Awful Box Art: Street Fighter series

How can one of gaming's most respected franchises keep getting such ugly-ass packaging?

Street Fighter III: Double Impact
Dreamcast | 2000

We like the clear, functional logo, but once more the fantastic art reserves are left untapped and we get a title floating on a nondescript background. It assumes too much, that you’re going to buy the game off the logo alone, and one barely noticeable sketch of Ryu in the distance isn’t going to help it fly off shelves. This is, thankfully, the last of the WTF covers.

Street Fighter Alpha 3
Dreamcast | 2000

Yet another massive disap… wait a sec… holy shit they actually used the art they paid someone to create! Here, at long last, is a perfectly acceptable Street Fighter cover using original art of several key characters on a snazzy background. Also, compare the logos of Alpha 2 and Alpha 3 – even that’s cleaned up considerably, making this one of our all-time faves. From this point on, SF has its act mostly together.

Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
Dreamcast | 2000

Three mainline Street Fighter games in one year, and that’s not even counting Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Clearly, Dreamcast was meant to be SF’s new home, and this final piece of art somewhat redeems Double Impact. We would’ve preferred, y’know, Ken and Ryu actually fighting or striking any kind of “graaa!” pose at all, but when the precedent is just a logo on black, we’ll count this as a small victory.

Street Fighter EX 3
PS2 | 2000

The third EX title was released during the PS2 launch, putting it in direct competition with Dreamcast’s 3rd Strike. We love the sense of speed and the “split-second reaction” idea it conveys. Our initial response was to hate on EX 3, citing overall ho-hummery as the offending issue, but looking at it now, it’s a different take on a series with so many covers, and that’s worth applauding.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival
GBA | 2001

A surprisingly faithful GBA port also happens to sport the best box Super Street Fighter box art to date. Everyone’s on there, the logo’s simple, no crap effects or lame backgrounds to speak of. This more than makes up for the worst on the list, the SNES Super art.

Street Fighter Anniversary Collection
PS2 | 2004

As if meant to wash away all the unkind memories of box arts past, Anniversary Collection proudly displays the original cast in a piece of old-school art. Only the mandated ESRB logo gets in the way. Hats off, Capcom.

Street Fighter Alpha Anthology
PS2 | 2006

Very strange, this one. Half the characters (Chun Li, Zangief etc) look perfectly fine. The others (Bison, Ryu) look like google image search results, not official submissions. Otherwise it’s a powerful image, just good enough to symbolize the Alpha series as a whole.

Street Fighter IV
360/PS3 | 2009

Part four lands next week, nearly eighteen years after SFII revolutionized fighting games. Strange that in all that time Ryu and Ken have graced so few covers, and even when they have shown up, they’re usually not fighting each other. For the latest entry, there’s no mistaking who’s who and what’s about to happen. Where’s also thankful for the logo, as it covers up Ryu’s wide-stance cowboy legs.

Our review’s going up next week. Check back to see how the latest SF compares to its modern competition. Hint: it’s really goddamn fun. And it’s a whole lot better looking than this:

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