Street Fighter compilations have been around almost as long as the series itself, extending all the way back to the days of the PlayStation and the Sega Saturn. But Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection may well be the ultimate expression of the franchise's legacy... on arcade.
Yes, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection sadly leaves out all the cool single-player extras from Street Fighter Alpha 3, which more than made up for the PlayStation version's imperfect arcade translation. But in collecting the arcade versions, Digital Eclipse brings the same eye for detail to this collection that they brought to the similarly excellent Mega Man Legacy Collection, which is crucial in a genre where literally every frame matters.
Capcom recently gave me a chance to see the collection and capture some video. I thought they all looked great, but I was especially happy to see Super Turbo and 3rd Strike after the problematic (and now thoroughly outdated) remakes of the past. You can see them both in the video below.
The final version of Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection will include 12 games from across multiple generations of Street Fighter, from Street Fighter 2 all the way to Street Fighter 3: Third Strike. The collection even includes the original Street Fighter for posterity (and dear god it really does not hold up). In the spirit of paying tribute to the arcades, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection's borders are based around the original arcade cabinets, which really help you get in the mood.
Incidentally, I did see the Switch version, and I didn't see any appreciable differences in handheld mode (admittedly, there are probably some granular compromises that will wind up driving fighting game fans batty). As an interesting bonus, the Switch version includes Super Street Fighter 2: The Tournament Battle—an eight player tournament mode formerly exclusive to Japan. Four Switches take the place of the original networked arcade cabinets, with players rotating between different units after the completion of each round. It's a neat bit of history, if a rather convoluted way to run a tournament.
I'll cop to being something of a lapsed fan myself. Street Fighter's hardcore community has overshadowed the series to such an extent that it's tough to be fully invested in it anymore. But I did really enjoy the in-depth museum materials, which includes character profiles, music, and even the pitch document for the original Street Fighter. It brought me back to a time in my life when I loved Street Fighter unconditionally.
But this is unquestionably for the hardcore fans—the people who are content to sit in training mode and count frames while perfecting their cross-ups. Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection is filled with virtually every flavor you could ask of the classic series. They're the ones who will be able to appreciate the subtle differences between, say, Street Fighter III: Second Impact and Street Fighter III: Third Strike, and will thus be best equipped to get the most mileage out of it when it launches in a couple months. They're the ones who are also most likely to take advantage of the online modes featured in Turbo, Super Turbo, Alpha 3, and Third Strike.
As a historical curiosity, though, it's pretty neat, and lapsed fan though I am, I may be tempted to break out Street Fighter Alpha 3 on a long flight from time to time. It will sure beat playing the underwhelming Ultra Street Fighter II.
Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection will be out on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Switch in May.