Street Fighter Alpha Anthology

Shin Akuma

Who can say no to some classic Street Fighter? The number of people lathered into a murderous frenzy waiting for Street Fighter II on the Xbox Live Arcade suggests that the answer is “not many”, so logically nobody could resist this – not one, not two, but five classic Street Fighters all for £20. I love this compilation.

It’s not perfect – there’s no moves list in either the game itself or the manual (rumours abound that it’s a cynical ploy to sell more guides, but all it’ll do is increase traffic to GameFAQs) which makes mastering five whole fighting games incredibly difficult, and unless you have another means of control the PS2 D-pad will cause blisters. Seriously, less than an hour with that controller had me going and buying a Hori stick to alleviate the pain I was in. Quarter-circles on a D-pad can be nasty as it is, but when said D-pad is essentially four separate buttons with a gap to bridge between them it goes up there with the iron maiden.

Despite these annoying features, not that a crap controller is Capcom’s fault, they redeem themselves by not only giving the PAL version a 60Hz option (take that, SNK!) but also throwing in 480p. Very nice to have for a game this fast, coupled with an optional anti-aliasing filter to get them looking as good as possible on shiny new displays. There are also tons of secrets, ranging from pretty much every revision of the games through a dipswitch editor and new fighting styles (“-isms”, although disappointingly still no “j-ism”) for SFA3, even as far as a version of SFA3 Upper, the recent PSP port. The conversions seem great, as well.

Some of the games are stronger than others – SFA2 Gold and SFA3 are two of the best fighting games ever made, SFA2 is superb, SFA is great but dated, and I didn’t think much of Pocket Fighter which was nothing but an obstacle to getting all the unlockables. Still, this is the first time since Mario All-Stars that I’ve been moved to buy a retro compilation and it really is outstanding value. I heartily recommend it.

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