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You know what they say, 3rd Strike's the charm.

Make your first move. So what's it gonna be?
You're trapped in the new world of Street Fighter III!
Fight for the Future, so what's it gonna be?
The 3rd Strike, y'all, it's Street Fighter III!
Make your first move. So what's it gonna be?
You're trapped in the new world of Street Fighter III!
Fight for the Future, so what's it gonna be?
The 3rd Strike, y'all, it's Street Fighter III! III! III!"
— Main Theme of Street Fighter III 3rd Strike
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In 1997, Capcom finally released the long-awaited true sequel to Street Fighter II, Street Fighter III: New Generation. It cut the roster of familiar characters down to Ryu and (more infamously) Ken Masters; Akuma and Chun-Li were added to the 2nd Impact and 3rd Strike updates, respectively, and quickly became upper/top-tier. In their place is a slew of oddball fighters, plus the weirdly-painted tournament organizer and Illuminati leader, Gill.

Eight months later, Capcom released the inevitable update with 2nd Impact: Giant Attack, which added a member of the Andore clan (the Giant Mooks from Final Fight), former heir apparent to the Illuminati and Gill's snubbed brother Urien, and II's Bonus Boss-turned-Breakout Villain Akuma.

A second update, 3rd Strike: Fight for the Future, has since become the definitive version. Chun-Li is back in the lineup where she belongs, four new characters are added including the Ensemble Dark Horse "Q", the game is rebalanced, and the spritework was praised as the best in any 2D fighter up to that point.

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Given its high demand of mastery, the game is still popular for Tournament Play, giving it some recognition which was denied at time of release. Due to fervent fan requests, Capcom re-released this game on Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network in 2011 as 3rd Strike Online Edition; it features online play, enhanced visual settings, and other bonus content. The arcade version was later re-released in 2018 as part of the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection on Steam, the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

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The game's playable roster includes:

  • From Street Fighter I: Ryu, Ken Masters
  • From Street Fighter II: Chun-Li, Akuma
  • Introduced in Street Fighter III: New Generation: Alex, Dudley, Yun and Yang, Ibuki, Necro, Sean, Oro, Elena, Gill
  • Introduced in Street Fighter III 2nd Impact: Hugo, Urien
  • Introduced in Street Fighter III 3rd Strike: Remy, Q, Makoto, Twelve


Tropers ready. Engage!

  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Remy is Capcom's take of a typical SNK design that you might see in The King of Fighters or its ilk.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Amazingly averted for a 2D game. Gill's half-red half-blue body does not switch colors when he turns around. He was deliberately designed this way so that Capcom could show off the power of their CPS-3 board. Although, Oro doesn't have that kind of luck, as his bound arm and which shoulder his clothing hangs from switches sides.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: If you continue a set number of times in 3rd Strike, the CPU's difficulty level will be bumped down a level.
  • Artificial Brilliance: On higher difficulty settings, the AI is capable of red parrying, something that even highly-skilled players can have trouble mastering. This includes being able to parry out of Urien's Aegis Reflector, which is entirely possible for a human to pull off, but extremely difficult. AI Ryu and Akuma are noticeably more competent than most other opponents.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Despite its reputation for being one of the most challenging and technically demanding games in the series, some of the AI opponents consistently make really dumb decisions even on the highest difficulty settings:
    • Ken will consistently throw out the light, medium, and fierce versions of his Shoryuken in succession whenever he's far enough away, despite it having no tactical benefit or sense whatsoever.
    • Sean will frequently do a double light kick followed by a Ryuubi Kyaku, despite it being extremely easy to punish and parry.
    • Makoto will bust out her Abare Tosanami and especially Tanden Renki at random. Both Super Arts require some setup or predicting your opponent, and doing them randomly just leaves her wide open. Poorly using the latter is especially ridiculous, as it gives her a massive attack boost in exchange for removing her ability to block incoming attacks.
