Chances are even Capcom themselves would admit the first Street Fighter was downright terrible. An exercise in sheer frustration, it suffered from jerky animation, unreliable controls, and botched mechanics. Special moves, which rarely worked, could remove 70% of an opponent’s health in one swoop, making the regular kicks and punches almost redundant.
It’s a series low point, yet one that still made the cut on this compilation simply for the sake of comprehensiveness. After all, there’s no better place to start a trip down memory lane than with the game that kickstarted a ‘90s phenomenon.
Rather than include one entry from each title in Street Fighter’s long-running history, this collection gives the chance to take in the evolution of Street Fighter’s first decade, step by step.
Twelve arcade conversions feature, including all five iterations of Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (1991), Champion Edition (1992), Hyper Fighting (1992), Super Street Fighter II (1993), and Super Street Fighter II Turbo (1994).
The jump between Hyper Fighting and Super Street Fighter II was pretty significant, with dozens of notable changes thanks to new hardware and the beginnings of the Super Combo system. However, outside of playable bosses and turbo speed settings, the differences between the first three SFII outings are negligible. Improved artwork, a few nips and tucks, and that’s about it. Still, it’s interesting to observe the changes made from one version to the next, no matter how minor.
Many expected Capcom to jump straight into Street Fighter III a year later – because that’s how sequels work, right? – but no, instead came the Alpha series. 1995’s Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors’ Dreams – which also saw the series jump from SNES and Mega Drive to PSone and Saturn, the obscure SNES conversion of Alpha 2 notwithstanding – expanded on the Super Combo system for a deeper, more technical, experience.
Each entry in the Alpha series feels more substantial than the last; they’re far from being mere yearly updates. In fact, two whole years passed between Alpha 2 and Alpha 3. Those years were well spent – Alpha 3 was an absolute belter and an undeniable highlight here.
The three-level Super Combo gauge really added a new layer of depth, and visually it nailed the anime-style Capcom was aiming for back in the original Alpha. The only downer is because this collection only features arcade renditions, the extras from the home versions are missing.