Street Fighter Alpha 2 / Street Fighter Zero 2
REVIEWStreet Fighter Alpha 2 is the 1996 sequel to Capcom's original Street Fighter Alpha "reboot," which saw considerable success at the arcade scene and brought excitement back to the hit franchise. Branching off from the wildly successful Street Fighter 2 series, the Alpha series still had a lot to prove at the time... especially in such a competitive era of the fighting game genre. Thankfully, SFA2 was a much bigger, badder, and more vibrant game than the prequel.


Such a great selection screen... and announcer.


gave returning Street Fighter Alpha players exactly what they wanted: more characters, more moves, and more balanced gameplay. New characters in SFA2, include: Gen from Street Fighter ( 1), Dhalsim & Zangief from Street Fighter 2, and even the mysterious mid-boss from the arcade version of Final Fight, Rolento. All returning characters received some solid updates to their movesets and became even more fun to use in SFA2 all around, also in part thanks to the expanded gameplay system...

Street Fighter Alpha 2
retains most of the mechanics introduced in the prequel. Returning from the prequel, are the Super Combo Gauge, Air-Blocking, Alpha Counters, and Fall Breaking. What's new this time around is the Custom Combo System, allowing players to perform a series of basic and special moves to create a custom combo of their own (until the timer gauge for the custom combo runs out). Universal Chain Combos from the prequel were removed, although Guy & Gen can still perform a select few. Street Fighter Alpha 2 also fixed up the balance and high-damage combos from the original Street Fighter Alpha.


The Yoga master has returned! Or rather, Street Fighter returns to India!


Presentation-wise, Street Fighter Alpha 2 succeeded the original in every way imaginable. For starters, the visuals are brighter, the backgrounds are more exciting and lively (with some featuring epic character cameos), and the special moves and hit sparks are more vibrant. Simple things like the HUD gauges are even more appealing to the eye, and the amazing in-game artwork by Bengus speaks for itself. Every character now has his or her own unique stage (with no cheap re-colored versions like in SFA1), and the new music tracks are incredible. You'd be hard pressed to find a 2D fighting game with a more well-rounded presentation than SFA2 in 1996.


Epic background character cameos for the true Capcom fans.


In closing, Street Fighter Alpha 2 pretty much had it all together for a fighting game in the mid 90's... a great character roster, fun gameplay with an open-ended combo system, a badass intro, an amazing art direction (Bengus, Edayan & Dai-chan), catchy new music tracks, and plenty of throwbacks for fans of classic Capcom games. All of these elements came together in harmony, making SFA2 a very impactful and memorable fighter for its time. No doubt, fighting game players in 1996 knew they were looking at a "quality" 2D fighting game when SFA2 was on the screen. This game was ahead of its time!


Page Updated: January 23rd, 2020
Developer(s): Capcom
Publisher(s): Capcom
Designer(s): Noritaka Funamizu, Haruo Murata, Hideaki Itsuno, Akiman (character design)
Artwork by: Bengus (CRMK), Dai-Chan, Edayan
Platform(s): Arcade, Super Nintendo, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Windows
Release Date(s): Feb. 27th, 1996                   Arcade
Mar. 6th, 1996                     Arcade
Aug. 9th, 1996                     PS1
Sept. 30th, 1996                 PS1
Sept. 14th, 1996                 Saturn
Sept. 30th, 1996                 Saturn
Nov. 1996                             SNES
Dec. 20th, 1996                  SNES
Mar. 12th, 1998                  Windows
1998                                          Windows
Characters Ryu, Adon, Chun-Li, Guy, Ken, Dhalsim, Gen, Sakura, Rolento, Zangief, Charlie, Birdie, Rose, Sodom, Sagat, Akuma, Bison, Dan, Evil Ryu, Shin Akuma

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Featured Video:

Related Games: Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 3, SFA3 Upper, SFA3 Max, SFA Anthology, Street Fighter, Street Fighter 2, SF2: CE, SF2 Turbo, Super SF2, Super SF2T, Super SF2T: Revival, Super SF2T HD Remix, Ultra SF2, SF3: New Generation, SF3: 2nd Impact, SF3: 3rd Strike, SF3: 3rd Strike OE, Street Fighter 4, Super SF4, Super SF4: 3D Edition, Super SF4: Arcade Edition, Ultra SF4, Street Fighter 5, SF5: Arcade Edition, SF Anniv. Collection, SF30th: Anniv. Collection, Street Fighter EX, SFEX2, SFEX3, SF: The Movie, Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo, Super PF2T HD Remix, Pocket Fighter, Art of Fighting 3, Samurai Shodown 4, King of Fighters '96, Killer Instinct Gold, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Warzard, X-Men VS Street Fighter, Final Fight Revenge

Gameplay Engine  9.0 / 10
Story / Theme  10 / 10
Overall Graphics  9.5 / 10
Animation  9.5 / 10
Music / Sound Effects  9.5 / 10
Innovation  9.0 / 10
Art Direction  10 / 10
Customization  8.0 / 10
Options / Extras  8.0 / 10
Intro / Presentation  10 / 10
Replayability / Fun  9.0 / 10
"Ouch" Factor  8.0 / 10
Characters  8.5 / 10

 9.0 / 10

 Review based on Arcade version    


Final Words:

Not only is SFA2 an attractive game visually, but for decades, the game has held up as a particularly fun and competitive installment of Street Fighter... one of the best, for sure. Some hardcore fans even swear up and down that they prefer SFA2 over SFA3 for the custom combo system (and other reasons). If I had to choose, I think I still prefer SFA3... but I have to agree SFA2's custom combos are stupidly fun. The amazing soundtrack, backgrounds, and general vibe of SFA2 is also something special.

In 1996,
SFA2 was definitely a huge step for the Street Fighter series... particularly making a statement to fighting game enthusiasts who appreciate the "small details". Lots of other fighting games were competing for "attention" and "shock value"... but SFA2 was simply an honest fighting game. There's so much beauty, polish, and fan-service packed into this game. SFA2 was definitely one of my top favorite Street Fighter game when it debuted, and is still on my "all time faves" list. I'll throw down in some Alpha 2 (or Alpha 3) any day of the week.

As great as SFA2 was, certain disgruntled fans might've thought the game "wasn't all that" because it was missing fan-favorite SF2 characters such as Vega (Claw), Blanka, or E. Honda, for example. However, Capcom answered with with yet another brilliant sequel to the hit series... Street Fighter Alpha 3! 
~TFG Webmaster