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  • Audience-Alienating Premise:
    • Right off the bat, the decision to replace most of the cast from Street Fighter II proved to be a disastrous one. While Capcom had previously been able to successfully pull off a near complete cast changeover from Street Fighter I to II, that was largely because the first Street Fighter game wasn't particularly successful, meaning few fans cared about those characters. Conversely, the characters from II had proven to be extremely popular and had subsequently reappeared in the Street Fighter Alpha games and the various adaptations based on the Street Fighter franchise. This meant there was far more backlash to their omission than there had ever been over the cast of I not returning for II. It was particularly telling that at first, Sean was going to be the sole representative of the Shoto archetype, but Capcom made the move to at least bring back Ryu and Ken to satiate long time fans. Those two, along with Akuma in 2nd Impact and Chun-Li in 3rd Strike, were the only veterans from either II or Alpha to return in this sub-series.
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    • The game was more complex and difficult to master than the previous Street Fighter games, alienating casual players even further. While III did later gain a major following among tournament players and in the Fighting Game Community, to this day it has a reputation for being very unfriendly to newbies.
    • The game came out as the arcade scene was dying and while 3D games like Tekken and Virtua Fighter were becoming increasingly popular. III was also developed on Capcom's new CPS-3 arcade system board, which allowed for more fluid and detailed sprites than had previously been seen. Unfortunately, this also made III much more expensive, and this, coupled with the declining popularity of 2D fighters and arcades in general, meant that many arcade owners passed on ordering the game.
    • The expensive and time-consuming process of making brand new sprites also resulted in III only having 11 playable characters (even with Ryu, Ken and Sean sharing the same body) at launch, which seemed downright paltry at the time. For comparison, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and Tekken 3, which were released the same year, had 17 and 21 playable characters, respectively.
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    • Those advanced graphics meant that III could not be ported to most of the then-current consoles without sacrificing animations and features; the only console which could have handled the game without major difficulty was the Sega Saturn—which was not only the least successful console of its generation, but had Sega pull the plug on it less than six months after the game was released to arcades. Consequently, the Street Fighter III series was initially ported exclusively for the Sega Dreamcast, which barely sold better than the Saturn did! It wasn't until 2004 when 3rd Strike was re-released as part of Street Fighter Anniversary Collection. note  Because of the failure of the CPS-3, Capcom's future 2D fighters, such as the Marvel vs. Capcom and SNK vs. Capcom series, were either developed on the CPS-2 or Sega's new NAOMI system board. Street Fighter Alpha 3 was released the following year on the CPS-2, and while the sprites weren't as good as the ones used in III, it was significantly more affordable for most arcade owners. The less-refined graphics also meant it could be more easily ported to the PlayStation, where it sold a million copies.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • From a purely gameplay-related standpoint, Ken has earned a lot of scorn in 3rd Strike from (mostly) online players because so many fans use him online. No one knows why, but it might be due to his ease of use compared to Ryu, who somehow got harder to use as time passed.
    • Remy. You either think he's cool and more interesting than either Guile or Charlie, or you think his emo attitude, SNK-based design and his reason for fighting are dumb.
  • Character Tiers:
    • Chun-Li is S+ tier in the Arcadia list, and Ken is A+, with Akuma not far behind. Especially tragic since this plays into Complacent Gaming Syndrome (see below). Let it be noted that these are not tiers decided at the margins, Chun and Ken all have 7-3 and 8-2 matchups against much of the rest of the cast. Thankfully, the high tiers are also populated with new, fun and unique characters like Yun, Makoto, and Dudley.
    • More tiers have Chun-Li and Yun at S-tier, with Ken and Makoto at A+. Akuma has dropped down to B-tier and is considered slightly worse than Dudley now (though he still has some disgustingly cheap bullshit according to Kuroda).
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: As a result of removing all of the old cast except Ryu and Ken, 75% of all players picked Ken, 20% picked Ryu, and 5% picked one of the other characters. It got a little better in 2nd Impact. But in 3rd Strike, not only was Ken a tad bit easier to learn than Ryu in the III series, but he was top-tier (alongside Chun-Li and Yun) in 3S. In other words, Tournament Play was filled with Ken, Chun-Li, Yun, and the occasional Makoto, Dudley, and Akuma. This status followed him into Street Fighter IV and V, with lukewarm reception (especially in the former). There's a reason the trope used to go by the name of "That Damn Ken."
