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Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection Preview

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Attack me if you dare, I will crush you.

Getting hands on with the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection made me appreciate just how many fond Street Fighter memories I have. Longingly cheering on fighters in the attract mode, desperate for 60 cents to test my ten-year-old skills. Finding myself grounded for a weekend after accidentally giving a friend a bloody nose with a Dragon Punch. After-school hours spent in sketchy arcades building up the courage to “quarter up” then promptly giving up a double perfect loss when I did.

Even as a dirty fighting game casual, Street Fighter holds a place close to my heart and 30th Anniversary Collection aims to tickle that nostalgia just one more time.

The 30th Anniversary package features 12 arcade perfect versions of the core 2D Street Fighter games, from the original arcade game through iterations of Street Fighter 2, Alpha and Street Fighter 3. Only four games will get the online multiplayer treatment, one representing the pinnacle of each series: SF2: Hyper Fighting, Super SF2 Turbo, Alpha 3 and Third Strike. It is hard to argue with the choices, and the decision to limit the number of online enabled games will hopefully grow a healthy player base. Local play is of course provided for every game and the Switch version will receive an exclusive 8-player tournament mode. Versus and training modes are included, though I didn’t get to test either in my preview.

In my playtime on PS4, I couldn’t challenge the “arcade perfect” claim, everything felt exactly as I remembered it. There are no graphical enhancements or smoothing here, with each game running in its original 4:3 aspect ratio (with borders) by default and only some basic CRT filters available for those so inclined. You can stretch the view to widescreen or fullscreen if you wish, but I found borders the most aesthetically pleasing way to play. Some modern conveniences are provided; save states and move lists for example, but otherwise these are the arcade games in their purest form right down to the top score in Street Fighter 2 belonging to “POO”.

If the convenience of 12 Street Fighter games in a single package isn’t enough for you, there is a museum mode filled with Street Fighter minutiae to absorb. Here you’ll find a series history timeline, character bios, concept art, the original pitch document and a jukebox mode to listen to a half dozen slightly different versions of Guile’s Theme, and the rest of each game’s soundtrack too, I suppose.

While we won’t know how the Anniversary Collection’s multiplayer modes hold up until release, nor if the definition Digital Eclipse uses for “arcade perfect” matches the exacting standards of a fighting game community with 20+ years experience in these games, for anybody with fond memories of the Street Fighter series this is a fun trip down memory lane. I’m already looking forward to getting my after school Timezone gang back together for another bash at Super SF2 and Alpha, and maybe finally succeeding in finishing Street Fighter 2 with bloody Dhalsim. For 90s Street Fighter fans, this is as definitive a collection as there can be.

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection arrives 29 May on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC via Steam for $59.95 AUD. It will receive both retail and digital releases except for PC, which will only be available digitally.