Friday, 10 September 2004

Archive Review: Street Fighter Anniversary Collection

(Ps2 review)

Beaten up in the street.

In anticipation for a game I have been waiting for for quite some time now, Fable for the Xbox, I have been doing some strange things. I have even gone as far as buying a Street Fighter game, the newest in the series, Street Fighter Anniversary Collection. From a games series that is now fifteen years old and one that consists of around ninety titles I couldn't help but feel some déjà vu here. I have always loved the series, hence trying this out, but was quite amazed at quite how indifferent it was to the rest. It felt identical to other Street Fighter games... I'd been duped!

Unfortunately I am of the belief that Capcom are aiming to use E. Honda's one thousand hand slap combo as a sign of how many Street Fighter titles will come out. This game is so alike to other more recent Street Fighter games that you feel like it is the same game. The Anniversary Collection includes two main gameplay modes: Hyper Street Fighter II (a blend of Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II Championship Edition, Street Fighter II Turbo, Super Street Fighter II, and Super Street Fighter II Turbo) and a port of Street Fighter III: Third Strike, which appeared back in 1999 on the Dreamcast.

You see I've done the dragon punch one too many times now. I've had my time sonic booming with jab, flashkick combos as Guile. Enough! Or is it enough? Well it sure was for me but Capcom aint silly. They know that gamers will still continue picking up Street Fighter games, hence this title.

Hyper Street Fighter II mode is weak and lacking. There is no kooky plot to explain the fusion of the five games, and the menus and intros are the definition of budget. Once you begin a game and enter the Character Select screen, you are asked to choose from one of the five game types. You’ll then be able to choose from any character in that particular game, which means two players can fight as two characters from two totally different Street Fighters.

While it kind of makes sense to include both Championship Edition and Turbo due to the old Genesis (Mega-Drive)/SNES rivalry, only the biggest uber nerds could take a Pepsi challenge with these two games and not fail miserably, because they’re basically identical. The same goes for Super SF II and Super SF II Turbo. For practical purposes, these five games wind up feeling like three.This is a shame, because matching up Street Fighter characters from various titles is an interesting concept that seems to build on the idea introduced in the Vs. titles. I mean, how cool would it be to own someone playing Strider from Marvel Vs. Capcom with the original Ken? Instead, you get to kick T. Hawk’s ass with Blanka, or destroy everybody with the ultra-cheap Cammy.

However, there are some interesting balance issues to take into account as the effectiveness of various moves wax and wane in different games. For example, in the original Street Fighter II, Blanka’s jumping fierce is pretty unstoppable, whereas in Super Street Fighter II Turbo it’s been toned down considerably.These factors especially come into play during matches against the CPU. Although the AI is extremely cunning in Hyper Street Fighter II, the weird balancing issues present the player with a ton of options. Super Street Fighter II Turbo’s Bison can do nothing against the original Blanka, even though he’s lethal against any other Super Street Fighter II Turbo character. As a result, if you switch up characters and play modes, you’ll occasionally be able to find a combination that is unstoppable against your current opponent.

What you will find in terms of this games countless other reviews is nothing but excellent scores. Why this is the case is something I have my own theory on. People are generally still digging the Street Fighter gameplay. My point is why do you need to buy yet another title to play a Street Fighter game? Stick with the ones you already have! This game is too alike to be worth the full price of a new game.

The other half of the Collection comes in the form of the 3rd Strike edition of Street Fighter III, and while hardcore SF tournament players will likely debate which is better until the end of time, 3rd Strike has arrived here on the PS2 in 99.999% arcade perfect form, meaning all the skills learned in the arcade won't go to waste when you finally give it a go at home. 3rd Strike's addition of Chun-Li (who most complain is ridiculously unbalanced) and Twelve (who some complain is largely pointless) means you're getting the latest version of the game with some fancy characters, but purists may balk at the choice. Either way, it's about as close as you're going to get to the arcade short of buying a cabinet and a 3rd Strike board.

If you dig around the Options menu, you’ll find the full Street Fighter 2 animated movie. And then you’ll change the difficulty level and leave the Options menu, because you saw the animated movie ten years ago, and it was lame. And no, you can’t play this game online.

Neither Hyper Street Fighter II nor Street Fighter III: Third Strike does anything remotely interesting graphically; unsurprising when you consider that these games have barely grown at all visually in fifteen years. Third Strike is the best looking Street Fighter game to come out in the last four years, but only because the Capcom vs SNK games have had terrible character models. In terms of sound Street Fighter Anniversary Collection does the job but Hyper Street Fighter II has pretty bad music.

The game lacks any really cool extras and the lack of the Alpha series here makes it seem like somewhat of an unfinished collection. I can't help but feel like Capcom dropped the ball a bit on this. It's not a complete disappointment by any stretch, but with so many fervent Street Fighter fans out there, why not really pay their addictions the kind of tribute it deserves? I guess we'll have to wait another five years to see if they're ready to really cash in on our nostalgia, but let's hope by then it won't be too late to regain that same sense of excitement this collection had me feeling as I tore into the shrink-wrap. Not bad, just too much of the same old thing. This is Capcom's most disappointing offering to the fighting game genre since 1997’s dismal Street Fighter Collection. The gameplay mechanics might be fine, but there’s simply not enough here. How about more rare titles like the Street Fighter: The Movie coin-op? I just would have liked more here, in fact much more.


+ Steet Fighter!

+ An SF Collection!

- Street Fighter?

- Not many extras

- Feels old, very old

- Balance issues



by Mojo Jojo 2004

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