    • The most egregious example is Twelve, who loves taunting almost as much as Dan. Twelve's taunt turns him invisible, but the startup animation is ridiculously slow and leaves him wide open to attack. There are very few instances where a human player can get away with this safely, but the AI tries doing it randomly. Even if he does manage to turn invisible, tracking him down and hitting back into visibility is very easy. All this predictable, mindboggling stupidity comes from the same AI that is capable of red parrying.
  • Ascended Meme: 3rd Strike Online Edition has a trial where you have to replicate Daigo's famous parry and finish.
  • Badass Adorable: Ibuki and Elena. Their cheerful personalities are balanced with their incredible combat prowess. Chun-Li also qualifies due to her updated laughing win animation; not only will she jump and cheer, but she'll even blush if you hold the Start button when you win.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Reappears in New Generation and 2nd Impact.
  • Boss Rush: In 3rd Strike, there's a way to glitch the arcade mode into turning all of the opponents into Gill.
  • The Cameo:
    • Take a closer look at Ryu's New Generation hot springs stage. Linn Kurosawa from Alien vs. Predator is sharing the pool with Chun-Li, who would later return as a playable character in 3rd Strike.
    • Infinite, who recorded the vocal songs for 3rd Strike, is also the game's announcer.
  • Character Roster Global Warming: About 20 characters and two (possibly three) big guys (Alex, Hugo and possibly Q).
  • Cherry Tapping: Several characters have taunts that also register as light hits:
    • Dudley's rose is one of the most iconic in the series, if not all of the fighting game genre. It's not only a fast projectile, but it's stylish.
    • Sean can do the same with his basketballs, but it's much slower and awkward.
    • Ken's brash hand gesture can hit twice if you're close enough.
    • Ibuki's hop registers as a throw at close range, but can be parried like a hit.
    • Urien's Ground Pound can induce a knockdown status.
    • Elena's does a dance move that can hit low, launch the target up, and hit them as they're falling.
    • Makoto and Yang's taunts can only do single, slow taps at close range.
    • Necro and Yun can taunt continuously as long as you hold the buttons down and they don't get hit. It's entirely possible to KO a cornered opponent by doing multi-taunt combos.
    • This can be taken to the logical extreme by using Twelve's X.C.O.P.Y. Super Art in a mirror match. It allows Twelve to change into his opponent and gain their basic moveset and taunt stat boosts, but without the ability to use their EX moves or Super Arts. In a mirror match, that means Twelve will simply change colors, lose his voice, and be cut off from some best parts of his already mediocre moveset. He'll still go through that slow transformation animation that leaves him wide open, despite it being completely pointless. The cherry on top is that it doesn't allow him to turn invisible, let alone get any stat boosts from taunting. Essentially, this is the weakest version of arguably the worst character in the game. It's highly unlikely, but still possible to win in this state.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Alex, Hugo, Dudley, Elena, Makoto, and Q all specialize in close range combat. They make up for their lack of range with high damage attacks, better throws, combos, and anti-air options, and fast ground speeds.
  • Colon Cancer: The 2nd Impact and 3rd Strike portion of the second and third title, respectively, are sometimes treated as separate titles instead of being part of the main title.
  • Cute Bruiser: Makoto is the smallest character, but she hits absurdly hard and has one of the easiest 100% "Touch of Death" combos in the game.
  • Die, Chair! Die!: Certain stages allow for this ranging from causing furniture in the background to bounce after a powerful attack to causing a character to be knocked into a different part of the level for another one of the rounds.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • Mastering the parrying mechanic can make a huge difference. That goes double for red parrying, which involves blocking and then parrying parts of multi-hit attacks. If you're skilled enough, you can No-Sell almost every attack in the game.
    • Necro's seemingly slow, awkward moves make him potentially nigh unstoppable when his opponent is in the corner.
    • If timed well, Oro's juggling combos can completely shut down a match. He also has special versions of all three of his Super Arts, but they require you to fully charge the EX meter beforehand. That means scrounging for as much meter as you can, and letting the match go on longer than what's really practical. His standing fierce kick has relatively little range, but it can rack up stun damage very quickly.
    • With good charge partitioning and buffering, Urien's tackles and Aegis Reflectors can completely overwhelm a cornered opponent.
    • The same can be said for Hugo. Mastery of the parrying system and devastating throws and anti-airs go a long way, indeed.
