The first game from Arika (formed from former Capcom employees), Street Fighter EX is a spin-off of the Street Fighter series featuring polygonal 3D for both characters and backgrounds, as well as new game mechanics (namely the heavy Guard Break attack and Super Cancelling).
The game received an enhanced update on March 3, 1997. Titled Street Fighter EX Plus, this version unlocks all characters from the start while adding new hidden characters, new default color palettes, and minor updates to graphics and gameplay mechanics. It later received a port for the Sony PlayStation, titled Street Fighter EX Plus α, adding new characters and game modes.
Originally planned to have its own original roster (with series staples Ryu and Ken as hidden characters), the game was released with multiple characters from Street Fighter II as part of the initial roster. The game went on to have multiple sequels. Some characters appeared in Arika's other arcade fighting game, Fighting Layer.
Street Fighter EX uses a fighting system similar to both the Street Fighter II and Street Fighter Alpha series. Despite having 3D, polygonal graphics, EX plays like a 2D game, using super moves and special moves identical or similar to previous Street Fighter games. Like Street Fighter Alpha series, the fighters power up their super combo bar throughout the fight, being able to unleash up to three super attacks.
However, there are a few differences between the EX series and other Street Fighters. Characters can link their super combos together - this is called a "Super Cancel" - allowing them to perform a very long, high damaging combination attack. Additionally, each character has a slow Guard Break attack. If it connects with a guarding opponent, it will break through their guard and dizzy them for a short period of time .
From the start, the game includes 10 playable characters, two unplayable hidden opponents, and one unplayable final boss. After a short amount of time, the game includes 4 additional opponents in the single-player campaign. When the arcade board's playtime reaches 400 hours of playtime, those four additional opponents are unlocked for use (and Akuma is playable with a cheat code). After an additional amount of time, Akuma is playable without the need for a cheat code.
From Street Fighter II
- M. Bison (unplayable final boss, known as Vega in the Japanese version)
- Akuma (hidden opponent, time-locked, known as Gouki in the Japanese version)