Ever since the first time I played Street Fighter 2 in the arcades, I’ve had a huge fondness for video games. There’s just something appealing about the idea of having two fighters go one on one – with colourful special moves and epic finishers. Few games get the adrenaline going like fighting games and it’s a type of game that I love to play when I need to blow off some steam.
I’ve played tons of fighting games over the years on a variety of systems from the Genesis (Or Mega Drive depending where you are in the world) to the Playstation – or even the good old fashioned arcade cabinets! And today I am celebrating, what I consider to be, the Top Five best fighting games – according to me.
For me, what makes a “good” fighting game is these factors. Ease of play, characters, music, variety of special moves – and most of all, fun factor! Also, as controversial as this sounds, I’m excluding Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat games from this list. Those games are awesome – but I kinda want to give other franchises a chance to shine. As always, these are listed in no particular order and are just my opinion.
So here we go. Round One… FIGHT!!!
Anyway, enough about my life failures…
Combining two of the biggest names in fighting games may have been a risky move for Rare – but somehow they pulled it off. In turn they created a fun fighting game that had all the playability of Street Fighter, mixed in with all the ultra gore of Mortal Kombat. Killer Instinct is fast, playable and fun! But Killer Instinct's main appeal that drew players to this game? Huge combos! Not just the fact that you could create combos of 60+ hits – but how EASY you could do it. With the right button presses and timings, even a novice player could end up creating a multi-hit combo that would make everyone’s jaw hit the ground. And there are few things more satisfying that hearing the announcer cry “ULTRA COMBO” after you’ve just performed your master combo!
Ok, so the characters and story may not have been anything too special – aside form Fulgore and Orchid, they’re awesome – but Killer Instinct’s fast playability and ability to just pick up and play is what keeps it in the hearts of many fighting game affectionardos. And with the release of Killer Instinct 3, it’s great to see this game get the attention it deserves once more. If you get a chance to play this game (even if it’s on the SNES, which is a darn good port by the way) then I highly recommend it.
Marvel VS Capcom 2
If you ever wanted to know who would win in a fight between Ryu and Wolverine, or Chun Li and Spider-Man – or even M.Bison and Doctor Doom (I know I have) then THIS is the game for you. Boasting a roster of 60+ characters (many of which you need to unlock) and the ability to mix and match them to create a team of three – you will have HOURS of fun! You have a ton of players to match any style of play, so you’re bound to find a fighter that is right for you. Or, if you just wanna be REALLY cheap, you can just pick the team of Cable, Akuma and Juggernaut! XD
The moves are pretty easy to pull off (even the super moves) and you have the option of having ALL your characters do a special move at once. Try to imagine Ryu, Cyclops and Wolverine doing their finishers at the same time – and imagine how awesome that would look – and you have an idea of how epic this is!
With such a high roster, and the chance to unlock even more players, this is a game that will keep you entertained for hours. It’s a game that’s easy to play, but if you want to pick up those high combos you are REALLY gonna need to practice your playing style.
Best thing about this game? It doesn’t have that super cheap Onslaught boss from the first Marvel Vs Capcom game (seriously **** that boss!)
Turtles Tournament Fighters
Spanning the NES, Mega Drive and SNES, each Turtles Tournament Fighters varied greatly in gameplay and story. But the SNES version is by far the best out of the three in terms of playability and fun.
With a roster of ten characters, including all the Turtles and (squeal) Shredder, the game is a pretty standard, but enjoyable fighter. Each character has about 2 to 3 moves that they can do, all of which can be activated in mostly the same way that Street Fighter special moves are activated. But what gave this game an advantage over other fighting games of the time was its use of supermoves – making this one of the first fighting games to do so. And they were easy to pull off! Just press two buttons when your energy bar was filled up and you can perform a finishing move that will decimate your opponent!
The gameplay was thick and fast, the music was adrenaline fuelled and got your heart racing – and most of all, you could play as the Ninja Turtles. What wasn’t to like about that! As well as having an arcade mode, it has a story mode where the Turtles have to rescue April and Splinter from the “Shredder Elite”, which was quite a novel thing at the time.