    • Twelve's X.C.O.P.Y. Super Art demands that you have knowledge of the other characters' movesets, but given that you can still make use of their taunt-granted buffs while mimicked, he can become a force to be reckoned with. His air dashing, move canceling properties, and clever spacing can be lethal if your opponent is unaccustomed to fighting him.
    • Q's moveset lacks variety, but makes great use of the parrying system and defensive strategies. Some of his attacks, if timed well, combo in very unexpected ways. Check it out.
    • In 3rd Strike, Elena is typically overlooked due to her limited range, slow startup on some of her moves, seemingly low priority, and clunky hitbox. But hiding underneath all of those flaws is easily one of the best offensive rushdown characters in the entire game. This is due to a healthy dose of Confusion Fu, as she has some absurd mixups, and most opponents are unaccustomed to fighting her, and the fact that several of her attacks - both regular and EX - can be easily comboed into each other. If she connects with one of her aerial combos on an opponent and follows it up properly, she can rack up tons of damage and induce stun status in a matter of seconds. She also has an exceptional kara throw. Lastly, if her Brave Dance Super Art fully connects, it is slightly stronger than Chun-Li's Houyoku Sen Super Art.
  • Easter Egg: As 3rd Strike was supposed to be the final Street Fighter game, there were several secrets put in for people to discover:
    • Chun-Li will blush during her "Yatta!" victory animation if you press Start immediately after winning the match.
    • Dudley's Rolling Thunder can be changed to a dash if you hold hold forward and all three punches.
    • Alex's will do an alternate version of his Hyper Bomb Super Art if the opponent is facing away when he connects with it.
    • Elena's Healing can be canceled by pressing all three punch buttons at the same time.
    • Sean, Dudley, and Ibuki's projectiles (the basketball, rose, and kunai) are all physical objects instead of ki. As such, they cancel each other out if they collide.
    • Hugo's Hammer Mountain can be delayed by holding down a punch button. If you hold it down long enough, the move will be canceled entirely.
    • Oro has EX versions of all of his Super Arts, including a Dragon Ball Z-style Spirit Bomb. You need to fully charge his meter and use all three punch buttons to trigger them.
    • Ibuki's hopping taunt has properties of a light attack and a throw at close range; she'll jump over the opponent's shoulder and give a little wave. It can even be used to stop some oncoming attack in mid-animation.
    • Necro and Yun can taunt continuously until you let go of the buttons or they get hit.
    • Makoto's taunt is actually the first part of three animations; you have to keep holding down the buttons to see the entire thing.
    • Makoto also has hidden taunt that only activates if you input the taunt directly after doing a Hayate. Unlike most other taunts in the game, it doesn't have any practical use.
    • Hugo's taunts have a few variations depending on the input. The first two versions boost his stats. But if you hold down the Start button and taunt, Poison will walk onscreen and do her own taunt.
    • Alex's Flash Chop, Hugo's Giant Palm Bomber, Yun's Kobokushi, and Yang's Byakko Soshoda can cancel out projectiles as long as the attacks connect at the same time.
    • Chun-Li can do her aerial stomp up to 10 times in a row in corners, and can wall jump as well.
    • Urien can do an alternate version of his Aegis Reflector if you trigger it with all three punch buttons.
    • You can control the trajectory of Sean's basketball during his opening animation; if done correctly, you can hit any character with it, not just Elena. If Sean taunts during a match, you can hit him out of the animation before he catches the ball, and it'll go flying harmlessly across the screen.
    • If you defeat three human opponents with Yang, his cat will appear in the next match, and all subsequent consecutive matches that you win.
    • You can alter the difficulty level of the parrying bonus round by holding certain button combinations when the "Parrying" message appears onscreen.
    • Remy has several incredibly detailed Idle Animations that you'll probably never see due to him being a charge character and the time limits in each round. The only way to see them all is to go into practice mode and just watch him. The one you're most likely encounter in an actual fight is when he brushes his long hair away from his face with his hand while he's crouching. If this happens enough times, he'll get annoyed, take a deep breath, and blow a strand of hair away instead.
