Fighting games provide its player with a lot of subjectivity, from a rich selection of characters and numerous landscapes from a futuristic feel to no hold bards street fights. Read about a revolutionary game from the 90s that blessed fighting games, with a whole new niche and helped build a new perspective in this Third Strike Tier List.
Fighting games have been around for decades building up a community of dedicated gamers who have stuck with this specific niche of gaming through thick and thin. Fighting games have seen their glory days in the 90s at peak of arcade gaming, from multiple releases of Tekken to Marvel vs Capcom, King of Fighters, and Street Fighter, there were countless options present for gamers at one place to battle out and be considered as an impeccable gamer.
FGC has cemented itself as an elite gaming community and has built a massive reputation; why wouldn’t it? It is a rallying crowd that has succeeded in keeping an essence of a gold format that has blessed gaming in its entirety. Green Arcade in South Korea became the main hub for of Asian scene, where top players from all over the region still practice together to this day.
Sure, the age of arcade gaming is almost over, and many franchises have moved on to other platforms and sources; however, there are still some iconic classics that are still played and cherished to this day and held a place in the hearts of many fanatics. Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike is one such game that played a defining role in making Street Fighter the franchise that it is today.
This Tier List focuses on categorizing each and every iconic character present in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, into specific tiers based on their overall stats, attacks, and general gameplay.
Generally, fighting games offer their players a wide range of characters to choose from, each with a different background, fighting style, and relevance to the game’s storyline. Having said that, all characters are not the same; some are exceptionally good and very well calibrated, while others are a complete misfit and leave players wondering why was such a character even added.
Third Strike Tier List is based on a total of five tiers in order of best to worst, ranging from S Tier to D Tier. Also, please be informed that Tier Lists are a very abstract topic; they are highly subjective because Tier Lists are a projected reality of one perception and ideas which can contradict the ideas and thoughts of another individual. With all said, let’s get started.
Tier List Contents
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
Street Fighter is a great sensation and is regarded as a phenomenal fighting game videogame series in the FGC community, having the honor to mainstream EVO multiple times, which is the biggest fighting game event of the year, a place where champions are born and dreams are fulfilled. Street Fighter as a fighting video game franchise was published back in 1987 by Capcom, and since then this video gaming giant has never looked back and has published hits after hits for the last 35 years.
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike was the 23rd edition of Street Fighter games and was published in 1999. A time when the competition was at its peak and gaming markets were quite diverse because of a big leap in technology by the Japanese Tech Industry to introduce home consoles provided gamers with an opportunity to game from the comfort of their own houses.
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike was facing some stiff competition from its other counterparts which included Tekken 3, King of Fighters 99, Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes, and many others. Having said Third Strike encompassed some key features which helped it to perform reasonably well to hold its place as a fun fighting game.
First of all, Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike had a very mature animation design than any other game which was competing at that time. Secondly, it captured and portrayed the true essence of street fights, any other game publisher that tried to replicate in their footsteps only came second to it in its efforts.
Third Strike also had a lot to offer in terms of content, an engaging storyline, a wide range of characters to choose from, flashy attacks, and long combo chains that would make your eyeballs barf. Overall a game that defines the greatness of the franchise in true terms.
Basic Move Set
Please be advised that the following controls are customized and are from the viewpoint of a gaming console controller.
Left or Right + (LB + RB)
Front Step (Facing Left)
Back Step (Facing Left)
From one viewpoint fighting games may feel very simple, following a single concept of close-quarter or hand-to-hand combat; however in contrast, there is much more to it which made this genre of gaming so popular that became a global phenomenon.
First of all, there is a massive collection of characters, where each character follows a certain fighting style and have its own distinctive move set. Secondly, a lot of different mechanics are thrown into the mix such as grapple attacks, throws, combo attacks, and also defensive acumens like evades and blocks, which makes each player unique and his playstyle eccentric.
We begin our Third Strike Tier List with S Tier, a tier that is exclusive only to best performing or most high-rated characters offered in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. From a selection of total of nineteen characters, there were a few outstanding nominees that were capable of making the cut. Each and every character present in S Tier of this Tier List is among Third Strike’s finest, with phenomenal potential and no limitations to achieve greatness.
