Street Fighter Alpha 2 (1996)

by Christopher
6 minutes read


Street Fighter Alpha 2: A Timeless Classic in the Fighting Game Pantheon

Released in 1996, Street Fighter Alpha 2 is a 2D fighting game developed by Capcom and the second installment in the Street Fighter Alpha sub-series. As both a sequel and a remake of the previous year’s Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors’ Dreams, Alpha 2 introduces several enhancements and refinements that elevate it to the status of a timeless classic in the fighting game genre.

Gameplay Innovations and Features

Street Fighter Alpha 2 introduces several innovative gameplay features that set it apart from its predecessors. One of the most notable additions is the introduction of the “ISM” (ISM Super Move) system. Each character in the game has access to three different ISM Super Moves, which are powerful special attacks that can be performed by inputting specific button combinations. These ISM Super Moves add an extra layer of depth and strategy to the gameplay, as players must carefully consider which ISM Super Move to use in each situation.

Another significant gameplay addition in Alpha 2 is the ability to chain together different attacks into combos. This allows players to create intricate and damaging sequences of attacks, adding a new level of technical skill to the game. Additionally, Alpha 2 introduces the concept of “custom combos,” which allows players to create and save their own custom combinations of attacks. This feature adds a high degree of personalization to the gameplay, as players can tailor their combos to their own unique playstyles.

Expanded Character Roster

Street Fighter Alpha 2 boasts an expanded roster of characters compared to its predecessor. In addition to the returning cast of Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Guile, and Zangief, Alpha 2 introduces three new characters: Gen, Rolento, and Sakura.

  • Gen: A mysterious hermit and master of the Chinese martial art of Hakkyokuseiken, Gen is a powerful character with a unique blend of speed and power. His ISM Super Moves include the deadly Jippa Kyaku (Flying Swallow Kick) and the unblockable Messatsu Gohado (Demon’s Embrace).

  • Rolento: A former member of the Red Berets special forces unit, Rolento is a heavy weapons specialist who uses a variety of guns, grenades, and other gadgets in combat. His ISM Super Moves include the devastating Final Buster, a powerful rocket launcher attack, and the Stun Grenade, which temporarily paralyzes opponents.

  • Sakura: A schoolgirl and Ryu’s self-proclaimed number one fan, Sakura is a skilled fighter who uses a modified version of Ryu’s fighting style. Her ISM Super Moves include the Hadoken Shoryuken, a combination of the Hadoken and Shoryuken special moves, and the Sakura Otoshi, a powerful overhead strike.

Gorgeous Pixel Art and Vibrant Stages

Street Fighter Alpha 2 is renowned for its stunning pixel art and vibrant stages. The character sprites are incredibly detailed and expressive, capturing the unique personalities and fighting styles of each character. The backgrounds are equally impressive, with each stage featuring its own unique visual style and atmosphere. From the lush greenery of the Forest Stage to the neon-drenched streets of the Metro City Bay Stage, the backgrounds in Alpha 2 are as visually striking as they are varied.

Critical Acclaim and Lasting Legacy

Upon its release, Street Fighter Alpha 2 received widespread critical acclaim for its innovative gameplay, expanded character roster, and gorgeous visuals. The game was praised for its depth and balance, with reviewers noting that it was accessible to both casual and hardcore fighting game fans alike. Alpha 2 was also a commercial success, selling over 6 million copies worldwide.

In the years since its release, Street Fighter Alpha 2 has continued to be regarded as one of the greatest fighting games of all time. It has been ported to numerous platforms, including the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and Nintendo Switch, and has been featured in several compilations and re-releases. Alpha 2’s legacy is also evident in its influence on subsequent fighting games, with many of its gameplay innovations and features becoming industry standards.


Street Fighter Alpha 2 is a timeless classic that continues to captivate fighting game enthusiasts to this day. Its innovative gameplay, expanded character roster, and gorgeous visuals make it a must-play for any fan of the genre. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a newcomer to the world of fighting games, Street Fighter Alpha 2 is a game that will provide countless hours of enjoyment and challenge.

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