The Street Fighter franchise has been a pillar of fighting games pretty much from the beginning, but its history has been rocky at times. Many of its games defined the competitive fighting scene and dominated arcades, while others stand out as strange, bizarre crossovers or failed experiments.
We’ve set about the task of going through the many Street Fighter titles from throughout the years and finding the best and the worst. From movie adaptations to crossovers and puzzle games, here’s our ranking of Street Fighter history. Note: When considering a game, we considered all entries within that title, so there will be one entry that accounts for all of Street Fighter III, the Alpha series and any others that had multiple games per numbered entry.
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14. Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight: The list kicks off with one of the stranger entries in Street Fighter history, a side-scrolling shooter about a cyborg version of Ken in the futuristic year of 2010. The story involves this cyborg hunting the killer of a character unmentioned in any other Street Fighter title, and a setting and gameplay completely unrelated to the series. It was criticized at the time for tacking on the Street Fighter name to sell an otherwise generic action-platformer, and years later, that still stands.
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13. Street Fighter The Movie: To accompany the movie adaptation of Street Fighter starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Capcom released a rework of Street Fighter II, re-done in a hyper-realistic style to mimic the real people in the live action film. It looked a little like Mortal Kombat, but the changes ended up wrecking a lot of the excellent mechanics of the franchise, creating an unbalanced mess of a fighter. The saving grace: the cheesy FMV segments featured in the story mode.
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12. Street Fighter: The original Street Fighter was a big deal in the early arcade scene. Pneumatic buttons could "feel" how hard you hit them, and the fighters' swung accordingly to your presses. Early versions of Ryu and Ken were playable, and it was one of the earliest examples of a fighting game in arcades. Nowadays, though, Street Fighter is more interesting as a look back than anything else. The development of the series has come so far from simple punches and kicks that the original just doesn't hold up outside historical relevance.
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11. Street Fighter X Mega Man: One of the stranger crossovers in a list with many crossovers, Capcom combined its two biggest franchises by having Mega Man take on the many faces of Street Fighter like they were robo-bosses. Dhalsim, Blanka, Chun-Li and more all make an appearance, and stages are themed after the fighters. It isn't the best of either world, with the Mega Man portions being subpar to the regular games, and the Street Fighter bosses being more of a novelty than anything. Still, if you want to see a blue robot-kid take on an old yogi master, you could do worse.
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10. Street Fighter EX: The EX series of Street Fighter is an odd one, as it serves as the first foray into 3D fighting for the likes of Ryu, Ken and the roster. These games were not particularly bad in any way; they had decent mechanics, a good roster and the 3D effects didn't completely kill the heart and soul of the games. There's nothing that really stands out about them either, though, and with no real special card or defining quality outside the perspective flip, the EX series is decent if not forgettable. Well, except for introducing Skullomania to Street Fighter.
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9. Marvel Superheroes vs. Street Fighter: The spiritual successor to another superhero-Street Fighter crossover, MSvSF pit an even greater number of the Marvel line-up against Capcom's finest. This title laid the theoretical groundwork for what would become one of the most influential series of crossover fighters yet, Marvel vs. Capcom, yet the gameplay itself wasn't up to snuff with its predecessor and inspiration. It did away with the tag-team concept, one of the only Marvel crossovers to do so, and just couldn't compare to prior crossovers.
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8. Street Fighter X Tekken: Another crossover title, this one is a bit more logical, as two powerful forces in the fighting game scene meet to pit their prowess against each other. While Street Fighter was developing 2D fighting to its highest heights, Tekken was working on the 3D side. The SFXT crossover, developed by Capcom, actually managed to put the two styles together into a coherent and decent fighting game. Most of the appeal here is in novelty, as you won't find the same competitive following as you would around either franchise's main entries, but it works enough to not just be a toss-away "what-if" fighter.
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7. Super Puzzle Fighter: The only game on this list to not have Street Fighter in the title, we made the exception because of the pure brilliance that is Super Puzzle Fighter. Using the match-3 concept to great effect, pitting chibi-anime versions of the series' popular fighters against each other. Special moves and attacks come out from good combinations, as you make your fighter compete until someone's HP bar drops to zero. The concept worked so well that Mortal Kombat even added a parody version of it to one of their titles. If Mortal Kombat is making fun of you with a minigame, you know you're doing something right.
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6. Street Fighter Alpha: Working as a prequel series and a sequel (it's fighting games, the chronology never makes sense), the Alpha series introduced a number of new mechanics and concepts to Street Fighter. While not all of them, like the -ISM system or Alpha Counters, stuck to make it to future entries, you can see some of the ideas at work here for the upcoming Street Fighter V. Not perfect, but Alpha had a lot in it that was ahead of its time, and introduced some of the most outlandish and interesting characters to the series. It's not hard to see why Alpha is being looked back to so much for Street Fighter V.
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5. Street Fighter IV: The fourth numbered title in the Street Fighter franchise might be most notable because of its playtime during the largest period of growth in the fighting game community. It's a much cleaner game to watch, and has one of the largest rosters ever seen in Street Fighter, with some of the greatest character variety in both normal and competitive play. It didn't break much ground in terms of innovation, but it served as the platform for Street Fighter to rise up to where it is now in the competitive scene.