The Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is another example of Digital Eclipse going above and beyond to properly port and pay tribute to a bounty of classic Capcom games. This anthology includes 12 Street Fighter arcade ports in all, and four of the best have been updated for online play. You can also find plenty of insightful history to unpack outside of combat. From soundtracks to sprite animation breakdowns, to high-res design documents for classic and cancelled games alike, there's a wealth of high-quality reference material to round out the robust selection of games.
All told, the 30th Anniversary Collection includes the original Street Fighter, five versions of Street Fighter II, three iterations of Street Fighter III, and the Street Fighter Alpha, Alpha 2, and Alpha 3. It's great to have all of these seemingly arcade-perfect ports in one place today, and with any luck, for many generations to come. Eagle-eyed aficionados will note the absence of Alpha 2 Gold and Alpha 3 Upper, both of which were available in 2006's Street Fighter Alpha Anthology on PS2, but their omission is far from a deal-breaker.
Likewise, while it may be momentarily disappointing that your favorite console ports are missing (understandable given the lofty scope of emulating multiple consoles) what is here plays wonderfully. If you already love these games, no matter how you played them in the past, the 30th Anniversary Collection will deliver a great experience. In some cases, you may just be looking for a quick trip down memory lane, because let's be honest, the original Street Fighter isn't great by modern standards; it is nonetheless awesome to see it preserved so well and be so easily accessible.
The enduring qualities of the collection's more notable games remain as strong as ever. Capcom's prowess for making exciting and attractive 2D fighting games was almost unparalleled during the '90s, and thus a game like Street Fighter III feels only marginally retro 19 years after the fact. In a similar fashion, Street Fighter Alpha 3's roster variety and variable fighting mechanics make it a fan-favorite to this day for reasons all its own. Does every version of Street Fighter II feel worth playing? Maybe not in isolation, but the evolution of that game in particular meant a lot to the community that grew up around it, and its prominent share of the games list helps tell the complete story of an important chapter in video game history.
Street Fighter's popularity rose out of tense face-to-face arcade bouts, and every game in this collection was released before the popularization of online battles. Over the years, however, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike would wind up on various connected platforms. Those same games makeup the selection of online-enabled games here, and they exist under a single roof (one lobby can support fight requests for all of the available games at once.) Digital Eclipse has implemented a customizable framework that allows you to dial-in settings tied to input latency, giving you a small but meaningful advantage in the battle against poor network connections.
Just as the 30th Anniversary Collection breathes new life into classic games, its supplemental material helps you appreciate them in all new ways. There's an interactive timeline that chronicles 30 years of milestone and obscure events alike, often with breakout galleries accompanying the release dates of the biggest games. Each of the collection's 48 relevant characters has a dedicated profile with an interactive sprite gallery that lets you manually scrub through their most iconic attacks from each game, frame by frame. Perhaps most valuable of all, it's awesome to have complete soundtracks for each included game. There's a notable lack of video content given what was included in the 25th Anniversary Collection, but Capcom has otherwise given Digital Eclipse a ton of great and never-before-seen content to work with.
That's more or less the story of the 30th Anniversary Collection. It won't satisfy every specific demand, but it's still a big collection of awesome games and behind-the-scenes content that no Street Fighter fan should miss. Street Fighter is a series worth celebrating and Digital Eclipse has managed to do so in a manner that feels respectful to the series and to the people who keep the spirit of arcade battles alive.