A Fighter's History.
The Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection does a lot to celebrate 30 years of the series' focus on one-on-one fighting action. While Capcom has released other fighting game collections in the past, such as Street Fighter Anniversary Collection and Street Fighter Alpha Anthology, the 30th Anniversary Collection is by far the most robust compilation package ever released for the series. We recently had the chance to check out the upcoming collection ahead of its May release to all of its offerings. In addition to getting hands-on with the Nintendo Switch-exclusive Tournament Mode, we dived a bit further into the collection, and got to see just what makes this particular package so special.
The clear focus in the collection is highlighting the many major milestones of the 2D era. Featuring 12 of Street Fighter's greatest hits, the package includes the original Street Fighter, Street Fighter Alpha 1-3, Street Fighter II, Super Street Fighter II: Turbo, all three versions of Street Fighter III (SFIII, 2nd Impact, and 3rd Strike), and much more. As direct ports of the arcade releases, each game retains much of what hardcore fans can expect from the original games as they were in their traditional arcade cabinets.
Speaking of which, the collection also features a selection of filters and options for how you wish to view each game. Along with the old-fashioned normal mode, you can switch over to arcade and TV filters that show CRT-style scanlines and television tube-like curvature to each game, giving a more retro feel. A significant feature added to several of the games is the inclusion of online play for SFII Turbo: Hyper Fighting, Super Turbo, Alpha 3, and Street Fighter III 3rd Strike. With ranked matching and casual play supporting up to four players, you'll be able to dive into online matches against other hardcore SF fans. Unfortunately, only these select titles are online-enabled. According to the developers, they focused on offering online play for the most popular entries in the series, instead of having empty online lobbies for the least active games in the package.
The 30th Anniversary collection will also come to the Nintendo Switch--which will have a console-exclusive mode. Called the Tournament Mode, up to 8 players (across four different Switch consoles connected locally) will be able to compete against one another in Super Street Fighter II Tournament Edition as they fight their way up the ladder. During our session, we started off by picking one character and competed against the opposing player. After one round, the match finish screen instructs each player to move over to a new spot on the connected Switch units, bringing their chosen fighter and current progress with them. It sort of felt like a game of musical chairs, except with quick matches of Street Fighter. Though it felt a bit gimmicky, it's a neat feature for the Switch, and it could be a neat diversion when you have some friends around and some time to kill.
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Along with the suite of games, the Anniversary Collection also comes with a special Museum Mode detailing the history and lore of the Street Fighter series. With a viewable Street Fighter Timeline, you can examine entries for each Street Fighter game along with factoids about their respective ports and the resulting impact for the franchise. Moreover, the timeline also details proposed side-games, such as how Street Fighter '89 eventually became Final Fight, along with some developer notes and art about each major milestone in the series. The bonus mode also features detailed information about each member of the roster, along with an incredibly detailed sprite viewer where you can inspect each character's individual animations for various moves across multiple games. Seeing the difference in detail between Chun-li's Hurricane Kick from the original Street Fighter II to 3rd Strike shows how much the series has improved over the years, giving some added respect for the craft that went into each title.
It was fun going through each game and checking out what they had to offer in today's age. Each entry is represented well, even featuring detailed facts about their development along with a showing of each game's arcade specific attract mode during your pre-game selection. Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection looks to be the most ambitious compilation the series has seen yet, and a surprisingly educational one as well. The series has been through a lot over the years, and seeing the essential games on display in all their glory offers some neat perspective on how much the series has held up over time, and how it still remains one of the most respected franchises out there.