For the most part, the art of martial arts has been mastered by some of the greatest people we know today. Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris, all have some sort of unique vibe and charisma to their style that whenever we watch them on screen we are on the edge of our seats. Of course most of us cannot achieve the same level as they are but rather in video games. Yes. Fighting games give us the chance to become our supposed favorite martial artist and maybe more. With vibrant colors, outlandish personality, and some extraordinary gameplay, we indulge ourselves into the realms of these wonders. With honorable mentions: Virtual Fighters with their realistic gameplay. Dead or Alive for their insane gameplay and beautiful ladies. And Samurai Shodown for starting the combat based gameplay in the 2D realms. Here are the top 10 fighting game series of all time.
10 Killer Instinct
If you ignore the reception poor Killer Instinct received during Microsoft E3 presentation of the new XBoxOne, Killer Instinct by whole is an outstanding and dare I say very difficult game to master. The series have by far one of the best combo system which now delivers a massive 200 hit combo on a poor soul who has had enough. While the story isn't strong, characters such as Fulgore, T.J. Combo, Orchid, and Saburwolf to name a few are well remembered all the way to modern rosters, and characters such as Hiroki and Aises fill up the gap. By far the best has to be the music and how memorable it is. From the intro of Killer Instinct to the rock out theme as well as some of the characters based, you be jamming to these tunes while attempting to outsmart the AI on the hardest difficulty. Let's not forget the announcer of the game, who's epic voice just screams glory and awesomeness. Gotta keep it PG y'all.
9 Guilty Gear/Blazblue
It's tough to decide which of the two deserve to be on this list. At one point, anime games is just ridiculous because being an anime the plot is genuinely everywhere. Revenge, money, world domination or manipulation, as well as confusing plot points and power ups is what you expect in an anime. Everyone does have their opinion. But if we go by the sheer insanity and beautiful gameplay these two provide, we can agree that both may stand equal amongst each other on this spot. For starters Guilty Gear feels more on the technical side of fighting games while Blazblue is more on the fast pace. The roster on each of their respective games grew as well with interesting characters such as Sol Badguy, Ky Kiske, Dizzy, and Faust if you are on the Guilty Gear side, and Ragna, Noel, Jin Kisargi, and Taokaka if you are on the Blazblue side. Their personality shine along with other characters as well as their finishers. Another game they are ripping off, hmmm?
8 Soul Calibur
For a while, weapon based combat regulated to only the 2D universe and nothing more. There has been attempts on a 3D based combats, but all have felt rather sluggish, uninteresting, or looks bad at all. That is of course until Soul Calibur arrived to the seen. Since its start on the Playstation and eventual arrival on the Dreamcast, Soul Calibur has refined itself into one of the most well renowned weapon based combat game the world has seen, until a certain game drops by in the near future. It contains favorable characters such as Nightmare, Ivy, Sophitia, and Kilk, each with their own unique fighting style and weapon of choice. A dynamic gameplay that evolves in each edition. Mystical Music that resembles the arena and location they are in. A story that may result in some mixed reviews all the way up to the 5th edition of the series. But well known has to be the guest characters Soul Calibur had introduced, starting with the release of Soul Calibur 2 thanks in part to Link being a guest character in the Gamecube edition. This wasn’t your ordinary 2D fighting game anymore, as strategies on how to win the fight, which also includes very difficult boss battles at the very end of the arcade mode, means you need to use ever combo, soul gauge, parry, and even ring outs to win the fight. It’s essentially one of the best 3D combat games to this day, and with the help of character creation in the latest installment, you can guest how far people would go to create pop culture characters in a world of medieval and feudal era battle grounds would.
