Video Game: Street Fighter Alpha

"You can't give it up! GO FOR IT, MAN!"
"Let's PARTY! Go for broke!"
"Beat 'em up, guys! TRIUMPH OR DIE!"
Announcer, Alpha 3

In 1995, Capcom released a long-awaited real sequel — or rather, a prequel to Street Fighter II, Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams (Street Fighter Zero in Japan, Asia, and South America). With a distinctive anime-styled look based on Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, Alpha takes place between the first two Street Fighter games, and expands the backstory of many of the major characters. The game also features returning characters from the original Street Fighter (who were merely computer-controlled opponents, namely Thai-kickboxer Adon and British punk Birdie), as well as characters from Capcom's beat 'em up Final Fight (ninja loner hero Guy and criminal samurai wannabe Sodom) and also introduced a few new characters: Dan Hibiki (the quintessential Joke Character and Take That to Street Fighter copycat Art of Fighting); American soldier Charlie (who was introduced as Guile's missing friend, and was called Nash in Japan); and Italian fortune teller Rose. All of them joined Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Sagat, M. Bison and Akuma.

Street Fighter Alpha 2 was released less than a year later in 1996, which expanded upon the previous game, with the addition of a custom combo system, new stages and endings, and five additional characters. Among these new characters were Sakura Kasugano (a Japanese schoolgirl who idolizes Ryu), Rolento from Final Fight, and Gen from the original Street Fighter, as well as returning World Warriors Zangief and Dhalsim. The American arcade version added Evil Ryu to the roster, along with extra versions of Zangief and Dhalsim (in addition to Shin Akuma and Classic Chun-Li). Alpha 2 was re-released in Japanese arcades under the title of Street Fighter Zero 2 Alpha, which included all the added characters from the American release, extra versions of all the Street Fighter II characters (including Classic Chun-Li), as well as new moves for some of the returning characters and minor changes to the fighting system (particularly in the Custom Combo system, which were easier to perform, but now consumed a larger portion of the Super Combo gauge). Zero 2 Alpha was ported to home consoles as Alpha 2 Gold, which added Cammy to the roster as well (although she was only playable in the Versus and Training modes at first).

Street Fighter Alpha 3 finished off the prequel sub-series in 1998, introducing a selectable fighting styles called "isms." In addition to Cammy, the Alpha 2 roster were joined by newcomers Karin Kanzuki (Sakura's rival from the manga Sakura Ganbaru!), Rainbow Mika (a Japanese female wrestler) and Juni & Juli (M. Bison's female bodyguards), along with Cody from Final Fight and most of the Street Fighter II warriors who were absent in previous Alpha titles (namely Blanka, E. Honda, Balrog and Vega). The console versions (and a later Upper revision released only in Japanese arcades) brought back Guile and the rest of the "New Challengers" from Super Street Fighter II (Fei Long, T. Hawk and Dee Jay), gathering the entire Super Street Fighter II Turbo roster. A Game Boy Advance port was released in 2002, adding Eagle, Maki and Yun (with his brother Yang) fresh from their appearance in Capcom vs. SNK 2. Finally, in 2006, Ingrid from Capcom Fighting Evolution was added in the PSP version.

Tropes Distinct To, Or Introduced In, This Game:

