"Do we really need another Street Fighter compilation? Capcom certainly thinks so. After the hunk of detritus that was Capcom Fighting Evolution, you would think that we wouldn't see anymore zombified mishmashes of Street Fighter. Yet the raid in the graveyard continues. This time, we unearth the arcade brethren of the Alpha family - Alpha, Alpha 2, Alpha 2 Gold, Alpha 3 - and Super Gem Fighter. Eh, never mind that last one. Let's just slap ..."
Do we really need another Street Fighter compilation? Capcom certainly thinks so. After the hunk of detritus that was Capcom Fighting Evolution, you would think that we wouldn't see anymore zombified mishmashes of Street Fighter. Yet the raid in the graveyard continues. This time, we unearth the arcade brethren of the Alpha family - Alpha, Alpha 2, Alpha 2 Gold, Alpha 3 - and Super Gem Fighter. Eh, never mind that last one. Let's just slap Street Fighter Alpha Anthology on the cover and hope everyone is blind.
You see, there's not much to say about this tirade of resurrectum. Oh, and yes, that word was made up just to make this game seem more interesting. The gameplay is the same. The graphics are the same. The sound, the background, the characters, the Hadokens, the "Arcade, Versus, Training, Dramatic Battle, Options" mode selection, the "Ryu searches to become a true warrior" spiel, Chun-Li's legs. Same, same… same, same, same.
Besides the sake of cataloging the Alpha series, the anthology doesn't benefit from pasting these games together. You get to see the storyline (barely) progress, the character roster (slowly) fill, and the super combo gauge evolve (a tad). With the exception of Alpha 3, which blasts the super combo gauge into three types called isms while revamping the commands for everything from throws to defensive rolls, the differences between each Alpha game are faint. There is little reason to play Alpha, Alpha 2, and Alpha 2 Gold aside from nostalgia and redundancy. On the other hand, Super Gem Fighter, with its 'big head, small body' characters and outrageous plots, serves as a humorous counterpoint to the eye-squinting seriousness of the other Alpha games. Adding this "bonus" game, however, makes it seem as though the Alpha series isn't strong enough to hold its own. It practically admits that Street Fighter is in need of something new.
This, unfortunately, is what we have come to expect. Street Fighter IV isn't coming anytime soon, so we've been stuck with the same old game in different wrappers. Since we revere Street Fighter as a 2D classic, we allow these rehashes to continue, with the conviction that they are the good kind of same. Assuredly, Ryu and the whole gang still pack a wallop with high-flying moves and high-impact super arts. That, at least, has not changed. No matter which wrapper you choose, the in-your-face action delivers, as it has for years.
Nevertheless, there comes a point when worth is milked out. What's next? A Street Fighter "Vs." compilation? An anniversary of the Anniversary Collection? Sigh. Die-hard fans of Street Fighter will love Street Fighter Alpha Anthology but also lament the cash cow which the series has become. It is difficult to hear the sound of a respected series falling to the ground. A high-flying, high-impact moo.
Community review by draqq_zyxx (August 18, 2006)
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