It's hard to believe that it was 30 years ago that we first played Street Fighter, Capcom's quirky yet potential-laden fighting game that eventually gave birth to the genre as we know it today. Of course, most players remember the series truly taking flight with 1991's Street Fighter II and later entries like Alpha and Street Fighter III: Third Strike but there's no denying where it got its start.
To mark the occasion, the publisher has released Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, a compilation jam-packed with retro goodness from the series. While you won't find obscure favorites like Street Fighter EX3 here, you will find the core Street Fighter games that started the series as well as those that tied in with its evolution including the Alpha saga and Street Fighter III.
The best thing going for this collection is choice. There are a dozen games available here each with various options to tweak and even a few training simulations to try out if you're new to this sort of thing. You can tweak difficulty (though the CPU is still a bit tough for its own good) or even try your luck online with certain games in case you're insisting that you can kick someone's butt at Street Fighter Alpha 3. Yeah, just try it.
Classic Fighting Joy
The highlights of the collection really depend on where you stand in the series. The entire span of Street Fighter II games are thrown in here including the zippy Turbo edition and Super Street Fighter II Turbo, the first game to introduce "super" moves to the franchise. You probably won't get too many challengers for the original Street Fighter (it's heavily dated) but it's still a romp for a couple of rounds. Plus a fighter actually says, "All WIGHT!"
While only a handful of the games have online play (making it available for all titles would've been a huge undertaking), all of them offer local play. So at the very least you can grab a friend and take part in a few match-ups. As expected, you can also go solo and take on the best of the competition from Chun-Li to Blanka to M. Bison to Akuma. It's also worth noting that the online match-ups worked very well based upon what we tested out. It may vary by other consoles but on Switch the game is a contender.
I also enjoyed the gameplay options. Obviously this game is best built for something like a Pro Controller or, if you can make it work, a fighting pad. But the JoyCon is surprisingly good for a game such as this, even with its tiny size. Keep that in mind if you end up doing a local fight with just your Nintendo Switch in an arcade or something.
The games have also been faithfully recreated right down to their arcade coding. There are various options on how you can play, be it full screen or on an old-school monitor with lines and custom borders; and the attract screens are still perfect, including Street Fighter II's "let me punch a guy in the face before we look at this building." This game has never looked better and that's keeping last year's fun Ultra Street Fighter II in mind.prevnext
Extras, Extras, Extras
I love the audio, too. The character voices are still as perfect as ever ("Tiger! Tiger! Tiger...uppercut!"); the music is as authentic as you may recall; and those meaty sound effects are really something, especially on headphones.
Where Street Fighter really shows its worth is with extras. And boy, are there a lot of them. The Museum is worth the price of admission alone with an interactive timeline that covers a great deal of the series including pitch documents, early arcade art and so much more. You could spend hours looking through all of this and really learning a lot about the franchise.
You can also get a good look at each of the characters in their own library, checking out how they move in frame-by-frame detail. This is something that will appeal to art students more than fighting fans but those fascinated by the art of 2D fighting games will love what's here.
There's also a Music mode where you can replay your favorite tunes however you see fit, be it T.Hawk's awesome heroic theme or Blanka's classic ending music. And yes, you have the ability to play Guile's battle theme while eating chicken if that's what you're into. (Look it up on YouTube if you don't get the reference.)prevnext
A Compilation Worth Fighting Over
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection isn't perfect. The Ai can be a bit tough in the earlier games, even on the easiest setting; it would've been nice to see some spin-offs like Pocket Fighter thrown in as bonus games; and the original Street Fighter could've easily been replaced by, say, Street Fighter: The Movie. Yes, that one with Van Damme.
But what remains is pure magic for fighting fans. Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is a worthy gathering of some of the best beat-em-up action in history. Most of these games have been faithfully restored to their arcade settings; and being able to explore each one's many components however you see fit is pretty awesome. The presentation for each game is appealing as well; and being able to beat up your friends both locally and online (with select games) is spectacular.
It's great to see Capcom give such a lovingly crafted gift to fighting fans with Street Fighter. Now maybe we could get similar treatment with other franchises. A Darkstalkers collection would hit the spot...and then there are the Vs. games. Hmmmm.
WWG's Score: 4.5/5
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.prev