Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection

Few companies have championed the re-release the way that Capcom has and at this point, they have so much great IP under their belt that they could probably just spend the next few console generations re-releasing old games and still make a massive profit. The problem with re-releases is that while they serve an important function in the face of ever advancing technology, they can sometimes seem like lazy cash grabs. Capcom has occasionally been guilty of this itself and yet it’s hard to stay mad at a company that has released a compilation as amazing and generous as the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary collection.

It’s very hard to overstate the impact Street Fighter has had on gaming, especially Street Fighter 2 which popularised the fighting game genre, established many of the mechanics that fighting games still hold to today and spawned a truly terrible movie starring Jean Claude Van-Damme and Kylie Minogue. The original Street Fighter came and went to arcades with some very minor success but with Street Fighter 2’s release in 1991, it became a global phenomenon. The brand has remarkably remained at the forefront of fighting games ever since. If you’ve even had a casual interest in gaming over the last few decades, you’re well aware of Street Fighter and at least a few of its huge cast of characters.

So what’s included in the compilation? 12 classic Street Fighter games ranging from the original, up until Street Fighter III 3rd Strike. While many of these are simply variations of one another – there are five versions of Street Fighter 2 for example – almost all are distinctive and hold up very well today. Playing through them in sequence is to watch a genre evolving, establishing conventions that still hold firm in fighting games today. The one exception to this is the original Street Fighter, which feels very dated and more than a little clunky today.

Street Fighter 2 is where the series really took off, and the five iterations of it included here (The World Warriors, Champion Edition, Turbo, Super SF II and Super SF II Turbo) really show how Capcom worked to perfect it. Each version adds something new such as new characters and tweaks to balance that change the game in both obvious and subtle ways. Street Fighter 2 was eventually followed by the Street Fighter Alpha series (Alpha 1, Alpha 2 and Alpha 3), a prequel series set before the events of SFII. These are my personal favourites of the games included here, embracing a more cartoonish style of art whilst being much faster and more flexible than their predecessor. The final group of games included are the 3 iterations of Street Fighter 3. A true sequel to SFII, 3 wasn’t hugely popular on release due to the fading popularity of arcade gaming in the West, but gradually became a firm fixture on the competitive fighting game circuit due to its strong community and complexity.

All of these games are great and well worth investing time in. The compilation also includes a wide range of extra material. There are detailed descriptions and stats for each character as well as the ability to compare their character models and selected animations from game to game. There are tonnes of production sketches and slide shows giving lots of insight and trivia into the development of each game as well as a detailed history of the series and the option to listen to all of the games’ full soundtracks. The archives keep most of the details restricted to the titles included in this compilation and tend to avoid going into depth about the series many spin-offs or anything that came after Street Fighter 3 but still cover more than enough to keep even the most discerning of Street Fighter fans happy. The games also give you the ability to play competitively locally or online which is essential for a series so important to the competitive gaming scene, though this is restricted to one version of each game.

While it is also available on the PS4 and XBone, I reviewed Street Fighter 30th Anniversary on the Nintendo Switch. I absolutely loved the ability to play Street Fighter on the go but the Switch’s Joycons aren’t great with the precision control you’ll need for these games. You’ll need at least a Pro Controller to get the most enjoyment out of the titles on offer here.

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is an essential purchase, especially if you’re a fan of the fighting genre. While the games included here are no longer cutting edge as far as 2D fighters go, most of them still hold up amazingly well today. Even if you’re a more casual fan of these games, the compilation serves as a great historical record of how the genre has grown and changed over the years and why it still has such a huge following today. While I would have loved for Capcom to just go completely over the top and include the brilliant Street Fighter 4 or some obscure spin-offs in here, I have no problem saying that this is one of the finest compilations of older games ever released.

Review by Matt Russell

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