[Top 10] Best Street Fighter Games of All Time (Ranked Fun To Most Fun)

best street fighter games
Each Street Fighter game has its own identity.

What’s your favorite Street Fighter game of all time?

Every main Street Fighter game ever since the debut of the series back in 1987 has had its own unique gameplay mechanics and colorful roster. In fact, each game is so full of personality and they are all so distinct from each other, that even today you see multiple competitive tournaments for almost all of the main entries in the series, no matter how old or new.

Even though some of the games are so bad that they are actually good, like the Street Fighter: The Movie game, we’ll focus more on fundamentally good games, and rank this list based on how fun the characters, the gameplay, the system mechanics are, as well as the impacts these games have had in the fighting game community.

Also, we will only be considering official games developed by Capcom so the likes of Street Fighter II: Rainbow Edition will not see the light of day. Without further ado, let’s jump into what are the 10 best Street Fighter games of all time.


10. Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors’ Dreams (1995)

Street Fighter Alpha:Warriors' Dreams Expert Difficulty Ryu no lose Playthrough

The Street Fighter Alpha series, known as Street Fighter Zero in Japan, acts as a prequel to the incredibly popular Street Fighter II series. Street Fighter games have been following a non-linear chronology in terms of the canon story, in which the correct chronological order of events is different from the order of release. 

As such, the events of Alpha take place between the first and second games. Alpha included 10 playable characters and a total of 3 bosses (2 of them secret ones) and had some interesting new mechanics, like the Alpha Counters and 3-level super gauges, air blocking, rolling out of throws, and the option to play with simpler controls if you’re a beginner.

The one mechanic that stands out the most, however, is the ability to perform Chain Combos. A Chain Combo basically consists of canceling normal moves into each other by following a priority-rule system. Chain Combos were removed from the series after this game and later replaced by Target Combos, and they are a big part of why Street Fighter Alpha: Warriors’ Dreams is such a fun entry.


9. Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact - Giant Attack (1997)

Arcade Longplay Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact

Street Fighter III: New Generation was poorly received by Street Fighter fans due to the removal of basically every familiar character from the roster. The game took place well in the chronological furture of the series, and that justified the change in characters, but the fans did not eat it up.

Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact was a revamped and improved version of the aforementioned game, with improved gameplay and additional characters like Hugo and Urien. What stands out about this game is actually its aesthetics, from its fluid animations and colorful backgrounds, to an amazing soundtrack and hilarious postmatch artwork in the arcade.

2nd Impact is overflowing with personality and its biggest fault is probably its best asset as well, as the game was so loose that it allowed for several exploits within the game’s mechanics. From pseudo-infinite juggles in the corner to matchup-specific functions and techniques, this game has it all, and you can spend as much time as you want labbing this stuff, as still to this day there are new and fun things that continue to be discovered in 2nd Impact.


8. Street Fighter IV (2009)

Vanilla Street Fighter IV. Arcade Mode with Ken.

Street Fighter as a series badly stagnated during the 2000s, with many believing that the franchise’s title as the king of all fighting games was gone along with the end of the arcade era.

Yes, it is true that it took literally a decade for Capcom to adjust to the new console-heavy world of fighting games, but when they did, they pulled all the stops. Street Fighter IV was released in 2009 with revolutionizing 3D graphics, an art style bristling with personality, and ground-based mechanics based on Street Fighter II. As a matter of fact, the original roster for the vanilla version of the game only included the 12 characters from Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, plus 4 new ones.

The game was not only great in presentation and gameplay feel, but it also had deep new mechanics like the Focus Attack and the comeback tool known as the Revenge Gauge, which would allow you to perform devastating moves called Ultra Combos. This game revolutionized the modern era of fighting games and spawn an entire generation of fighting gamers all over the world. A true job well done, Capcom.


7. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (1991)

Arcade Longplay Street Fighter II: The World Warrior

And here we are, talking about Street Fighter II: The World Warrior yet again. There is not much more to be added to this entry as this is one of the games with the biggest legacies in gaming history.

A playable roster of 8 characters, all of them tremendously iconic and influential. All of them with their own distinct playstyle. All of them require to adjust their playstyle depending on which character they’re facing. An amazing arcade mode with 3 sub-bosses and a merciless final boss that required you to learn new ways to play the game if you want to beat it. A glimpse of each character’s own story if you beat the game.

