Street Fighter Alpha 2, known as Street Fighter Zero 2 (ストリートファイターZERO 2) in Japan, Asia and South America, is a 1996 fighting game originally released for the CPS II arcade hardware by Capcom. The game is a sequel to the previous year's Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams, which is itself a prequel to the Street Fighter II sub-series in terms of plot and setting. The game featured a number of improvements over the original, such as new endings, stages, moves and gameplay systems.
Street Fighter Alpha 2 retains most of the new features introduced in the original Street Fighter Alpha, such as the three-level Super Combo gauge, Alpha Counters, Air-Blocking and Fall Breaking. The main new feature in the game is the inclusion of the Custom Combo system (Original Combo in Japan), which replaces the Chain Combos from the first Alpha. If the Super Combo gauge is on Lv. 1 or above, the player can initiate a Custom Combo pressing two punch buttons and a kick simultaneously (or vice versa). The player can then perform any series of basic and special moves to create a Custom Combo until the Timer Gauge at the bottom of the screen runs out. The only characters that can still perform Chain Combos in the game are Guy and Gen, but only to a limited extent. Additionally, each character now has two Alpha Counters instead of just one: one that can be performed with a kick button and another with a punch button.
The single-player mode, much like the original Street Fighter Alpha, consist of eight matches with computer-controlled opponents, including a fixed final opponent whose identity depends on the player's selected character. Each character also has a secret "rival" whom they can face during the course of the single-player mode after meeting certain requirements, in which then the rival will interrupt one of the player's regularly scheduled matches and exchange dialogue with the player's character. With Akuma now a regular character, a more powerful version of the character dubbed "Shin Akuma" replaces him as a secret opponent. Unlike Super Turbo and the original Alpha, Shin Akuma challenges the player before the player's final opponent, rather than as an alternate final boss.
All ten selectable characters from the original Alpha return, along with Bison, Akuma and Dan, who are now part of the immediate roster. The graphics for all of the returning characters' home stages, cut-scenes and endings have been completely redone.
Five additional characters are featured as well, extending the selectable roster to 18. The new characters includes Zangief and Dhalsim from Street Fighter II; Gen from the original Street Fighter; Rolento from Final Fight; and Sakura, an all-new character, a schoolgirl who idolizes Ryu and emulates his techniques.
Street Fighter Alpha 2 also features an alternate version of Chun-Li in her Street Fighter II outfit as a hidden character, as well as Shin Akuma, a more powerful version of Akuma who appears as a secret computer-controlled opponent in the single player mode. The US version of the arcade game also features three additional hidden characters who were not in the Japanese version: Evil Ryu, an alternate version of Ryu who uses the same power as Akuma; as well as extra versions of Zangief and Dhalsim who play like their counterparts from Street Fighter II': Champion Edition (including the omission of gameplay features such as super moves and air blocking).
Street Fighter Alpha 2 was released under the title of Street Fighter Zero 2 in Japan, Asia and South America. The American and European versions of Alpha 2 features three additional characters who were not in the Zero 2 versions: Evil Ryu and the EX versions of Zangief and Dhalsim.
Capcom released an updated version of Zero 2 titled Street Fighter Zero 2 Alpha, which features all the additional characters from Alpha 2, as well as other changes to the game. In addition to Zangief and Dhalsim, Zero 2 Alpha also features EX versions of Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Sagat and Bison, all whom were characters from the original Street Fighter II': Champion Edition. Custom Combos are now executed by pressing a punch and kick button of the same strength simultaneously and now require half (1½ level) of the Super Combo gauge filled to perform them. Some of the characters have gained new moves such as Ryu's Shakunetsu Hadoken and Dhalsim's Yoga Tempest. Zero 2 Alpha also features a Survival Mode, as well as a 2-on-1 Dramatic Battle Mode similar to the hidden "Ryu and Ken vs. Bison mode" in the original Alpha. In the Japanese version of Zero 2 Alpha, Evil Ryu has different dialogue exchanges and a different ending from his regular counterpart.
- The original Alpha 2 was ported to the PlayStation and the Sega Saturn in late 1996. The PlayStation port features an arranged soundtrack (in the form of XA-Audio), while the Saturn version uses an arranged soundtrack in a streaming ADPCM format (which looped properly like in the arcade version). Both versions features Shin Akuma as a selectable character via a secret code (which differs between the two versions), in addition to the Classic-style Chun-Li. The Saturn port is the only one of the two versions to feature the character Evil Ryu, EX Zangief and EX Dhalsim from the American arcade version. The Saturn port also features an exclusive Survival Mode, as well as an Art Gallery. The PlayStation version of Street Fighter Alpha 2 was re-released for the PSP and PS3 via the PlayStation Network on June 4, 2009 in North America.
- A Super NES port was also released in 1996. This version makes use of the S-DD1 chip for graphic decompression. Due to the graphics decompression that needs to be performed, this version has several loading delays when entering matches. Unlike the PlayStation and Saturn versions, the only hidden character available to the player is the classic-style Chun-Li (Shin Akuma still appears in the game as a computer-controlled opponent). This port was re-released for the Virtual Console in North America on December 7, 2009 and in the PAL region on January 29, 2010.
- A Windows PC port was also released; based on the PlayStation version (but using the arcade soundtrack in 22 kHz WAV format) in 1997. This version was sold as a bundle with the original Alpha in Japan.
