Home  >  Games  >  Best Games

Street Fighter Games Ranked From Worst to Best

Charge downward and flick upward, kick. Downward, medium kick. Charge backward, forward, backward, then flick forward, kick.

I’ve been fascinated by Street Fighter combos for longer than I’ve been able to perform them. There’s something about knowing the secret code to ass-kicking that blows my mind. Although I didn’t have much access to Street Fighter games growing up, picking up the SNES Classic has given me a lot of time to mess around with Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting, and I’ve been having an incredible time.

This week, we’re looking at the top ten best Street Fighter games ranked, and what makes them stand out. For this list, we’re focusing on mainline titles — as much as I’d love to list all Street Fighter games ranked (complete with spin-offs), I also want to celebrate the series for its individual achievements.

Sound like a plan? Let’s get to it!

Street Fighter Games Ranked From Worst to Best

Starting at #10, let’s work our way to the #1 title in the franchise!

10. Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter IV
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Mobile
  • Developer: Dimps, Capcom
  • Release Date: February 17, 2009

Starting us off is Street Fighter IV, which is worthy of accolades even if it is at the bottom of our list. At the time of its arcade release, there had already been an eight-year wait since the previous Street Fighter installment. Many fans assumed that the series had reached its natural conclusion, but were pleasantly surprised when Street Fighter IV hit the shelves with the look and feel of Street Fighter II Turbo and a few new features in tow.

The game incorporates some gameplay elements from Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, but also introduces a few of its own mechanics. One such newcomer is Focus Attack, an ability that allows players to absorb incoming attacks from their opponent and redirect it as a powerful counterattack. Depending on how long it’s charged, players can gain a brief advantage during the fight and regenerate a bit of health.

9. Street Fighter Alpha

Street Fighter Alpha Box
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation, GameBoy Color, CPS Changer, Sega Saturn, Arcade
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: June 27, 1995

Despite coming out relatively early in the Street Fighter timeline, Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors’ Dreams revamps many of the series’ existing mechanics to make for more intense and streamlined fights. Super Combos, added in the previous installment, are modified to include a three-level gauge that players fill by successfully performing basic attacks. You can expand the gauge throughout the fight for powerful combo attacks or counterattacks. Other new techniques include midair guarding and chain combos.

Street Fighter Alpha was well-received as a whole, with fans and critics alike praising the subtle but impactful changes to the game’s core mechanics. The Alpha series would go on to be even more of a success in its later installments. Spoiler alert — Alpha 2 and 3 both make our top ten ranking, but we’ll discuss them in more specific detail later on.

8. Street Fighter II: Champion Edition

Street Fighter II Champion Edition Box
  • Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Arcade
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: March 18, 1992

Street Fighter II: Champion Edition was the first of the many, many Street Fighter II updates. There weren’t many notable mechanical changes, with most of the gameplay elements carrying over from the previous installment. A few aesthetic updates were added, along with some minor changes to better balance competitive multiplayer mode.

One of the more noticeable changes is the expanded character roster. In addition to the eight main characters, players can now jump into fights as the four Shadaloo bosses — Balrog, M. Bison, Sagat, and Vega. When facing off in competitive multiplayer mode, players also gain the option to select the same character under alternate color palettes.

7. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior

Street Fighter II The World Warrior
  • Platforms: PC, SNES, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Arcade
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: March 1991

Street Fighter II is widely considered to be one of the best video games of all time. It earns its reputation for being one of the bestselling arcade titles ever, and for its profound influence on the fighting and competitive multiplayer genres. It’s easy to see why Capcom capitalized on its fame by releasing so many versions of the game (some better than others), but the original has some serious appeal all on its own.

Being only the second game in the Street Fighter series, Street Fighter II had a lot of room to grow and build off its predecessor. It does so by offering a far more robust gameplay experience — players can now choose from any of eight playable characters (rather than being limited to Ryu and Ken), each having their own set of unique moves. Also new to the franchise is the ability to perform combo attacks, which has become an iconic aspect of the Street Fighter series and fighting games in general.

6. Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting

Street Fighter II Turbo Hyper Fighting
  • Platforms: SNES, Arcade
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: December 10, 1992

In case you weren’t sure, the game titled Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting is a fighting game. As the name also suggests, the main appeal to this version of Street Fighter II is the improved attack speeds. Although the main game remains relatively unchanged from Champion Edition, a few minor additions include the aforementioned increased attack speed, new character color palettes, and new special moves for most of the playable characters.

The extreme fighting speeds were well-received by fans. Many found that the increased pacing provided a new level of strategy to the game — beyond understanding standard moves, you also need to have quick reflexes and the ability to adjust your approach at a moment’s notice.

5. Super Street Fighter II Turbo

Super Street Fighter II Turbo
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation, Dreamcast, Sega Saturn, GBA, Arcade
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: February 23, 1994

I’m gonna say it — some of these Street Fighter II titles are way too similar. While it can be hard to pick some of them out of a lineup, Super Street Fighter II Turbo is one you don’t want to pass by. Considering the new mechanics it brings to the series and its overall impact on the e-sports scene, Super Turbo is well-deserving of a position in our top five Street Fighter games ranked.

Super Turbo introduces Super Combos, allowing players to perform powerful automatic multi-hit combos by building up and expending their Super meter in battle. The addition of Air Combos makes gameplay even more intense, as players can execute combo attacks when midair.

