Street Fighter is without a doubt one of the biggest fighting game franchises in history. Dating back to the late 80s with the original Street Fighter arcade game, the series took off in 1991 with the release of Street Fighter II. Since then, the series is still going strong over thirty years later with multiple iterations of the game. Over thirty years later, Capcom has released Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection which includes twelve “different” games in the series from the original Street Fighter all the way through Street Fighter III: Third Strike. The question now is if the collection is a worth celebration of thirty years of Street Fighter? Today I’m going to find out. For the record, the collection was released on the Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch, and I’ll be looking at the Nintendo Switch version.
Let’s start off with the games themselves. The collection includes the original Street Fighter, FIVE versions of Street Fighter II (original, Champion Edition, Hyper Fighting, The New Challengers, and Turbo), all three Street Fighter Alphas, and all three Street Fighter IIIs. That’s a pretty nice collection of games across the series and they all play pretty good for the most part. Thankfully the original Street Fighter has been altered to allow for multiple punch and kick buttons as opposed to the two pressure sensitive buttons of the arcade machine. For offline play, the presentation looks pretty nice as you’re give the options of Arcade and Versus as well as a Training mode, but the training mode is only available for four of the twelve games…I’ll come back to this. Arcade mode lets you go through any of the twelve games single player, but there’s a slight catch: you can’t change the difficulty. As annoying as that can be for those who want a lesser or greater challenge than the default difficulty, since these are arcade ports it makes sense. The Plus button on the controller brings up the main pause menu where you can quit the game, change a few minor options, save and load a game, etc., while the Minus button acts as the start button on an arcade machine.
However, the best part of fighting games is playing with other people, whether it’s with friends or complete strangers, either locally or online. For the most part Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection does this pretty well. Going back to Offline mode, Versus mode is where you’ll play with a friend locally on the same switch. As with Arcade mode you’ll choose a game, after which both players choose their fighter and duke it out. You can each play with a single Joy-Con, but this isn’t really the greatest option as I’ll explain in a bit. There is also the Local Play option where you can create and join lobbies with up to four Nintendo Switches. I’ll get more into the lobbies in a moment as it has probably my biggest issue with this collection (controls notwithstanding, but that’s not a fault of the game). The Nintendo Switch version of the game also allows for tournaments with up to eight players in Super Street Fighter II using four Nintendo Switches. This simulates special arcade cabinets that could be linked up together to form eight-player tournaments and after each cabinet’s match was done, the winners would be told which cabinet to move to until one person was victorious.
Online mode gives you several options of how to play, including Online Arcade, lobbies, and ranked and casual matches. However, there’s a slight catch and one of the things I have to question with this collection. Of the twelve games included, only four can be played online: Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting, Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and Street Fighter III: Third Strike. In the grand scheme of things, this makes sense; have the more definitive games in each entry of the series be available online. Plus with all five SF2s included it can get a tad monotonous if they were all online-capable. Online Arcade basically relives the experience of actually playing in the arcade. You know, where you’re playing through the single player game and some random person comes up and shoves a quarter into the machine and challenges you to a match? Here though when “a new challenger appears”, the matches are ranked. You can even determine how often someone plops that quarter into the game by having the challengers be rare, average, or frequent. Ranked and Casual matches are just that; you go in and pick which game you’d like to play, then the game will match you up with a random opponent.
Then you have the lobbies. Basically you can either join a lobby or create your own private or public lobby and you can toggle which of the four games to be included. Lobbies can have up to four players and it’s basically your typical “winner stays, loser goes to the back of the line” scenario, but here it’s a bit different. Why would you toggle the games on and off? When it’s your time to fight you’ll pick from the games the lobby creator chose when setting up the lobby and your opponent does the same. Then the game randomly choose which of those two games to play. You read that correctly; I could choose Street Fighter III: Third Strike and you could choose Super Street Fighter II Turbo. If the game then chose Turbo, I’m out of luck if I’m terrible at that game. The lobby creator can choose which games to include and when joining the lobby, you can join based on which games you like, but keep in mind that if you simply choose Third Strike when joining (toggling the other’s off), you’ll be searching for any lobby with at least Third Strike available. Likewise, choosing each game except Third Strike would list all lobbies with at least the other three games available. This is really disappointing. While you could just create a lobby with only one of the four games, there weren’t too many lobbies in the Switch version whenever I’d try to join one, and they’d usually have all four games selected.
The final thing to mention with the collection is Museum Mode, which is actually pretty awesome. You can view the entire Street Fighter history by year, check out character info for each character in the collection, listen to the extensive soundtracks for each game in the collection, as well as see some of the artwork and development info for a few of the games. While I was never big into development artwork and sketches, it’s pretty cool to be able to take a look at the original pitch for Street Fighter and the making of Street Fighter II. I’m also a fan of a lot of the soundtrack, so being able to listen to basically any track in the twelve included games is probably one of my favorite features of Museum Mode. If you’re into animation, the character history lets you view each frame of animation for the characters’ special moves from each game. You can tell that a lot of work went into Museum Mode and it shows.
With all of that said, this is still a very solid collection all things considered. Newcomers to the series (or at least the older games) will be happy to know that there is a save and load feature that you can use if you’re having trouble with the later stages in the offline arcade modes…or any stage of the original Street Fighter, but I digress. However, the Switch version has a unique issue, at least for me: the controls, specifically the Joy-Cons. As the control sticks are a bit smaller than other controllers, you have to be more precise when trying to input the motions for special moves. Being used to a standard controller, I had to adjust to make sure I don’t over shoot on my inputs and begin jumping all over the place. It’s even more interesting when you’re using a Joy-Con on its side. My recommendation for the Switch version would be to get either a pro controller or a fight stick. As for fighting online, there might be a bit of lag, which naturally depends on both player's internet connections, but for the most part I didn't experience any major issues other than a severe lack of lobbies, but due to the random game choosing mechanic, I tend to stay away from lobbies anyway.
Overall, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is a nice collection of Street Fighter’s past, from the original arcade game through Third Strike. I’m kind of surprised that we didn’t get some version of Street Fighter IV considering it was released on the 3DS, but given that we have all three Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter III games, I can’t complain too much about that. I’m not a fan of the lobby system where the game you play is randomized, and having a couple more games playable online would have been nice. There is a training mode in the offline menu, but it’s only for the four games you can play online. As a fan of the Street Fighter series though, I’ve really enjoyed my time with this collection so far and will likely continue to do so online. However, I’ll probably pick up a fight stick or a Pro Controller at some point as playing with the Joy-Cons can be a chore.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.