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July 17, 2006
Street Fighter Alpha Anthology - PS2 Review
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Some of the better graphics.
If you have even the slightest interest in fighting games then Capcom's Street Fighter series would be one familiar to you. Without a doubt the 2D fighter is a prime example of the purest of fighting engines which has stood the test of time and over the years Capcom's series has sold in excess of 27 million units worldwide. While Street Fighter II may be the most commonly talked about series the Street Fighter Alpha (or Street Fighter Zero as it is known in some territories) games have made their mark due to the unique art style and use of a super combo gauge which allows for some awesome attacking flurries.

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One of our favourites, Blanka.
So this disc is a compilation and indeed the disc contains five games: Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold and Street Fighter Alpha 3 as well as Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix, which is also known as Pocket Fighters in some territories. What makes this package so riviting is the fact that you can actually see the progression of the series, the artwork in the later titles is much improved over the originals, while the gameplay is also more refined with more characters and better combos.

As you may expect Street Fighter Alpha is the first game in the series. It included 13 characters in total, and was the first title with the unique graphics and introduced super combos and alpha counters to the game world. Street Fighter Alpha 2 upped the fighter count to 18 and included a Custom Combo System. Street Fighter Alpha 2 Gold was an enhanced version of the previous game with different versions of the characters while the best game in the compilation, Street Fighter Alpha 3, included a massive 25 characters, three fighting styles and even more refined gameplay. The last title, Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix includes super deformed characters, and isn't quite up to the pace of the other games, but is fun nontheless.

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Graphics are a bit pixely.
Each of the games allows you to play in an Arcade mode against the CPU, a Versus mode which allows you to battle a friend or a Training mode which allows you to practice your skills. In addition the four Alpha titles include a Survival mode and Dramatic Battle mode which allows 2-on-1 tag team battles.

What is nice about Street Fighter Alpha Anthology is the removal of almost all the loading screens making the game fast and fluid and a lot less frustrating then past titles which have made you wait between bouts as the game loaded. The presentation overall is slick and while the menus remain faithful to their arcade versions they are easy to understand and navigate. Another disappiontment is that despite being a compilation there is a lack of bonus materials on the disc. Unlike Capcom Classics Collection Which was filled with history, artwork and remixed music this disc lacks those features. A shame.

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Pocket Fighters is entertaining.
I guess the biggest disappointment with this title is that you can't mix and match the characters until you have completed each game - something which forces you to try every title, but may not be to everyones liking. For such a key ingredient of the title I would have expected this to be a feature from the very start.

Graphics in Street Fighter Alpha Anthology as essentially a faithful replication of the original titles. The game engine has been faithfully ported and runs at full speed on the PS2. What we would love to see, however, is Capcom putting a bit of effort into reworking the games graphics. Perhaps an increase in resolution would smooth out some of the rough edges. Having said that the animation in this game is as stunning as it ever was, with some wonderful artwork in both the backgrounds, and main characters.

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Two favourites do battle.
Sound in the titles, much like the graphics, is limited by the original arcade games. It's not the best we've ever heard, and the effects especially are sounding a little weak compared to other titles today, but the game is faithful to the originals which is all we can really expect - unless Capcom wanted to remix the music as they have done with other compilations.

If you like Capcom's Street Fighter titles then there really is little reason not to purchase Street Fighter Alpha Anthology, even if you haven't experienced this series. At $AU49.95 it's a steal although I would have liked to see Capcom include some more bonus features, perhaps smoothed out graphics, or perhaps some more history to the titles. Still, a solid package.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Amazon (NTSC Version).
GRAPHICSGood replication of the original arcade games, we still want more.
SOUNDNo remixed sound is disappointing, good replication of the originals.
GAMEPLAYThis is Street Fighter all the way, classic 2D fighting gameplay.
VALUEAt only $49.95 this is great value for beat 'em up fans.
OVERALLStreet Fighter Alpha Anthology really is a great collection of classic fighting games. I would have loved to see even more though, but fighting fans would do well to pick this compilation up.

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