Friday, July 25, 2014

Review #131 : Street Fighter - Anniversary Collection

 Now with double the amount of Shoryukens.
 Street Fighter 2 was the game that initiated the Fighting Game craze of the nineties. Street Fighter 3 is, sadly, a cult hit, but those who know it know the amount of depth that game has. So for Street Fighter's 15th anniversary Capcom decided to bundle both games and release them back in the PS2/Xbox era and this is what we got.

 It had been a while since I last played Street Fighter 2, but as soon as I turned it on, my god, it all came back, all the nostalgia surrounding that game. Street Fighter 2 is a timeless classic that has aged very little, and this iteration of the game is probably my favorite, when it comes to playing with other people anyways. This game contains the "Hyper Street Fighter 2" edition of the game, basically, a Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo tweaked to allow you to pick any available iteration of each character. Want to pit vanilla SF 2 Ryu, before he got any command moves or the super meter, against Super Turbo's Akuma? You can do it. Casuals won't see much differences between iterations, but not only is it fun to pick from any version of the character, it also allows you to see just how much the character evolved with each iteration, just look at how the 4 original bosses had a ton of recycled animations, but by Super Turbo their crouching normals got changed.
 The one aspect of the game that has seen better days is the graphics department. Characters sprites are ugly, when compared to other copycats of the era, the animation and sprites are gorgeous, but by today standards they are a bit on the ugly side. Luckily the gameplay still cements it as one of the best, that hasn't changed. On the other hand, the soundtrack in this game is glorious, almost every tune in the game could be considered a classic on its own. The bonus games(Destroying a car, destroying a pile of bricks, etc) are gone, while on a nostalgic level I kinda lament it, I would've probably turned them off after playing them once, so it's not too bad. Lastly, the game has barely any loading times, although for some reason, when switching menus it takes quite a while to load, but once the arcade ladder or versus'ing gets going, the loading times are gone.

 While the game is still a real masterpiece, there are a few nitpicks to be had. For instance, the AI is brutal, it can be challenging even at its easiest difficulty. You don't play the CPU to learn the basics of your character, no, you play the CPU to outcheese it. Now, couple this with the lack of modes(Arcade, Versus and Training mode) and you'll realize that if you meant to play by yourself... you are not gonna have much fun. Fighting games are meant to be played with other players, and it's especially true in this case. There's also not a lot of extras, it's nice that we get a gallery with the openings for all Street Fighter 2's editions... but why can't we get a gallery for the unlocked endings? Ah well...
 As for Street Fighter 3, the game packs the "Third Strike" version of the game, the last one and, arguably, the best one. It would've been nice to get the other 2(Especially since they have different backgrounds, different balancing, leap attacks were performed differently and Yang was a Yun clone in vanilla SF3!), but you'd probably forget about them pretty fast. What can I say about Street Fighter III? It's one of the deepest fighting games ever created, and a personal favorite, that never gets old. There's a lot of strategy in its mechanics, from the amazing parry(After I first learned of it, back in the day, I started wishing other games would implement it as well!), the fact that the Super Move you choose affects the amount of meter you get(Both in size and amount of bars) which forces you to consider how will you use the EX moves... It's an amazing game that sadly never got as renowned as it deserved to due to many characters being "weird" or new, gamers don't usually like new things sadly.

 The game is almost opposite of SF II when it comes to presentation, the graphics in this game are glorious(Like SF II's soundtrack), with smooth and detailed animation few 2D games can match. Music on the other hand isn't as good as SF II. It's not bad by any means, it simply is... a bit forgettable, and coming right out of SF II it's hard not to miss those great tracks. While it only has Arcade, Versus and Training, like SF II, the AI isn't annoying in this one, and you get unlockables in the form of Gill and more colors for each character! Plus, you can mess around in the "Directions" menu to alter how the game plays. You can disable Super Moves, Guarding, Throwing, Jumping among a lot of other thingies which could lead to some amusing situations.
 Before rounding up, let's not forget that the game packages the Street Fighter 2 movie. It's a decent flick, great music, good voice acting, great art-style, decent animation and terrible, terrible story. If you like characters like Blanka, Dee Jay, Cammy or Zangief you are outta luck, but at least you get to see all 16 characters from Street Fighter 2. The movie only comes with the American dub, which I found to be pretty good, but I know that some will hate the lack of Japanese voice acting.

 Street Fighter Anniversary Collection collects the most important entry in the series, and probably gaming history(SF II) and, arguably, the best one(SF III). There's absolutely no going wrong with this one, however, to make the most of it you are gonna need another player. It's also a bit hard to recommend this version of SF III when the HD edition on PS3/X360 contains the same game, but enhanced and with more single player content. But hey, at least you get SF II and a movie with this one!
 9.0 out of 10.

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