Capcom’s Street Fighter franchise is perhaps the most famous video game series of all time. It began in 1987 with the original Street Fighter (also called Fighting Street) and has since grown to a point that many didn’t think was possible for a video game franchise. The series has branched to multiple forms of media: animated television shows, live action movies, and live international tournaments just to name a few. There are so many Street Fighter titles at this point that it is easy to forget some; so here is a list of the best Street Fighter titles. It is very likely that you won’t agree with the placement of some of these titles in the list. Be sure to leave a comment with your opinion of the ranking.
13 Street Fighter
The original Street Fighter, released in 1987, was revolutionary. It began the fighting game genre and secured Capcom as the king of said genre. There were one-on-one fighting games before Street Fighter, like Yie Ar Kung-Fu and Karate Champ, but Capcom introduced special moves to the mix. This is the game that gave us the dragon punch and Hadouken.
The controls were a little stiff and the voice samples were comically unintelligible, but the game gave people something relatively new in video games – direct competition with another player.
12 Street Fighter EX Series
The EX series, beginning in 1996, was Capcom’s attempt at bringing the Street Fighter franchise to the 3D world. The hardware at the time was not ready for this, however; the games did not look that good and the control was a bit off. Instead, this series became more of a novelty than anything else.
Capcom improved on the series with EX2 in 1998, and EX3 in 2000, by bringing back custom combos and increasing the roster of available fighters. Despite these improvements, the series was never taken seriously by fans.
11 Street Fighter Alpha
Capcom began the Alpha series in 1995, and the series was a prequel to Street Fighter II. The game introduced characters into the franchise from the Final Fight franchise; like Guy and Sodom. It also brought back characters from the first Street Fighter; like Birdie and Adon.
The game was welcomed by gamers for breathing new life into the franchise. The art style was improved for Alpha – the characters in-game looked much like they did in the promotional art. This was the first Street Fighter game to include the three-tiered Super Combo system; a feature that has been in every title of the franchise since.
10 Street Fighter V
When this title first released in 2016, fans of the series were not happy (to say the least). Capcom removed the one player arcade setting, but did promise to update the game and include it later. They really should have delayed the game until that feature was ready to be included.
This title is a PlayStation 4 exclusive, except in Japan where it was also released as an arcade cabinet. Street Fighter V was also criticized for its roster of characters and lack of third-party controller support. Criticism aside, this title looked fantastic and the controls were excellent.
9 Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition
Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition was well received by the fans. The game looked great, and the controls were perfect. The major problem with this one, however, was balance in play. The computer-controlled opponents become very cheap after a few bouts.
The game does "that thing" in some fighting games where the player will press a button to attack, but sometime in-between the time the button is pressed and the attack is executed on screen the computer will execute the perfect counter to your attack. Many controllers were probably thrown against the floor in frustration because of this title.
8 Street Fighter II
This is the Street Fighter game that took the franchise to the next level and made fighting games popular. There were so many copycats of this game that it would take forever to name them all. No matter where you saw this game, be it an arcade or gas station, there was a crowd of people around it waiting for their turn.
The game was slightly unbalanced though. Guile’s attacks were too strong, and more of the characters needed a projectile or a counter for projectiles. Many gamers don’t know that Capcom was originally going to make Chun Li’s health bar shorter than the other character’s, but fortunately, they came to their senses and decided against that.
7 Street Fighter II Championship Edition
This was basically Street Fighter II, but in this title, the four bosses from the previous version were made playable characters. The game was also more balanced; much to the chagrin of those who mainly chose Guile.
The inclusion of the bosses as playable characters injected new life into the title, but the bosses were also very over-powered – especially M. Bison. This game was also the first Street Fighter title in which two players could choose the same character.
6 Street Fighter Alpha 2
Street Fighter Alpha 2, released in 1996, expanded on the first Alpha title by adding four new playable characters (two are from Street Fighter II), new stages, and new music tracks. This is the title that introduced Sakura and Rolento to the series.
The control and character animation was greatly improved from the first Alpha title as well. If you’ve never played Alpha 2 and want to give it a try, get the superior Gold edition. Nearly every aspect of the game was improved upon in the Gold edition.
5 Super Street Fighter II Turbo
This was the final version of Street Fighter II. It included all the original characters, the four bosses from the original, and four all-new playable characters. This increased the number of playable characters to sixteen.
The new playable characters have become staples to the series; they are Cammy, T. Hawk, Fei Long, and Dee Jay. Players had the option of choosing a turbo mode; this sped up the gameplay and made matches much more intense. This version also allowed up to four arcade cabinets to be linked for tournaments.
4 Street Fighter Alpha 3
Capcom released the third Alpha title in 1998, had 28 playable characters in the arcade. The home ports of Alpha 3 also included the four new characters from Super Street Fighter II, bringing the roster to 32 playable characters. This is one of the most balanced Street Fighter games in terms of the characters' strength and gameplay.
The graphics and animation were about as good as 2D fighters get. The player control in Alpha 3 was also just about perfect. This title also allowed players to choose different fighting styles for each character.
3 Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition
Capcom heard the fans’ complaints about the initial release of Street Fighter V and addressed those problems when they released the Arcade Edition in 2018. There is now a single-player campaign mode, which was curiously absent in the previous version. All the characters that were only available via DLC in the previous version are available in Arcade Edition.
This game is heavily criticized for including advertisements during load screens. Why Capcom thought this would be a good idea is still a mystery. Even with these flaws, which don’t really affect the game, this is still one of the best fighting games ever made.
2 Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
This was the last version of Street Fighter III to be released (in 1999). Capcom had finally moved on from Street Fighter II and gave gamers what they had been waiting almost a decade for – a true sequel that gave us new characters. The roster of available characters is varied and well balanced in 3rd Strike. The graphics, animation, and control are all excellent. The sound quality in 3rd Strike is next level though (or was twenty years ago anyway). The sound assaults the player, but in a good way that gets you pumped to play. If you want to play Street Fighter III, don't bother with any other version.
1 Ultra Street Fighter IV
This is the definitive version of Street Fighter IV, and the best of the Street Fighter Franchise – which puts it near the top of the list of best fighting games of all time. This version balanced the gameplay to an optimal level. Gone is the cheating by the computer-controlled players (see the Arcade Edition entry).
Capcom added five new players, including an all-new character – Decarpe. This is also the last Street Fighter game released in the arcades in North America. Every aspect of this game, from the graphics to the control, is near perfect. Many thought Capcom would never top Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, but Ultra Street Fighter IV proved them all wrong.