The fighting game genre has become a staple of gaming. Now with a market of titans and indie titles finding dedicated fanbases, it can be easy to forget some of the pillars that the industry is built on. I can guarantee you that Street Fighter is not one of those easily forgotten titles. It’s one of the most recognisable beat ’em ups out there. Rivalled only by Mortal Kombat, no fighting game has had the staying power of Street Fighter. Starting 30 years ago, Street Fighter remains relevant not only due to recent additions to the franchise but also fans going back to play the classic version of the title.
Unfortunately with the passage of time and the ever changing face of consoles in today’s market, not everyone has access to some of the classic titles in the Street Fighter franchise. This is a disappointment considering how crazy good the titles have been. Thankfully Capcom has our backs and to celebrate 30 years of starting fights in the streets around the globe we get the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, a collection of 12 classic arcade titles from the genre mainstay.
Let’s get the nitty gritty out of the way, in this remaster you will get updated versions of Street Fighter, SF II, SF II: Champion Edition, SF II’: Hyper Fighting, Super SF II, Super SF II: Turbo, SF Alpha, SF Alpha 2, SF Alpha 3, SF III, SF III: 2nd Impact and SF III: Third Strike. A mix of well known hits and stepping stones to success.
That is a good chunk of content but here is probably my one complaint with this collection. I just mentioned 12 titles but you will play maybe four of these on a regular basis. The original Street Fighter is a a novelty addition to this lineup, you will duck in to see where the phenomenon began and then you’ll close that door and move on. With a bunch of versions of the second instalment you’ll skip over those early versions to get into the later iterations such as Super Street Fighter II: Turbo which offers extra characters and mechanics.
Thankfully the drawback of the padded titles is saved by the speed with which you can switch between these titles. Jumped onto Street Fighter Alpha 3 but wanted Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact? No worries, just a couple of button presses will get you where you want to go. Unfortunately I had mixed results with online games in terms of loading times, some loaded quickly while others had me sitting there for a few minutes. Even with my fairly strong connection the Switch was a tad sluggish in battle but only on the occasional match, so this could have been due to my opponents connection as well.
Online offers up only 4 of the 12 titles but they are the 4 you want to be playing competitively, SF II’: Hyper Fighting, Super SF II: Turbo, SF Alpha 3 and SF III: Third Strike, most of which are still played competitively today. You can jump into casual matches, ranked matches, online arcade, and compare your score against a global leader board. You’ll also be able to create a lobby and enjoy playing with your friends. The Switch also has the added bonus of local online play between two Switches so you and your friends can play out and about. Most excitingly you can create the tournaments you used to see at the arcade if you can get four Switches together and eight friends.
“When I used to play these games as a kid at the arcade I would put aside a weeks worth of money for an afternoon of showing everyone how good I was as Cammy”
If you’re not playing on the Switch and you’re not crazy about online play there is also couch co-op so that you can easily take on your friends, unlike online this is open to the entire series. Thankfully as matches end it’s easy to jump straight back in, pick a new characters and load up.
This ‘jump back into the fray’ feeling carries over to the solo play as well. When I used to play these games as a kid at the arcade I would put aside a weeks worth of money for an afternoon of showing everyone how good I was as Cammy, the series’ best character—fight me. This was an era though where games were half artistic expression and half a school yard bully that would kick you in the gut and ask for another coin, one at a time.
Arcade games were designed to be tough, but also not so tough that you didn’t feel like you could achieve that win. The games were designed this way to make money but never turn you off from putting another coin in the slot. Thankfully there are no peripherals in modern consoles that demand money to keep playing—well, not like an arcade machine at least. Because of this when you get knocked down it’s easy to get back into it without having to give up your pocket money. This is handy as it is easy to forget just how hard these old Street Fighters were with fast paced, hard hitting enemies and some pretty cheap boss fights.
Thankfully the gameplay is as fluid as ever. While using the Joy Cons, both attached on the go and as a single controller when detached, I found I struggled a little but I cannot stress enough how huge my truck-a-saurus hands are. When I finally swapped over to the Pro Controller I got back into the swing of things. Mastering a bunch of characters across the franchise means getting used to combos and special attacks, these can be very fiddly but once you are powering through them with ease you will feel like a badass. Thankfully if you’re having trouble the game does also offer you the chance to change the difficulty of each game and the combat speed for a couple of the titles that became known for their fast paced punches.
Visually the game looks great. Street Fighter’s art style has always had one of the more timeless styles once we got into Street Fighter II. The bright and colourful back drops and character models are animated wonderfully and the fluidity of their movement all these years later is a testament to the art direction. You’re given a couple of visual options to play with including removing the arcade style border and applying filters that give it back the slightly blurred edges of the old arcades.
The bottom line...
Street Fighter is a phenomenal series and some fans may only know the IV and V entries on modern consoles. This is the perfect chance for fans of those new entries to go back and see where this genre shaper came from. The updated additions make for some added longevity as you move beyond the AI to take on enemies all around the world. I’m not a massive fan of remakes but this one is how you do it. You don’t need to build it from the ground up. Take what made your game a hit the first time and just bring it to a new audience. The Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection does just that and I’m excited for younger fans to get their hands on the classic. This collection is a fun romp down memory lane and completely reminded me why you could always find me at the Street Fighter booth at the arcade after school.