"After months of painful delays, Street Fighter Anniversary Collection finally arrived on the Xbox, and while it isn't perfect, itís a welcome addition to my gaming library. This amalgamation of the Street Fighter II-series games (World Warriors, Champion Edition, Turbo [Special Champion Edition on the Genesis], Super, and Super Turbo) in the form of Street Fighter II Hyper, combined with the final installment of the Street Fighter III series (Third Strike) crams a lot of fighting onto one disc,..."
After months of painful delays, Street Fighter Anniversary Collection finally arrived on the Xbox, and while it isn't perfect, itís a welcome addition to my gaming library. This amalgamation of the Street Fighter II-series games (World Warriors, Champion Edition, Turbo [Special Champion Edition on the Genesis], Super, and Super Turbo) in the form of Street Fighter II Hyper, combined with the final installment of the Street Fighter III series (Third Strike) crams a lot of fighting onto one disc, and it does it well.
The most notable inclusion for SFAC (and the main reason that many, myself included, were willing to wait for the Xbox version) is online play for both SF II Hyper and Third Strike, and while it isnít done perfectly, it gets the job done. Capcom made some small mistakes that hamper things, like not showing which of the two available games your friends are playing, making friend invites a bit more cumbersome than they need to be.
For example, the ďselect gameĒ option could have remedied this to some degree by allowing you to swap back and forth between Hyper and Third Strike to catch folks in a game if they werenít playing the same one as you. But this option doesnít work as it should, since it doesnít send you straight to the game selection screen, but forces you to sit through every pre-game disclaimer screen before taking you to the proper screen, making the entire process much slower than it needs to be, and leads to missed matches between friends. Thankfully, there isnít much lag to be found within the games during Live play. Hyper is usually lag-free, and Third Strike fares about as well, although there can be some odd lag during intros. Given how animation-heavy TS is, Iím surprised there are so few hiccups with its Live play. Iím thankful that Live play was put into this version of SFAC, as itís as close as weíre going to get to seeing an SF arcade revival anytime soon.
Iím even more thankful at the many dream matches you can create in Hyper. Itís the ultimate answer to the many ďWhat ifÖĒ questions posed by SF fans; things like ďWhat would happen if SF II Ken fought Turbo Ryu?Ē, and so on and so forth. I canít help but think that this aspect of Hyper wasnít taken as far as it could have been. It is nice to have these character vs. character dream matches, but if I want to choose which stage they fight in, Iím out of luck. It would have also been nice to choose which art style is used for the pre and post-match screens. It just seems a bit limiting to force players into the Super Turbo art style (and Super Turbo opponents in the one player mode), although the game-specific character face shots before and during matches are a nice touch. It also wouldnít have hurt if some of Hyperís customization went into Third Strike as well, which would have allowed SF III newbies like myself to experience more of the SF III series, rather than ďjustĒ Third Strike. Aside from these small and miscellaneous issues, Iím rather pleased with SFAC.
There are some slight issues though have cropped up outside of Capcomís control, however. The controls are certainly harmed due to the S pad, since the D-pad just doesnít allow for swift enough movements, and the left thumbstick is a bit too sensitive for the more complex commands needed to reliably use super moves in either game. The Saturn pad-esque Nuby pads made specifically for this game could remedy this issue, but they were delayed over a month past the gameís release, leaving many who intended to buy one along with the game stuck (for lack of a better term) with the S pad. The lack of four symmetrical face buttons hurts things as well, although the white and black buttons certainly do get the job done in a pinch, the L and R buttons donít work well at all. The silver lining in all of this is that everything is done as well as the S pad allows, which means that Nubyís controller should work flawlessly for SFAC, just so long as it lives up to its potential.
In a nutshell, the A/V is spot-on. The SF II games all look and sound like they should, while Third Strike just dazzled me when I first saw it. The animation is some of the smoothest Iíve ever seen in a fighting game, which is even more impressive when you consider that the initial SF III is nearing a decade old. Capcom built those sprites to last with that series, and this collection gave them a perfect showcase for recycled SF II sprites. The audio is completely accurate to the games, which means youíll be getting feminine voices for Guile and the announcers in the Super games, and cringe-inducing sound effects (in a good way) for the first three SF IIs. A lot of care was taken with these areas in this collection, and I appreciate it. They went above and beyond the call of duty by including the varying profile shots from each game, and incorporating them into the fights by placing them near the life bars, which also reinforces the dream match aspect of SFAC.
Conclusively, Street Fighter Anniversary Collection is a dream come true for fighting game fans. If you were raised on this series, youíll be in Heaven, as pretty much anything you could ever want is here, and done well. Outside of the great work done at keeping the games as true to their roots as possible, the SF II movie being thrown in was a nice touch (although it would be nice to fast forward and rewind through it), and the gallery mode (allowing you to view the intros to every SF II game) takes you down memory lane. The inclusion of Third Strike to the mix certainly solidifies this being a fantastic purchase, since the DC version of that still goes for $30, and with this, youíre getting a direct arcade port of it, with online play. No matter how you look at this collection (as Third Strike with a slew of extras, or as the definitive SF II experience with Third Strike thrown in), youíre getting a lot for your money.
Community review by jpeeples (March 24, 2005)
Jeremy Peeples has been writing about games since 2000. GameFAQs was his first stop, and that led to a writing gig on Game2Extreme, then VGPub. In 2005, he was brought aboard Hardcore Gamer Magazine, and has been a regular Youtuber since 2006.
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