Street Fighter II has spawned countless copycat games over the years and has influenced even the biggest titles from the competition. The huge success of this game speaks for itself and it is thanks to how well-conceived and executed Street Fighter II: Ther World Warrior was that we can now play so many different types of ridiculously fun games within the genre.


6. Street Fighter Alpha 2 (1996)

Street Fighter Alpha 2 Longplay (Arcade) [60 FPS]

The shift toward the anime-like visuals in the Alpha series fit like a glove for Street Fighter. Alpha 2’s aesthetic, in particular, is so beautiful and cheerful that even just watching the game being played by amateurs is still engaging. The soundtrack is also pretty neat.

Even though they removed the chain combo feature, they kept it somewhat alive with the likes of Guy and Gen having Target Combos, which are a stricter and more limited form of chain comboing, present in pretty much every Street Fighter game since Alpha 2.

In this game, every character has around 3 different Super Combos, and they all can be used in the same match. They can also be used on varying levels, depending on how many kicks or punches you tap along with the motion inputs. On top of this, the Custom Combo option was introduced, allowing players to spend their meter to perform original, manually executed combos.

What makes this game so interesting is that on the arcade mode you get to walk the individual path of whatever character you select, where even the final boss will vary from character to character, depending on their ending and what their journey is all about.


5. Street Fighter V: Champion Edition (2020)

Street Fighter V - Champion Edition Gameplay (PC)

Street Fighter V was released in its vanilla version back in 2016, and the developers made the mistake of having the game released without it being properly finished. A small roster, lack of features, a bad net code, and bad balance were all part of what made Street Fighter V get some the worst reputation for a SF entry in a while.

All of that was worked around, even if arguably too late, and right now, in 2022, we have the best version of SFV, and one of the best versions of any Street Fighter game ever. The game revolves more around the depth of the neutral game and punish potential, and it has a gigantic roster of 46 characters, all of them with specific tools and capacities.

The most crucial instrument in the game is of course the V-System. V-Skills and V-Triggers are specific moves, modes, or function tools that can be chosen between 1 out of 2 options each, allowing the same characters to be played in completely different ways depending on which V-Skills or V-Triggers you select.

V-Triggers can be used once your V-Gauge is completely full, but you can also spend the said gauge to use V-Reversal, which is similar to the Alpha Counter and exists to deal against offensive pressure, or V-Shift, which is an invincible back dash that can turn the tables if timed precisely before a move hits you. With all these mechanics and a generally balanced roster, Street Fighter V: Champion Edition has a lot of depth in even its most mundane combat situations.


4. Street Fighter Alpha 3 (1998)

Street Fighter Alpha 3 Arcade - SF 30th Anniversary Collection

Alpha 3 was released in 1998, after the release of Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact. This means that the game was sort of a revisitation of Street Fighter Alpha and we can be thankful for that.

The game has a massive roster, derived from a combination of returning characters, new blood, and borrowed faces from Final Fight. To be fair, the changes they made to the arcade mode probably were for the worse when compared to Alpha 2, as most characters have M. Bison as the final boss, but in terms of competitive and PvP play, the game is a gem. An interesting thing about this game in terms of story is that it directly follows the events of Alpha 2 and moves the narrative forward from that point.

You can choose between 3 systems when selecting a character, being them X-ism, A-ism, and V-ism. X-ism is a simple mechanic mode with only 1 Super and easier inputs for less special moves, with higher damage input but lower speed and defense. Then you have A-ism, which is pretty much like standard Alpha with the 3-level Supers and balanced assets. Finally, V-ism trades off Super Combos for the absolutely devastating Custom Combos, at the cost of less damage but increased speed and defense.

These modes also dictate if you can or cannot use mechanics like air blocking or Alpha Counter and they completely change the way characters are played. With a massive roster, complex mechanics, and room for self-expression and variable functions, Alpha 3 is a treat for any fighting game fan.


3. Super Street Fighter II Turbo (1994)

Super Street Fighter II Turbo (Arcade) Playthrough as Ryu

We discussed above the relevance of Street Fighter II: The World Warrior and how it can’t be stressed enough. The game has had numerous reissues, each of them seemingly an improvement. 

Well, the best version of Street Fighter II is undoubtedly Super Street Fighter II Turbo. It is faster, making the action more exciting, and more polished. Characters gain a Super Combo for the first time ever, and the roster is huge for the time, as all 16 characters have an alternate “Old” version of themselves, with different frame data, moveset, and no Super gauge.

Akuma also appears for the first time as a secret boss, only showing up if you beat the arcade mode without losing a single round.

