July 20, 2006

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Street Fighter Alpha Anthology (PS2)
Capcom, 2006

90s-Arcade juggernaut Capcom finishes draining its well with the release of Street Fighter Alpha Anthology a definitive collection of one of the most polished lines of arcade fighters ever made.

But does that mean I have to like it?

Once I pined for a good port of Capcom’s arcade greats to my home systems (you parents may fondly recall the PSOne, N64 or the much maligned Dreamcast) and repreatedly, across platforms I was denied. Either stuttering frame rates or wonky controls foiled my joy. But times marched forward. I graduated college, got a job and a wife, had a kid. New console came about and the heyday of arcade games faded. So now Capcom makes good. It’s so unfortunate that I have new digital fixations.

Unfortunate because Capcom has done good by its fans lately. Street Fighter Anniversary Collection bundled the original games (notably including the spectacular Street Fighter 3: Third Strike), SVC Chaos and Capcom Fighting Evolution gave great mash-ups of our favorite fighting games and now SFAA brings the “prequel” fighters together. Street Fighter Alpha, Alpha 2, Alpha 2 Gold and Alpha 3 are canonically ported to the PS2. Did you like them in the arcade? If so then this is essential. Have no idea what the hell the different versions mean? Then skip it.

The Alpha games are good, no doubt, but those outside the know simply can’t appreciate them, they are a bit too OCD about the various “-isms” that each fighter can be customized with and frankly the creative flair that made the characters of Street Fighter 3 so interesting seems to have abandoned the Alpha designers what with their Rainbow Minkas and Karins. It’s a tight package that will please any fight enthusiast, I simply never had much fondness for the peculiarities of the series. B+

— Glenn Given