  • EX Special Attack: Introduced in 2nd Impact. By pressing two buttons of the same type while performing a special move and spending half of a meter, you can perform a stronger version of said special move. Note that "half of a meter" means the exact cost varies depending on your chosen Super Art, since different ones have differently sized meters.
  • Fragile Speedster: Ibuki is the fastest character in the game. She relies on quick mixup combos that are hard to parry and counter, and has solid ground and aerial strategies. She has a high learning curve, but she's nearly unstoppable in the right hands... as long as she doesn't get hit. She has the 4th worst health in the game, and can have trouble rebuilding lost momentum. A heavy hitter or anyone with anti-air options can crush her in seconds.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The arcade version of 3rd Strike with revision 990512 (dated May 12, 1999) had a bug that causes the game to restart if Ken defeats Makoto using his neutral throw. This was fixed on revision 990608 (dated June 8, 1999).
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Akuma is gradually nerfed every time he's playable. He loses most of his lengthy Alpha 3 combos in the transition to 2nd Impact, along with a considerable portion of his health. 3rd Strike removes the borderline broken combos (of which nearly every character has) along with his ground roll. This final version has slightly reduced damage, and his health is the absolute lowest of the roster. A heavy hitter like Chun-Li needs only a couple of combos to take him out. To make up for this, Akuma is given one more Super Art - bringing the total to 5 - that can be triggered whenever his meter is completely full. He has great priority and combos, better control over his teleports, and variations on his dive kicks/throws. It's rather telling that despite his pathetic health, he's still considered a high tier character.
    • Yun and Yang. Yun is an absolute terror in matches due to great combos, speed, and dive kick tactics. He's especially deadly if he's using his Gen'ei Jin Super Art, which basically lets him juggle his target with impunity until the meter runs out. Yang doesn't have as many good combos or speed, but he hits hard and racks up stun damage quickly. He thrives by understanding spacing, being patient, and punishing his opponents' mistakes. Despite all of this, these Bash Brothers have the least amount of health after Akuma. Their strengths also rely on momentum; if you know how to block or parry competently, you can shut down most of their best tactics, and then destroy them.
    • Makoto can be turned into one if you use her Tanden Renki Super Art. It adds a 25% stat boost to her already high attack power, but at the expense of her ability to block. Using it recklessly will end a match very quickly, and usually not in Makoto's favor.
  • Hermit Guru: Oro is an Old Master from South America. While the location of his grotto in New Generation and 2nd Impact is never specified, it's based on the real-life tepui caves found in the Guiana Highlands, most commonly in Venezuela and western Guyana. This is fitting with Oro's distant and mysterious nature; the tepui caves are among the last unexplored regions of the world. It's not until 3rd Strike that he's relocated to an entirely different stage that's based in Brazil.
  • Idle Animation: The game runs at 60 fps, and animators went all out to make the characters move as fluidly as possible. This includes when they're standing still. While every fighter looks awesome, some, particularly a few who were added in 3rd Strike, got extra attention:
    • Remy has at least half a dozen variations of his standing idle animations which he'll cycle through. These usually involve slightly shifting his stance, flexing his fingers, or glaring at his opponent. When he's crouching, he'll eventually brush the hair away from his eyes with his hand. If he does that enough times, he'll get annoyed, take a deep breath, and blow a strand away. But since he's a charge character and there's a time limit in matches, the only way you can see all of them is in practice mode.
    • Makoto's gi will ripple as some increasingly Dramatic Wind picks up.
    • Ibuki is constantly making hand seals by slightly moving her fingers.
    • Both Q and Oro's eyes will briefly glow or change color, respectively.
    • Elena never stops dancing during a match, even in her crouching animation.
    • Alex keeps flexing his fingers, especially in his crouching animation.
    • Yun will adjust his baseball cap every five seconds that he's idle.
