Get To Know: Top 25 Games of All-Time (6)

The “Get To Know” line of articles are built to get a better impression of what I love/hate, and why, through a more direct means. While my tastes have been quite unconventional to the “norm” we’ve seen, I feel as if it’d be beneficial to run a series of articles that go into what I adore, and deplore, about gaming, and why.

I alluded to a major project I was going to work on throughout 2018, but due to repeated illnesses, I was unable to produce a healthy enough queue to get it going. That project was going to be my top 100 games of all-time, in which I would go into a great bit of detail on each game, and why it has a position on said list.

With this miniseries I have going with Get To Know, it’s given me a renewed sense of urgency to try and get some portion of this project revealed and shared with everyone. Instead of being overly ambitious, I’ll truncate the list to a top 25; that’s more than enough to show the kinds of games I adore the most, and the genres that they represent.

 

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6 – Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike

  • Developer: Capcom
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Platform: ARC, DC, PS2, XB, 360
  • Genre: Fighting
  • Release date: 5/12/99
  • Rating: 9.4

What is Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike?

Probably the last top to bottom brilliant Street Fighter game I’ve played, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike is the third SFIII release. Refining the parry mechanics, as well as adding new fighters, backgrounds, super arts and more, 3S was probably the most refined, most addicting fighting game I’ve ever come across.

What warrants Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike‘s inclusion on this list?

If there ever was a fighting game where not only was it an absolute pleasure to play, but I was actually a legit beast in, it was Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. It’s funny too, how the third iteration of the SFIII line was the only one I really played more than five hours of.

If I really try and think about the time I put into 3S, I may have put in well over 2500 hours at bare minimum, across the arcade, Dreamcast, Xbox, PS2, Xbox 360 and MAME.

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I remember the brief time I played Street Fighter III: The New Challengers, the parry system didn’t feel as refined as it should have. I also didn’t care much for the lineup of fighters available. 2nd Impact I never played until it was released on the Dreamcast, and that too just didn’t have a flow and timing that made the engine work. With 3rd Strike, not only did the parrying and timing feel fleshed out and consistent, but the fighters finally felt like something from a Street Fighter game.

What makes parrying such a big deal to me? Other than the fact that it’s the major gimmick to the fighting engine, it opened up a new dimension to the genre for me. With there being no air blocking (which the Street Fighter Zero/Alpha series introduced), being able to try and anticipate and anti air attack, and creating a safe space in the air where Street Fighter II did not allow this, it created a new way of playing fighting games for me, and maybe for a number of players.

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Parrying went beyond just keeping yourself safe on a jump in, as 99% of all attacks could be parried. When an attacked is parried, you have a momentary opening to unleash a counterattack and change the tide of the game.

Beyond parrying, there was a more deliberate pace to 3S. While there were a number of rushdown fighters (Twelve had a seriously underrated, not to mention difficult to perform rushdown game), the pace could also be dictated by more of a turtling playstyle, where players would block, parry and wait until the right moment opens up. I’ve done both styles.

I’ve also mained just about every character there is throughout the years, minis Makoto and Q. From my Urien Aegis Reflector juggles to my unpredictable rushdown Remy (and probably my favorite character), I worked over countless opponents with just about every fighter. I was doing Daigo Chun parries before it was cool (no really, I was). It wasn’t the largest roster out there, but it felt diverse enough, especially with how even Ken, Ryu and Akuma felt different enough from each other.

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Even in an embarrassing defeat, 3S was a thrill. While I may have had some epic matches in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, it pales in comparison to how many insanely close fights I’ve had throughout the years, between Chinatown Fair, my old job and online (on the original Xbox version, the 360 online infrastructure was hot garbage). I vividly remember playing Alex against someone’s Makoto in Chinatown Fair. One round a piece. I took the lead and got Makoto down to 5% health, but then she mounts and insane comeback and lands a SA1 on me, and takes me to a pixel of health. She jumps at me as I am getting up, and I land a flying knee that wasn’t parried, win the match, and I give my game to the person I beat and walked out.

(these matches are from 3rd Strike Online Edition‘s then-innovative upload feature, which rendered the videos to horrifically low quality – I am either Chun-Li or Twelve in all of these)

There’s quite a few stories I could tell about my absurd successes, and epic fails. I could easily spend another 3-4k words gushing over everything Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike has to offer. To this day, it’s head and shoulders beyond any fighting game that has come out since. It’s still a drop dead gorgeous 2D fighter, with enough variety with its three super arts to suit anyone’s playstyle.

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The fact that Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection was released on every home console and PC, with online capabilities with Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II: Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, got me back into playing 3S, though not as deep as I have been into it in the past. More than likely it’s the lack of an arcade stick that keeps me from investing more time in it these days. Nonetheless, all you 18’ers will understand why us 01’ers have been raving over this high class brawler for as long as we have.

A near 20 year obsession.

Throughout the years, I’ve must have spent a few thousand dollars between the arcade and buying all the different versions for each console. I would frequent New York’s Chinatown Fair quite often in the early 2000’s, as well as basically dump my entire paycheck into my jobs 3S arcade machine. I’m also convinced I’ve whooped Justin Wong’s butt once or twice way back in the days, before I knew who he was.

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