Perhaps most notable is Super Turbo’s introduction of adjustable fighting speeds. After the insanely high clip of Hyper Fighting (which was a bit too fast for some players) and the comparatively snail-paced speed of Super Street Fighter II, Capcom found a way to appeal to fans of varying skill levels. The solution? Allowing players to adjust the game’s speed either through system configuration or a free-select setup that allows each player to customize their experience at the start of the game.

4. Street Fighter Alpha 2

Street Fighter Alpha 2
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, SNES, Arcade
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release Date: March 6, 1996

Street Fighter Alpha 2 serves as both a sequel to and a remake of the original Street Fighter Alpha. The game was carefully rebalanced with this special role in mind, introducing new characters and gameplay content while keeping all of the original appeal. In other words, anything that Street Fighter Alpha does, its Alpha 2 does better.

Many of Alpha’s mechanics are carried over into the sequel, including the three-level Super Combos and a few other combat techniques. New to the game are Custom Combos, which allow players to use up portions of their Super gauge to power special combo attacks for a set amount of time. These combos use each character’s basic moveset, letting players show off their expertise with any of the game’s eighteen characters. Another excellent addition? Alpha Combos can be performed with punches or kicks.

3. Ultra Street Fighter IV

Ultra Street Fighter IV
  • Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Arcade
  • Developer: Dimps, Capcom
  • Release Date: June 3, 2014

Ultra Street Fighter IV is a significant (and belated) update to Street Fighter IV. It released both as a downloadable update for players who had already purchased Street Fighter IV, and as a complete game for new players. The game adds a handful of stages and new characters, as well as some balancing tweaks that tie it all together.

Even though it’s more of an add-on to Street Fighter IVUltra easily earns a place in our top three Street Fighter games ranked based on the quality of those add-ons. Capcom includes six new stages on top of the base game, and expands the character roster to include a whopping forty-four characters. If that weren’t impressive enough, it also brings back the Edition Select system from Hyper Street Fighter II! This allows players to choose alternate versions of characters as they appeared in earlier Street Fighter installments, opening up a whole slew of new moves and strategies.

2. Street Fighter Alpha 3

Street Fighter Alpha 3 Box
  • Platforms: PlayStation, PSP, GBA, Dreamcast, Arcade
  • Developer: Crawfish Interactive, Capcom
  • Release Date: June 29, 1998

I wasn’t kidding when I said that the Alpha series was a successful one! Each installment builds beautifully on the standards set by its predecessor, but none of them more so than Alpha 3. The game flips the standard “Normal” and “Auto” settings on their heads, introducing “-isms” that each offers a unique fighting style.

Players can choose to play with the standard three-level Super Combo gauge from earlier Alpha titles (A-ism), a single-level Super gauge for a more powerful Super Combo (X-ism), or replace Super Combos altogether with Custom Combos reminiscent of Alpha 2 (V-ism). Each “-ism” also has a few generic pros and cons that affect overall gameplay.

Alpha 3 also introduces the Guard Power Gauge, which determines how adequately players can block incoming attacks. The gauge depletes with each block, encouraging players to balance their strategy between offense and defense and avoid being left vulnerable. The gauge size varies across both “-isms” and characters, making each approach unique.

1. Street Fighter III 3rd Strike: Fight for the Future

Street Fighter III 3rd Strike Fight for the Future
  • Platforms: PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Switch, Dreamcast, Arcade
  • Developer: Iron Galaxy Studios, Capcom
  • Release Date: May 12, 1999

This brings us to our number one spot and the top-ranking Street Fighter title — Street Fighter III 3rd Strike. Now, I’ll admit that the game doesn’t bring a lot to the table that Street Fighter III and Double Impact didn’t already introduce. Where it shines, however, is in the implementation and streamlining of those concepts. It continues the story of the previous games and refines its mechanics to give players a fighting game that truly pushes you to improve.

In addition to revamping and expanding on the parry system from Double Impact3rd Strike introduces a Judgement System that grades players on their performance. These grades are based on various factors, including overall technique, move variety, and the effectiveness of your offense and defense. You also gain extra points for meeting specific requirements within the match.

Even though it’s seen as another addition to the Street Fighter III subseries, we find 3rd Impact well-deserving of our list’s top spot. Overall grade? MSF.

HighGroundGaming_highGroundView_br

Further Reading

That’s it for our ranking of the top ten Street Fighter games! There are definitely a lot of high-quality titles in this series that didn’t quite make the list — excluding spin-offs means we didn’t even get to mention incredible series like Street Fighter EXMarvel vs. Capcom, or Street Fighter x Tekken

If you have a favorite Street Fighter game that isn’t mentioned on this list, please leave us a comment and tell us about it. We’d love to hear your thoughts on what makes your favorite title stand out!

Happy gaming!

 

Continue the Adventure!

Sign up for an account at High Ground Gaming, and access all these amazing perks:

  • Custom profile page
  • Save articles to favorites
  • Rate articles
  • Post comments & engage with the community
  • Access the HGG Discord
  • Enter giveaways
This is a pre-registration form. Fill in the following details to verify your email address first. You will be able to access the full registration form and register for an account after the verification.

Join the Discussion

Give feedback on the article, share additional tips & tricks, talk strategy with other members, and make your opinions known. High Ground Gaming is a place for all voices, and we'd love to hear yours!


X

Forgot Password?

Join Us