Street Fighter Alpha 2, known as Street Fighter Zero 2 (ストリートファイターZERO 2 Sutorito Faita Zero 2?) in Japan, Asia, South America, and Spain, is a 1996 fighting game originally released for the CPS II arcade hardware by Capcom. The game is a sequel to Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams, which is itself a prequel to the Street Fighter II 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. Some character's endings were retconned from the original, overwriting their prior story (i.e. Akuma's), or tweaked.
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 game has a thinner and longer health bar as well. Every character has two Alpha Counters; one for the kick and one for the punch button. Previously, characters only had one, and it was with either the punch or kick button.
The main new feature in the game is the Custom Combo system (Original Combo in Japanese versions), which replaces the Chain combos from the first Alpha. However, it is not available in regular attack as chain combos; 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. As such, the game has less combos and gameplay is generally slower, which balanced out most characters.
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 thirteen characters from the original Alpha return, with previously secret characters M. Bison, Akuma, and Dan now part of the immediate roster. There isn't a "Random Fighter" option, though. The graphics for all of the returning characters' home stages, cutscenes and endings have been completely changed to new ones. In addition, returning character's voice recordings have been made higher or deeper pitched, or removed and replaced completely. Sounds and background music in general have been noticeably changed in pitch. Damage inflicted by normal and special moves has been reduced as well.
Five additional characters are featured, extending the selectable roster to 18. The new characters include Zangief and Dhalsim from Street Fighter II; Gen from the original Street Fighter; Rolento from Final Fight; and Sakura, a new character who is a schoolgirl that idolizes Ryu and emulates his fighting 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 North American 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.
|Adon|| Chaophraya River,|
|Adon is recovers from his defeat in the original Street Fighter. His story revolves around Adon setting out to challenge his master Sagat for title of God of Muay Thai after Ryu's triumph over him in Street Fighter.|
|Akuma|| Gokuento Island, |
|Akuma begins to search the world for worthy opponents. In his travels he is confronted by Gen. In a fierce battle, Akuma uses his Raging Demon on Gen but it fails to kill Gen as he empties his soul in time. However it is apparent that Gen was ill with leukemia during the battle and Akuma storms off, looking for a fair fight. Ryu eventually finds Akuma's island and challenges him. Akuma tests Ryu's strength and later on destroys the island.|
|Birdie|| London Underground,|
|A street thug from England who is interested in joining Shadaloo, and sets out to prove his strength to Bison and gain membership.|
|Charlie/Nash|| Detroit Highway,|
|Charlie is a first lieutenant of the USAF, and is given an order to find and destroy the Shadaloo base. While investigating the base's whereabouts, he encounters Rolento who tries to stop him, but he pursues on. Charlie eventually tracks down M. Bison himself in Brazil and goes in personally to interrogate. When he got upfront however he is stopped by one of Bison's backup helicopters.|
|Chun-Li is an investigator in the Interpol and is looking into the death of her father. It turns out M. Bison of Shadaloo is responsible. She tracks down Bison, however gets overwhelmed and vows vengeance.|
|Dan|| Temple Street,|
|Dan is the son of Gou Hibiki. Gou is the man responsible for taking out one of Sagat's eyes, however out of rage Sagat killed Gou. Dan develops his own fighting style, the "Saikyo-ryu", and sets out to avenge his father.|
|Dhalsim|| Ganges River,|
|Dhalsim gets involved in the recent events to raise money for his poor village and gain respect, in the end becoming the "Great Yoga Master".|
|Gen suffers from leukemia and enters the fighting scene once again to find a worthy opponent to finish him off. He encounters Akuma who spares him because it was not a fair fight.|
|Guy|| Metro City,|
|Guy is a ninja and the newest heir to the Bushinryu art. Before claiming the title however he is warned of a new evil emerging and Guy seeks this new mysterious evil.|
|Ken|| San Francisco Bay,|
|Ken wins the US Martial Arts tournament during the events of the original Street Fighter, and goes to tell his master Gouken the good news. When he arrives at the dojo he witnesses his master getting defeated by Akuma. Ken tries to step in but is easily knocked down and Akuma leaves. Ken vows to get stronger and avenge his master.|
|M. Bison|| VTOL Aircraft,|
|M. Bison is the leader of criminal organization Shadaloo. His actions involve drug trafficking, brainwashing, and violence. As a result he and his organization have gained a lot of notoriety.|
|Rolento|| New York,|
|Rolento is an ex-Mad Gear member who wants to create his own utopia within Metro City. He encounters Sodom and Guy who attempt to stop him.|
|Rose is a psychic from Genoa who senses the "doomsday" approaching, being caused by Bison. She goes out to find and defeat Bison, though Bison was not truly dead.|
|Ryu|| Suzaku Castle,|
|Ryu, after winning the first World Warrior Tournament, goes home only to discover his master Gouken had been murdered. Ryu sets out to find Akuma. Though, Ryu hasn't felt like himself since his victory over Sagat. He encounters Ken and Sakura during his travels.|
|Sagat|| Ayutthaya Temple,|
|After Ryu won the title of World Warrior, Sagat trains to get better, developing the Tiger Blow in the process. After severely injuring his student Adon for mocking him, Sagat joins Shadaloo.|
|Sakura|| Setagaya-ku Ni-chome,|
|Sakura is a Japanese schoolgirl who cuts her classes to find Ryu, hoping for a match and an autograph with him.|
|Sodom||Arizona Desert, USA||Sodom is looking for recruits to join his Mad Gear gang after losing Rolento, who had lost sight of the gang's ideals.|
|Zangief||Bilsk Steelworks, USSR||Zangief is a national Russian hero nicknamed the "Red Cyclone" who becomes acquainted with Gorbachev at the end of Alpha 2. After meeting Gorbachev, Zangief is sent to train in the Siberian wastes, wrestling bears.|
Street Fighter Alpha 2 was released under the title of Street Fighter Zero 2 in Japan, Asia, South America and Spain. The American and European versions of Alpha 2 features three additional characters who were not in Japanese version: Evil Ryu and the EX versions of Zangief and Dhalsim.
Capcom released a 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 feature 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.
A SNES 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, though.
A Windows PC port was also released in 1997, based on the PlayStation version, but using the arcade soundtrack in 22KHz WAV format. 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 (promoted as Street Fighter Zero 2′). 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. Alpha 2 Gold also features an "Akuma Mode", where the player can fight against Shin Akuma immediately.
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 Survival and Dramatic Battle modes in addition to Arcade, Versus and Training. The Japanese version of the compilation, Street Fighter Zero: Fighters' Generation, features the arcade versions of Street Fighter Zero 2 and Zero 2 Alpha as regular games, with the US version of Alpha 2 and the revised version of Zero 2 Dash as hidden games.