Special Combo:Super Art: Rocket Uppercut
Controls:(Down, Right) + (Down, Right) X
Our first character in S Tier of this Tier is Dudley, who was first featured by Capcom in Street Fighter 3: New Generation. He is a British Boxer belonging to the black ethnicity rocking a green suit with blue boxing gloves.
According to game developers, the sport of boxing has a big reputation in England and was considered to be a gentlemen’s game having said that almost every fighting game portrayed these athletes in a bad manner, as most characters with a background in boxing combat style were shown as villains or bad guys, this ultimately led to the creation of Dudley.
Most of Dudley’s attacks have been greatly influenced by conventional boxing techniques and prove to be an absolute beast in close-quarter combat, making use of strong one-hit attacks, evades, and blocks to toy with his opponents. Dudley can also perform a number of long combo attacks to inflict maximum damage on his opponent. Establishing himself as a complete character that excels in aspects of this game.
Special Combo:Super Art:Messetsu Gou Senpu
Controls:(Down, Right) + (Down, Right) Y – When in the air
Next, making his way straight from the gates of hell to S Tier of this Third Strike Tier List is Akuma. A fighting game character whose legacy is not only confined to Street Fighter but also Tekken when he was made a part of the character roster in Tekken 7. Akuma was first featured in Street Fighters upon release of Street Fighter: Alpha 2, he is a demon who wears dark-colored attire, with red hair and glowing eyes.
Akuma mainly fights with mixed martial arts fighting backgrounds, but thanks to game developers, he had some tricks up his sleeves that completely separated him from the entire lot. He could cancel a normal attack and transform it into a special one; this fundamental alone was enough to throw many opponents off their game, because of increasing pressure players were bound to make mistakes on which Akuma capitalized.
Akuma also had a jump, normally when playing a fighting game players don’t jump around as it is a big gamble which opens them to counterattacks. But when playing with Akuma it is quite normal for any player to jump around, which kept opponents on their toes and in constant disarray.
Special Combo: Super Art: Tensei Renka
Controls: (Down, Right) + (Down, Right) Y
Chun-Li was the first female character in Street Fighter videogame franchise; she made her debut in Street Fighter 2 and played the role of main protagonist in Third Strike’s story mode. In terms of appearance, Chun-Li wears traditional sky-blue Chinese attire.
Chun-Li is a trained mixed martial arts fighter who mainly relies on quick and fast combo attacks rather than slow damaging one-hit attacks. She encompasses one of the best movement mechanics of Street Fighter, her smooth transition between attacks and quick speed made her an instant fan favorite.
Any player who wants to be a Chun-Li main should learn her signature move, Hyakuretsu Kyuku, an attack where she throws an overwhelming barrage of kicks on her foe at a rapid rate dealing massive amounts of damage.
Next, let us see what A Tier of this Third Strike Tier List has to offer. Fighting games have a lot of subjectivity they in true means give gamers the freedom to truly express themselves, which makes their playstyle so unique rather special, which is evident from different playstyles that regions put forth in global e-sports on numerous occasions.
With a massive character roster, different regions have their favorites and try to master these characters better than anyone in the whole wide world. When taking Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike into consideration there are a total of 19 characters with completely different capabilities, attacks, and mechanics.
A Tier is a tier lower than S Tier indicating that every character present in this specific tier may fall inferior to S Tier character in some specific manner, while this might be a true assumption it certainly does not mean that all these characters are only added to Third Strike for showboating, instead all these characters are exceptionally powerful and have a great utility.
The only reason why these characters might be a part of A Tier is related to their overall stats which may be slightly lower than those in Superb Tier and how these characters assist players who are fairly new to FGC, otherwise a great roundup of impressive fighting characters.
Special Combo:Tanden Renki
Controls:(Down, Right) + (Down, Right) A
Makoto is a Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike original. During developing stages Capcom wanted to diversify character options along with attributes, skills, and fighting styles they brought to their character roster. Mikoto was hence designed to represent an authentic style of Japanese Karate and was also given a very traditional look, of white karate gi along with a black belt that moved around her waist.
