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(Note: Much of the info provided here is taken from Kao Megura's SFA3 FAQ.)


Comparisons at a glance[edit]

Air blocking No Yes Yes
Air recovery Yes Yes Yes
Ground recovery No Yes Yes
Taunts Dan only Yes Yes
Guard power rating High Varies Varies
Gauge fill speed Slow Normal Fast
Gauge stock count 1 3 2 (50% / 100%)
Alpha counter cost N/A 1 SC + 1 GP 50% OC + 1 GP
Damage Rating x1.2* x1.0 x0.8
Defense Rating x0.8 x1.0 x1.0

* Does not include Super Combo damage.


  • + Longer Guard Power Gauge length (so it's harder to get Guard Crushed).
  • + All attacks, excluding Super Combos, do more damage.
  • - No air block.
  • - No ground recovery roll.
  • - No Alpha Counters.
  • - No Taunting (except for Dan).
  • - X-ISM characters have only one predetermined Super Combo.
  • - They take slightly more damage from attacks (blocked or not).


  • + Air blocking.
  • + Both ground and air recoveries
  • + Alpha Counters (these cost 1 level of SC power and 1 notch of your Guard Power Gauge).
  • + Taunting (once per round only, excluding Dan).
  • + SC gauge charges up faster than X-ISM's SC gauge.
  • + Access to all Super Combos (excluding Dhalsim).
  • - Damage per hit is average (less than in X-ISM).
  • - Guard Power Gauge size depends on character (certain characters are easy to Guard Crush).


  • + Air blocking.
  • + Both ground and air recoveries.
  • + Alpha Counters (these cost 50% of a full OC gauge and drain 1 notch from your Guard Power Gauge).
  • + Taunting (once per round only, excluding Dan).
  • + Determine which range of attacks you'll use (far or close), by leaving the controller neutral or holding it back when you press Punch or Kick (Does not apply to all characters).
  • + OC gauge also charges very quickly.
  • + Use Original Combos instead of Super Combos.
  • - Damage per hit is lower than in any other mode.
  • - It costs half an OC gauge to use an Alpha Counter.

Extra ISM-Pluses[edit]

There are twenty-six ISM-Pluses across Alpha 3's ports. The first 13 are in the PS1/Saturn versions of World Tour Mode. 12 more were added in the Dreamcast port's revamped version of World Tour Mode, as well as rewards for completing extra game modes. Examples include Arcade, Reverse Dramatic Battle, Dreamcast-only local challenges via Saikyo Dojo Mode, and various Survival Mode challenges. The final one is a reward in the PSP port, Alpha 3 MAX, for completing World Tour's Gokuentou fights. Only Alpha 3 MAX contains Edit Mode, which allows you to create a fighter with custom stats and ISM-Pluses, without playing through World Tour Mode. (Some JP names listed where applicable/known; all instances of "Alpha" use "Zero" in JP versions)

  1. Alpha Combo: Described as "multi-hit attacks" in-game, all Light and Medium Normals , similar to Alpha 1, but with tighter timing. Command Normals and Heavy Normals can be considered chain enders, and are not chainable.
  2. Alpha Cancel: All Normals can be cancelled into Special Moves, even if the attack whiffs. In-game description does not note that this also includes Super Moves.
  3. Super Alpha Cancel: All Special Moves can be cancelled into Super Moves.
  4. Super Guard: You will not receive damage when you guard against Special, or Super Moves.
  5. ∞ Guard: Your Guard Power Gauge becomes infinite.
  6. Auto Guard: You automatically block attacks as long as you're not currently attacking.
  7. Guard Crush Plus / Gauge Power Plus: On block, your moves do 50% more Guard Power Gauge damage.
  8. Custom Combo / Original Combo: Allows your character to perform Custom/Original Combos without using V-ISM.
  9. Air Guard: Gives the ability to block in the air (outside of anti-airs and certain specials/supers), which is already a default function of A-ISM and V-ISM, essentially making this ISM-Plus only useful with X-ISM.
  10. Alpha Counter Plus: Alpha Counters do double damage.
  11. Super Combo Gauge Plus / Gauge Plus: Causes your Super Gauge to slowly increase, and doubles the increase given for attacks and blocks.
  12. Resist Dizziness / Hard Body: Your character cannot be dizzied, and guard damage is reduced.
  13. Damage Plus: Adds extra damage to all of your attacks.
  14. Status Plus / Guts: Your overall statistics will be increased; boosts your status maximums.
  15. Guard Smash / Guard Destroy: Combines Guard Crush Plus with more HP damage dealt when your attacks are blocked.
  16. Super Guard Smash: Combines Guard Crush Plus with ∞ Guard.
  17. Supreme Guard Smash / Super GP Plus: A boosted version of Guard Crush Plus.
  18. Custom Combo Charger: Combines Custom/Original Combo ISM-Plus with Super Combo Gauge Plus
  19. Alpha Power: Combines the Alpha Combo and Alpha Cancel abilities.
  20. Super Alpha Power: Combines the Alpha Combo and Super Alpha Cancel abilities.
  21. Supreme Alpha Power: Combines the Super Alpha Cancel and Alpha Cancel abilites.
  22. ∞ Auto Guard: Combines ∞ Guard with Auto Guard.
  23. SC Gauge Recover: A boosted version of Super Combo Gauge Plus.
  24. Overall Power Up / Limit Off: You deal, and take more damage.
  25. Multiple Taunt: Like Dan, you can now taunt more than once per fight.
  26. Air Chain Combo: Air Normals become chain-cancellable on hit/block.


Classic Mode[edit]

  • The damage rating is the same as in X-ISM (x1.2), and the gameplay is also the same (i.e. Chun-Li is in her SF2 outfit and has moves like the Sou Hakkei, etc.)
  • In addition to all of X-ISM's restrictions, you lose the ability to air recover, reduce block damage, or reduce damage taken.
  • Furthermore, you have no Super Combo gauge and no Guard Power Gauge.

Mazi (Serious) Mode[edit]

  • The damage your attacks inflict is considerably increased, regardless of the ISM used.
  • You take double damage from any attack.
  • Your opponent only needs to win one round to defeat you.

Saikyou ("Strongest") Mode[edit]

(Note: Saikyou is a reference to Dan's dojo and the interpretation of "Strongest" is meant to be sarcastic.)

  • The damage your attacks inflict is slightly lessened regardless of the ISM used.
  • Your Guard Power Gauge is drastically shortened.
  • You cannot cancel a ground attack into a special move.
  • You can get dizzied easier (your resistance is halved).