  • Contested Sequel: When first released, III was criticized for ditching majority of the cast from the previous games, its steep learning curve, and its "dated graphics." As described below, the years have been far kinder.
  • Cult Classic: Street Fighter III didn't do particularly well when it was released, and is the only Street Fighter series to ship less than 1,000,000 units on a single system (excluding compilations). It started picking up in popularity through the early 2000s in the Fighting Game Community, with many considering 3rd Strike the best Street Fighter game for competitive play, even if it was still largely forgotten by the general public. Come the release of 3rd Strike: Online Edition in 2011 and later the arcade port in the 30th Anniversary Collection in 2018, and Street Fighter III is considered a classic with deep gameplay that has aged much better than its polygon-based contemporaries like Mortal Kombat 4 or Tekken 3.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Ibuki, to the point where she placed 22nd on IGN's List of Top 25 Street Fighter Characters. She's had the second-highest amount of non-SF appearances after Yun (Pocket Fighter, SFxT), has cameos in Capcom Fighting Evolution and Onimusha Soul, was considered for Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars, returned for SSFIV, and most recently has appeared in SFV as DLC. She and Remy were also the only new characters from the III series to be included in SOTA's popular line of Street Fighter action figures.
    • Dudley. A lot of fans like him better than Balrog, to the point where he actually won a fan poll to see who fans wanted to appear most in Street Fighter IV. Capcom granted the fans' wish by including him in Super Street Fighter IV, alongside Balrog. In addition, he placed 25th on IGN's List of Top 25 Street Fighter Characters.
    • Makoto. Unlike many of the newcomers in III, she has actually been hailed as a great addition to the cast. Episode 33 of 1UP.com's Retronauts podcast actually singled out Makoto as being "pure Street Fighter" in relation to the rest of the cast, when she placed 23rd on IGN's List of Top 25 Street Fighter Characters. Her popularity might also be due to her high-risk playstyle and high-tier status. Perhaps being savvy enough to realize this, Capcom included her in SSFIV. Furthermore, when the results of the first Street Fighter Character Popularity Poll was announced, Makoto took second place, right behind fellow darkhorse Sakura.
    • According to the polls for Street Fighter X Tekken, Q is the second most requested character from Street Fighter III after Alex, the main character. Sadly, neither one of them made it in, and Capcom specifically requested that Q be left out of Tekken X Street Fighter. Also, according to the aforementioned Character Popularity Poll, Q is the 4th most popular character in the entire series, and the most popular male in the series by extension.
    • Yun and Yang. The fact that Yun has had the most playable out-of-series appearances out of all the III characters (CvS2, later revisions of Street Fighter Alpha 3, Capcom Fighting Evolution) and the fandom rejoicing for the twins' inclusion in the Arcade Edition of SSFIV cements them as this (though Yun has garnered a slightly unfavorable rep since for other reasons).
    • Alex was a very contested character at first; replacing Ryu as the face was always gonna be met with concern and apprehension, and being a grappler with charge moves instead of an easy to learn Shoto character didn't help. However, over the years, Alex got a lot of traction from fans and became a classic and iconic character in his own right due in fact to his very striking and iconic design, memorable moves like the Reverse Hyper Bomb and his signature smack talk ("At Ease Losah!" "WEAK!" "I DON'T LOSE!" "YOU CAN'T ESCAPE!"). It also doesn't hurt that his theme, "Jazzy NYC", is one of the most beloved songs in the series in part to it playing in one of the most famous moments in fighting game history.
    • Elena is this as it's hard to dislike her optimistic personality and you'll find plenty of fan art of her. She even made it into Street Fighter X Tekken as DLC and later showed up in Ultra Street Fighter IV. Her 3rd Strike theme is a huge contributor to this fact, being one of the most recognizable songs in the Street Fighter III series.