  • The Illuminati: Is actually Gill's organization.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Ryu, as usual. He has all the essentials, such as the Hadoken for a projectile, Shoryuken as an anti-air, the Hurricane Kick, etc. His speed is completely average, attacks are simple, and his inputs and hit confirms are easy to learn. His EX moves are also a great introduction into how the mechanic works. It's not until you start delving into parrying, super jumps, and stun damage that you find out how effective he can be.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Sean was intentionally nerfed in 3rd Strike to become this. Both in-game and story canon, he is the weakest fighter, even more so than Dan Hibiki. His attacks are slow, and lack both range and priority. But he's not entirely useless. Winning with him requires a mastery of the fundamental gameplay mechanics, especially knowing how to fake out your opponent with high and low attacks, as well as parrying. His attacks are easy to counter, but if an overconfident opponent misses something, the tables will turn very quickly. His few combos dish out considerable physical and stun damage. His goofy-looking roll can evade a surprising number of attacks. His ridiculous basketball taunt can lure the opponent into an easy parry while he charges in and tries a mixup. In the right hands and against reckless opponents, Sean is pretty fun to use.
  • Lightning Bruiser: 3rd Strike Chun-Li is by far and away the most powerful version the character, as well as in the game's roster itself. She has great health, and her damage/stun output is staggering. Most of her normal attacks are all excellent pokes with incredible damage output and priority over oncoming attacks. She can hit opponents out of most of their best attacks with impunity. Some of her normals (especially Standing Fierce, Back Fierce, and Crouching Medium Kick) are so good, some tutorials recommend using them exclusively. Most players like to hang back and just pick apart their opponents with defensive punishes, build meter, and then finish them off with the Houyoku Sen, the best Super Art in the game. But an offensive Chun-Li is absolutely monstrous:
    • While Crouching Medium Kick is the standard and safest way to hit confirm into her Houyoku Sen, nearly all of her normals can combo into it. It can even be canceled into after a teched throw. There are multiple ways to follow it up as well. And remember, all of this can be done without parrying. As long as she has at least one super meter stocked up, your opponent will always be in danger.
    • She has the best kara throw in the game, which can turn the tables on usually safe close-range tactics.
    • She has an air throw. Very few players remember this is a thing, let alone know how to use it effectively. It's easier to use one of her anti-air options, but it's viable against any opponent that has a relatively slow jump speed. That especially goes for Chun-Li mirror matches, Hugo, Alex, and Twelve. This can also be used to counter someone who's trying to punish your jump in with a Shoryuken, but requires you to parry the Shoryuken in midair first. Same goes with any anti-air that causes your opponent to jump.
    • Her pressure tactics are absurdly powerful; the raw speed, damage, and mixup options can easily overwhelm even experienced opponents. Her Lightning Legs can be buffered/partitioned to be triggered at unexpected moments. Her Spinning Bird Kick, which is arguably her most useless Special Attack, can hit multiple times, gives you forward momentum, can knock around jumping opponents with larger hit boxes, and does a surprising amount of chip damage. Even AI-controlled Gill has trouble with it. The EX version is an essential wakeup tool due to its speed and difficult parrying.
    • Her other most useless Special Attack is her Crouching Forward Fierce Kick, which lets you backflip kick over your opponent. It's slow, clunky, and easy to parry on landing, but if it's positioned and timed well, you can use it to dodge Shoryukens and some Super Arts. If the opponent misses the parry, it can be a fun and unexpected lead-in to Houyoku Sen.
    • She has a unique wall jump ability in corners/edge of screens, the angle and speed of which can be altered depending on your directional input. This can be used to dodge some Super Arts and fake out defending opponents. She can also use her aerial medium kick/head stomp up to 10 times in a row in corners. The wall jumps and stomps can also be altered via super jumps.
    • Her taunts are slow and randomized with different effects, but all of them give her considerable stat boosts on top of all her other abilities.
