May 29, 2018
There are few games that mean as much to me personally as Street Fighter II. A surrogate parent in the arcades during hideous rainy UK holidays, a constant source of conversation between friends, my favourite thing to read about in games magazines at the time, and still one of, if not the greatest fighting game of all time, SF II's impact was immeasurable. But Street Fighter II and its various updates account for only a portion of what Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection has to offer, this being the most definitive SF compendium released to date.
A complete anthology of the series from its inception to its all-conquering 90s heyday pre-Street Fighter IV, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is a Street Fighter fan's dream come true. Granted, there have been numerous SF collections in the past, but none quite as comprehensive as this one. Not only does it include the original 1987 Street Fighter where it all began, but there's a treasure trove of artwork complete with insights, including early concept sketches, character designs that got left on the cutting room floor, and cool little nuggets of SF trivia.
For example, did you know that Final Fight was originally going to make use of the SF IP with the title 'Street Fighter '89' or that Chun Li was referred to as 'Chinese Girl' throughout the development of Street Fighter II? Well, now you do. While the Museum is packed with fascinating archive material and cool secrets on every SF game included in the 30th Anniversary Collection, you're presumably buying this for the actual games themselves, and again, on that front, this is about as good as it gets.
As my first time playing the original Street Fighter, however, it's easy to see why it's a largely forgotten footnote for the series. It's not very good. Yet, it's inclusion here gives additional context to why Street Fighter II and its follow-ups were such a colossal phenomenon, with countless editions in the arcades, home versions aplenty and more merchandise than you can shake Rolento's stick at. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior represented a seismic shift for the fighting genre, and as such, SF II, Champion Edition, Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II and SSF II Turbo all still hold up today.
Street Fighter Alpha and its two sequels are welcome inclusions too, marking the first time Capcom doubled down on Super meters and finisher combos after dabbling in Super Street Fighter II. A plethora of new characters, some cherry-picked from Final Fight including Cody, Guy, and Sodom, made the Alpha games feel completely fresh too, and like SF II, all three remain eminently playable 2D fighting games. By the time Street Fighter III: New Generation came along in 1997, Capcom was effectively at the height of its fighting game artistry, and as such, all three of them look and play incredibly well.
All twelve Street Fighter games that make up this collection are worthwhile in their own way, every character and corresponding move set demanding discovery, mastery and experimentation. Arcade and Versus modes are the tip of the iceberg, giving you the full arcade-perfect Street Fighter experience for each game, and once you've mastered all of that, you can take the fight online in Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Super SF II Turbo, SF Alpha 3, and SF III 3rd Strike. Online matches prove rather stable too, and during our bouts against connected players we had very few, if any, real issues. At time of writing, anyway.
It's online where the crux of Street Fighter's longevity normally lies, but given the selection of games crammed into one place, you'll likely spend hours simply reliving the old arcade modes from beginning to end, or browsing through the Museum. Or maybe sharpening your skills to attain online greatness in the Training Mode. This is all assuming that you're already a die-hard Street Fighter fan, of course, and if you're not, then you're guaranteed to discover a slew of cool stuff regardless. There's something here for even the most fervent and demanding of Street Fighter fans.
A neatly presented package, any and every Street Fighter aficionado owes it to themselves to add this to their collection, offering as it does a complete rundown of the series legacy right up to a time before Street Fighter IV and V came along. The first Street Fighter's inclusion stands out as a bit of a curio, but the rest of the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection marks a time when Capcom's fighting franchise was completely unrivalled, and rightly so. Each game has stood the test of time, remaining fluid, intuitive, easy-to-learn but difficult to master. Street Fighter set the bar for every fighting game that followed, and as such, the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is practically perfect.
Memorable music, cries of hadouken, shoryuken, tiger... It's all iconic, all awesome and all bound to induce tears of nostalgia.
Arcade-perfect versions of all twelve games with arcade cabinet borders and various filters to choose from. This a cleanly presented, slick package overall.
More than thirty years on, the original Street Fighter plays like every one of its three decades, but Street Fighter II and every SF game that followed it still hold up, with controls and moves that set the standard.
Twelve games, all precisely as you remember them with a Museum stuffed to the gills with insightful content into the series, and four games with a full complement of online features and modes. You couldn't ask for much more.
For such a fantastic collection, the trophy list is lazily cobbled together dross. Complete each game, play hundreds of online matches, and that's about it. There isn't even a bleedin' Platinum trophy. Bleh.
The perfect homage to a series of true fighting game greats, the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is essential.