When Capcom released Street Fighter II to the arcade market, they could not have known the massive impact it would still be having fifteen years later. Street Fighter II is arguably the best arcade fighting game ever made and the fact that fifteen years later it still manages to draw a crowd is quite an achievement for the developers. To commemorate the fifteen year anniversary of the franchise, Capcom has released a compilation pack for Xbox containing Street Fighter III and Hyper Street Fighter II at a fairly budget price to thank the fans for the success and to perhaps bring in some new people to the franchise.
The first thing you will notice about the game is that it is a complete port of the home games and not the arcade versions. This means that all the extra options which were added for the home version are on offer in the game which adds even more longevity to the title. The story behind Street Fighter II is very vague and shallow and was never deeply explored in the actual games themselves. Each of the characters has their own storyline to complete but don't expect an epic ending, remember this is not only a fighting game we are talking about, but a game ported from the arcade where the developers would have expected not many people to reach that far with many characters.
Street Fighter II, or more specifically Hyper Street Fighter II is what many arcade fighting games have strived to achieve for so long. The mix of fighting moves with characters from many different backgrounds and therefore styles of fighting proved to be what made Street Fighter II one of the most successful fighting games ever made. Like every fighting game you choose from a wide variety of characters and progressively work through each one until you reach the final boss character. Hyper Street Fighter II contains all the characters added such as Cammie from Super Street Fighter II and also lets you fight as the champion characters such as Balrog.
Street Fighter Third Strike is the third game in the series and never took off as much as the second game. The second game is really what put the franchise on the map but because it was overlooked quite a bit in comparison to Street Fighter II, the inclusion is all the more worthwhile. Despite the fact it was overlooked it did improve upon the formula quite well and added a bevy of new characters to play with such as Alex and Makato but also brings the favourites back such as Ryu and Ken.
The first major change is that each character has three different special moves to choose from when selecting the character. Another major change is that the game feels a lot quicker than that of Street Fighter II and thus the action is quicker and reflexes need to be sharper. Another major change is that the game offers you two characters to choose from before each fight. The returning characters have had a bit of a makeover as well. They may have kept their looks and special moves, their backgrounds have changed and from the new characters you will find a wider variety such as fighting in the desert during sunset and in Hong Kong during a shower of rain. The bonus games which were removed from Street Fighter II return with characters being tasked with activities such as destroying a car and parrying basketballs.
Other than the two games, the anniversary edition also contains a wide variety of extras for those who have followed the game since it first came out. The developers have included a wide variety of nostalgic items such as every single introduction movie made for most of the Street Fighter II arcade machines, the music featured in every game and the Street Fighter II anime movie in full. One disappointment is a lack of concept art or really something that has not been accessible until now, the music has always been there as has the introduction sequences. It's still better than nothing however.
Visually the game's differ quite significantly in terms of graphics and detail. Street Fighter II in comparison to third strike looks old and dated, but it is definitely a game which shows why gameplay is usually more important than graphics in quality games. Third strike may look better and the gameplay stacks up but Street Fighter II just seems to offer better gameplay by a small margin. The game also features online play but one disappointing aspect with the game is that to find players you have to be in each individual game. You can't be in the Street Fighter II side of the game, and find players to jump into Street Fighter Third Strike with so you have to guess which game is more popular at the time you want to play.
Street Fighter Anniversary Collection offers fans of the series a chance to relive all their famous battles and to get a bit of nostalgic content along with it. The online play is an excellent addition to the already superb franchise and really anyone looking for a decent online fighting game, needs to check this game out.