    • At competitive levels, the only characters who remotely stand a chance against an experienced Chun-Li are another Chun-Li, Dudley and Yun. Dudley has a superior wakeup game, and can combo/juggle a cornered, knocked-down Chun-Li relatively easy. Yun also holds a tiny advantage if the Chun-Li player doesn't know the ranges of his dive kicks, thus making her vulnerable to his Gen'ei Jin. Makoto has insane damage output and impressive speed, but requires setups and precision to be truly effective; given the recovery time on some of her moves and lackluster footsie options, whiffing an attack can be disastrous. Since Makoto's best combos require her Karakusa command grab, her tactics become predictable and thus easier to counter. Ken also has some solid mixups and damage output, but he can be easily countered by a defensive player. Urien can also overwhelm her if he gets enough momentum going, but that requires mastery over the buffering of his tackles and Aegis Reflector. All of these characters aside from Yun could be considered Lightning Bruisers in their own ways, but Chun-Li outclasses all of them.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: Twelve, whose design basically makes him a Marvel vs. Capcom character trapped in a Street Fighter game. Most fighters have several tactical options on the ground, but limited attacks and mobility in the air. Twelve's design inverts that standard; the cornerstone of his strategy is getting him airborne, and then using different inputs to send him back down at varying angles with different attacks. Instead of straightforward combos, he's more about predicting and faking out his opponent with hit and run tactics. This extra layer of complexity is one of the main reasons he's such an unpopular character.
  • Meta Game: Any experienced player knew that tactics in Street Fighter II revolved around projectiles, and Street Fighter Alpha was all about guard breaking via hyper offensive combos. Street Fighter III was clearly designed to counter both of these via parrying and defensive options. It's rather telling that the majority of the new characters don't have projectiles, and have ways to counter spamming on top of parrying. Alex, Hugo, Yun, and Yang can all nullify projectiles with certain moves. Dudley, Elena, Ibuki, Sean, Twelve, and Urien all have moves that can evade and counter projectiles if used correctly. Even physical objects like Dudley's rose, Ibuki's kunai, and Sean's basketball can be knocked out of the air instead of being parried. There are also way more anti-air options to deal with a characters that use jump-ins as their primary method of attack. As a result, the character roster has far less Shotoclones, but a more diverse range of fighters and tactics than other Street Fighter games.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: A few of the themes on the soundtracks have some pretty weird genre mashups. Elena's theme, for example, mixes up African drums with house music with some saxophone thrown in, and Q's theme can only be described as funky X-Files music.
  • Nerf: Sean's infamous downgrade between 2nd Impact and 3rd Strike. In the former, he had some excellent combos, good speed, and even a glitch that allowed him to build his EX meter twice as fast as any other character. In the latter, he's lost some of his best combos, and his speed and priority are abysmal.
  • Oktoberfest: Hugo's 2nd Impact stage is set during this.
  • Old Master: As a Senjutsu master, Oro is canonically one of the oldest and most powerful fighters. This is reflected in his design; he has a Double Jump, telekinesis, projectiles that can hit from multiple angles at the same time, and EX versions of his Super Arts. No other character - not even Akuma, his 3rd Strike rival - has those abilities. He also keeps one arm bound to give his opponents an actual chance at winning. Higher-level strategies are indicative of this as well; Oro has some of the longest and most complex juggling combos in the series. They require patience, timing, and dexterity due to him being a charge character, but some are unblockable and can completely shut down a match if done correctly. In his 3rd Strike ending, he's interested in Ryu's potential, but notes it'll take at least 15 years of training before Ryu could make him use both arms.
  • Paper Tiger: Just going by the descriptions of his character design, Twelve should be one of the most dangerous characters in the entire series. He's a Voluntary Shapeshifter whose arsenal includes blades, axes, spikes, and the ability to turn into any fighter and mimic their fighting styles. He has an air glide that allows him to jump and change direction in midair, which gives him unparalleled mobility that defies the physics that the other characters are bound to. He can cancel the glide and drop at varying angles depending on what buttons are pressed, which can make his exact landing placement and incoming hits harder to predict. He can walk underneath fireballs. His taunt turns him invisible. In theory, he should be unstoppable. In actual gameplay, especially at high levels, it's the complete opposite:
    • The trade-off for his exceptional mobility is his pathetically small health bar. Only Akuma, Yun, Yang, and Ibuki have less health, but they all have better moves and defensive options. A competent player can destroy him with a couple of decent combos in about 10 seconds. This includes Necro, who in the story is the Flawed Prototype while Twelve is supposed to be the Superior Successor.
