Most of my time with the Street Fighter franchise was during its time as a traditional 2D fighting game. I fell in love with fighting games through Street Fighter II: The World Warrior and the Street Fighter Alpha titles are among my favourite in the genre. When Capcom announced the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, I was ecstatic to hear that both iterations made the cut along with Street Fighter III. While Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection offers a good look at the franchise’s history, hardcore fighting game fans will gain a lot more out of the overall experience.
To celebrate Street Fighter’s 30th birthday, Capcom and Digital Eclipse have put together a compilation of the original Street Fighter, three versions of Street Fighter II, Super Street Fighter II and Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha One to Three and the three entries under the Street Fighter III label. It’s a lot to fit into one package but thankfully, the collection does a great job at explaining the subtle differences between titles through an info page available at the push of a button. In addition, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection contains a similar but even more-detailed museum in comparison to the one found in Capcom’s Mega Man Legacy Collection. This museum gives a detailed look into the creation of Street Fighter, including a detailed timeline spanning from 1987 to this year. It also includes character biographies of every notable character to appear in each game, leading up to Street Fighter III. These biographies also contain animation breakdowns of each character’s special commands.
When it comes to the customization of each game, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection doesn’t offer much beyond the basics. Each title has a small set of changeable options, affecting things such as the game’s difficulty or the speed of the game’s timer. You can alter the game’s visuals slightly, letting you choose between standard or wide aspect ratios, along with visible scan lines. You also have the option of border art, which changes depending on which entry in the series you’re currently playing.
If you ever wanted to experience the evolution of Street Fighter over the last few decades, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is probably the best way to do it. This, of course, does have its flaws when it comes to certain titles such as the original version of Street Fighter. While it has lent a big hand in shaping the fighting game genre, its stiff controls and mostly forgettable quickly show that the game hasn’t aged well, especially next to its vastly superior sequels. Some of the other titles offered can make the collection feel a tad bloated. Having all three iterations of Street Fighter II might sound like a deal, but you’re more than likely going to only end up playing what’s considered the best version of the game unless you’ve done your research on what makes one worth choosing over the other. It appears even Capcom and Digital Eclipse might’ve realized this, as only the final versions of each iteration are playable in any form of wireless multiplayer.
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection delivers each of its titles in their purest forms, their arcade editions. This means that if you’re not deeply invested in fighting games, you’ll have far less to enjoy with any of these titles. Any of the extras included in console ports of these games are gone unless they were offered in the original arcade version as well. On the bright side of these games being emulated, players can now create save states during single player gameplay at any time. Training modes are also available but just like with the wireless multiplayer modes, only the final iterations of each game can be selected. This is a shame when compared to other ports of the same game which all had numerous features added to them. In addition to receiving an online mode, Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition offered visual filters, a remixed soundtrack and even new multiplayer modes. The PlayStation Portable Port of Street Fighter Alpha Three featured an expanded roster along with new in-game story modes for each character. Players were also given the option to select characters in Dramatic Battle mode. While simply using the arcade versions of these might work well enough for purists, they offer very little outside of the standard Arcade mode. This can make some of the titles feel incomplete or in a few cases, downright inferior to what’s come before them.
One of the best things to come out of the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is its addition of online functionality for each game. Although Super Street Fighter II and Street Fighter III received updated ports with online multiplayer added, it’s a first for both Street Fighter II and Street Fighter Alpha. Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection features ranked matchmaking, leaderboards, and allows for players to create online lobbies. I couldn’t find many online matches but the few that I managed to play were entirely smooth. The collection really aims for that true arcade experience by allowing you to play through the game’s Arcade mode while waiting for a match. It’s worth noting that the Nintendo Switch version of the game also includes the exclusive feature of four-player local online tournaments, which allow up to four Switch users to link up and play together.
The Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is just that, a collection of Street Fighter titles. Outside of the game’s well-put-together museum, it doesn’t really do much beyond the bare necessities to celebrate Street Fighter’s thirty-year history. Hardcore fighting game fans will easily get the most out of this thanks to the game’s online features and the convenience of having four titles in one piece rather than scattered across different consoles. Still, despite not going the extra mile with any of these games, they are still some of the best in the genre and deserve to be checked out for that alone. If you can manage to forget about everything missing, you’re still left with four of the greatest Street Fighter titles available.