The Complete History of Street Fighter Games – Ranked

Prepare for a fighter‘s history as we journey through every core Street Fighter game and rank them from worst to best. When I analyze each game, I‘ll assess the visuals, gameplay innovations, fighter roster additions, and overall impact.

As fellow fighting game fanatics, we all have our nostalgic favorites, but let‘s evaluate these titles objectively to see how the series has evolved through the years. Grab some quarters and a joystick as we teleport back to 1987 and relive Street Fighter‘s greatest hits!

Street Fighter Ranking Criteria

Before diving in, let‘s outline the ranking factors to judge these arcade classics:

  • Visual Presentation – Did they push hardware limits with colorful, smooth animations and backdrops?
  • Gameplay/Controls – Does it offer responsive, nuanced mechanics with depth?
  • Fighter Roster – Number of unique, memorable playable characters.
  • Innovation – New features that advance the series formula.
  • Influence – Its impact on other fighting games and pop culture.

I‘ll compile key data points in tables, along with historical context from developers, to back up my evaluations. By the final bell, we‘ll have weighed the highs and lows of each entry to crown the GOAT Street Fighter game!

7. Street Fighter (1987)

Kicking things off, we have the arcade original that started a legacy…

YearPlatformFightersVisual StyleDeveloper
1987Arcade22D spritesCapcom

As pioneers of the competitive fighting genre, we owe some respect to the 1987 Street Fighter. It introduced quintessential World Warriors Ryu and Ken, plus their signature Hadouken fireballs and Shoryuken uppercuts.

However, with just two selectable fighters, basic inputs, and some painfully stiff control, the gameplay doesn‘t hold up. It‘s an important foundation, but later series entries would add more depth.

6. Street Fighter V

Initially rushed to market without key modes like Arcade, Street Fighter V drew criticism at 2016 launch for its slim content and features. The visuals dazzled, but the 16 fighter starting roster left us wanting more.

YearPlatformFightersVisual StyleDeveloper
2016PlayStation 4, Steam16 at launch3D graphic modelsCapcom

To its credit, Capcom kept refining SFV with free updates adding fan favorites like Alex, Ibuki, Akuma plus new warriors Laura and Kolin. Network improvements also enhanced online matches. But the game never fully regained goodwill lost early on.

5. Street Fighter EX Series

Bringing polygonal 3D visuals to the traditionally sprite-based series, EX flashed cutting-edge style…albeit at the cost of precision. Sluggish control hampered the experience despite dazzling graphics and new characters.

YearPlatformFightersVisual StyleDeveloper
1996-2000Arcade, PlayStation17 (EX3)3D modelsCapcom/Arika

Lacking the refined speed and combos of 2D entries, the EX games placed form over function. Yet they expanded Street Fighter‘s visual horizon and surely wowed players initially with those high-kickin‘ polygons!

4. Street Fighter IV

After a long hiatus, Street Fighter IV single-handedly reinvigorated fighting fever in 2008. Gorgeous 3D backdrops combined with fluid 2D battles and a quintessential soundtrack.

YearPlatformFightersVisual StyleDeveloper
2008Arcade, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360253D backgrounds, 2D character modelsCapcom, Dimps

SFIV also won praise for retaining series convention while innovating. Focus attacks, EX specials, Ultras, and the revenge-fueled Rage mechanic expanded strategy. Meanwhile, a roster blending the old (Ryu, Chun-Li) and new (Crimson Viper, Abel) gave all fans someone to master. Packed with features and online multiplayer, SFIV sparked a fighting franchise rebirth!

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