    • He has only a handful of combos, most of which deal relatively little damage, connect only at close range, and are unsafe on block. He has only a couple of good cross-ups, but they rely on some questionable spacing and hit detection. They also have abysmal priority; Chun-Li can tear him apart despite having a severe range disadvantage. The few good moves he has can be easily parried by an experienced opponent. The EX versions don't do much more damage, and burn through too much meter to be practical.
    • His throw deals out a lot of damage, but sends the opponent flying to the other end of the screen, forcing you to work your way back in again. It's only really safe if you parry into it as well.
    • His Super Arts aren't very good. X.N.D.L. sends out a wave of spikes that deals a ton of damage if it connects. But the start up is incredibly slow; if you don't combo into it, you'll simply telegraph and allow yourself to be easily punished. There a few moves that combo into it, but are generally high risk due to being close ranged and easily blockable. X.F.L.A.T. requires you to be airborne, but the angle and hit detection are finicky. Your opponent needs to be standing on the ground, too; if you connect in midair, the damage output is drastically reduced. The only surefire way of connecting this is using his neutral knee and jump canceling, which definitely isn't something new players would know how to do. X.C.O.P.Y. lets you shapeshift into your opponent. You have the option of playing as the character normally, or repeatedly taunting to gain stat boosts. But you can't use the mimicked character's EX moves or Super Arts. Also, the meter burns up quickly (and using this Super Art makes utilizing Twelve's EX moves impractical); once it runs out, Twelve will enter a painfully slow transformation sequence that leaves him wide open.
    • His aerial game requires a lot of setup; you have to glide and constantly switch up move cancels to keep your opponent guessing. It's basically a slow, repetitive hit-and-run strategy. It eats up a lot of time, which means trouble when the clock is running out and your health is at a deficit. The attacks that deal the most damage - his aerial roundhouse and divekick in particular - are also the most predictable. The aerial roundhouse and EX divekick can be used as cross-ups, but the hitbox is very inconsistent. The latter is supposed to be two hits, but sometimes only connects once, bounces you against the opponent or goes though them, induces a knockdown or merely causes a glancing blow, etc. While it's harder to defend against, using it properly requires precision and a bit of dumb luck.
    • His supposedly game-breaking ability of altering his jump trajectory is negated by its slow speed and the fact that you can't parry while gliding. Chun-Li, Hugo, or anyone else with an air grab can utterly demolish him every time he tries. Same goes with any fighter that has good juggling combos or at least one vertically or diagonally-aimed attack. So basically every character in the game can easily counter him.
    • The ability to parry completely negates the need to ever walk under fireballs. The fact that you can only walk - dashing leaves you vulnerable - makes this technique practically useless in high level play.
    • The start up animation for his invisibility taunt is ridiculously slow, so you need to throw your opponent to the other end of the screen just to get enough distance between you. Otherwise, your opponent will simply dash up and combo you into oblivion. Also, it has no effect on AI opponents whatsoever; turning yourself invisible makes it even easier for them to win, as it's harder to parry when you can't see your character.
    • However, Twelve has three strengths that often go overlooked. The first is his stun capability. While his play style is all about whittling down the opponent's health bar via hit and run tactics, his neutral medium kick - an awkward, close-range knee attack - quickly racks up a surprising amount of stun damage. It doesn't have the recovery time of Twelve's more prominent attacks, which makes spamming it easier. It can be linked into with a few of his aerial moves, and will cancel into his X.N.D.L. and X.F.L.A.T. Super Arts.
    • The second is his N.D.L. Twelve shoves his arms into the ground, and they resurface as spikes at different ranges depending on which button you've used. While this doesnt seem like much at first glance, it can be used to punish projectile spammers; the spikes go underneath the stage, which means they don't get nullified by projectiles and will hit before the opponent recovers. N.D.L. can also be used to punish jumping opponents if positioned correctly, but the light N.D.L. works perfectly as an anti-divekick tool. The EX version is also a homing weapon that will have the spikes surface at any location the target is, including crossups. This gives Twelve an effective weapon against Ken, who is one of his most dangerous matchups. It can also hit Akuma out of his Kongou Kokuretsuzan animation if you're at the same range you'd need to be to parry it.
