|Kudos to Capcom for releasing so many cool games on the
Dreamcast, especially 2D fighters. Its no small measure of a publishers
stature when they so dominate a genre that the biggest competition for their games are
other games that they have made. The upside to this abundance is a vast library of great
titles for gamers to choose from. The downside is that they risk rendering their own
products obsolete, and thats precisely whats happened here.
Giving a Street Fighter game only three stars is probably a pretty dangerous act. The series has come out with more incarnations than I can count, and in so doing has created a large, loyal, and semi-fanatical following. Before the hordes of 2D warriors come kick my door in and hadoken my ass into a twitching ball of flame, I should make the following disclaimer: Double Impact isnt a bad game, its just an inferior game when stacked up against the rest of the Capcom line up. Unfortunately that disclaimer came out rather blasphemous, so it probably didnt do much good. Onward . . .
Double Impact features two games in one; Street fighter III and Street Fighter III, Second Impact. You choose which game you want to play when you load the game. Second Impact is essentially just a better version Street Fighter III, so there is really very little reason to play the other mode.
Graphically Second Impact is a perfect arcade port, but not the best that Capcom has produced. The characters are modeled well, including an impressive ability to sway and dance around in their beautiful 2D world. The backgrounds are enjoyable and vastly superior to most 2D fighters, but still not up to par with Marvel vs. Capcom 2. One of the most impressive aspects of Second Impact is the almost complete absence of load times between rounds and battles, which is impressive and much appreciated, especially during extended two player competition.
When all is said and done Double Impact has twelve characters including all hidden characters and boss characters. This isnt horribly bad, but I was a bit disappointed in the line up. While its true that Ryu, Ken, and Akuma are the only characters returning from the long running Street Fighter II series, the new characters could have been done a lot better. Several of the new characters are essentially clones of characters found in SF II. While they look different, and may move slightly different, their move lists and styles are all too familiar. Do you remember how to play Guile? How about Blanka? Theyre not in this game, but their slightly altered clones are. This isnt bad in and of itself, but if were going to bother with new characters, why not make them new? The old characters could be included to add an expanded lineup as well as a sense of familiarity. A few of the characters bring something new to the series, but there arent that many of them.
I was also disappointed in the scarcity of game modes in Second Impact. While other SF games are offering modes like Team battle, survival, final fight, training, and dramatic battle, Second Impact offers only arcade, versus, and training mode. The little things like these offer a lot to a title and help separate the decent games from the exceptionally good ones.
Consider these deficiencies in the context of whats out there right now. Street Fighter Alpha 3 offers thirty-three characters, almost three times what Double impact offers, and it has vastly superior game modes, and multiple fighting styles to choose from. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 has fifty-six characters to choose from, and triple tag team hyper fighting mayhem. The imminent Street Fighter III: Third Strike will contain the Double Impact lineup as well as several new characters, and will likely have an expanded selection of modes to play in. Beyond that there is almost certainly a Street Fighter III super hyper alpha strike, or something that contains at least some of these adjectives, and will be available soon.
While its true that Street Fighter fans will undoubtedly enjoy Double Impact for its graphics and classic style of dueling, its also true that even the most die hard of 2D fighting fans will be hard pressed to buy every fighting game on the market. Given the recent release of two other exceptionally great Capcom fighters, and the impending release of Third Strike later this year, most fans will likely opt to skip Second Impact. If have been a long time fan of the Street Fighter series in all its incarnations than you certainly wont be disappointed in Second Impact, but the gamers who intend to buy only the occasional fighting game are advised to look at SF Alpha 3, Marvel vs. Capcom 2, or to just wait for a bigger version of Street Fighter 3.