The Legacy of Street Fighter Alpha


Video games, man.

Speaking of which, Cammy is also his gender-swapped clone. Bison has an army of women called Dolls who are either clones or kidnapped/brainwashed women who have been genetically altered to be compatible with his DNA. The point of this is that Bison’s human form can die, but his soul can live on and possess a compatible body. Those vessels could take the form of Rose, Cammy, the Dolls, or just another clone body that his mad scientists come up with. That’s the in-game explanation for why his Street Fighter II appearance and powers are so different. Alpha Bison was so jacked because he was overdoing it on the Psycho Power and it was gradually overloading him.

Bison’s big plan was to capture Ryu, pump him up with Psycho Power, turn him into Evil Ryu, then either use him to power up his weapons of mass destruction or simply use Ryu’s body as a vessel. Finally, the two big storylines of the Alpha games came together. It’s even canon that Ryu was able to overcome the situation thanks to the help of Sagat, who realized the folly of his ways and came out of it as Ryu’s friend. No longer was their rivalry one of negativity, but positivity.

The funny thing in all of this is that the Alpha games were so good at fitting as a prologue to Street Fighter II without altering that game’s events…up until the end. Now Sagat’s role as Bison’s second-in-command during Street Fighter II is retconned away thanks to his character development in the Alpha games.

Within the year, the game was released for the PlayStation and not only had a bunch of sweet one-player stuff, but it also added even more fighters. Dee Jay, Thunder Hawk, Fei Long, and the long-awaited return of Guile meant that the entire Street Fighter II cast was finally available in Alpha form.

The Animated Movies

In 1999 and 2005 respectively, two animated movies were made bearing the Street Fighter Alpha name. Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation had little to do with the games’ story and had more focus on a boy claiming to be Ryu’s brother, as well as some original villains. It at the very least featured various Alpha characters for a short stretch of the movie, such as Birdie, Dan, and Adon. The other movie, Street Fighter Alpha: Generations, focused on Akuma’s fall from grace and eventual rivalry with Ryu.

The two movies had no connection to each other, but it’s funny how they played with the same base concept. Street Fighter Alpha: The Animation brought up the possibility that Ryu was Akuma’s son, only to walk it back as a red herring. Street Fighter Alpha: Generations was more blatant about the same idea because Street Fighter isn’t Star Wars enough as it is. Personally, I’m more into the idea presented in UDON’s Akuma origin comic where Akuma, Ryu, and their fathers were stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of vengeance and it’s up to Ryu to break the chain.

Alpha Guy in Final Fight One

Street Fighter Alpha 3 continued to stretch its existence due to Capcom’s zest for reusing assets as much as possible. Much like the Alpha sprites were used for Street Fighter vs. X-Men, those sprites continued to get use in that series up until Marvel vs. Capcom 2 in 2000. Final Fight One was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2001, which had unlockable Alpha versions of Guy and Cody to use. Bigger yet, in 2000 and 2001, Capcom put together Capcom vs. SNK and its sequel.

While Capcom vs. SNK was about redrawing SNK characters in the Capcom style and reusing old Alpha sprites for most of the Street Fighter cast, Capcom vs. SNK 2 started adding more fresh faces to the Capcom side. Eagle from the first Street Fighter, Maki from Final Fight 2, Yun from Street Fighter III, and Kyosuke from Rival Schools were redrawn in a style compatible to the Alpha cast.

Seeing the possibility of getting more bang for that buck, Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper was released on the Game Boy Advance in 2002. This time, Eagle, Maki, and Yun were added to the game. Not really sure why Kyosuke didn’t make the cut, but whatever.

Even More Crossovers

With their SNK alliance done with, Capcom decided to recreate the same crossover magic with themselves by releasing Capcom Fighting Evolution in 2004. The game was a total garbage fire of lazy asset recycling, featuring characters representing various Capcom fighters while being locked into the gameplay styles of said games. While it featured characters from Darkstalkers and Red Earth, it also meant throwing the beautifully detailed sprites from Street Fighter III up against various Alpha sprites, which was an eyesore.

Select screen for Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX

The game featured only one original character with her own set of sprites in Ingrid. While she didn’t exactly set the world on fire in any way, Capcom reused her sprites when releasing Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX on the PSP in 2006. 11 years after its introduction, Street Fighter Alpha had reached its final form.

The same year gave us the Street Fighter Alpha Anthology for the PlayStation 2, which featured the core three games, Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold, Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper, the versus/training mode-only game Hyper Street Fighter Alpha, and the goofy and cartoonish Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix.

That was the last hurrah for Capcom’s main thrust in 2D. Street Fighter IV came out a couple years later and their world was all polygons. While Street Fighter III is moderately neglected and the first Street Fighter is the red-headed stepchild, Street Fighter Alpha has shined strongly after the fact. At this point, between Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter V, everyone from the core Alpha games has been revised and modernized.

All except Sodom.

Sodom from Street Fighter Alpha 3
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