The games included in this collection have aged incredibly well and should still be considered two of the best 2D fighting games ever released.
1991 saw the release of Street Fighter II, one of the greatest video games of all time. The game became an instant success and an immediate classic as it was innovative and had an incredible amount of depth. The arcades were never the same after Street Fighter II came out, and it was awarded with three World Guinness Records including “Biggest-Selling Coin-Operated Fighting Game.” Street Fighter II was so influential that it received many conversions and upgrades over the years, which added new characters and moves. Fortunately, its timeless and amazing gameplay remained untouched, so even when there were new inclusions the core experience of the game was the same in all versions. Thanks to Capcom you can play all of these versions of Street Fighter II along with Street Fighter III: Third Strike in one bundle.
As most old fighting games these two have aged remarkably well, though Street Fighter III stands out as one of the best 2D fighting game ever released for the PlayStation 2. This collection includes Street Fighter II and III, a gallery mode that lets you sample some scenes and music taken from different iterations of the series and the English-dubbed, censored version of the anime film “Street Fighter: The Animated Movie”. The inclusion of the film is great, except for the bad dubbing and censoring.
For some unknown reason the original Street Fighter was not featured in the collection, and even though the game isn’t great it would have been a nice addition as it represents the origins of the series. Also, none of the games from Alpha series were included, nor the original and second upgrades of Street Fighter III. Fortunately, Third Impact is probably the best of the three versions, so the absence of the other two isn’t really that noticeable.
When you first start Street Fighter Anniversary Collection it lets you choose between Street Fighter III: Third Strike and Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition. The latter was previously available only in Japan and it’s a combination of Street Fighter II: Champion Edition (1991), Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting (1992), Super Street Fighter II (1993) and Super Street Fighter II: Turbo (1994). This version also lets you play as one of 17 different characters to fight in practice mode, versus mode and arcade mode. Several difficulty settings can be chosen and this comes particularly handy as the artificial intelligence is not only challenging but obscenely hard. Street Fighter II can be really fun when played against a friend that has similar skills to yours.
Fans of the series probably know the difference between each version of the game, but it basically comes down to the balance between each character, so none has a clear advantage over the rest. You’re allowed to make some choices before each fight, these not only affect the moves your character will perform but also his/her portrait or even the voice and sound effects. Hyper Street Fighter II: The Anniversary Edition is a superb version, it plays well and it’s as deep and complex as it ever was. The controls are really precise and playing it with the DualShock 2 controller is a blast. Probably hardcore fans will disagree with this opinion as this version is not the original game. But the problem is that Street Fighter II had many glitches that were later on fixed with subsequent upgrades. Another positive aspect of this version is that it lets you choose one of three soundtracks. Again, if you’re a fan you’ll find many things to complain about, but at the same time this is an excellent version.
Street Fighter III: Third Strike was also included and it received a better treatment. This game translates incredibly well to the PlayStation 2, as it has great controls, fast-paced gameplay, fluid animations and a very good soundtrack. There are only a few loading times and those aren’t even that noticeable. When Street Fighter III was released for the Sega Dreamcast it received underwhelming reviews, even when it was one the best 2D fighting games ever created. But most people didn’t like the omission of some of the signature characters of the series, so when Third Strike appeared Chun Li, Makoto, Q, Remy and Twelve were added to the roster of fighters. Third Strike has a striking presentation, it runs very smoothly and the hand-drawn characters blend in perfectly well with the backgrounds.
Additionally, some new abilities were included. The most important is called parry and it lets you not only repel an opponent’s blow, but it also gives you enough time to counterattack. This can be accomplished by tapping the D-pad to the right direction when an opponent attacks you, so this is a way to rewards skilled players that have a very good timing. Additionally, there are “super art” techniques that you can choose before the first fight and are specially thought to balance out the game.
In conclusion, if you’ve never played a 2D fighting game before trying out this collection would be a great idea. Not only can you play Street Fighter III: Third Strike, but you also get the chance to play Street Fighter II even if it’s not the most polished or precise version of the game. If you’re a fan of fighting games though, this would be one of the nicest additions to your collection.