It’s funny how most of the things we have in fighting games these days seemed to start with Turtles Tournament Fighters, so it could be argued this game was a trendsetter. I guess the only complaints I would have about this game is that you CAN spam the same move over and over again to win a fight. Also, the computer seems to almost always be able to knock you out of the air if you try a jumping attack – so anyone who favours air attacks might struggle with this one.
But in conclusion, this is a solid fighting game that perfectly captures the feel of the arcades. And it’s also nice to see a licensed game that is (surprisingly) fun to play. Well done Konami!
One of Capcom’s lesser known fighting games, Warzard (Red Earth outside of Japan) is a fantasy themed fighting game whereby you can select one of four characters (each with their own story) and battle a number of monsters until you meet the final boss. It’s probably a lot more story and character driven than any of the other fighters on this list, but it’s still pretty fun.
The first game Capcom did for their CP System III hardware (which they would eventually use for Street Figther 3), the animation is fluid and anime like. The music is pretty rocking and you have a good selection of moves per character. You can also collect magical orbs which let you do super moves, or perform elemental based attacks. One of the more unique things for Red Earth is it’s RPG style level up system. By beating enemies and gaining points, you can level up your character to become stronger, have access to more moves and weapons and become more resistant to certain attacks. It has a password section for you to help go back to your character should you wish to return to the game later on.
The main problem with Red Earth is that it is primarily aimed as a one player game – and generally fighting games are best suited for two players. As such it has limited appeal. There are only four fighters to choose from and you can’t choose any of the boss characters (boo!). Also the password system could be a little unfair if an experienced player uses it against someone who is a first time player – meaning it has the potential for a newbie to go against an overpowered character. As such it has never officially been released outside the arcades or ported to home consoles – although various characters from it have appeared in other Capcom games.
Despite this, if you do get a chance to play it, I’d say give it a go. There are emulators which you can get to let you play the game – but otherwise your best bet if you wish to try these characters would be getting yourself a copy of Capcom Fighting Jam. For all its faults, it has a solid fighting system and the characters are actually pretty cool as well.
Guilty Gear X X
It used to be a common belief that fighting games never had great stories (most of them were just, “fight in a tournament for (insert reason here)”, but Guilty Gear has one of the freshest and detailed backstories I’ve seen in a video game. It feels almost like an anime series. The story would take too long to explain, but here’s the gist – it’s the future and there were these creatures called Gears, powered by magic, who tried to rise up against the humans. They’re supposedly all gone, but some may still survive.
In this version there are a good twenty or so characters to choose from. Most of them are easy to pick up and play, but a good few of them will take a lot of practice to master and use effectively. Like Killer Instinct there is potential for huge combos if you can pull them off, but it will take you a while to master this. Thankfully there isn’t a huge learning curve with the characters so you should be able to find one that suits your style – whether it be balls to the wall offence to a more defensive playing style. And playing the story mode (with multiple endings) will give you a decent look into the characters history and motives – and you may find yourself picking your favourites in terms of personality as well.
One of the things that is a staple in Guilty Gear (and even Arc games in general) is the inclusion of “Instant Kills”. These are really powerful moves that require perfect timing to hit – but if you do it right then you will finish you opponent off regardless of how much energy they have left. These are single use moves, so you won’t be able to spam them, but they are effective as a last resort.
I mentioned earlier that the soundtrack is the best in any series and I genuinely believe that to be true. I actually downloaded the whole soundtrack after playing the game! Hard rock and metal blasts from the game, adding real passion and drive to the battles. Nothing gets me in a mood to fight (in a game that is) more than having metal blast through my speakers.
This game is probably as close to a perfect fighting game as it could be. Amazing visuals, a huge range of special moves, pumping music and an interesting story make this, in my eyes, the best fighting game series outside of Street Fighter. I just wish the final boss wasn’t so stupidly overpowered…
So that’s my list. Which fighting games are your favourites? Let me know!
Have a great weekend guys – and just remember to… FIGHT ON!!! XD
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