    • According to a 2014 poll, Alex and Q were the top two most desired characters for Street Fighter V, and Alex eventually made it into the game as DLC. Q for his part would get the character G as a Spiritual Successor in SFV, who has possible connections to him (and has become a darkhorse in his own right).
    • A strange example comes in the form of Ryu's Joudan Sokutogeri, colloquially known as the "Donkey/Mule Kick." As the first legitimately new special move Ryu picked up since the Shakunetsu Hadoken all the way back in SSFII,note  fans repeatedly clamored for it to be added back to Ryu's moveset in future appearances, but Capcom would only oblige in crossovers such as Tatsunoko vs. Capcom and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (as well as, oddly enough, Super Gem Fighter). This led to a bit of an uproar when the final update of SFIV, Ultra Street Fighter IV, still didn't include the attack in Ryu's move list despite him using it in the earlier Street Fighter X Tekken. When the Joudan Sokutogeri finally showed up in SFV: Arcade Edition, Ryu mains were able to breathe a sigh of relief at last (even if its animation and range weren't quite the same as before).
  • Fountain of Memes: Dudley.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Gill, natch. You will rarely ever find a tournament that makes Gill legal; his Seraphic Wing alone would probably be ban-worthy.
    • Urien due to his Aegis Reflector combos which, if done correctly, take off an exceptional amount of damage and are unblockable.
    • Both the port of 3S found in the Street Fighter Anniversary Collection and 3rd Strike Online Edition give you access to several DIP switches that completely change how the game is played. These include air and ground combo chains, faster move canceling, air guarding, full meter at the start of each match, and all Super Arts available instead of one. The end result? It feels more like you're playing Alpha 3 or one of the Marvel vs. Capcom games. Gill in his default version is bad enough. But if you're playing as him and have the right DIP switches active, you can infinitely juggle your opponent and even rack up combos that last nearly 100 hits.
  • Genius Bonus: Despite being perfectly capable of mimicking human speech, all of Twelve's win quotes are in binary.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • In New Generation, Alex can continually Flash Chop Elena into a K.O. due to a delay in her animation.
    • In both New Generation and 2nd Impact, certain characters can float and reset their animations in midair. This is includes Ibuki in both games, and Ken doing a Shoryuken during Gill's Resurrection in 2nd Impact.
    • In both New Generation and 2nd Impact, Sean can fill his EX meter twice as fast as any other character by holding back on the directional pad while tapping an attack button.
    • In 3rd Strike, Akuma's Fierce Shakunetsu Hadoken can juggle opponents completely across the screen, provided they hit the tip of the fireball at just the right angle.
    • Aside from copying Guile's moves, Remy also has one of his classic World Warrior glitches. He can freeze Urien by getting hit right after his neutral throw animation connects. The most common way to do this is when Urien's Aegis Reflector is triggered. Not only does it let you escape from the Super Art, but it completely freezes Urien as well. He will be unable to attack or even move until Remy hits him again.
    • Q's Total Destruction Super Art is very finicky. Due to how it quickly drains a target's health bar instead of immediately defeating them, it's possible to beat Q during his post-attack animation frames by using a slow projectile like the Aegis Reflector. If characters trade hits during the explosion, the game won't always register that the explosion actually occurred, giving you chance to trigger a second one.
    • An interesting bug that exists with Q is that, when going from a crouching to a standing position, so long as no other button is pressed during the animation, Q is throw invincible during this time, which doesn't happen with any other character. Whilst this would normally be considered a flaw, due to Q's position as a low-tier character, this gives him a unique benefit that exceptionally skilled players can use to avoid throws from other players, assuming they are good enough to predict when they are about to be thrown.
    • Dudley can be comboed into any Shoryuken-style Super Art if he's thrown to the ground in a corner.
    • If positioned and blocked in a certain way, Chun-Li can do her head stomp infinitely. This also results in her building up speed with each stomp, eventually causing her to go flying across the screen and back if it's parried.
    • There's a glitch that turns all the opponents into Gill, effectively changing Arcade Mode into a Boss Rush. You have to let the intro play out, let the CPU choose a character, and press Start at a specific moment during the Super Art loading screen.
