STAFF REVIEW of Street Fighter Anniversary Collection (Xbox)

Sunday, February 27, 2005.
by Yellowlab

Street Fighter Anniversary Collection Box art Do you stay awake at night wondering who would win in a fight between Ken from Street Fighter: World Warrior and Blanka from Super Street Fighter II Turbo? If so, your prayers have been answered with Capcom?s Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, a compilation of six different versions of the \"old school\" 2D fighter that allows you to cross over characters from the various games to compete against each other.

Believe it or not, it?s been nearly 15 years since Capcom released Street Fighter II. If you are one of those gamers that played SFII on the Super Nintendo or fed quarters into the arcade machines, this trip down memory lane will be a virtual treat.

The game features five versions of the Street Fighter II series (World Warrior, Champion Edition, Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter II, and Super SFII Turbo) and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, originally released in 1999 to arcades.

While a straight up port of these games would have been great by itself, Capcom also added a few bonuses. The best addition is that both Street Fighter II and III are Xbox Live enabled allowing you to show off your skills (or lack of) in a head to head match any time of day. Capcom also included a few special features, such as the entire Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie and a video gallery of all of the SFII opening movies.

One of the better features is the ability to cross over the characters from the five Street Fighter II versions to compete against each other. For the Street Fighter II fanatic, you will have hours of fun creating matchups like the one described above.

Street Fighter III is an overlooked gem that holds up surprisingly well today. It?s still fun, fluid, and looks pretty good for a six year old game. Gamers who like the Street Fighter II series, but never played Street Fighter III should definitely check it out. The animation is very detailed, and the gameplay is extremely tight, which is to be expected from a Capcom 2D brawler. Most of your favorite \"classic\" SFII characters are missing, with only Ken, Ryu, Chun-Li, and Akuma returning on this sequel, but the new characters keep the game fresh and new. The addition of this arcade-perfect port is a very nice bonus.

The game plays beautifully on Xbox Live for both Street Fighter II:AC and III. Gameplay was smooth with no lag, and is arguably the most fluid online fighter to date. The only downside is that there is no penalty for dropping matches, resulting in a few dishonest gamers who drop a game as opposed to taking the loss.

While everything plays as it should, it should be noted that the Xbox controller is downright awful for this game. The default settings use the black and white buttons for the hardest punches and kicks, which is awkward. You can remap most of the buttons, but for some bizarre reason, you do not have the option to remap the shoulder buttons. It would have been helpful to map all three punches, and all three kicks to the shoulder buttons?since attempting to pull off the highest level of super moves is difficult with the default setup. The Xbox controller is downright painful to use for extended periods of time. Even though I had spent hundreds of hours on the SNES and arcade versions, I had never experienced the hand cramping pain that was induced by the awkward Xbox D-pad?particularly with the \"charge\" characters, like Guile, Vega, Dee-Jay, Blanka, etc. (Heck, even the 3DO controller was less painful). Oh yeah... good luck if you like Zangief or T. Hawk, too as pulling off 360 degree motions with any consistency is very difficult! If you are serious about this game, invest in an arcade-style joystick.

Street Fighter The Anniversary Collection was clearly made with multiplayer in mind. You should have countless hours of fun in head to head mode or on Xbox Live. If you?re looking for a terrific single player game, you will not find it here. One problem in the single player mode is the difficulty level, which is not consistent with previous versions. Beginners will struggle to make it past the first 3 or 4 fighters even on the easiest setting. Another problem is that the Super Street Fighter II Turbo single player mode is the only SFII version available to play. So, if you select SFII:WW Dhalsim, you?ll have to battle the much better SSFIIT opponents, making it extremely hard to clear on any difficulty setting. It is confusing as to why Capcom would not include each individual single player game in its standalone state. I would have even been satisfied with a random single-player matchup, where you have a chance to go against Bison from SFII: Turbo, or maybe Sagat from SFII: Championship Edition on your way to the top. To have every matchup against a SSFII:Turbo opponent in the single player game makes this a glorified version of the 3DO port.

Visually, Street Fighter Anniversary Collection is recreated faithfully. The old graphics are here in their original splendor. So, if you?re looking for jaw droppingly beautiful animations and environments you would be better off with the Dead or Alive Ultimate game. However, the visuals do exactly what you?d expect them to. It is worth noting that the bonus movie of Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie is not DVD quality?and, they took out most of Chun-Li?s shower scene. Sorry, fanboys! Other than that, this game delivers what you?d expect?arcade perfect graphics.

I experienced several problems with the sound when playing the Street Fighter II versions. Frequently the background music would get stuck on a note, or completely disappear for long periods of time. Street Fighter III ran smoothly, and I did not experience the same problem with that portion.

When the sound was functioning properly, it was a perfect recreation of each theme. The music, sound effects, and character voices are all here in their original form. As with the visuals, the sound is not state of the art, but does exactly what you would expect.

While this is a terrific game for fans of the series, I feel that there is one glaring omission: where is the original Street Fighter game? The rare game that started the series off, and hasn?t been ported to any major console (if my memory serves correctly, it was only on the Turbo-Graphix, and under a different name), would have been a great addition to this collection. As it is, SFII: AC is very good, but could have been a much better, more complete experience.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.4 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10


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