  • Achey Scars: The scar on Sagat's chest glows whenever he is confronted by Ryu. In Alpha 2 Gold and Alpha 3, he gains a super which allows him to draw upon the feelings of anger and hatred invoked by his scar and buff the damage output of his next Tiger Blow.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Cammy was added to the roster in Alpha 2 Gold (the console version of the Asia-only Zero 2 Alpha) after her appearance in X-Men vs. Street Fighter, although she did not have a proper in-game storyline until the game was re-released for the PS2 as part of the Street Fighter Alpha Anthology.
    • When Alpha 3 was ported to home consoles, not only did the home versions feature four extra characters (Fei Long, T. Hawk, Dee Jay and Guile), but the sub-bosses (Balrog, Juni and Juli) were given proper storylines and endings that they didn't get in the original arcade release.
    • The GBA version of Alpha 3 feature three characters not in the prior arcade and console versions: Maki, Eagle and Yun, all based on their Capcom vs. SNK 2 incarnations. Unfortunately, the GBA version is simplified and watered-down in other areas, including the lack of storyline. When the game was ported to the PSP later, the same extra characters were added, along with Ingrid from Capcom Fighting Evolution, and all four were given storylines and endings.
  • Announcer Chatter: The aforementioned Alpha 3 announcer. Most fighting games fans know his lines by heart.
    "Nobody blink, go for broke!"
  • Bodyguard Babes: While pretty much any member of the Bison Elite Guard (the Dolls) may qualify, Juni and Juli both serve this function in-game in the arcade mode of Alpha 3.
  • Broad Strokes: Contrary to popular belief, Alpha 2 isn't really so much of a remake of the original Alpha as it is both a continuation and a remake. Some of the character endings in Alpha 2 (like Sodom's, Ken's, Rose's, and Sagat's) are rough continuations of their original endings from the first Alpha, while others (like Dan's and Adon's) are hard to reconcile with their originals. Charlie's endings in the first two Alpha games don't completely sync in with the fact that he is still alive in Alpha 3.
  • The Cameo: Ken's stage in Alpha 2 features appearances from Pure the Mage (Capcom World 2), Morrigan, Felicia, Hsien-Ko, Mei-Ling, and Lord Raptor, Biff Slamkovich and Jumbo Flapjack, Unknown Soldiers 1P & 2P, Linn Kurosawa, Captain Commando and Ginzu, Strider Hiryu, Michelle Heart and Capcom CEO Kenzo Tsujimoto as a butler. They are most likely just some very convincing cosplayers.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The events of Final Fight 2 are hard to fit into the backstory of the Alpha series without invoking a bit of fanwankery. Mainly the fact that Guy has two different masters (Genryusai in Final Fight 2, Zeku in the Alpha series) and Rolento's allegiance (he was still employed by Mad Gear in Final Fight 2; in Alpha 2, he has left the gang to form his own organization). That still didn't prevent Maki from becoming a Canon Immigrant and being placed into the character roster of the portable versions of Alpha 3.
  • Canon Immigrant: While Gouken was technically mentioned in Akuma's original backstory published during the release of Super Street Fighter II Turbo, his appearance in Akuma's ending in the original Alpha was his (and Goutetsu's) first and only appearance in the series until Street Fighter IV a decade later. Karin Kanzuki was originally Sakura's rival from a Sakura-centric spin-off manga titled Sakura Ganbaru! Evil Ryu, the Superpowered Evil Side of Ryu, was originally a creation of Masahiko Nakahira's Street Fighter Alpha manga published by Gamest.
  • Character Roster Global Warming: Birdie and Zangief are the only Mighty Glacier characters.
  • Compilation Re-release: Street Fighter Alpha Anthology for the PlayStation 2, featuring all three Alpha games plus Alpha 2 Gold and Alpha 3 Upper as well as Super Gem Fighter: Mini Mix (previously known in the North American and PAL regions as Pocket Fighter).
  • Continuity Cameo:
    • The Mad Gear gang from Final Fight can be seen in Sodom's ending in the first game, as well as spectators in Guy's stage in Alpha 2 and 3.
    • A billboard advertising a wrestling match between Hugo and an unknown opponent can be seen in Cody's stage in Alpha 3.
    • Ken's stage in Alpha 2 is a set on a cruise ship filled with other Capcom characters (or at least very convincing cosplayers) attending Eliza's birthday party. See The Cameo above for the full list.
  • Counter Attack: The Alpha Counters. A few other characters, like Karin and Dan, have attack reversals in Alpha 3 as well.
  • Clear My Name: In Alpha 3, Fei Long is mistakenly accused of being involved in Shadaloo's drug trades, and he goes to see what's going on. Yun's story mode has him actually believing the accusations and setting off with Yang to capture Fei Long himself. After the Yun vs. Fei Long mid-boss fight, Fei Long explains what happened to Yun, so they decide to team up and protect Hong Kong from the real culprit: Bison. Then, Bison himself shows up: Fei Long stays behind to fight him and Yun goes against Juni and Juli, then after Bison when Fei Long loses.
  • Crossover: The series can be seen as a crossover in a technical sense, since it was the first time in the franchise the Street Fighter II roster was pitted against characters from the first Street Fighter and Final Fight. Alpha 3 MAX adds in Street Fighter III with Yun.
  • Doomed by Canon: Charlie always dies at the end of each Alpha game. Because otherwise, what else will inspire Guile to pursue his revenge on M. Bison? This was almost averted in Alpha 3, where Charlie actually survived his ending, but the console version "fixed" this by adding Guile to the roster and having Charlie die in his ending instead.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: A few of the characters made background and ending cameos before becoming proper playable characters in the series.
    • Balrog and Vega can be seen in both of Sagat's endings in the first two Alpha games.
