[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/sfac/cover.jpg[/floatleft]When I was 10 years old, I would go to the arcade in the mall with one dollar in quarters. I would park myself in front of the newest [i]Street Fighter[/i] machine and would not leave until that dollar was gone. (I could make those four quarters last until my parents dragged me out of the mall.) The game created so many childhood memories for me, especially when I beat the “big kids” round after round. [i]Street Fighter[/i] still remains as my favorite series of video games. The anticipation that I have for each new game in the series matches the excitement [i]Halo 2[/i] created for the thousands of people who stood in line at midnight waiting for its release.
[floatright]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/sfac/ss12_thumb.jpg[/floatright]The [i]Street Fighter Anniversary Collection[/i] from Capcom brings back all my arcade memories and uncovers the [i]Street Fighter[/i] freak that I try so desperately to hide. The disc includes [i]Hyper Street Fighter II[/i] and [i]Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike[/i] on one glorious disc. [i]Hyper Street Fighter II[/i] is a blend of five different [i][i]Street Fighter II[/i] games, complete with all the characters, costume colors, sounds, and battle locations that I still have memorized to this day. Like the old arcade classics, the games play with clean graphics and all the original music and sound effects. The different versions of [i]Street Fighter II[/i] are integrated seamlessly-the creators even kept intact the ability to customize the PlayStation 2 button layout fully to each player’s personal preference.
Despite my affinity towards [i]Street Fighter II[/i], the real jewel of this collection is [i]Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike[/i]. I missed the first console version of this game (released on Dreamcast), so I was thrilled that it was included in the [i]Anniversary Collection[/i]. All the great arcade characters and features are present in [i]3rd Strike[/i], including the excitable (and borderline annoying) announcer. Even though [i]3rd Strike[/i] has the button customization feature just [i]like Street Fighter II[/i], the whole experience would be more complete with a quality joystick instead of the PS2 controller.
[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/sfac/ss03_thumb.jpg[/floatleft]Besides more costume colors and a couple of characters, I will acknowledge that there is nothing remarkably new here. The [i]Anniversary Collection[/i] includes a version of [i]Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie[/i]-a nice thought-but the video is really not the best quality, and any fan of the series (like me) probably has a copy already sitting on his or her DVD shelf. Another important thing to note is that while the PS2 version does not support online play, the Xbox version (to be released in February 2005) will. This was not a necessity for me, but I understand that many gamers want online competition.
All in all, despite the lack of bonus material on the new [i]Anniversary Collection[/i] disc, it is still a solid purchase if you are a [i]Street Fighter[/i] fan, or if you simply enjoy video games with 2D fighters. It should be a big incentive to buy this disc if you have a quality joystick, which helps sell the genuine arcade feel of the game. Priced at only $29.99, it is almost like stealing an arcade machine, except not as heavy-and you don’t need four quarters to play.