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In 1996, Street Fighter EX was developed by Arika (a company founded by Final Fight and Street Fighter II co-designer Akira Nishitani) and published by Capcom as an attempt to bring the normally 2D Street Fighter series into true 3D. The game saw the return of Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Guile (in his first game since Super Street Fighter II Turbo), Zangief, Akuma and M. Bison. New characters, who are owned by both Capcom and Arika were also added. These characters include Japanese Kobujutsu master and archer, Hokuto, American bouncer, Cracker Jack (just Jack in later installments), Ax Crazy German mercenary, Doctrine Dark, Japanese salaryman turned hero, Skullomania Spoiled Sweet Saudi princess, Pullum Purna, American ex-Karate champ, Allen Snider, European Ojou and socialite, Blair Dame, Japanese amnesiac, Kairi, Indian pro wrestler, Darun Mister, and demon samurai, Garuda. Two Updated Rereleases were created as Street Fighter EX Plus added dark versions of Ryu and Hokuto, Evil Ryu and Bloody Hokuto respectively and Cycloid-β (Beta) and Cycloid-γ (Gamma), two cyborg ditto fighters with no faces (Gamma's a wireframe). Play Station-exclusive, Street Fighter EX Plus α added familiar faces Dhalsim and Sakura. The game played similar to Street Fighter Alpha but with the addition of side stepping, guard-breaking attacks that makes the opponent temporarily dizzy and special moves and super combos that can be cancelled into other super combos.
In 1998, Street Fighter EX2 was released with the added feature of using custom combos (another feature similar to the Alpha series). This game also marks the first time that a Street Fighter game with its own sub-series removes characters from the roster as Akuma, Sakura, M. Bison, Pullum, Darun, Allen, and Blair were cut. In their place came Street Fighter II veterans Blanka and Vega and four newcomers: Japanese swordsman, Hayate, European secret agent gunslinger, Sharon, Hokuto's staff-wielding sister, Nanase and masked Anti-Hero, Shadowgeist. Street Fighter EX2 Plus returns Pullum, Darun, and Bison and then added Ryu's rival, Sagat, a young inventor with a giant mechanical arm, Area, and firey Italian fighter, Vulcano Rosso. Hayate was removed from the arcade version of EX2 Plus but returned for the PlayStation version. EX2 Plus also added Metor Combos, the first Ultra Combos to be used in a Street Fighter game.
In 2000, Street Fighter EX3 came out exclusively for the Play Station 2. A tag team system was added, but it wasn't well received. Everyone from EX2 Plus (except Hayate) returned, as did Sakura. Ace, the sole new character for the game was a character that can have moves added to his move list. EX3 was the final game and the least successful.
Tropes Distinct To, Or Introduced In, This Game:
- Canon Foreigner: The characters introduced in this series belong to Arika. In Street Fighter EX2, they retconned the backstories of most of the new character to distance them from the canon characters, while Blair and Allen were actually included in a non-Capcom Arika-developed fighting game called Fighting Layer that never left the arcade. An interview with Seth Killian states that both Capcom and Arika own the EX characters, and that the only reason why a new EX game hasn't been made was Capcom's wish to have Arika make it happen.
- Combination Attack: The Meteor Tag Combos from EX3.
- Gaiden Game: The Working Title of the first game was actually Street Fighter Gaiden.
- Limit Break: The Meteor Combos.
- Mini Game Credits: Beating up random Mooks in EX3
- Put on a Bus: Akuma, Blair, and Allen after EX Plus α. Hayate after the original EX2 (not counting his appearance in the PS version of EX2 Plus).
- Retcon: The original backstories for most of the new characters featured ties to numerous established Street Fighter characters (Hokuto is a student of the Bushin school of ninjutsu, Doctrine Dark was a former subordinate of Guile who was injured by Rolento, Jack is a former Shadaloo enforcer, Allen lost to Ken once, Pullum Purna's family has ties to Shadaloo and Darun is a rival to both, Zangief and Victor Ortega). In Street Fighter EX2, all of these back-stories were rewritten to downplay and even contradict these connections (such as claiming that Hokuto and Kairi's school is known as the Mizukami style and that Doctrine Dark's insanity was caused due to him being raised as a child mercenary) once it was established that Arika owned all of the new characters.
- Ryu and Ken: Three sets: the trope namers, Allen and Kairi (who are similar to Ryu and Ken), Zangief and Darun.
- A case could also be made for Skullomania and Shadowgeist, the later of which made his debut in the second game.
- Shared Universe: With Fighting Layer.
- Shotoclone: Ryu, Ken, Sakura, Akuma, Allen, and Kairi.
- Divergent Character Evolution: Mostly started in the second game, although Allen was unique from the start with the inclusion of kickboxing moves, his Justice Fist (which could deflect projectiles), and two command throws. On the other hand, Kairi mostly played like a more balanced Akuma at first, although with Akuma's absence starting in EX2, Kairi essentially became Akuma. However, he did have his own odd quirks (such as his projectile not being thrown like a typical Hadouken  and the Shouki Hatsudou, a Meteor Combo that brought his health down to a tiny sliver and was best used as a finisher).
- Sprite Mirroring: Averted; all the characters are 3D models.
- Tag Team: In EX3.
- Unblockable Attack: The Guard Break.
- it instead randomly appeared onscreen, its distance being gauged by the strength of the punch used