Makoto is a character that is more suitable for passive-style players, as all of Makoto’s attacks require pinpoint precision rather than random button mashing, even though her attacks are super powerful and deal high damage.
A player opting to play Third Strike as a Makoto main must wield a high degree of skill and practice.
Special Combo: Super Art: Raishun Maha Kin
Controls: (Left, Down, Right) + (Left, Down, Right) X
Many consider Third Strike as a turning point for Capcom, in a time of such fierce competition, where all your competitors are producing high-quality games, to produce a game that stood out, not to mention going hands in hands with a series definer like Tekken 3 marks a true symbol of greatness. For most of its success I believe, were the characters, and their background stories which provided people with a gateway to form an emotional connection and have a sense of belonging.
Third Strike has a great selection of characters from various backgrounds and different combat styles, among these characters was a character who was destined for greatness, named Yang Lee. Yang’s induction into Street Fighter franchise is a complete journey on its own, not to spoil anything, ill only say that Yang is Yun Lee’s twin brother.
Game developers played their complete part in bringing him up as a main front liner in this series. Despite having several different appearances throughout Street Fighter, in Third Strike Yang appears to be in a bright red traditional Chinese gi, with spikey long dark hair. His move set completely baselines Chinese Kung Fu and is one of the strongest single attack characters in this game, slightly one-dimensional which keeps him down in A Tier of our Third Strike Tier List.
Special Combo: Hyper Bomb
Controls: (Right, Down, Left, Up, Right) X
Next in A Tier of this Third Strike Tier List, is Alex who was first introduced by Street Fighter video gaming franchise back in Street Fighter 3: New Generation and has played his role as a main protagonist in game’s sub-series. Alex is a tall muscular fighter with golden hair, who specializes in the combat art of wrestling.
Apart from Japan America also had a strong sense for fighting games, a produced a number of outstanding players who took the world by storm in international competitions and tournaments. In early days of Street Fighter 3: New Generation main motivation behind Alex was to create a character that would appeal to the American audience.
Due to his main combat style of Wrestling, Alex is one of the main grapplers of Third Strike, his fighting style perfectly embodies Alex’s brut strength. Apart from powerful one-hit attacks Alex also has an ability to perform combo attacks.
Special Combo: Super Art: Shoryurepa
Controls: (Up, Down, Right) + (Up, Down, Right) Y
Ken Masters was first released to the audience of the game, way back in 1987 when original Street Fighter game was released and has since then been an important pillar to Street Fighter’s storyline.
In Street Fighter Universe, Ken is seen to pursue his goal to attain ultimate power. Ken holds an iconic status as a fighting character in FGC, building a strong reputation for himself over a time period of 35 years.
Though his appearance has changed drastically over several years, in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, he appears in a bright red attire along with long golden hair and sparring gloves.
Ken’s fighting style is heavily inspired by judo, whereby he has notable grapple throw combos along with some strong one-strike attacks. One of his attacks Blazing Houdoken is a strong punch, where the character’s willpower is focused on his opponent and upon contact, shock waves ripple through the opponent’s body. It is also commonly referred to as a fireball due to its projectile appearance. In order to perform Houdoken, a player must go (Right, Down, Left) B.
Special Combo: Super Art: Sourai Rengaki
Controls: (Down, Right) + (Down, Right) B
Moving on, next making its way from character roster of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike to our Third Strike Tier List, is Yun who is a Street Fighter Three prodigy, making his first-ever appearance in Street Fighter 3: New Generation. He rocks a bright white attire with a long ponytail and subsequently hones an ancient Chinese fighting style of Kung-Fu.
By contrast, to other genres of gaming, fighting games have always been a product of mechanics that favors powerful, flashy attacks and fast-paced gameplay rather than defensive acumens and passive plays, to rile up the crowd. Keeping these requisites in mind Capcom came up with the idea of Yun, a character not only capable of attacking its foe head-on with a barrage of attacks but also an ability to perform counters.
Therefore, in one way or the other Yun is a character to watch out for. His attack Lung Thrust is a front step punch attack that upon contact can deal a total damage of up to 25 hit points.