    • In April 2020, a glitch was discovered that changes the properties of Super Arts. Basically, you do the same thing as the Boss Rush glitch, but at a specific moment after the Super Art is chosen. This sends you to a glitched Arcade Mode opponent selection screen. Instead of choosing an opponent, have Player 2 press Start; it'll take you to a glitched Versus Mode screen. Just after Player selects their character and Super Art, Player 1 will regain control over the character selection. If done correctly, Player 1's Super Arts will now have the properties (number and length of meters, limited use of ground and aerial Super Arts, etc.) of the character chosen by the CPU. This can result in Akuma and Twelve having triple meters, Hugo and Necro having double, characters having access to way more EX meter than usual, etc.
    • A few others can be found in this video.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: One of Chun-Li's win quotes is "No, I've never thrown any of my bracelets away. Why do you ask?" While likely intended as a reference to Pop Culture Urban Legends that she could throw her bracelets at the opponent in Street Fighter II, it also works as an unintentional Take That! against the (not overly well-received) Street Fighter II pinball game and the Street Fighter: The Movie arcade game, where she does throw her spiked bracelets as weapons.
  • It's Hard, So It Sucks!: A common (and not unreasonable) complaint is that the game is too technical compared to other Street Fighter games and comes with a steep learning curve. This is inverted for hardcore players, who love the game and eat it up because of the learning curve and high skill ceiling.
  • Memetic Molester:
  • Moe:
    • Makoto. Despite her rough-and-tumble demeanor and rather brawny frame, she is very much a Daddy's Girl fighting for the sake of her ailing dojo. She also fangirls pretty hard over getting to meet Ryu in person.
    • Shaomei, Houmei's little sister who has a crush on Yang.
    • Necro's girlfriend Effie.
  • Mondegreen: Elena's theme is a magnet for this.
    BEES GOT BEES GOT BEES BEES IN MY HAIR!note 
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Ibuki, especially following her more recent appearances, tends to be compared to Naruto Uzumaki often, with some going as far as to call her Raida and its Yoroitoshi Super Art variation knockoffs of the Rasengan. The thing is, not only does Ibuki predate Naruto by about seven months (New Generation was released on February 4, 1997; the pilot chapter of Naruto would be published in August of that year), the Rasengan wasn't even introduced until Chapter 150, which first dropped in early 2003, long after the III series concluded.
    • Much like Street Fighter III, Art of Fighting 3 abandoned most of the previous characters in favor of an almost entirely new cast, and introduced a smoother, more detailed animation style. It also did all of this in 1996, a year before Street Fighter III.
  • Polished Port: Street Fighter III 3rd Strike: Online Edition for the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade is the best way to play the game. It has a better Metacritic score than the original 3rd Strike Dreamcast port (86 vs 84, respectively) and runs borderline arcade perfect. note  It has both original and remixed soundtracks, a ton of visual options, tutorials (including how to perform the parry and finish from EVO Moment #37), and in-game challenges where players can earn XP to unlock bonuses like concept art, movies, the soundtracks and colour palettes from New Generation and 2nd Impact. There's also an unlockable dip switch that lets the player customise almost all of the game's settings. The only thing that could make it better would be the inclusion of the stages from New Generation and 2nd Impact, along with the previous iterations of the cast from those games a la Hyper Street Fighter II.
    • The original Street Fighter Anniversary Collection port of 3rd Strike, released on Xbox and PS2, is the very same port that Online Edition is based off of, and with good reason. Prior to Online Edition, it was the best possible version of 3rd Strike. It contained everything from the Dreamcast version, but fixed all of its issues to make it more arcade perfect, even having the "Guard Judgment" feature set to "Old" by default so it played more like the arcade version, as the Dreamcast version featured several balance changes. It was also possible to play with the original arcade version's soundtrack as well as the arranged one only heard in the Dreamcast version. The Xbox version could also be played online, and while not perfect it was the only way to do so before the original Xbox Live servers were shut down and Online Edition was later released with rollback netcode that surpassed the original.
