Today sees the release of ‘Super Smash Bros for Wii U’ (really Nintendo? This was the name you chose?) the biggest launch the Wii U has seen to date! While I’m not a fan of it, I can certainly see the appeal of punching Wario in the face trying to murder him by smashing him off a level! Bliss! Anyways.
While you’re taking a break from randomly spamming attack buttons here’s our list of the best fighting games ever?
5) Virtua Fighter 5 (360/PS3)
For some reason the Virtua Fighter franchise has never really taken off outside of Asia; I’m not too sure why this is as it has been absolutely brilliant since ‘Virtua Fighter 2’! Perhaps it’s the public’s perception of the fighting mechanics that have (and I’ve seen it in reviews) been described as too complicated for beginners. This is quite simply not true; yes the fighting model is complex, but every good fighting game has a complex system that allows for player experimentation and freestyle. It is no more complicated than ‘Tekken’ or ‘Soul Calibur’ and ‘Virtua Fighter 5’ is a game that deserved a much larger audience than it got.
The reason the game is so good all comes down to balance, the guru’s at SEGA AM2 have been making fighting games for a very long time (and damn good ones too) and they have struck the perfect balance. Advanced players of all characters all have an equal playing field thanks to variations in character movement (both speed and weight), moves (sure there are powerful moves; but these are telegraphed and easily blocked/reversed), speed and fighting style. Seriously the fighting system and technical ability on show here is mind-boggling.
This game is dirt cheap, play it!
4) Tekken 3 (Arcade/PS)
‘Tekken 3’ is; for my money, the best in the series for a number of reasons the first being the sheer amount of content. ‘Tekken 3’ has every mode from the second installment and added ‘Tekken Force’ mode (a side-scrolling beat’em’up) and ‘Tekken Ball’ mode (beach volley ball). While these are simple mini-games they are an incredibly good fun when you want a little diversion from the main action.
Although the main action is amazing. ‘Tekken 3’ has some balancing issues (mostly due to the introduction of the auto-pilot character Eddie Gordo) but every character has a counter-acting character (liek rock, paper, scissors) while pro’s can rely on their chosen pugilist to deadly effect (mine was either King or Lei). Every character also has a massive amount of moves and the possibilities for combo’s are almost endless thanks to the amazing juggling system and transition animations. It is possible for a high level player to decimate an average player without a break in combo – that is a sign of a cracking fighting system.
I lost so much time to ‘Tekken 3’ and it was fun for everyone, it was truly accessible and endlessly – should the player choose to delve into the systems. ‘Tekken 3’ was a masterclass in the fighting genre.
3) Soul Calibur (Arcade/Dreamcast)
Namco just couldn’t be stopped between 1998 and 2002 and this was their magnum opus!
‘Soul Calibur’ was an absolute revelation when released in 1999, it revolutionised 3D movement with the introduction of the 8-way movement system that turned every fight into a graceful ballet and the refined “tech roll” from ‘Tekken 3’ that made the ground game incredibly strategic – no longer were you a sitting duck when on your back – tap the block button and you were on your feet ready to attack, simple but brilliantly elegant. The whole fighting mechanic present in ‘Soul Calibur’ is pure, brutal, balanced and fast – it’s never been bettered (certainly not in the 3D fighter realm) and I don’t think it ever will.
Like ‘Virtua fighter 5’ there was a real balance to the fighters, no character had an obvious advantage over the others.
Like ‘Tekken 3’ there is an incredible amount of content (Quest mode is a full on RPG-lite with a fighting game on top)and each fighters move-set is gigantic. and the animations of the characters creates opportunity to rain pain on everyone who stands in your way – everything is incredibly fluid and very fulfilling.
Buy the HD re-release; it isn’t great (content-wise) but the fighting is as good as ever!
2) WWF No Mercy (N64)
The best wrestling game ever made. Period. Don’t try to argue it, its pretty much science fact. It is also the only game that I truly mastered; I’m damn near unbeatable in this one (just ask my university room-mate, he’ll confirm it). Why did this happen? I spent far too much time with it because the wrestling action is so good.
Mechanically speaking it is very similar to AKI’s previous wrestling games on the N64 (Wrestlemania 2000 and WCW vs NWO world tour) it is a slower paced wrestling game than the Smackdown ones on Playstation and with a robust grapple system the game rarely became predictable. The roster was as diverse as the Attitude era allows, all the main stipulation matches were present and the create-a-wrestler was way ahead of the competition at the time.
It’s difficult to explain why this game is so good, firstly the action is geared toward grappling AND striking (something many recent wrestling games don’t do) you cannot win a match with only strikes because they are easily blocked and you cannot rely on grapples because they are easily reversed…the victor will be the person who successfully mixes up their offence and defends when required. This is just like the real sport; it’s a delicate balancing act that is about the theatre as it is the brutal wrestling action. AKI understood this.
While wrestling is getting more popular and the games sell more than ever they can never compete with this one – because they don’t get wrestling or appreciate the art quite like AKI did.
1) Super Street fighter 2 HD Remix (360/PS3)
This is it. The daddy of them all. Taking the game that everyone knows inside out (and is still the best fighter ever) and giving it a sexy upgrade in visual clarity. In ‘Street Fighter II’ it’s all about the balance. Every fighter has their own unique attributes, every fighter have their own unique fighting style (yes even Ryu and Ken) and each have strengths and weaknesses (like rock, paper, scissors with fireballs).
While the game allows for amateurs to sample and enjoy the delights on offer; when you watch high level competitive players go toe to toe they’ll do things you’ve never thought possible. The depth that Capcom inbuilt to ‘Street Fighter II’ is scary – players have exploited everything including frame skips to gain the upper hand – ‘Street Fighter II’ has become the video game equivalent of chess – masters the world over try to out do each other in ever increasingly skillful bouts.
This game is a thing of beauty. I can say nothing that you don;t already know…but the HD release because it is as beautiful to look at as it is to play.
So I didn’t put in your favourite beat’em’up?
So what; wanna fight bout it?
Tell me in the comments!