    • Fei Long appears as a spectator in Dan's stage in Alpha 2.
    • Rolento can be seen among the former Mad Gear Gang members gathered by Sodom in his ending in the first Alpha game.
    • E. Honda appears in Sodom's ending in Alpha 2.
    • Cody (and his girlfriend Jessica) appears in Guy's stage in Alpha 2. When a female fighter (Chun-Li, Sakura, Rose or Cammy) is in the stage, Cody will shift his attention away from Jessica and into the fighter, causing Jessica to get jealous. She will then slap him in order to regain his attention.
  • Episode 0: The Beginning: Due to its title in Japan, although the original Street Fighter still comes first in canon (as does Final Fight). These games are more clearly a beginning of the plot threads set up in SFII.
  • Expy: A couple of examples:
  • Hit Stop: Scoring counter hits with heavy attacks in Alpha 3 will cause fighters to freeze up Guilty Gear-style from the extra hitstun, allowing their opponent to combo them in ways that would be otherwise impossible normally.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Buddha statue in Alpha 3.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: To say that Alpha 3 is different from much of the Street Fighter series, both before and after, is a major understatement. The strength of V-ism made Super Combos a rarity, the game featured numerous touch of death infinite combos (both in and out of V-ism), and the tier list for the game is atypical, to say the least.note 
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The original Alpha started with a modest roster (even for its time) of 13 playable fighters (which is only one fighter more than Champion Edition. This increased to 18 in Alpha 2 (which is slightly larger than Super Turbo, not counting alternate versions of the same characters) and then to the whooping 28 in the original arcade release of Alpha 3 (counting Balrog, Juni and Juli). By the time Alpha 3 hit home consoles, the cast included the entire Super Street Fighter II Turbo roster, seven carry-over characters from the first Street Fighter and Final Fight, eight original characters, plus Shin Akuma and Evil Ryu. The two portable versions for GBA and PSP later snuck in Eagle, Maki and Yun from Capcom vs. SNK 2, with Ingrid from Capcom Fighting Evolution being exclusive to the PSP, for a big total of 38 fighters. This was the biggest roster in a Street Fighter game until the production of the IV series, which has 44 fighters in its latest Ultra incarnation.
  • Nintendo Hard: This series is particularly unforgiving.
  • Out of Focus: When this series came around, this happened to nearly every character from Street Fighter II. Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Sagat and M. Bison had been around since the first game, but Dhalsim and Zangief didn't appear until Alpha 2, Cammy returned in Alpha 2 Gold as a Vs./Training mode-only character before making a proper appearance in Alpha 3 along with E. Honda, Blanka, Vega and Balrog (who all had ending cameos in previous Alpha and Vs. games), and eventually Fei Long, Dee Jay and T. Hawk returned in the console versions of Alpha 3. Surprisingly, it took Guile, who was often seen by American fans as a lead character in II, until the console version of Alpha 3 to return. Even then, he was a secret character.
  • Product Placement: Rolento's Alpha 2 stage has a giant mural and billboard for Fujitsu computers.
  • Recursive Canon: A Japanese poster for Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie can be seen in Ryu and Guy's stage in the first Alpha game.
  • Remixed Level: Every character in the first game shared a stage.
  • Ret Canon: The Alpha series feature a great deal of visual nods to Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie. This includes:
    • The more muscular design of M. Bison compared to his original lean look in the early II games (although, he did have muscular design in the character art for Super Street Fighter II).
    • The design of Bison's VTOL aircraft, which is even used as the setting of his stage in Alpha 2.
    • The two-on-one hidden game mode in the first Alpha where two players as Ryu and Ken must fight a computer-controlled M. Bison. The Japanese version even plays a Q-Sound rendition of "Itoshisato Setsunasato Kokorozuyosato," the battle theme from the original Japanese version of the movie.
    • The stormy battle scene from Ryu and Sagat's opening battle from the film is used as the stage for Sagat's final boss battle with Ryu in Alpha 2.
  • Retcon: Far, far too many to count, but the most significant one might be changing Sagat from the loser to the victor of the first World Warrior Tournament and subsequently shoehorning in Evil Ryu.
    • Alpha 3, for all intents and purposes, set in stone the story that the games still follow.
  • Sampling: Chun-Li's theme in Alpha 3 samples "Hardening Drops" from Tetris The Grand Master at the beginning.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Ryu and Ken throw their Hadōkens simultaneously towards the screen in the opening sequence of Alpha 2.
  • Smurfette Principle: The first Alpha only had two female fighters (Chun-Li and Rose) among the game's roster of thirteen. This gradually increased with the addition of Sakura among the five new fighters in Alpha 2, followed by the return of Cammy in Alpha 2 Gold and then by the addition of Karin, R. Mika, Juni and Juli among the nine new fighters (thirteen in the console ports) in Alpha 3, a total of 8 women among 32 fighters (literally 25% of the roster). That's not even including the addition of Final Fight 2's Maki and Capcom Fighting Evolution's Ingrid in the portable versions.
  • Slipped the Ropes: Cody in Alpha 3 is a prisoner who makes a habit of breaking out of jail. He's handcuffed. In his taunt, he slips out of the cuffs just to show he can and then puts them back on.
  • Tag Team: A 2-on-1 tag-team system, known as "Variable Battle" was introduced in the PSP version.

Alternative Title(s):

Street Fighter Alpha 3, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter Zero