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Street Fighter Anniversary
Collection (Xbox, JPN)

Reviewed by:

Mounted anger would be the best way to describe my feelings toward the PS2 edition of Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, a game which many fans predicted would feature online play. There are plenty of grey areas when discussing the pinnacle of 2D gaming, a franchise that ideally you'd expect Capcom would offer its faithful fans all the trappings and bonuses worthy of its namesake.

Street Fighter Anniversary Collection isn't a wholly new game, but rather a recycled compilation that thankfully will allow you to expand your competitive influence against other players throughout the globe. As recently reported last week, Capcom released a region-free copy of Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, a game that will likely be unavailable by the time some of you wise up and make the investment.

If you're a newcomer who needs to be brought up to speed, I invite you to check out our PS2 review. However veterans don't need an introduction; their only concern is, "Does this game justify another purchase?" Well, if you're eager to play, yes. And what better way to be the envy of all your friends than to pick up the import? But before you dash for your plastic, allow me to give you a personal rundown of my experience of the most important feature of all...playing on Xbox Live.

While Xbox Live's mantra suggests, "It's good to play together", in this case, it should carry the following footnote -- "when someone's available." Finding a match against other players can be compared to finding a needle in a haystack, although I’d imagine even that would be easier. I’ve attempted locating some online competition during different hours of the day, and was fortunate to find a half-dozen players…once. Perhaps everyone is busy playing Dead or Alive 3?

I was disappointed to see the online interface is practically identical to the format featured in CVS2: EO, albeit a few marginal improvements. Very few -- mainly, a real-time window has been included, updating you of the available matches corresponding to your desired match preferences. Options include setting the number of matches, speed, voice on/off, and playing against local (domestic) or worldwide players respectively.

It's ironic that I've been accustomed to playing Street Fighter games on controllers ever since the 16-bit era, and yet, the Xbox pad has proven to be an awkward experience. As a result, I've decided to look into investing in a MAS joystick to quell my D-pad frustrations. It should be noted though, according to feedback from other players that you may be subject to the same delayed responses using a custom stick (X-Arcade, MAS, etc.) when competing online. Thankfully, it doesn't appear to be a widespread dilemma.

As some have expected, there are some occasional traces of lag, mostly common during Third Strike matches. Usually when the connection is identified as "BAD", I chose to play regardless. During my first online session, I competed against someone in Manchester and noticed my button responses were delayed by a few seconds. Thankfully, the lag is nowhere as unbearable as SVC Chaos or Guilty Gear X2#Reload. And since I whipped his butt convincingly, I am not complaining. Sadly however, history repeats itself once again as evidenced by the dilemma that plagued CVS2. Yes, now you too can "pull" against another player and reward them with an instant loss. Why can't these things be stomped out during the QA process -- or does such a department even exist on the Capcom programming team?

Moving on...the Street Fighter II anime is identical to the PS2 version for those of you that can't wait to relive those memorable moments from the U.S. edition full of cheesy voice acting and hard rock. I did notice the video quality does seem a bit cleaner on the Xbox. On another note, I was somewhat confused as to why the anime is presented in English (unless the disc was programmed with region logistics). Actually, it would of been nice to offer the anime in different lanaguages as conviently offered in modern DVD releases; maybe even dress it up a bit more with a conventional DVD front-end. Bottom line folks -- the fan service is pretty weak for what's intended to commemorate the pinnacle of 2D fighting games. Am I jaded and disappointed? You bet.

In any event, video connoisseurs concerned about the visual quality will be delighted to know that they can enjoy the game in splendid 480p glory. And if you’ve got a kickass sound system, what better way then to recreate the full arcade experience than to take advantage of the game’s 5.1 Dolby Digital. Unfortunately, I have to keep my decibel level to moderate level, lest my neighbors end up complaining. I am considering buying them earplugs for Christmas.

So far...I can honestly say that there's no excuse why this game SHOULDN'T be out already for the North American market. The Japanese edition doesn't offer anything new aside from online play that would account for the delay, unless they're working on tweaking the net code which I think is pretty unlikely.

Although the game is definitely a game I’d recommend, chances are many of you probably won’t be lucky enough to get a copy. Based on my current experiences, the price is a bit high to justify going out of your way to pick up the game now, especially with the existing lineup of titles available. You should note that copies of the region-free disc won't be around for long. According to a recent news announcement, Capcom already has taken action to pull the region-free copies of the game off store shelves due to a “bug” (an online glitch which affects players from rematching). Coincidence? Unlikely, but the fact remains -- players are eagerly awaiting for this game to make its way to this side of the world.

C’mon Capcom, get the lead out and go for broke..

Score: Point Point Point Point No Point

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