Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha review
Plenty of replay value!

The good:

Plenty of characters
8 difficulty levels allowing almost anyone to find a challenge
More powerful versions of Bison, Akuma and Garuda for a bigger challenge
Versatile practice mode and hidden mode

The bad:

Not the best graphics in the world


This was the first Street Fighter game I'd played since the one for the Atari way back in 1992. I played this game to death up until I got my PS2 and even then I popped this in from time to time.

As far as game modes go there is the mandatory single player mode where you fight through 10 rounds and ultimately fight M. Bison, the evil character. In the options menu you can set each fight to one round, best of three or best of 5 depending on how long you want to play the game in one sitting. There are also plenty of other modes as well. You can choose to fight a computer opponent or human opponent in single mode, you can have team battles as well as a practice mode. You can even watch two computer players fight each other. This may not sound like fun on paper but I found it surprisingly good and watched it several times.

The practice mode is also unlike any I've ever seen before. You can choose to fight a standing opponent in order to try out several moves and the like. But the Expert practice mode is exceptional. In this mode you had to complete 15 trials. The basic trials would involve only executing one move like the classic Hado-ken. As you go on the moves get harder like stringing together a 7 hit combo or trying to execute a combo, which might sound simple but soon proves to be anything but. When you've completed 220 of these trials then you unlock a hidden options menu, which reveals a few secrets about this game. If you manage to complete all the trials in the expert mode (far easier said than done) then you will unlock a hidden mode.

There are most of the usual suspects in this game although two I know from other games that aren't here are E. Honda and Blanka. But all the usual moves are also here from Dragon Punches to fireballs and Sonic Booms. If you build up your special bar by connecting moves and taking damage then you would be able to do a super move. These varied from character to character and sometimes it was possible to string more than one super move together in a combination attack if you had enough special bars. A move called a Guard Break was also possible in this game. This took one of your special bars but would cause the opponent to falter and leave them completely vulnerable to attack. Throws are also possible and again vary from character to character.

The mode to watch two computer players fight can prove very handy. If you watch this then you can see how each character fights and might be able to find a weakness. I myself enjoyed putting characters through a gauntlet. That is, selecting one of the players as a character and the other to random, which changed the opponent every round. Personally I loved watching this and I found this mode useful in determining weaknesses. The reason I used this was because there were 8 difficulty levels in this game. The 8th difficulty level turned almost anyone into an ass kicking machine and when you combined this with the three powered up characters you had one hell of a challenge in front of you. I thoroughly enjoyed facing these opponents as it was by no means a walkover and I could always enjoy this game.

A minor touch to the game was that you got a different symbol depending on what move you used to finish. If you did a Guard Break to knock out your opponent then you would have a "G". If you did a special attack but your opponent blocked but the damage was enough to kill them then you appeared to get a half eaten apple as the symbol. This really has no effect on the gameplay, but is a nice touch anyway.

I said that the graphics weren't too great which is true. But whenever I resort to criticising graphics it usually means that there is no real fault with the game and the same holds true here. To be honest this was the best game I played on the Playstation because it had many modes, several difficulty levels which meant (unlike many games) it was actually a challenge and there were good unlockables. There are also 4 other hidden characters besides the 3 more powerful versions. If you're a fan of the Street Fighter series, or even if you're not, you really should get this game especially considering it is probably very cheap now.

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