stage added for the first time since Super Street Fighter II, character specific boss battles, hidden mid-boss battles with Rival opponents.
- New mechanics and attacks added to all the characters.
- The tech throw skill is added to escape from throwing attacks.
- EX attacks added, a more powerful version of a command attack performed by pressing two of the same attack button when performing the command based attack, EX attacks use a portion of the super art bar.
- The ability to select a new super art attack when playing multiplayer during each game.
There are four new additional characters with one of them being a standalone from a pallet swap.
- Yang – the brother of Yun and initially a pallet swap of him, now a standalone character with a separate move set and super arts from his brother.
- Akuma (Gouki in Japan) – Appears in 2nd Impact as a secret character and has a non-playable “Shin Akuma” version, “Shin Akuma” is the more powerful version of Akuma and both can be fought as secret battles if specific conditions are met.
- Hugo – A professional wrestler from Germany who seeks a strong tag team partner for an upcoming tournament. He is often accompanied by his manager, Poison. Both Hugo and Poison are characters that crossed over from Final Fight to the Street Fighter Universe.
- Urien – Gill’s younger brother, who seeks to usurp his brother’s leadership as “President” of their organization. He can manipulate electricity and metal.
The new characters add some issues to the game introducing a slight imbalance with the way the game works while the returning characters are tweaked to fix some issues, for example it appears that Alex is retuned with his damage slightly reduced, yet with the introduction of Hugo and Urien their size grants a longer range and they deal more damage than the majority of other characters from the experience I had playing the game. Some characters retained the power that they had from the previous versions and the EX attack mechanic adds more of an imbalance to some of them by granting them more power and damage potential.
The story of the game is similar a continuation of the Street Fighter II storyline where all the characters in the game are involved in a world warrior fighting tournament with each character participating to achieve their goals, each character has an individual story like all other games in the Street Fighter Universe and it’s a pleasant continuation of a pre-existing overarching storyline. The story overwrites the events of the previous game but that isn’t a big deal as the story feels more fleshed out than the previous intallment.
Playing through the single player, I had an appreciation for the increased number of battles I was able to enjoy although there is a downside to this, the way the single player works is frustrating if you decide to change character in the middle of a play through as the game can reset all progress made by the player, meaning that you have the chance of starting from the beginning of the single player ladder. This was frustrating as I wished to change my character to battle a challenging foe and I was thrown back to the beginning.
Along with the expanded single player there is a character specific destined battle that the player will face at the end of the game, the destined battle system ret-cons parts of the story that was introduced in the previous game by writing new endings for some and maintaining the story from others, this is both a positive and negative while the player may have learned patterns against the uniform boss battle from the previous will have to fight a different final opponent if their destined battle is against someone other than Gill the final boss of Street Fighter III.
Gameplay for this version is much more fun than the previous with the enhanced EX moves allowing a deeper level of gameplay and strategy; a player can either save up their super meter to unleash a single all powerful super art combo or use the super bar to perform varied combos utilising the EX attacks that if performed correctly can deal more damage than the super art itself. The bonus stage is called parry the ball and it allows you to practice parrying attacks by blocking balls that are thrown at you, after several attempts at this bonus stage I was able to improve my parry skills to be able to use the mechanic somewhat competently in game.
The games difficulty is not that different to Street Fighter III but the game feels a little easier to play and the way that the game changed with the enhancements allow the game to flow more freely while maintaining the challenge that was present in the predecessor, the single player can be more difficult if you play it without knowing the mechanics and how to utilise them effectively, this can be disheartening but is extremely rewarding once all the skills have been learned and the player knows how to execute them consistently.
The multiplayer is back as the best part of the game, with the gameplay being rebalanced the competitive element is much better allowing players an equal footing with the EX attack being able to turn the tide during intense battles between friends a rivals. Playing against a friend there was moments of adrenaline fuelled chaos for both of us as we would get each other down to a fraction of health with one power attack determining who would win the match, that is the best way to experience any fighting game and this is one of the better competitive experiences in the Street Fighter franchise.
All in all this is a good release and the improvements this iteration of the Street Fighter III introduced are welcomed and made this an even better release, the story is interesting and I felt invested in each characters arc as I played through, the only downside I saw was the alteration to the way that the single player ladder progressed and the slight imbalance that the new characters added to the game.
When all is said and done I give this game 4/5 using the star rating as the downsides I noticed are not enough to sour the overall experience as the slight difficulty change can be easily adjusted to and the multiplayer is outstanding.