Multiplayergames’ Digital Dojo: Street Fighter III – Third Strike

Welcome back to the Digital Dojo.  In honor of the new Super Street Fighter IV, our next lesson is on one of its predecessors, Street Fighter 3: Third Strike.  Released in 1999 and ported to several systems (stand alone and compilations), Third Strike is the most detailed of the Street Fighter series due to the intricacies of its fighting engine.  While this game displays nice technical accuracy like other games we have looked at, we want to examine the detail of its fighting system and look at four of the nineteen characters with the more specific fighting styles and see if they represent those types well.

Makoto is the first fighter.  She is trained in Rindoukan Karate which, according to the game, is Japanese.  While all of her moves are technically accurate, I cannot say whether she represents her style properly… mainly because it appears to be made up.  It is unclear why the game designers would need to fictionalize a Karate style as there are many to choose from, and several with exotic sounding names that would fit nicely into the Street fighter universe.  Nothing Makoto does is really outside the category of Karate, so it couldn’t be made up just so they could take creative liberties with what moves she incorporated.

Her special moves even have a Karate base, although like any Street Fighter character, they are not possible because she does things like create wind with her Hayate (translates to fresh breeze) punch.  One nice thing to note about  about Makoto however, is she makes use of a U-punch as her medium punch.  The U-punch is a traditional technique which involves throwing two punches at the same time, one to the head and one to the solar plexus.  To date, this is the first time I have seen this used in a video game, and although it would not necessarily be my first choice to use in a self-defense situation, it’s nice to see the draw from traditional Karate elements.

Our next fighter is Sean, who falls into the likes of Ken and Ryu.  Sean’s style is most likely American Kickboxing since that is more common than other variants (remember Muay Thai is not Kickboxing).  Sean’s main striking is nicely detailed.  One aspect that is particularly impressive is a slightly raised elbow on his hook punch he throws.  This position is important for keeping stress off the shoulder upon impact.  Another fine tuned detail is the proper upper forehead contact on his head butt, although note this strike is not necessarily a part of Kickboxing and was most likely added for “street” affect.

Dudley is a good old fashion pugilist and one of the most accurate fighters in the game in terms of style.  While boxing is not really in the area of martial arts, it provides nice variation in-game, and probably appeases those people who argue boxers are just as capable as martial artists.  From a style standpoint, there is not much to address for Dudley.  His punching is clean, but that is all he does, which means he is limited to jabs, reverse punches (or crosses), hooks, and upper-cuts.  The only thing worth mentioning is he uses a proper wind up on his upper-cut (2nd fierce punch).  Unlike other video game characters (most guilty: Mortal Kombat brawlers) who dip way too low on the punch, Dudley properly throws it from a guard stance following the proper short motion of the upper-cut.

Our last character is Elena, who like Dudley is extremely accurate to her style. She is trained in Capoeira, which is a martial art that originated in the Congo and eventually was brought to Brazil by slaves.  Despite the debatable practicality of Capoeira, from the moment you see a fighter move with its distinctive guard stance/jenga, you can appreciate its style.  The game designers nailed this complicated art head on too.  While it might not include everything the style has to offer, such as some of the more acrobatic elements, the assortment of outward crescent kicks, round kicks, switch kicks, and jump spin kicks that fire with fluidity from the always moving guard are done amazingly well.

The rest of the fifteen character’s basic strikes are done well too, but they can get a little bit more ridiculous with some of the other stuff they do, and some are less style specific.  The four above mentioned are by far the technical highlights of the game.  The one thing I would consider to be a fairly big flaw is that the strength of the kicks are not properly named.  For most of the characters, their fierce techniques are done with the front leg, while back leg techniques are reserved for light or medium.  The back leg should always be able to hit harder; that is just physics as more weight can be added (speed x mass = power).  However, we can forgive this, because it pulled off a proper representation of Capoeira… once again, amazing.

Here ends the lesson.