Saturday, June 9, 2018

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection Review

Thirty years of Street Fighter. Wait a minute, 30 years of Street Fighter? It says in this game that Street Fighter I came out in 1987. This collection is a year late! Regardless, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is a compilation of most arcade versions of Street Fighter from SFI to SFIII 3rd Strike. I say most, because Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper is sadly missing. This collection only has the CPS games and SFI. SFA3 Upper was a Sega NAOMI game, which was basically Dreamcast arcade hardware, so its absence is understandable. Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is available on Switch, XBO, PS4, and PC for $40.

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection includes the 6 button version of the original Street Fighter (which still sucks), Street Fighter II, SFII Champion Edition, SFII Hyper Fighting, Super SFII, SSFII Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 1-3, SFIII, SFIII 2nd Impact, and SFIII 3rd Strike. All of them are the original ROMs as they were in the arcades and don’t include a lot of the features you might be used to in the console versions, but they at least give you access to all of the arcade DIP switches. You have full control over the difficulty, game speed, timer speed, damage levels, auto-block in SFA 1 and 2, and you can even use SFIII 2nd Impact’s widescreen mode, which is a real widescreen mode and not a stretched display mode, like the one you can turn on in the in-game settings.

The in-game settings allow you to use save states, look at your character’s special moves list, and remap most buttons. The game doesn’t allow you to remap the in-game options off of the Start (+) button. There’s no 3 Kick or 3 Punch buttons either. The only 2 buttons available besides the 6 normal attack buttons are the real Start button and the button to replay your saved training dummy actions, which is there in all modes for some reason. Not having the 3 Punch and 3 Kick buttons isn’t a huge issue if you’re using an arcade stick, but it is if you’re using a normal controller, since some of these games require you to press all 3 punch or kick buttons to use a max meter super.

You’ll also find options for 3 display modes in the in-game settings; Original, Full, and Wide. Original displays the game evenly scaled to 4 times the original size, Full fills the screen from top to bottom while preserving the 4:3 aspect ratio, and Wide stretches the image to fill a 16:9 screen. There are also filter options for TV scanlines, an arcade monitor filter, and the option for no filters at all. There are borders, but there's only 1 border per series available. There’s only 1 border for all 3 SFA games, for example. Considering all the art available for these games, that's pretty lame.

Offline also has Training modes for Hyper Fighting, Super Turbo, SFA3, and 3rd Strike, as well as VS modes for all games, including SFI, even though you can only play as Ryu vs Ken on just 2 stages. Training mode has your usual options, like input and damage displays, dummy recordings and playback, and gauge settings, but no CPU AI aside from blocking. VS allows you to pick a stage and characters, but you can’t choose a different stage after a match without quitting out of the game and restarting. It doesn’t have a VS CPU option either. Both of these modes look like they’re made with clever save state manipulation and hacks, and are not quite like what you might expect to see in a console version.

Online modes include your usual ranked and casual matches, lobbies, and leaderboards, along with an online arcade mode, which simulates the arcade experience by letting you play arcade mode against the CPU while waiting for a new challenger. It’s a lot like turning match requests on in SFIV and V. Only Hyper Fighting, Super Turbo, Alpha 3, and 3rd Strike have online play, which just so happen to be the only games with training modes, too. I would have liked to have Alpha 2 online as well, since it is pretty different from Alpha 3. I have had some perfectly fine matches online, but most of them have been very laggy. It’s like playing in slow motion sometimes. I am playing on Switch, so it could be that a lot of people are playing on McDonalds Wi-Fi, or maybe the online just sucks.

The Switch version has an exclusive “Local” mode, which allows you make lobbies for ad-hoc play, and to connect 4 systems together for 8 player tournaments. Tournament mode requires 4 systems, 8 controllers, and 8 players, so I did not play this mode and probably never will, but it sounds like a huge mess to set up and play, since people have to get up and move to another system after matches.

Much like Mega Man Legacy Collection, SF30thAC has a Museum mode with tons of art and music. Every song from all these games is available in the music player, even the QSound logo chime. The best song in the game is the Sakura’s Theme remix in the Museum’s main menu, though. Unlike in MMLC, this music player does have autoplay and even shuffle and repeat features.

The Museum also has character bios, concept art, design documents, and animation cels. I’m not going to count all of it, but there’s probably over 1,000 pieces of art in here. I especially like the History section, which chronologically maps out the entire series from 1987 to 2018. There’s some really cool stuff in here, like entire SF art books, fun SF facts, all those old black and white manga style drawings they used in EGM back in the day, and the only known screenshot of a cancelled 8-bit (probably NES) version of SFI.

I think this game is worth owning just to have easy access to all these games for local multiplayer and the arcade modes. Long-time Street Fighter fans, like me, will also appreciate the massive amount of Street Fighter goodness in the Museum mode. If you’re looking for a good online mode, though, you’re going to have to look elsewhere, unless they fix it with a patch. It’s just too laggy to be enjoyable most of the time.