Special Combo: Ultimate Super Art: Ex Tingu Stone
Controls: (Down, Right) + (Down, Right) X – Double Tap
Japan encompasses one of the most ancient civilizations that follow a rich culture, above all it is the birthplace of numerous fighting arts, which have been passed on from generations and are also being practiced trough out the world as we speak. Capcom has greatly captured this sentiment through Oro, a character who is portrayed to be an old monk waiting to cross paths with his next apprentice, worthy of inheriting his combat style.
Oro is also a Street Fighter 3 prodigy and was first added to Street Fighter series with launch of Street Fighter 3: New Generation. From an aesthetic point of view, Oro is easily among most refined characters present in game’s character roster. He wears a torn cowl, with back hair and a face that screams of wisdom.
Despite of only its aesthetic qualities Oro’s character is also backed by some notable powerful attacks, having said that he is also a fairly technical and tiresome character to master, as it takes a considerable amount of time for players to understand his move set and get familiar with a general sense of play, importantly because there not many combo attacks present to assist players in combat, instead its forte lies in speed mechanic, countering and positioning.
Special Combo:Super Art:Dinjen Hadoukun
Controls:(Down, Right) + (Down, Right) A (Hold)
Next, making his way into A Tier of this Tier List is the main protagonist of Street Fighter itself, Ryu, a character who has been marked as a symbol of hard work and sheer will and is perhaps one of the most noteworthy characters in FGC community, from an off-white karate gi with torn sleeves and an iconic red headband tied around his forehead. Ryu has been a major success for Street Fighter since its launch back in 1987.
Having said that, over several years due to uncertain planning of game developers this character has been put through a lot of changes, from movement mechanics to his general move set. In Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Ryu fought with an incorporation of traditional martial arts along with some grapple and throw attacks providing him with a diversified move set to offset any situation.
Next, we move on to B Tier, a tier in this Third Strike Tier List, that screams controversy because all these characters present in B Tier are mediocre at best, they stand on the borderline, of good and bad. All characters of B Tier have expressly mediocre stats and abilities which is reflected in their performance in combat.
These characters barely keep up, for most players these characters are not even worthy of being their first choice, and even if by chance one of these characters is chosen to play with, it totally comes down to the expertise level of player in charge. Truly a frustrating and controversial lot.
Special Combo:Super Art: Gigas Breaker
Controls: (Down, Right) + (Down, Right) B (Tap)
Hugo Andore is a character that most community gamers in FGC would remember from Final Fight before he was added to Street Fighter’s character roster as a playable character the reason why his looks so drastically contradict from concept notes of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike.
Get ready for some flashy combo attacks because Hugo is a professional wrestler and has full knowledge of how to entertain his audience. Hugo has also high damage stats, which is evident from his huge and powerful physique, however, due to slow movement mechanics to retract an attack or over make a dodge fairly slow makes him less effective, contrary to what many players would have wanted.
His Super Art: Gigas Breaker has high damage out of 35 hit points, overall a very decent character option.
Special Combo:Super Art: Tyrant Slayer
Controls:(Down, Right) + (Down, Right) X
Urien made his debut way back in Street Fighter: 2nd Impact, and has been a mainstream character since. He has a big muscular physique and white hair, and an ornament that is embedded straight into his forehead. He is the younger brother of Gill, in the game’s story plot both brothers have had a relationship of hatred amongst each other and have clashed on numerous occasions.
Urien’s fighting style more or less is influenced by traditional Greek technique of Pankration. Apart from Pankration, Urien has also gone through some secret training at Secrete Society to improve his physical attributes. Urien mostly depends on high damage one hit attacks in his move set, due to a simple fact that his large body prevents him from moving quickly and attacking its foe with quick strikes, having said that, this low also puts him at a significant disadvantage, leaving him at risk of aerial attacks.
Special Combo:Super Art: Kasumi Suzaki
Controls:(Down, Right) + (Down, Right) A – When in Air
Next in B Tier of our Third Strike Tier List is Ibuki, a lethal shinobi worrier specializing in the art of stealth and infiltration to gain intel in enemy territory and surprise ambush attacks kill its foe in an instant. Just like Akuma, game mechanics that have been designed for Ibuki, are quite unorthodox, jumping being a big part of character’s gameplay.