    • The third is his X.N.D.L, his first Super Art. Again, it's slow and easy to parry if you don't combo into it. However, it gives Twelve invincibility on his upper body. If timed well, it will let you dodge and counter projectile Super Arts like Ryu's Shinkuu and Denjin Hadoukens, Akuma's standing Messatsu Gou Hadou, Sean's Hadou Burst, etc. It will also go through Urien's Aegis Reflector, Oro's Yagyou Dama, Chun-Li's Kikosho at certain distances, and beat out Necro's Electric Snake. It can also counter Remy's Light of Justice, but you need to be mid-range and trigger it before the second wave of projectiles come out. In short, it can be used as a counter Super Art in certain matchups.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Canadian rapper and former Ghetto Concept member Infinite, who was fresh off his critically acclaimed 1998 EP release 360 Degrees, recorded three hip hop themes for 3rd Strike: "Let's Get It On", "Movin' On" and "Third Strike". Unfortunately, the full versions of the songs were never officially available until the release of 3rd Strike Online Edition.
  • Practical Taunt: Taunting provides Status Buffs, which is still a rarity in fighting games. This is especially the case for Q, who turns into a brick wall if you can taunt three times in a round.
  • Punch Parry: A new Parry mechanic that was added to the game, enabling with the proper timing a player to cancel out attacks by pushing either forward or down as an attack lands.
  • Secret Character: In 3rd Strike, Q isn't normally seen in an arcade playthrough. In order to fight him, you have to win the first eight matches without losing a round, remain at a D rank or higher in each match, get five Super Art finishes, and get two or more Special Points. If done correctly, a close up of his character portrait will suddenly pop up on the screen before the fight begins.
  • Senior Sleep Cycle: Oro can usually be found sleeping between matches. In combat, he weaponizes it; by taunting, he can take a nap at any moment - complete with a Snot Bubble and Catching Some Z's - which allows him to quickly recover his stun gauge. He'll continue sleeping for as long as you hold the buttons down.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Smurfette Principle: Elena and Ibuki in the first two games. 3rd Strike added Chun-Li and Makoto.
  • Snow Means Love: Effie and Necro barely dodge Snow Means Death when Necro saves Effie from falling to her death in a snowy frontier place. This goes full-blast when Effie embraces Necro as they get away safely, and he expresses happiness regarding the heavily modified body that allowed him to reach for her.
  • Some Dexterity Required: At high level play, all of the fighters have some surprisingly complex combos that require some absurdly good reflexes and inputs. You'd be surprised how many ways there are to cancel into Akuma's Raging Demon, or how good Necro is at corner combos. Special mention goes to the charge characters; if you can master Urien's charge partitioning, his tackles and Aegis Reflectors are unstoppable. Same goes with Oro's projectiles and juggles, which can hit from multiple angles if you can do the inputs fast enough. Remy is one of the lowest on the tier list for normal matches, but tool-assisted setups have demonstrated that he's borderline broken if you get his charge buffering down perfectly. Not to mention the grapplers; good luck trying to do a standing 720 to activate Hugo's Gigas Breaker. It gets even crazier when you start using parries - especially red ones - in tandem with combos.
  • The Stinger: In the 2nd Impact credits roll, Gill's KO'ed body is lying in the background. When the credits finish, he revives using his Resurrection Super Art, and a To Be Continued message appears.
  • Stone Wall: Q is designed to be a defensive and parry-based fighter; his offensive options are quite limited compared to the rest of the cast. But his taunt dramatically boosts his defense stats. If you max out at three taunts, Q will be able to easily tank some of the most damaging combos in the game. This drags the fight out longer and gives you more opportunities to counterattack.
  • Take It to the Bridge: Elena's stage in New Generation/2nd Impact takes place on a bridge over a cliff; at the end of Round 1, the bridge breaks and plummets to the bottom of the cliff, with the characters following afterwards.
  • Updated Re-release: Played straight with 2nd Impact. This is subverted with 3rd Strike which is actually a sequel storywise.

WE AWAIT YOUR RETURN, WARRIOR!
 
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