  • Sequel Displacement: 3rd Strike is so widely treasured that the fact it's actually the third revision of the Street Fighter III series is approaching lost knowledge (not even Super Turbo displaces the installments that came before it, aside from possibly The New Challengers). It is the only game from the lineage that has been revisited multiple times past its initial home release on the Sega Dreamcast and the first two games weren't even revisited period until 2018's 30th Anniversary Collection (which is also the only time the entire family has been in a single compilation).
  • Signature Scene: The one thing everyone remembers about this game's competitive scene (which also set into motion the eventual revival of 2D fighters)? Evo Moment #37. It's to the point where it's referenced in multiple videos made by Capcom.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
  • That One Attack: Gill's Seraphic Wing, his third Super Art introduced in 3rd Strike. Shaves off close to 25% of a lifebar if blocked, can OHKO just about anyone if they're not guarding, and cannot be parried. At all. Think you can interrupt that somewhat lengthy startup animation and force Gill to waste his entire bar of meter? Guess again! Gill gets to keep his meter and can simply use a Super Art again whenever he feels like it. You will taste the rainbow.
  • That One Boss: Gill. He can resurrect himself after death:
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The series got, and continues to get, a lot of flak for its character roster. A critic of GamesRadar listed their personal worst Street Fighter characters; Street Fighter III characters placed in eight out of the eleven slots.
    • Minor one for Revision B of 3rd Strike, which hit arcades in June 1999 (and was later used for the Dreamcast port). Majority of the playerbase did not like the balance changes, especially the removal of Urien's unblockables. The result is that every release of 3rd Strike since (excluding the Dreamcast port) has used the earlier Revision A.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • Ken's top-tier 3rd Strike incarnation receives much flak he gets for being used 99.9 percent of the time online. Oh Ken, how you've been a flowchart over the years...
    • Chun-Li is this in 3rd Strike.
    • Makoto gets this from certain players due to the fact that from a specific spot on the screen, she can kill you in one combo.
    • Elena is the low-tiered version, as her lengthy animations make her parry-bait.
    • Twelve is also a low-tiered version, thought by many to be the hardest character in the game to learn. It's often pointed out and joked about that Twelve's best move is X.C.O.P.Y., since it lets him temporarily become a different character.
    • While still getting a fair amount of flak from newer players due to how fights tend to go with him in the hands of a competent player, Yun actually managed to mostly avoid this despite being one of the top-tier characters in 3rd Strike, but would later fall prey to this in SSFIV: Arcade Edition and Ultra Street Fighter IV, as explained here. Some of the top tournament players like Daigo, however, found their interest in 3rd Strike waning long before the advent of SFIV due to Yun's shenanigans.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Elena's animation looks pretty out of place compared to the rest of the fighters. That's probably Rotoscoping at work.
    • Q. The way he moves and attacks most of the time is most certainly not human, which deliberately plays into the in-universe Paranoia Fuel-inducing conspiracy theory he is at the center of.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • The kid who appears in Ibuki's 3rd Strike intro sparring with her is a boy named Yuta Homura.
    • While the story takes no pains to hide that she is, in fact, a girl, people not familiar with the series often mistake Makoto for a boy. But given that she is as feminine as a truck driver, her gi is quite concealing, and that Makoto is a gender neutral Japanese name, the misunderstanding is almost expected. The fact that she's absolutely ripped for a girl her age and has huge man-like hands and feet does not help matters. Her SSFIV in-game model, however, has her cleavage slightly more exposed, enough to avoid confusion in full. Previously, it was only visible during her dizzy animation, in which the shoulder of her gi slips off.
  • Vindicated by History: The Street Fighter III series was ignored upon release because it was a complete departure from the considerably more user-friendly Alpha series, and some professional reviewers even went so far as to dock it for looking "like an SNES game." Eventually, tournament-level players latched onto the series as most mainstream fighting games began to resemble Guilty Gear more and more and they desired something a little more technical, and casual fans discovered the game through emulation and a PlayStation 2 and Xbox re-release of 3rd Strike. The series is now a mainstay at the EVO tournament. This came full circle with 3rd Strike Online Edition, which ended up being better received by the fanbase than the more casual-friendly Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: It must have taken the animators a ton of hard work to make the sprites move as beautifully as they do.
  • The Woobie: Necro and Sean.

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