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ISMs, or Fighting Styles, are types of fighting skills used in Street Fighter Alpha 3. It is divided into 3 different ISMs: A-ISM - Standard (Z-ISM in Japan), X-ISM - Simple, and V-ISM - Variable. The Super Gauge type depends on the fighting style selected.

There's also an unnamed variant of the X-ISM, nicknamed the Shadaloo-ISM, that is used by some bosses in Arcade Mode, specifically Balrog, Juni & Juli and M. Bison. While it has one Super gauge stock as that of X-ISM, the characters have access to air blocking, taunting and all of their Super Combos, just as in A-ISM. Instead of a letter, this unnamed ISM has the Shadaloo logo in the Super Gauge.


Air blocking No Yes Yes
Air recovery Yes Yes Yes
Ground recovery No Yes Yes
Taunts Dan only Yes Yes
Guard power rating High Varies Varies
Gauge fill speed Slow Normal Fast
Gauge stock count 1 3 2 (50% / 100%)
Alpha counter cost N/A 1 SC + 1 GP 50% OC + 1 GP
Damage Rating x1.2* x1.0 x0.8
Defense Rating x0.8 x1.0 x1.0

* Does not include Super Combo damage.



  • + Longer Guard Power gauge length (so it's harder to get Guard Crushed).
  • + All attacks (excluding Super Combos) do more damage.
  • - No air block.
  • - No ground recovery roll.
  • - No Alpha Counters.
  • - No taunting (except for Dan).
  • - X-ISM characters have access to only one predetermined, Level 3 Super Combo.
  • - Characters take slightly more damage from attacks (blocked or not).


  • + Air blocking.
  • + Both ground and air recoveries.
  • + Alpha Counters (these cost 1 level of the SC gauge and 1 notch of the Guard Power gauge).
  • + Taunting (once per round only, excluding Dan).
  • + SC gauge charges up faster than in X-ISM.
  • + Access to all Super Combos (excluding Dhalsim).
  • - Damage per hit is average (less than in X-ISM).
  • - Guard Power gauge size depends on character (certain characters are easier to Guard Crush).


  • + Air blocking
  • + Both ground and air recoveries.
  • + Alpha Counters (these cost 50% of a full Original Combo gauge and 1 notch of the Guard Power gauge).
  • + Taunting (once per round only, excluding Dan).
  • + Determine which range of attacks the character uses (far or close), by leaving the controller neutral or holding it forward/back when a Punch or Kick is pressed (does not apply to the button used to grab nor generally apply to all characters).
  • + OC gauge charges very quickly.
  • + Can only use Custom Combos instead of Super Combos.
  • - Damage per hit is lower than in any other mode.
  • - It costs half an OC gauge to use an Alpha Counter.


Interestingly, the ISM selected can change the appearance of certain graphics -- the most apparent case being the following:

  • Ryu's Hadoken:
  • On X-ISM, Chun-Li's costume is the one she uses in Street Fighter II and its many iterations. On A-ISM and V-ISM, her costume is the one featured in the SF Alpha series. Her portrait changes accordingly as well.
  • On X-ISM, Sodom will use his katanas from Final Fight. On A-ISM and V-ISM, he will use his pair of jitte.
    • When fighting X-ISM Sodom his theme music will also be different.
  • On A-ISM and V-ISM, Sagat will have his Tiger Blow (from the previous Alpha games) as his anti-air move, and on X-ISM he will have his Tiger Uppercut from SFII. The main difference is the recovery animation.
  • On X-ISM, Gen will not use two different fighting styles, but rather a combination of both.

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