Best Street Fighter Games Of All Time, Ranked By You 1
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Capcom's Street Fighter is now over 35 years old, and following the launch of the most recent entry, Street Fighter 6, it felt as good a time as any to ask the most important of questions: no, not "What's the meaning of life?" or "Why do I only have odd socks in my underwear drawer?" We're talking about the real big question facing mankind: "Which Street Fighter game is the absolute best?"

Using our fancy user rating system, we've ranked every Street Fighter game ever made, but if you feel we've left a title out that should be included, drop us a line in the comments to tell us.

Also, remember that this list is totally dynamic, so it will change over time. Feel the current ranking isn't fair? Cast your vote, and you can change it!

Street Fighter Zero 3 (Saturn)

Arguably the most refined entry in the Alpha / Zero sub-series, Street Fighter Zero 3 has a massive cast of characters, all-new backgrounds, a completely fresh soundtrack and new game mechanics which make it one of the deepest and most rewarding entries in the entire Street Fighter franchise. Released on both the PS1 and Saturn, the game would later come to the Dreamcast, as well as the PS2 and PSP.

Street Fighter: The Movie (Arcade)

Unlike the home console version of the same name, Street Fighter: The Movie was developed not by Capcom but by American company Incredible Technologies. Taking inspiration from Mortal Kombat, the decision was made to digitise the real-world actors and place them into the game. The end result is exactly as you'd expect; the developers were unfamiliar with Street Fighter's core mechanics, and it plays very poorly – so poorly that Capcom would step in and handle the domestic version of the game.

Street Fighter EX3 (PS2)

Released exclusively for PS2 instead of coming to arcades, Street Fighter EX3 gives the visuals a massive overhaul and includes tag battles to make the fights more interesting. Despite these improvements, it was treated quite poorly by some media outlets at the time of release, and the EX3 series didn't evolve beyond this entry. Developer Arika would go on to produce its own fighting games series which shares some of the same characters, called Fighting Layer.

Street Fighter (Arcade)

The game that started it all. directed by Takashi Nishiyama (Kung-Fu Master, Fatal Fury), Street Fighter laid down the foundations of an entire genre, introducing the concept of special moves and blocking. Another innovation was pressure-sensitive pads in the original arcade version, which would register the strength of the player's fist – these were later replaced with the iconic six-button setup when they proved to be unreliable. Despite all of its groundbreaking efforts, Street Fighter hasn't aged all that well and is arguably best remembered for establishing the format which its sequel would refine dramatically. The game would be ported to the PC Engine CD as Fighting Street.

Street Fighter: The Movie (PS1)

While it looks similar to the 1995 arcade game of the same name, the home ports of Street Fighter: The Movie for PS1 and Saturn are actually different from the coin-op. Developed internally by Capcom rather than by Incredible Technologies (the company responsible for the arcade version), the game (which goes by the title Street Fighter: Real Battle on Film in Japan) is based largely on Super Street Fighter II Turbo, but is plagued by bouts of slowdown. It's better than the arcade version, but that isn't really saying all that much.

Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight (NES)

Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight is an interesting game, arriving on the NES after the release of the first Street Fighter, but before its sequel hit arcades and caused an explosion of interest in one-on-one brawlers. The game's story was changed for the Western release to at least try and justify the use of the name (our hero is now called Ken), but gameplay-wise, this is unlike any other Street Fighter title, taking the form of an action platformer. Get the hang of it and Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight can entertain, but mostly it just annoys.

Street Fighter III: New Generation (Arcade)

Produced in tandem with the ongoing Alpha spin-off series, Street Fighter III: New Generation had the unenviable task of following directly on from Street Fighter II, one of the most successful arcade games of all time. Capcom was keen to start anew with this sequel – Ryu and Ken are the sole returning characters, with every other fighter being all-new. Powered by Capcom's CPS3 board, the game offers amazing animation and visuals, but it didn't achieve the same commercial success as its direct forerunner. However, Capcom would release two iterations of the game, 2nd Impact and 3rd Strike, which not only introduced classic characters but made the Street Fighter III series even more popular.

Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors' Dreams (GBC)

Visually it is a big step down from the arcade original, but this is a fairly good-looking game considering the hardware. Gameplay is the most important thing and luckily it feels like a Street Fighter game despite the occasional irritation of an unintended special move. As a single-player experience this is a decent little fighter that will keep you occupied for quite a while, but some extra modes would have been welcome. Sound effects are bad and the ending bug also annoys, but the big disappointment is the lack of two-player mode with its absence making the game that bit less appealing.

Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha (PS1)

The first Street Fighter game to enter the realm of 3D visuals, Street Fighter EX was developed by Arika in collaboration with Capcom. Despite the polygon graphics, the gameplay remains locked to a 2D plane. The original Street Fighter EX was only released in arcades and would come to home consoles in its update 'EX Plus Alpha' form, which unlocks all of the 'time-release' fighters and adds Dhalsim, Sakura, Evil Ryu, Bloody Hokuto, Cycloid-β and Cycloid-γ.

Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact (Arcade)

Released in 1997, Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact introduced two new characters – Hugo and Urien – as well as EX Specials, more powerful versions of standard special moves. Bonus round also made a comeback, as they hadn't been seen since the end of the Street Fighter II series. Bundled together with New Generation in the Dreamcast release SF3: Double Impact, Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact occupies a weird place in the Street Fighter III linage; it's better than the first game but stands in the shadow of 3rd Strike.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo (3DO)

Capcom iterated on the Super Street Fighter II concept a second time, giving fans what is considered to be one of the finest one-on-one brawlers ever made. Sadly, it was never ported to the SNES or Mega Drive at the time, but it did come to the 3DO. Super Street Fighter II Turbo was comfortably the best console port of the game for quite some time.

Street Fighter EX2 Plus (PS1)

Released in arcades in 1998, Street Fighter EX2 introduces "Excel Combos" and four new fighters: Blanka, Vega, Sharon and Hayate. Allen Snider, Blair Dame, Darun Mister, Pullum Purna and M. Bison were all dropped from the initial release of the game, only to be reinstated in Street Fighter EX2 Plus, which arrived in 1999. EX2 Plus also included Sagat, Vulcano Rosso and Area as playable fighters. This is the version that would also be ported to the PS1. A PS2 sequel, Street Fighter EX3, followed in 2000.

Street Fighter V (PS4)

Street Fighter V's gameplay sits with the best that gaming has to offer. The characters are truly distinct, the presentation first rate, and the netcode is utterly sublime. A lack of single-player modes at launch dulls the sheen somewhat, and is the only element preventing the title from achieving true greatness. However, with the engrossing Capcom Fighters Network, the game's set up as a fantastic online playground in which to research techniques, stalk idols, view friends' failures, or simply sit back and watch – all the while waiting for your next challenger in this deep, enthralling fighter.

Street Fighter X Tekken (PS3)

There's plenty to enjoy in Street Fighter X Tekken; the cast is second-to-none, it's vibrant and never takes itself too seriously, but you almost wish it would. There was an opportunity for a truly great technical fighter in combining Street Fighter and Tekken, but it's denied in favour of a strategy-light, juggle-heavy scrapper that — like Capcom's other cross-company crossover all those years ago — never quite satisfies.

Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition (3DS)

It would be easy to sit here and pick apart all of the things that Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition doesn't do, but the truth is, Capcom has somehow been able to miraculously squeeze every bit of bone-crushing fighting action onto the portable screen of the 3DS and still managed to toss in a staggering number of added features and options to go along with it. Even losing a few frames of character and background animations is a small price to pay for the stunning 3D visuals.

Street Fighter Alpha 3 (GBA)

Cuts have been made in order to bring the game to the Game Boy Advance, but that was to be expected. What’s surprising is how Crawfish managed to cram in the huge character line-up, multiple modes of play and still got it to look and (most importantly) play like Street Fighter Alpha 3. Controls may take a bit of getting used to and there are a few quibbles (with this many characters you really need an in-game move list) but overall this is an excellent game with plenty to keep you entertained.

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers (Switch)

If the only question you have prior to playing Ultra Street Fighter II is, "I want to know if this is the ultimate version of Street Fighter II", then chances are you're going to come away impressed. The gameplay is as tight and enjoyable as ever, and there's a simplicity to the game engine which makes it incredibly appealing – while it lacks some of the improvements seen in recent fighters, this simplicity somehow makes for a purer experience and one which is more accommodating to genre newcomers to boot. Sadly, Capcom's attempts to add value to this likeable yet ageing template fall totally flat. Buddy Mode is so brief it borders on being pointless, while Way of the Hado – complete with its laughable motion controls – is something you'll only fire up for your own twisted amusement.

Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival (GBA)

It was almost inevitable that Capcom would bring Street Fighter to the GBA, but this first stab isn't all that great. The characters, moves and music that made Street Fighter II great are all here, and you can certainly have fun with this particular version. Of course, much of what appeals with this game is available in the other versions of Street Fighter II, and as well as multiplayer they have less awkward controls. The new artwork and stages (even if there wasn't anything wrong with the old ones) generally work well, but unless you have a strong desire to experience Super Combos and Akuma, it's hard to recommend this over the other versions available. A bold experiment, all the same.

Street Fighter II': Special Champion Edition (MD)

Released in arcades as Champion Edition, this iterative update would lay down a pattern that Capcom would adhere to for the next few years.

As it stands, Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition on the Genesis / Mega Drive is a pretty impressive achievement considering the hardware it was produced for, but it’s nothing more than an interesting footnote in the Street Fighter lineage. The group battle option is neat, and the fact that it includes both the Champion Edition and Hyper Fighting variants of the game is a bonus for completists, but there are better variants of the game to play today.

Champion Edition would also be ported to the PC Engine.

Street Fighter Alpha: Warrior's Dreams (PS1)

After Super Street Fighter II, Capcom went back to its roots with its next game. Street Fighter Zero (or Alpha, as it would be known outside of Japan) shows younger versions of the key characters and also adopts a colourful, anime-style aesthetic. However, it packs in various innovations as well, making it a solid evolution. The big issue is that it often feels unfinished; there aren't that many locations to fight in, and the sequel ended up feeling like the game we should have gotten. The Saturn and PS1 ports are both worth a look.