Before the Alpha series officially became Street Fighter: Crackfed Fighting, it had this nice little debut which can be played at a normal pace.

Street Fighter Alpha was Capcom's compromise to the gaming world, as they weren't ready to publish a Street Fighter 3 yet had to sate fan demand somehow. While not as good as the eventual sequel would be, this is a solid fighter that plays a little more smoothly than the original SF2 (and all its variants) and has more appealing and colorful graphics. It also has Mega Man X-style music, including a neat remix of the Final Fight first level theme in Guy's stage.

Speaking of Guy ... Capcom danced around the whole "sequel" thing by making this a prequel to SF2, that takes place in the time between that game and the first Street Fighter. Returning from the original roster are Ryu, Ken, Chun Li and Sagat only (as well as M. Bison as a boss). The game is largely comprised of new characters such as Charlie (Guile's buddy and fights with a similar style) and Rose (psychic in the vein of Jean Grey), returners from SF1 such as Adon (Muy Thai fighter and Sagat's disciple) and Birdie (random mohawk punk), and guests from Final Fight such as Sodom (hilarity in a can) and Guy (the ninja who loafs in his sweats all day).

Additions to the gameplay include chain combos, giving the series it's first official combo system with a counter. Included also are both Super Combos and Alpha Counters, which are quite the point of contention amongst fans. Many fighting game fans feel that these flashy and damaging moves are too easy to pull off, and skew the game in favor of button-mashing scrub players and hyperactive children. At this point in the series, however, they were much less ridiculously powerful than they would go on to become in later iterations, and although I am not a Super Combo fan myself I can live with them here.

This is pretty much the only game in the Alpha series I can tolerate, as the rest are just too hyperactive and cheap. I think fighting game fans will enjoy it, the roster of unusual characters and solid fighting action makes it worth a look.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video