SSFII Turbo rocketed the fighting game competitive scene, and even to this day, there are relevant tournaments for it, even though the game was released almost 30 years ago. Perfect balance between offense and defense, hard combos and tight inputs, and match-up knowledge importance make this one of the best fighting games ever made.


2. Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike - Fight for the Future (1999)

Arcade Longplay Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike

If you consider yourself a Street Fighter fan and never played 3rd Strike, you might want to consider your life choices. For many, this is considered the absolute best entry in the series, and that is not a bold statement in any way, shape, or form.

3rd Strike is a great and fantastically fun fighting game where momentum is constantly shifting, mostly thanks to the Parry system. The ability to parry an opponent’s move by simply walking forward at the correct timing and the subsequent punish that follows it changes the whole way Street Fighter can be played. Suddenly, fireball zoning becomes futile as opponents can simply parry the projectiles, and jump-ins are way riskier as a well-timed parry can severely hurt the jumper. There is even a more rewarding and rarer form of Parry called Red Parry.

Combos work with meticulous characteristics and many input techniques are required to pull off some of the more destructive ones, and canceling the start-up frames of moves into other moves is ever-present in the form of Kara Cancelling.

Because the game offers so many defensive options with blocking, parrying, EX invincible special moves, throw techs, and more, an excellent mix-up game is required to win, and hit-confirms play a major role in the unfolding of a match, especially since most Super Arts are special cancelable.

3rd Strike was an instant classic and even Combo Breaker 2022 saw the game represented, showing the legacy and love emanated from this game.


1. Ultra Street Fighter IV (2014)

USF4 High Level Compilation 

Street Fighter IV spawned a new generation of players and throughout its years of existence, it kept getting better and better. The ultimate version of the game is Ultra Street Fighter IV, which many may call a perfect game.

An outstanding arcade mode with animated cinematic scenes for all characters, and a huge roster of over 40 characters, each of them with their own playstyle and gameplay, but still all of them completely balanced.

A game with such a huge roster with so many different characters from all generations where all of them are extremely balanced is any fighting game fan’s wet dream, and if this was not enough, the game wrecks the competition with its amazing mechanics.

Focus Attacks can be held for better properties and can be canceled by dashing back or forward. Since Focus Attacks can absorb one hit, and since they cause a crumble on hit, they are the most important tool in the game. However, what makes this tool so great is what is called Focus Attack Dash Cancel, or FADC for short. At the cost of 2 bars of meter, one can cancel a move into Focus Attack and rapidly dash out of it for a follow-up, which extends combo routes in multiple directions.

Thanks to FADC, a player can literally create their own personal combos and explore the game limits and possibilities freely. There is an even stronger form of Focus Attack nicknamed the Red Focus, which can be used at a higher cost of meter.

The game also relies on input tricks and complex techniques to pull off some extra hard combos (some of them with multiple 1-frame links, meaning you need to press the button in the exact 1/60 of a second for it to work), like pianoing, plinking, kara cancels and the Option Select, which is the act of performing two simultaneous actions and let the game decide automatically perform one of them depending on the opponent’s action.

This is also the Street Fighter entry where Okizeme, or wake-up game, is more relevant, as multiple moves, including regular throws, cause a hard knockdown, resulting in constant guessing and mind games between the offensive and defensive player.

Match-up relevance, optimal punishes, creative combos, complex and fun mechanics, a focus on footsies, a fantastic roster, an outstanding presentation, and one of the greatest announcer voices in all of gaming, make Ultra Street Fighter IV the best Street Fighter game of all time.


Street Fighter 6 is around the corner and it too seems to have some of the best mechanics in the history of the franchise, but before we look into the future, it’s important to reminisce the past and remember why we love this series so much.

It is truly amazing how Capcom has been able to produce so many Street Fighter games with such divergent art styles, systems, and modes, and how each of these games has its own personality. At the end of the day, not everyone will have the same cup of tea, so you too will have your own favorite game within the series. Nonetheless, all of these games, and even the ones that didn’t make this top 10 are amazing. All of them are Street Fighter.


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Andre walks the path of a fighting warrior to pursue self-improvement and to break his limits. His amazing power of creative writing and his unwavering love for games are the source of his willpower.
Gamer Since: 2003
Favorite Genre: PVP
Currently Playing: Street Fighter V: Champion Edition
Top 3 Favorite Games:Street Fighter X Tekken, Grand Theft Auto V, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

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