Slightly unresponsive controls. Some unbalanced gameplay/computer AI.
Released to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the Street Fighter franchise (there was one back in 1989 before SF2 hit arcades), SF Anniversary Collection brings together two of the franchise's best titles. Hyper SF2 is a hybrid of all the SF2 titles, allowing players to use all the variations of the 16 original fighters from all 5 games and pit them against each other, while SF3: 3rd Strike is a direct port of the final title in the SF3 series.
The graphics in both games are about arcade-perfect. Hyper SF2's graphics are about the same as in all the SF2 games except for some updated background animations. SF3's graphics are much improved compared to Hyper SF2, and the character animations are more fluid as well. Sounds are hit-and-miss for both. Hyper SF2's music is a remix of all the original stage themes (you'll also hear this same music in the SF2 versions on Capcom Classics Collection), which are nice to listen to, but the new voices really fall flat-Guile's new "Sonic Boom!" voice sounds just downright awful. SF3's voices are taken from the arcade and sound great, but the rap music doesn't sound appropriate on the menus and the announcer's voice between fights gets repetitive quickly. Controls for both games are a bit sluggish & unresponsive. If you've invested the $30 or more for a half-decent "arcade stick" controller you'll probably be fine, but on a regular Xbox controller the button layout is awkward and hard to get used to. (Capcom did make a special control pad for this game, but it only features a digital control pad to go with the arcade-style 6 button layout, but it's not that helpful and is nothing more than a cool $15 prop) Playing with the thumbsticks is generally OK but the D-Pad doesn't work as well when performing more complex attacks. Gameplay is about the same as it's always been, although being able to use all the variations of the different characters in Hyper SF2 is a cool touch. For example, you can use the original Ryu from the first SF2 and put him in a battle against Super SF2's Ken variation, and in the 1-player game you can use any variation of a fighter against the CPU using Super Turbo variations. This makes for a fun and challenging game, but the CPU AI is rather unbalanced-sometimes it'll let you win easily but if you're playing a CPU-controlled T. Hawk, it'll cheap you to death, even on the lowest skill level. SF3's gameplay is much more balanced, also incorporating a unique "Arts Select" system where you can only choose one Super Move per game and each has it's own criteria for use and when you can use it, which adds more depth to the gameplay. 3 also incorporates more technical moves like Parrying, Throw Counters, and Reversals. 3 also features a host of new characters (roughly 16 of the 20) and best of all, no Bison at the end! Both games can be played by 1 or 2 players and online play is also included.
Another interesting extra is the inclusion of "Street Fighter 2: The Animated Movie", an anime movie originally produced by Capcom & other in the mid-1990s (first released in the US around 1999). The version included is an edited version of the unrated original, which, although not mentioned anywhere in the game or manual, carries a PG-13 rating for violence & some language and removes some content from the unrated version, namely cuts a lot of the popular "Chun-Li shower scene & subsequent fight with Vega while wearing only a towel" sequence out and heavily edits it. The movie can be watched on your Xbox without a DVD playback kit and you can use your controller as a remote, but functionality is limited and the video quality is not quite as good as the unrated DVD.
Even without the inclusion of the movie, this is an excellent compilation and one of these games alone would likely justify the price tag. This is a must-have for SF fans, although with the original SF2 games being included in the new Capcom Classics Collection, this one is probably now worth buying more for SF3. If you can find it for $30 or less this is worth picking up, otherwise you may want to wait until the price goes down a little more.