Ibuki is portrayed to be a skilled of user Taijutsu and Ninjutsu, excelling at both at close-range and long-range combat.
Special Combo:Super Art: Lightening Snake
Controls:(Down, Right) + (Down, Right) X (Tap)
Belonging to a Russian origin, Necro is a result of a failed mad experiment that occurred in story plot of Street Fighter: 2nd Impact, it is a terrifying result of mad experiments performed by Secret Society that Necro became strong and was able to participate in Street Fighter Tournament if clinging on to the silver lining of a horrific reality. A reasonably good take by game developers on how to introduce and develop a fighting game character.
Due to different mutation experiments performed on him, Necro’s genetics and DNA are totally disrupted, equipping him with an unorthodox movement spread. He can extend his limbs, capable of hitting his enemies from long ranges, performing a surprise attack to create an opening and also electrocuting them with massive lightning shocks.
In his special combo, Lightening Snake Necro performs a long-range thrust attack, in which he sends electric shockwaves through the ground, damaging all its targeted enemies.
Next, moving on to C Tier, which is specially reserved for poor-performing characters. In Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, while there are characters whose abilities, combos, and general gameplay are good and that their utility is off the charts, there are also some characters, which mistakenly or deliberately have been made so weak that there is nothing fun and special about them.
Third Strike in contrast to fast-paced traditional fighting games is designed in such a way that players with a passive play style also have a chance to implement their strategies and capitalize on their opponent’s mistakes. If such a character that is prone to easily getting hit, then it might be almost impossible to play Third Strike in the first place.
Hard to connect combo chain attacks, low movement, and vulnerable defenses, these characters are of no match and are destined to fail on every step.
Special Combo:Super Art: Complete Destruction
Controls:(Up, Down, Left) + (Up, Down, Left) A
If Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike was a game that was based on aesthetic quality of characters it features, then Q is definitely a character to be mentioned in top books of this Tier List, casting off a mysterious vibe with his long-sized overcoat, a hat a mask that shadows his entire face. An amazing character design, however, looks can be deceiving.
Despite of all its aesthetic qualities, Q fails to offer much utility to players in midst of battle. From Q’s move set it is clear that he is a freestyler, meaning that instead of mastering a certain fighting style Q’s only strategy to win a duel is his brute strength, which he has a lot. To clarify, regardless of having massive powerful one-strike attacks, his inability to connect combos puts him at a disadvantage in crunch scenarios during a battle.
Special Combo:Super Art: X. N. D. L
Controls:(Up, Right, Down) Y – When in Air
For a game that developed in the 90s, the creativity team at Capcom seriously did wonders, Third Strike paved out a great collection of characters, from having an old geezer whose whole aura was based on wisdom he gathered throughout his life to a freaking scientifically developed mass killing humanoid.
According to Street Fighter’s story plot, Twelve is an evolving humanoid with a lethal attacking acumen developed by Secret Society for mass killing. Reading all this you might be wondering that why such a character is crippled down in D Tier of this Third Strike Tier List, well a simple reason behind this is that Twelve rather than fighting by using a traditional fighting style, fights with pure instinct which can form problems for players as there is no continuity to his attacks.
Our final destination in this Third Strike Tier List is D Tier, which is our lowest possible rating any character could get in this Tier List, it is a completely new incident in FGC history that game developers added such characters that were either broken or completely worthless leaving an entire community of gamers in rage and frustration.
Same thing has with each nomination of this D Tier. From poor execution to even poor attack mechanics and defensive stance, these characters have proved to be a complete bust, and are in dire need of any kind of buff, to even make them playable otherwise they are as good as dead and so is their legacy in Street Fighter Universe.
Special Combo:Super Art: Supreme Rising Rage Flash
Controls: (Left, Up, Right, Down, Left) A
We begin our journey of D Tier, with Remy, an iconic character of Street Fighters Series, through his bright red pants, and turquoise-colored hair he rocks. However, in contrast to his flashy appearance, Remy does not have much of a game presence, neither in game’s storyline or PVP mode.
