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Street Fighter Alpha Anthology

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Hey, Street Fighter fans! Capcom isn't done with your wallet just yet. With the release next month of Street Fighter Alpha Anthology, they'll finally give you a chance to complete your collection with what many consider the best games in the series.

For those who have somehow never played them, the Street Fighter games were a revolution in 2D fighting. Their pixelated graphics and cartoonish super moves might seem antiquated next to modern-day punchfests like Tekken 5 and SOULCALIBUR 3, but for its fans, there are few sounds more beautiful than the repeated screams of "Hadoken!" every time someone busts out a fireball.

As the name suggests, Alpha Anthology collects the arcade versions of the classic, 2D Street Fighter Alpha games in one convenient package. Having already appeared on numerous other platforms, the over-the-top Street Fighter Alpha 3 will finally make its PS2 debut. This version actually appears to be inferior to the high-resolution, feature-rich PSP edition, but it's still one of the best 2D fighters ever made.

Alpha and Alpha 2 are included as well, as is the rarely seen Alpha 2 Gold, which features slightly different versions of some fighters. Each one of these has been retrofitted with a Dramatic Battle mode, which lets you pick two characters (the second is controlled by the computer or a friend) and gang up on a single computer-controlled fighter.

But despite the new features, the prospect of another Street Fighter collection might be a little yawn-inducing, even for hardcore fans. So for those who need an extra incentive, the real draw will be the inclusion of Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix.

Previously released on the PSone as the hard-to-find Pocket Fighter, this bizarre little curiosity features fights between cute miniature versions of Capcom fighters from Street Fighter, Darkstalkers and even the little-known Red Earth. Basically a spinoff of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, it parodies the Street Fighter series with simplified controls, fighters that power up by collecting gems and a truckload of Capcom in-jokes.

The games of Alpha Anthology play as smoothly as they ever did, and the collection is shaping up well for its expected June 13 release. A few more extras wouldn't hurt, but as longtime fans of the series, we're looking forward to this one.

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