Sagat is a mother fucking punk ass bitch!!… There, now that I have that out of my system, let’s talk about the crown jewel of the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary celebration; the collection of just about every Street Fighter game made since the series made its debut. From the original Street Fighter through all the end of the main arcade versions of Street Fighter III. So how do these games hold up as ports to modern consoles where people are playing Street Fighter V? Let’s take a look…
Name: Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection
Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4 (Reviewed) & Nintendo Switch
Developer(s): Digital Eclipse
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Price: US$39.99 / AU$79.95
Mode(s): Single Player & Online Multiplayer
Gameplay wise, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection gives us exactly what it promises on the box: A 1-1 recreation of the arcade classics on the home consoles (or PC). You control one select-able fighter from a roster of anywhere from one character (Street Fighter) to 30+ (Street Fighter Alpha 3) and slug it out against computer controlled characters till you beat the big bad boss characters and get some sort of ending scene for your troubles. Each fight is fought in a best 2 out of 3 formats with a winner being declared for the round when their opponent’s life meter is reduced to zero. These fights consist of 6 buttons, 3 for each level (light, medium & heavy) of punch or kick you want to use. You can also use a combination of the control movement and a button press to pull off unique special moves for each fighter that do a little extra damage and gives each fighter a different flavor when using them. Of course, most of you would already know this since Street Fighter has been around for 30 years and has set the basics that all fighting games abide by since day one.
When it comes to this collection, you will notice a lot of difference from one version of Street Fighter to the next. The original Street Fighter plays like ass, with Ryu being the only character that you use in the game. Trying to pull off the special moves is like pulling teeth. However the computer will spam these moves with wild abandon; and with these moves taking anywhere up to 75% of your life bar in one hit, you’ll get frustrated very quickly with the OG of fighting games. But things do get somewhat better as you progress through the different versions of the games. During the Street Fighter II era of games (World Warrior, Championship Edition, Hyper Fighting, Super, and Super Turbo) you get the more familiar controls and play style that launched the game into being the classic that it is; even if they are using one of the lowest versions of each game. The Alpha era and the Street Fighter III era of games are perfection… kinda.
If there is anything that that really annoyed me about playing these Street Fighter games it’s that as someone who has been playing for 30 years, I know there are better versions and updates to these games that should have been used in this collection. In Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, each arcade port is done using the USA version 1.0 ROM of each game. This means that you get the main version that you saw in arcades back in the day, but there were later revisions that helped with balancing of characters or even added more characters to the roster in the case of the Alpha era games; or having later Remixes that are far superior (Super Street Fighter II HD Remix should replace Super Street Fighter II Turbo). This is where I think CAPCOM went wrong. Instead of giving us the best of each game, we got the bare basics because effort doesn’t seem to be a thing here.
One other thing from a technical standpoint is the lack of Legacy (PS3/360 era) support for arcade sticks. As someone who doesn’t have AU$250 to AU$400 for a new PS4 era arcade stick, it would have been worth coding in support for these older sticks since these were the ones that were used back in the original arcade era. Not having this really just annoys me personally as it means I need to spend more money to recreate the arcade feel. Hell, even Street Fighter V added in support for these sticks, so why not this game?
Graphically, you get exactly what you would expect. Each game is presented in the original 4:3 aspect ratio (or the old Square TV style) and has either the original border or a new border if the arcade version didn’t have one; or turn the thing off if you don’t want it. You do get the option to change the zoom on the screen so that it zooms in so the square is in the center of the screen or stretch things even closer so it takes up most of the screen. You also get filters too, so you can recreate the scan lines of a CRT TV or an arcade monitor or just not have them at all.
I know some people would have loved to have a graphical update or something to the graphics, as a lot of the games, even Street Fighter III which was highly detailed, looks extremely dated compared to other revisions (Hello again Super Street Fighter II HD Remix), but since this is meant to be a celebration of the arcade era of Street Fighter, this is what you get and for someone like me who was there “back in the day” I don’t mind at all.
Thankfully, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection has recreated all the original sounds from each game. Every theme comes through crisp enough for the 2.0 sound that it was back in the day. Each sound effect sounds exactly like it did back in the day too, and it’s amusing to get the weirdly muffled “Such strength. But remember there are guys just like you all over the world” from each defeated opponent in Street Fighter is amusing enough for a while, but I do wish we at least got that one re-recorded. As an added bonus, if you just want to chill and listen to the background tracks from each game, you can do just that and if you listen closely enough you will notice the evolution in the soundtrack over the years.
One of the drawing points for me with Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection was the extra content that was promoted. You get a kinda full timeline of the Street Fighter series complete with a bunch of promotional material, character sketches and artwork that would be great to sit down and data mine into png and jpg files for archive use. You also get the soundtrack listing for each game too, giving you a chance to sit back and listen to your favorite themes over and over again. Finally for the image content, you get a chance to take a look at scans of the original design briefs that were used to pitch Street Fighter, Street Fighter 2, Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter III to CAPCOM which contain looks at some characters who never made the cut and others who did but looked extremely different from their final versions. The last thing to look into in terms of extras if the character biographies, since this section contains frame breakdowns of each characters main moves as well as their stories and other information.
If there is anything that annoys me about these extras is that there is a LOT missing from the archives. Things ignored by CAPCOM are the Street Fighter EX series, the very popular crossovers with MARVEL and BANDAI NAMCO, and a few other things that escape my mind at this time. It’s a shame that in a section that is meant to show the complete history of Street Fighter and it’s popularity, CAPCOM decides to play revisionist history with the series and excludes some damn good games. Also, the lack of video content with anything from documentary-style segments, interviews or anything else (I would have loved to have an uncensored version of the Street Fighter II Animated Movie included or some of the Udon motion comics included in here) to add to the actual celebration of the series would be nice.
Overall, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection gives you what was promised: A recreation of the arcades in your own home. Each version of Street Fighter represented here is not perfect, nor the best version of the game that is available, but you do get the top emulation of the arcade ROM that is legally available. While it is a shame that this doesn’t have everything it could have, it gives you what was promised and that’s enough I guess. I think that this game was done at the 11th hour when someone mentioned that it was the 30th Anniversary of Street Fighter in a board meeting; with all the effort sent to someone else so that CAPCOM themselves could do more with Street Fighter V.
Recommendation wise, I would only recommend this for people who have either never played these games before, or the ultra hardcore fans of the series. Casual fans are going to feel ripped off since the games could have been better and are a lot harder than they might know. However, the PC crowd needs to get this just to data mine the archive content and probably for a better net code connection.
Classic but missing greatness
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is exactly what was promised: A celebration of the arcade culture that made Street Fighter great. However, there feels like there was a lock of effort put forth in the selection of the version of each game placed in the collection. Going with the base bones versions when people know there are much better versions out there to play just isn’t good enough for the hardcore fans who will buy this game on day one.
- Perfect 1-1 recreation of the arcade ROMS
- Timeline allows a lot of nostalgia and information about the series
- Makes you feel like you are in the arcade
- Much better versions of the games exist that were not included
- Could have used a few extra games (Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix, Puzzle Fighter, VS Series, etc) to make it complete
- Timeline plays revisionist history with the series
- Needs more, or any, video content celebrating the series
- Needs Legacy (PS3/360 era) arcade stick support