However, before the 3D visuals became a permanent fixture in the Street Fighter series, fans were treated to the third enumerated entry in the series. Street Fighter III, released in 1997, ditched the roster from Street Fighter II (keeping only Ken and Ryu) and introduced a whole new cast of characters. Though the game was expected to do well due to its "fresh" feeling, fans were upset about their favorite characters' absence in the game, and subsequent special editions of the game featured the return of older characters.
The end of the nineties and beginning of the 2000s saw the release of more two more EX games and several re-releases of Street Fighter III. There wasn't much new content during this period, and as console cycles came and went, it was easy for Street Fighter fans to become disheartened. However, in 2008, that all changed with the release of Street Fighter IV. Though this title couldn't match the high bar set by Street Fighter II in terms of sales, Street Fighter IV certainly gets the prize for being the most improved entry in the series.
Though spin-offs and sequels and re-releases in Street Fighter's past only tweaked the core formula or added small features to the gameplay, Street Fighter IV marked the first complete shift for the series. The game featured a new, deeper battle system, a brand-new calligraphy-inspired visual style, and plenty of new characters. The game was met with critical acclaim, the likes of which had not been seen since Street Fighter II, and has become the foundation for a whole new generation of Street Fighter games.
Since Street Fighter IV was released two years ago, we've seen one subsequent re-release: Super Street Fighter IV. This re-release added new characters, online modes, and an improved combo system. Super Street Fighter IV was originally released for home consoles, but a 3DS version is on the horizon, which features even more new modes, including local wireless "Streetpass" multiplayer, and of course, stunning 3D.
The Street Fighter series has seen over twenty releases over the past twenty-three years. Like any large franchise, Street Fighter has seen its high and low points, but it seems that we are entering a new era for the franchise. Street Fighter IV re-wrote the series' DNA for the better, and with a pioneering 3D title launching with the new 3DS handheld, you can bet there's plenty of room for bigger and better Street Fighter in the near future.
By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*