- A home version of Street Fighter Zero 2 Alpha was released under the title of Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold in North America, Street Fighter Alpha 2 ′ (Prime) in Europe, and Street Fighter Zero 2′ (Dash)  in Japan. The game was released as a component of Street Fighter Collection, a compilation that also includes Super Street Fighter II and Super Street Fighter II Turbo. Alpha 2 Gold features most of the same changes, features and game modes as the arcade version of Zero 2 Alpha, omitting only the 2-on-1 Dramatic Battle mode from the arcade game. In addition to all the characters featured in previous versions of Alpha 2, Gold features a version of Cammy based on her rendition from X-Men vs. Street Fighter, who appears as a hidden character selectable only in the game's Versus and Training Modes.
- The 2006 PlayStation 2 compilation Street Fighter Alpha Anthology features a version of the original Alpha 2 based on the arcade game, as well as a revised version of Alpha 2 Gold which features Cammy as a selectable character in the game's Arcade Mode (with her own storyline and ending). Both games feature the Survival and Dramatic Battle Modes in addition to the Arcade, Versus and Training Modes. The Japanese version of the compilation (Street Fighter Zero: Fighters' Generation) features the arcade versions of Zero 2 and Zero 2 Alpha as well as the US version of Alpha 2 and a revised version of Zero 2′ as hidden games.
|GameRankings|| 87% (SAT) (4 reviews)|
82% (PS1)(4 reviews)
|Sega Retro||92% (SAT) (6 reviews)|
|Computer and Video Games||(SAT/PS1)|
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||36.5/40 (SAT)|
|Game Revolution||B (SAT)|
|GameSpot|| 8.1/10 (SAT)|
|Mean Machines Sega||94% (SAT)|
|Player One||95% (SAT)|
|Sega Saturn Magazine||95% (SAT)|
In the January 30, 1997 issue of Gamest magazine in Japan, Street Fighter Zero 2 was voted Best Game of 1996 in the Tenth Annual Grand Prize. Zero 2 was also No. 1 in the category of "Best Fighting Game", No. 9 in "Best Graphics", No. 6 in "Best Direction", and No. 4 in "Best VGM (Video Game Music)". Dan Hibiki and Sakura Kasugano were depicted on the cover of this issue, who were placed No. 1 and No. 3 respective on the Top 50 Characters of 1996, with Ryu at No. 13, Zangief at No. 18 (sharing the spot with Mature from The King of Fighters '96), Guy at No. 26, Chun-Li at No. 32, Akuma at No. 37 (sharing the spot with two other characters), Rolento at No. 45 (sharing the spot with the Elf from Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara) and Ken at No. 49 (sharing the spot with two other characters).
The arcade version was also well received in Europe. The May 1996 issue of Computer and Video Games gave the arcade game a positive review, stating that "Capcom has once again proven that it is the king of fighting games" and that, like Virtua Fighter 3 for 3D fighting game graphics, Street Fighter Alpha 2 is "the new definitive benchmark for 2D fighting game graphics and all-around fighting gameplay." They praised the improvements over its predecessor "in nearly all departments" and concluded that it "appears in good position to make its claim as the best Street Fighter, and best fighting game in general, ever."
- ↑ List of Super NES games (Nintendo.com).
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Classic Rayman and Street Fighter Games Lead a Luminous December Lineup. Nintendo of America (7 December 2009). Retrieved on 7 December 2009
- ↑ GameSpot: Video Games PC Xbox 360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2 PlayStation 2 GameCube GBA PlayStation 3
- ↑ Street Fighter Alpha 2: Strategy Guide, pgs. 221-247
- ↑ The characters' stages are given specific locations in the Japanese version, whereas in the English version they're simply referred by the country where they're set.
- ↑ Sakura lives around the block on this stage
- ↑ Like the Japanese versions of Street Fighter II Dash and Street Fighter II Dash Turbo, the word "Dash" is represented by a prime symbol (’).
- ↑ http://www.gamerankings.com/saturn/198818-street-fighter-alpha-2/index.html
- ↑ http://www.gamerankings.com/ps/198817-street-fighter-alpha-2/index.html
- ↑ http://segaretro.org/Street_Fighter_Alpha_2
- ↑ https://archive.org/stream/Computer_and_Video_Games_Issue_181_1996-12_EMAP_Images_GB#page/n63/mode/2up
- ↑ Electronic Gaming Monthly, 1998 Video Game Buyer's Guide, page 84
- ↑ http://www.gamerevolution.com/review/street-fighter-alpha-2
- ↑ http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/street-fighter-alpha-2-review/1900-2534122/
- ↑ http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/street-fighter-alpha-2-review/1900-2549537/
- ↑ http://ign.com/articles/1996/12/12/street-fighter-alpha-2-2
- ↑ Review, Issue 13, December 1996
- ↑ http://segaretro.org/index.php?title=File:MeanMachinesSega50UK.pdf&page=69
- ↑ Player One, issue 70, pages 96-98
- ↑ Sega Saturn Magazine, issue 13, pages 66-67
- ↑ Ishii, Zenji (December 1996). "第10回ゲーメスト大賞". Gamest Magazine 188: pg. 46. http://www.netlaputa.ne.jp/~dummy/gamest/magazine/gamest/v188.html. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- ↑ http://www.solvalou.com/subpage/arcade_reviews/257/631/street_fighter_alpha_2_review.html
- Jason Cole, Jeff Schaefer, Matt Taylor, Mike Watson and Graham Wolfe (1996). Street Fighter Alpha 2 Strategy Guide. Empire 21 Publishing, Inc..
- Studio Bent Stuff (Sept. 2000) (in Japanese). All About Capcom Head-to-Head Fighting Games 1987-2000. A.A. Game History Series (Vol. 1). Dempa Publications, Inc.. ISBN 4885546761.
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