Street Fighter Alpha, known as Street Fighter Zero in Japan, Asia, South America and Spain, is a series of fighting games that are part of the Street Fighter universe created by Capcom. The series serves as a sequel to the original Street Fighter and a prequel to Street Fighter II, bridging the gap between the two games. Each title has been ported onto numerous consoles while receiving slight modifications.
Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams, known as Street Fighter Zero in Japan, Asia, South America and Spain, is the first game in the Street Fighter Alpha series, inspired by Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie. It was released in 1995.
New features include Darkstalkers-style chain combos, Alpha Counters, a 3 level super gauge, anime-style character designs and ten playable characters along with three bosses. Seven of these are characters new to the series, with three being completely new characters:
- Ryu from Street Fighter.
- Ken from Street Fighter.
- Chun-Li from Street Fighter II.
- Sagat from Street Fighter.
- Birdie from Street Fighter.
- Adon from Street Fighter.
- Charlie (known as Nash in Japan), Guile's comrade.
- Rose, a gypsy who uses tarot cards as her method of attack.
- Guy from Final Fight.
- Sodom from Final Fight.
- M. Bison from Street Fighter II.
- Akuma from Super Street Fighter II Turbo.
- Dan, a parody of Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia from SNK's Art of Fighting games.
Both Dan and Akuma serve as secret bosses if certain requierements are met. All three boss characters can be selected by inputting secret codes.
Released in 1996, Street Fighter Alpha 2, known as Street Fighter Zero 2 in Japan, Asia, South America and Spain, is seen as not only a sequel but a complete overhaul of the first game.
New features include: A new Custom Combo system, the removal of universal Chain Combos for most characters, and five additional characters:
- Gen from Street Fighter.
- Rolento from Final Fight.
- Zangief from Street Fighter II.
- Dhalsim from Street Fighter II.
- Sakura, a schoolgirl who modeled her fighting style after her idol Ryu.
An update called Street Fighter Zero 2 Alpha was later released in Japan, Asia, Brazil and Hispanic regions with some new features, such as the ability to select the Street Fighter II versions of some characters and some balance changes. This version was released on the Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn in Japan under the title Street Fighter Zero 2' (Street Fighter Zero 2 Dash). This game was later included on the Street Fighter Collection compilation released for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn.
Street Fighter Alpha 3, known as Street Fighter Zero 3 in Japan and Asia, was released in 1998 and is the third and last game in the Street Fighter Alpha series. The gameplay received a complete overhaul with the addition of three selectable fighting styles: A-ISM, V-ISM and X-ISM.
Other changes include new stages, new music and nine additional characters:
- Rainbow Mika, a female Japanese wrestler whose idol is Zangief.
- Karin, Sakura's uber-rich rival who was first introduced in Masahiko Nakahira's manga Sakura Ganbaru!.
- Juni and Juli, who are two of M. Bison's personal bodyguards, The Dolls.
- Cody from Final Fight.
- Cammy from Super Street Fighter II.
- E. Honda from Street Fighter II.
- Blanka from Street Fighter II.
- Vega from Street Fighter II.
- Balrog from Street Fighter II.
The home versions and the update released for the Sega NAOMI, called Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper, had four additional characters:
- Dee Jay from Super Street Fighter II.
- Fei Long from Super Street Fighter II.
- T. Hawk from Super Street Fighter II.
- Guile from Street Fighter II.
The Game Boy Advance version, also called Street Fighter Zero 3 Upper, contains all the additional characters from the console versions, and features three additional characters:
The PlayStation Portable version, Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX, known as Street Fighter Zero 3 Double Upper in Japan, contains all the additional characters from previous revisions, and adds one more to the roster:
Released in 2006 for the PlayStation 2, known as Street Fighter Zero: Fighter's Generation in Asia, this compilation includes all three games in the Alpha series (as well as Alpha 2 Gold), along with Super Gem Fighter: Mini Mix (the US arcade name for Pocket Fighter), ported from their original arcade releases. In addition to the five default games, completing the single player mode of Alpha 3 unlocks Alpha 3 Upper (which includes the added character roster and new fighting styles from the previous console versions).
Likewise, completing each game (including Alpha 3 Upper) unlocks the all-new Hyper Street Fighter Alpha (or Hyper Alpha for short), a Versus Mode-only version of Alpha 3 that allows players to select from every incarnation of the 34 characters in the series. Hyper Alpha also features four new Shadaloo-ISMs.
Shadaloo-A is the same as the Street Fighter Alpha 3 Shadaloo-ISM and would allow players to use Final Bison's Final Psycho Crusher. In addition, nine of the 34 fighters gain new moves, most of these with animations from the Marvel vs. Capcom series. Shadaloo-B is similar to Alpha 3's X-ism, but it allows players to Parry and Super Cancel like the Street Fighter III series. Shadaloo-C is an extension of the original Street Fighter Alpha engine, featuring push-blocking (Advancing Guard) and advanced chain combos on the ground and in the air, as well as free Alpha Counters. Shadaloo-D can only be assigned to the 12 characters of the Street Fighter II' Champion Edition cast, and makes them play exactly like that version's counterparts of the characters.
Anthology also features a color edit mode, allowing players to change each character's default color schemes in all of the different games. This game, and the FM Towns port of Super Street Fighter II are the only games in the series to feature a color edit mode.
The game was released in North America on June 13, 2006 and has received positive feedback by fans of the series because of the accuracy of the arcade conversions, the ability to customize gameplay options (which helped to emulate the different revisions of the games that the arcade cabinets received) and the absence of the in-game "load time screens" present in the previous PlayStation and Saturn versions. Also, Alpha 2 Gold has Cammy fully selectable in every mode, including Arcade mode, where she has her own (albeit non-canonical) ending. Unfortunately, Alpha 3 has some strange glitches when showing some characters' pre-battle portraits. Also, being an arcade compilation, it does not contain the popular World Tour mode present in other home versions.
Fighters Generation, the Japanese version of Anthology, differs slightly in its lineup of games, featuring the English version of Alpha 2 and the console game Zero 2 Dash as hidden game modes for Zero 2 and Zero 2 Alpha respectively. Because the English localizations of Alpha 2 and Alpha 2 Gold already featured added content, their hidden game modes were omitted from the localized Anthology. In other words, with the exception of Alpha 3 Upper, the hidden modes in the Japanese version are the normal modes of the North American release.