Video games may be the youngest form of entertainment media, but over the years, they have developed a history in their own right. Preservation of the past has been an important issue for many, especially in the digital era. The latest collections by Capcom and Sega are not perfect, but both companies deserve credit for keeping their old titles accessible to modern audiences.
Let’s start with the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection. It’s an excellent compilation of twelve titles in the Street Fighter series (thirteen if you pre-ordered and got the free code for a digital copy of Ultra Street Fighter IV). It has, however, been criticized for lacking the modes and other content from the home console releases. Heck, modes are selected before selecting a game, so there’s no in-game menu for any of them aside from the character select screen. Maybe some DLC with new modes such as Survival and the excellent World Tour mode from Alpha 3 would help the latest offering from Capcom shine brighter, but I’m not holding my breath on that.
The Sega Genesis Classics collection on the other hand sports over 50 complete titles. What this collection is lacking, however, is museum content, which is one area where Capcom’s collection especially shines. Furthermore, Street Fighter games absent from the 30th Anniversary Collection may be missed by some, but the backlash is not nearly as large as it is over the absent titles from Sega’s collection, and at least Capcom had the foresight to provide adequate sketches, soundtracks, and timelines.
Both collections have left many wondering why the glass is half empty. After doing some research I also invested in the PSP download of Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX as, although the vast majority of fighters across all iterations are included in the latest collection, Alpha 3 is actually missing a great number of additional fighters and features. Also, my church has an Alpha 3 arcade cabinet and a desire to become at least competent at the game is a big part of why I was drawn to Capcom’s newest compilation from the moment it was announced. The arcade port still has value, as I want to grasp the basics of the game as it is presented in that most stripped-down version, but MAX is proof that one fighter with a lot of characters, stages, and modes is more content-rich than bare-bones versions of a bunch of fighters; especially when 2/3 of them are various iterations of the same two games.
Sega’s new compilation does have the full Genesis release of all the games included within. That they are generally not known for their additional content beyond the standard experience is more a staple of the time than an oversight on the team behind these ports. Of course, it does not help that some key titles from past collections are absent here, and any additional content outlining the history of these titles is also absent, making the PS3 and even the PSP collection feel a lot more complete.
There are, however, areas where each set of games shines. As a celebration of the history of Capcom’s flagship fighting game franchise, the 30th Anniversary Collection more than does its job. Heck, as the original Street Fighter II, and maybe its predecessor to a lesser extent, set the stage for the fighting genre as a whole going forward, it is also somewhat of a celebration of the history of fighting games in general. The museum content alone is more than a love letter to fans, and a plethora of titles in the series are preserved for future generations in some form.
The new collection is also an excellent sampler of the series as a whole. The modes contained within are sparse, and some are even further limited to a select few titles, but the core of the experience is still present no matter which title you choose to boot up. What’s important is that you get to experience how each game feels, and if you feel so inclined you can play through the arcade experience in its entirety with every available member of its cast, and see the conclusions of their stories.
Besides, Capcom’s latest effort is an excellent gateway into the Street Fighter series for fans both new and old, and there’s always the option to supplement it with a more full version of a title, or Street Fighter IV or V. If you had the foresight to pre-order the new collection you also received a code for Ultra Street Fighter IV, and that is the full console release. Even on its own though, a collection spanning the entire mainline series up to Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike is worth checking out.
As for Sega’s latest effort, you’re getting 50+ complete games for less than $1 per game. Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles will be missed, but are not nearly as great divided as they when combined, and there are plenty of great Genesis titles out there that are not Sonic related that are more than deserving of their time in the spotlight. Ecco will also be missed, but I for one have already beaten those strange and unique titles in previous collections. Perhaps some DLC could help augment this collection and maybe even solve the lock-on issue that couldn’t be pulled off on a disc collection, but DLC is unlikely.
I think it’s time for the likes of Toejam and Earl and Gunstar Heroes to shine anyways, and I personally have a vendetta with Bio Hazard Battle that has spanned almost a quarter of a century. Seriously, I hope to finally beat that flipping game! Previous collections also did not include the Japanese versions of titles, which is a welcome addition for games like Dynamite Headdy. There may be titles missing, but with a bunch of new titles taking their place and a handful of Japanese versions, it is not all bad news. Besides, many titles from previous collections are still here.
Sure, some museum content would be nice. The game room aesthetic for the main menu is pretty lit though. Ok, that does not make up for a lack of additional content, but it is neat. It is clear that the games are the point of this collection. If you are interested in the games, they are well worth the amazingly low price of admission. Sure, there may be other releases of these titles out there, but this one is available to PS4 owners, and aside from previous collections, other releases cost several times more per game than you’re paying here.
So yes, neither collection is absolutely complete, but both offer a significant sampling of games from their respective companies. Perhaps either of these could benefit from DLC down the road but in the likely scenario where that doesn’t happen, we still have legal access to a lot of games we wouldn’t have otherwise. At the end of the day, I would personally take a couple flawed collections over none at all.
What are your thoughts on the latest offerings from Capcom and Sega? Are you satisfied, disappointed or a mix of both? As always, feel free to leave your comments below.