Remy altogether has been a flop, since no player to play him making it almost irrelevant. He is shown to fight with a French style of Martial Arts called Savati, but due to low damage stats and few attack variations, regretfully this character is bound to fail.
Special Combo:Super Art: Spinning Beat
Controls: (Down, Right) + (Down, Right) B (Tap)
Making our way through last or absolutely worst performing tier of our Third Strike Tier List, we have the African goddess, Elena who regretfully despite being portrayed as a fearless and strong warrior in her land fails to keep up with other characters’ Third Strike features.
Elena rocks a bright white attire which looks completely mesmerizing. Elena’s main forte is her strong physique and movement patterns. She mainly uses high-damage kick attacks while fighting her enemies. However, all efforts go in vain when it comes to her speed which is extremely slow, making most of her attacks avoidable, leaving her vulnerable to a counter-attack.
Special Combo:Super Art: Hadou Burst
Controls: (Right, Down, Left, Up, Right) X
Next in our Tier List, we have Sean Matsuda, a character whose main purpose of existence in the Street Fighter universe was based on a mere precaution, to clarify during the development of Street Fighter 3: New Generation, there many many speculations and concerns revolving around Hugo Andore to unveil him for Capcom’s highly anticipated Street Fighter Universe.
In order to combat any unnecessary risks, developing team started to work on Sean to meet its required number of characters at the game launch. For starters Sean was a lone user of MMA, however seeing the growing popularity of Ken Masters and Ryu this strategic advantage was taken from him, further weakening an already frail character.
From an aesthetics point of view, looks are also not that great either, Sean appears to be in a yellow karate gi, which in my opinion is a bare minimum of effort when you consider Street Fighter’s mighty reputation and high standards.
With weak attacks and low durability it’s safe to say that Sean is at the bottom of the barrel for Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, literally a waste of resources and great potential.
Third Strike Tier List
In a Nutshell
With that we conclude our Third Strike Tier List, it has been a great nostalgic journey of visiting this priceless gem of the 90s. Fighting games have played a big part in developing and molding a culture of competitiveness and resilience that we experience today on a global level. FGC has grown way bigger than a mere community of like-minded gaming fanatics into an empire over a period of several decades.
Throughout its history FGC has seen a lot of fighting game products from pretty notable publishers, such as Namco Bandai, or Saga, nonetheless, there was a franchise yet to come, that was sure to leave its mark, and revolutionize an entire genre that was thought to be pretty much perfect, and to bless with a revitalizing essence that would change the entire scene, Street Fighter.
Capcom produced something special with Street Fighter, from its original release in 1987, it is a perfect blend of how to glorify utterly chaotic no holds bard Street Fights with a minimal futuristic touch.
Fight games saw their golden period through the 90s at a time when arcade gaming was booming, seeing such hype many game publishers tried to take a crack at this close-quarter hand-to-hand fighting genre of gaming making it a fierce battle for corporations to keep up with new trends and try to satisfy needs of its customers.
Saga had its innovative three-dimensional hit Virtua Fighter 2 and Namco had Tekken 3 as their golden relics for the decade. For Namco in my opinion Tekken 3 is supposed to be a realization of where they peaked, Tekken 3 was at a right place at the right time.
While fighting against such massive odds, Capcom’s Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike achieved something it was never supposed to do selling over a million copies on its own. Third Strike offered a lot in terms of content, including a compelling plot, a large selection of characters, mindboggling attacks, and lengthy combo chains capable enough to make a grown man scream with excitement. Its main feature was that it accurately encapsulated an authentic spirit of street brawls.
Taking a look at its massive character roster Third Strike has a huge selection of 19 characters, which have been distinctly divided among five tiers which makes our Third Strike Tier List, in descending order of bad to worst. Additionally speaking, Tier Lists are a very ambiguous and extremely abstract topic, as they portray a reflection of human mind since every thought and idea that has ever erupted is unique in some way so is a Tier List.
To clarify don’t go ballistic if you don’t agree with this specific ranking. With that, we come to an end. Will soon be back with another Tier List, till then, peace!