The Street Fighter III series is a "trilogy" of fighting games that are part of the Street Fighter universe created by Capcom. The series is a sequel to the Street Fighter II series, and takes place several years after, with a mostly new character roster. Ryu, Ken, Akuma and Chun-Li are the only veteran characters to return, with the last two not appearing until later on in the series.
The Street Fighter III games were produced for the CD-ROM-based CPS III hardware, which allowed for more elaborate and detailed 2D graphics.
Street Fighter III: New Generation was first released in February 1997, introducing several new features to the series. The gameplay is similar to Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but players can now parry most attacks, and also perform dashes, high jumps, and quick stands. The Super Art system was also introduced, with at least three Super Arts available to each character, and the choice of Super Art determined the size of the Super Art Gauge and the number of Stocks available.
An updated version of the previous game, Street Fighter III 2nd Impact - Giant Attack was first released in September of the same year, and introduced even more new mechanics. EX special attacks made their debut, and allowed more powerful special attacks at the cost of some of the Super Art Gauge. The choice of Super Arts would also determine how many EX Specials could be stored. Throw Technicals allowed players to counter and escape their opponent's throw attempts. Personal Actions marked the return of taunts, and added effects that benefited users, from increased defense to powering up the next attack. Bonus rounds also returned in this game.
A compilation of the first two games were released in 1999 as Street Fighter III: Double Impact for the Dreamcast.
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike was first released in May 1999, and is the final game of the series. 3rd Strike introduced a couple of further gameplay changes - the "Red Parry", which lets a player parry while blocking, and a grading evaluation system which ranks (from lowest to highest): E, D, C, B, A, S, SS, XS, MSF. The car-destroying bonus round from the Street Fighter II games also returned.
A downloadable online port entitled Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition was released by Iron Galaxy on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade in August 2011. First announced at Comic Con 2010, the online edition features enhanced visual settings including various HD filters (although the sprites themselves have not been reworked), YouTube Sharing and GGPO-built online play. All the moves, bugs, glitches, and quirks of the original game remain so as to leave the experience unaltered.
Third Strike Online Edition also features a new Trials mode, which is broken up into a number of different sections, each focusing on a different aspect of gameplay (parrying, expert parrying and handicap). Other trials are similar to those from the Street Fighter IV games.
There's also a separate group of challenges which are displayed either on the left or right on the screen depending on which number the player are; to see these challenges on screen the player must be signed in. The challenges are similar to achievements, but they award the player with "Vault Points" (or "VP"), which they can spend on unlocking new content (i.e. art, music etc.). The game also supports DLC, which have come in the form of color packs, videos of pro matches and alternate music from New Generation and 2nd Impact.