In a recent Twitch stream, FGC legend, Daigo “The Beast” Umehara explained why he believes Street Fighter Alpha III had the best fighting game system ever.
Daigo first explained that Street Fighter Zero III — which was what it was called in Japan — had a guard gauge system that was very different to what we have today in current fighting games. When SFA III’s the guard gauge is filled, players become vulnerable. But on top of that, the player’s guard gauge meter is also lessened, making them even more vulnerable if they choose to block attacks.
According to Daigo, SFA III gave players the option to nerf their opponent’s block mechanic when it proved to be too strong. And since Capcom decided to weaken the throw advantage in SFA III, players weren’t able to do throw loops as easily as in Street Fighter II.
And because of this, players had to master the guard crush system which Daigo called, “the best fighting game system and an ultra godlike system.” Daigo also mentioned that this is why many players in the Street Fighter community believe SFA III is the best fighting game Capcom ever made.
But despite Daigo considering it a masterpiece, he criticized its ISM system for being too difficult for new players. In SFA III there are three super gauge meters, X-ISM, Z-ISM, and V-ISM. While the X and Z systems were fine, the V-ISM super charged characters and when it activated, they became too overpowered — much like how X-factor was in Marvel vs.Capcom 3.
“If Street Fighter Zero III didn’t have V-ISM it would be a supreme game. The game works really well with X-ISM and Z-ISM,” said Daigo. He then continued to praise SFA III by stating, “There is no [complaining] in Zero 3, the game is honest from start to finish. Everything is acceptable.”
And even though he knew how broken the V-ISM system was, Daigo admitted that it was a game feature that had fans excited before SFA III was released. However, he also believes that only hardcore players enjoyed the game because not everyone would be able to master the V-ISM system, and that it pushed casual players away from playing the game.