So Capcom makes alpha in 1995. It's a fun little game. Alpha 2 comes out the next year and it is other worldly compared to the first, a giant leap in quality and a near perfect game. But this? This is different. This is in contention with the best fighting games ever made.
Is it as balanced as alpha 2? No. The ism system allows for some pretty wonky things, the guard break system is fine but I feel like many characters should switch their guard bar lengths.(For example Cody's guard bar is way too short for what he actually does In game. He's not one of the games super strong characters so I don't know why his guard bar is so miniscule compared to someone like Sodom)
But the gameplay is still solid and filled with alot of depth, (especially in certain matchups like Gen vs Zangief.) the soundtrack is excellent, in fact I'd argue some of the best songs in the franchise come from this game. The presentation is really what makes this game go the extra mile for me over alpha 2. There isn't a fighter I know of that presents itself as well as alpha three does for me.
Big bold lettering, an extremely gaudy character select screen, bright colors all around from the, characters to the health bars and super meters. To me this is the best street fighter ever made