Review: Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection
Posted 06 Jun 2018 at 14:21 by Adam Hirst
I often get nostalgic when thinking about the Street Fighter games. Looking back at them sends me though a time warp and I can see myself through the ages, with each new iteration of the game highlighting a certain point in my life. Street Fighter II gets me thinking about playing the game in a local arcade as a kid, usually on a Saturday after a session in the swimming baths with my friends. It also reminds me of the Turbo edition that was released on the SNES. Getting the game in a special edition tin will always stick with me.
Fast forward to the Saturn and Playstation era and along came the release of the Alpha series, which to this day remains my favourite series out of all of the Street Fighter games. I used to play this a lot locally on both consoles with a friend of mine who still remains my best mate to this day. Lastly, the arrival of Street Fighter III takes me back to when I owned a Dreamcast and the joy that console brought to me with its arcade conversions. As you can see, I have certain amount of affection for the series.
Ryu has come a long way since the original arcade game.
You'll first have to decide on what mode you would like to play. Offline mode offers up things such as Arcade, Versus and Training. Local play allows you to create and join lobbies, as well as the ability to create local tournaments. Online mode lets players play ranked matches, casual matches, look at leaderboards, create lobbies or join friends. You can also select the experience level you are searching for when looking for opponents. As you can see, there are a lot of options and modes for people to play around with. However, not everything is fine and dandy with all of these modes.
Over the past few days I have tried having a few online matches and the game seems to be pretty broken a lot of the time. Lobbies have a habit of hanging, meaning you have to quit out of the game, people are quitting mid-match if they are getting beat and finally, and probably the worst problem of them all, is that the game has major netcode issues. The game is VERY laggy a lot of the time, which is baffling when you consider that Capcom have already released a Street Fighter game on the Switch which played really well online. These issues aren't exclusive to the Switch version of the game. You just have to take a look around on the internet and you can see these issues cropping up on every platform the game got released on. Capcom have a lot of patching to do in order to get this in an acceptable state.
Do I have something on my foot?
The final mode on offer is the Museum. I love this! In here you can have a look at the Street Fighter timeline, showing such things as when the games, anime and comic books were released. There is also a characters section for you to have a look through. Here you can look at your favourite characters and read their biographies or look at each of their moves that they can pull off in each of the games they have appeared in. The music section has a cracking selection of tunes to listen to. You can go through each of the games and pick which tracks you specifically would like to listen to. The final option in this mode is a Making Of section. There is an insane amount of artwork and design documents for players to look through here and it's interesting to see what the thought process was for various designs in the series.
Just one of the many amazing pieces of artwork in the museum.
Once you have decided on what mode you would like to play on it's time to select a game. On offer in this delightful bundle are 12 games to play, which include:
Street Fighter II
Street Fighter II Turbo
Street Fighter II Turbo Hyper Fighting
Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers
Super Street Fighter II Turbo
Street Fighter Alpha
Street Fighter Alpha 2
Street Fighter Alpha 3
Street Fighter III: The New Generation
Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact
Street Fighter III: Third Strike
Phew! As you can see, there's lots on offer and something for everyone to enjoy. While most will have their favourite and gravitate towards that, I would still recommend playing through each of them, especially the original game. It certainly has not stood the test of time, unlike the rest of the collection, but it's worth trying at least once just to see how the series began. It's a very different experience! It kind of makes you wonder how the series went from that to the masterpiece that is Street Fighter II.
Once the game has loaded up you will be presented with the title screen and it will then go straight into the character selection process. Pressing the + button will load up a bunch of options for you to have a play around with. You can save the game at any point and load it back up if something goes wrong. Not one for the purists but it's certainly a nice addition. You can also change the button layout on your controller or look at how to pull off certain special moves. There are also a bunch of options for how the game will be displayed. You can have it full screen, with borders or widescreen, as well as having a couple of options for filters. These options are available for every game in the collection and can be accessed in exactly the same way.
Guy putting his Final Fight experience to good use.
Gameplay wise all of the games play exactly as they should. If you have played a Street Fighter game then you will be right at home with all of these games... well, except maybe the original. With these being arcade versions of the games I found them to be a little more difficult than the home console conversions, however, you can actually tweak the difficulty settings. Before you start the game if you hit the Y button you can alter things like the game speed, difficulty and damage levels. These were quite well hidden (especially when playing in portable mode) so keep an eye out for them if you find yourself struggling.
The game has practically no loading times at all, which makes starting and continuing matches very fast. Visually the game looks fantastic on the Switch's screen. The sprite work looks amazing, especially in the later games. Street Fighter III has some fantastic animations that really pop on the console's screen. While I love Alpha 3, the lack of World Tour mode in it is a bit of a downer. It was to be expected seeing as it was a home console exclusive mode but it still would have been nice to have had it in this package. It's a mode that I spent most of my time in when playing on the console versions and I'm sad that it didn't make the cut, even though it does make sense why it didn't.
The graphics in the Alpha series have really stood the test of time.
Playing through each of these games you can see how the series has progressed over the years. More characters were introduced, gameplay styles added and graphics and animations were improved. Still, outside of the original game, there is a sense of familiarity while playing each of the games, no matter which version you're playing. If you are an expert in one of the games then chances are that a lot of your skills will transfer over into one of the other games, providing that your character is available. This sense of familiarity makes it easy to jump between games and get straight into the action, without having to re-learn everything.
The game that got every gamer hooked on the series back in the 90's.
Outside of the online problems, there are a few other issues with this package. Firstly, the game is very expensive compared to the other console versions. You will be looking to pay around an extra £10 for the Switch version of the game. Also, the other consoles got Ultra Street Fighter IV as a preorder bonus. This is something that is becoming very common amongst publishers and it's sad that Switch owners are having to put up with paying this "Switch tax".
Secondly, there is an issue with the controls on the Switch. The directional pad on the joy-con isn't the best for this game, due to it requiring exact inputs in order to pull off your attacks and special moves. I found it really tricky to pull off certain moves when I needed to. This led to a lot of frustrating moments while playing the game. I can't comment on how it works with the d-pad on the Pro Controller (apparently it's still a bit iffy) but it seems that the best way to play this would be with either the Pokken controller or with a proper arcade stick. Either one of those should lead to a more satisfying experience.
Lastly, there seems to be an issue with the audio of the game. I've been playing the game exclusively in handheld mode and the audio is very quiet, even on max output. There doesn't seem to be a way to increase the volume, which is very annoying as a lot of the stages in the games have some fantastic music in them. Obviously, you can get around this by simply plugging in a headset but that really shouldn't have to be the case.
N-Europe Final Verdict
This is a fantastic package for those who want to relive their youth or try out the series for the first time. There are some absolute classics on offer here for players to enjoy and it's a great way of celebrating a series that has shaped the genre for 30 years now. Sure, there are a few issues but, despite these, I'd still recommend picking up this collection, especially if you have a controller with a decent d-pad. The Street Fighter games are a significant series within the landscape of gaming and to have so many of them in a single package, and on a console which doubles as a portable system, is a dream come true.
Plenty of content
Amazing museum mode
Plays just as you remember it
Switch exclusive local tournament mode
Online fights suffer from a lot of lag
Fiddly controls when using the joy-con d-pad