7 King of Fighters
Team based fighting games haven’t been attempted a lot in fighting games today. Sure we do get it in a crossover games, which we will get to in a moment, but nothing much in a stand alone title. That is until you play the King of Fighter series and you get a pure perfection of a team based fighting game. Yes, King of Fighters is kinda like a crossover, with games from the SNK circuit such as Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Psycho soldier, and Ikari Warriors being represented in the game, but for the most part, many people would remember this as a stand alone fighting game rather than a crossover. It holds a massive roster, where characters may swap in and out from each year, or release thankfully. Needing to select up to 3 or 4 characters in the team. And everyone having an interesting moveset that might help continue the combos or counter a character on the opposing team as well. There’s also the option of selecting who will start the battle, who would enter in the middle if the first character is defeated, and who would clean up should the player loses their second character. It’s a very technical video game and not one easy to master thanks in part to the button commands in order to perform each character’s most devastating special attacks. The series is also well known to have the most difficult boss ever. In nearly all the releases of King of Fighter series, the end boss seem to be nearly invincible and can do a ton of damage to one character without breaking a sweat. Something I’m sure have made gamers rage quit after a couple of tries, especially in the arcades. Overall, there hasn’t been a strong team based game that KOF has delivered in recent years.
6 Capcom Vs Games
Until you take a look at Capcom and their versus games. Capcom has made a strong partnership with so many companies over the years that we crave for a possible vs games with so many companies they have yet to partner up with. Hell, people are still expecting Mortal Kombat vs Street Fighter game at some point. Capcom vs games showcase some of Capcom’s greatest characters over the years the company has been around such as Ryu, Chun-li, Morrigan, Strider, and many more and combine them with other franchises such as SNK, Tekken, and most well known of them all, Marvel Comics. There’s even a release where Capcom takes on Tatsunoko, an anime company with some of the most interesting anime characters we can find today. Each edition of the version game do vary thou, nothing is really the same with except the all star cast. Want a game where two rival fighting game companies finally meet? Play Capcom vs SNK. Want a game that has a great storyline and an opportunity for a 3D game to go to 2D? Play Street Fighter X Tekken. Want to go chaotic in the game with little to no regards on how much damage you can deal no matter how many people can be on the same screen at once? Play Marvel vs Capcom. The feeling and having your favorite characters from both franchises is also a feel good moment too as we want characters from said series to finally make an appearance and represent our franchise in the game, if anything, this is the true example of why characters matter more in a video game, not just the gameplay or story.
When Netherrealms created their first crossover game, the feeling felt pretty cold since of course Mortal Kombat was known as one of the most brutal and violent video games to come out of the video game market, and people in DC comics do not want anything too violent with their comic book heroes and villains. After the success of MK’s latest release, the Netherrealm team started a new game centering around just the DC heroes and villains and no one else. The result was a successful superhero fighting game series, that while the game only have two releases, Injustice: God Among Us and Injustice 2, feels like it organically became a series we want to play further into the future. For starters the roster is on the mark. We do get the traditional Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Joker roster, but we also get more than just the well known characters in the DC comic books, which includes Killer Frost, Blue Beetle, Captain Cold, and Gorilla Grodd to name a few. The story is also astonishing, giving us an idea of what if that comic books pretty much tend to stay away from until this game comes out. Not to spoil so much about it because you should get your hands on this game, the game focuses on what would happen if Superman has had enough of the world after losing someone important and decides to take over the world in his way of protecting it. The combat is good as it feels a bit different than the Mortal Kombat games, with heroes having their own special powers like Superman’s eye laser beam, Flash’s time warp speed, and Bane’s venom power up, as well as the environment to use against your opponent or to get you a leg up to escape from a dire situation. This game rocks because it’s the ideal of having our biggest question being tested, who would win in a fight between Batman and Superman? That question is still going wild today folks.
4 Super Smash Bros.
Another trend of crossovers comes with one company who you never expected to have a fighting game center around their lovable characters. Nintendo gamble on a brawl type game using characters like Mario, Link, Yoshi, and Pikachu with special items like the turtle shell, hammer, or a baseball bat and it worked! Smash Bros. would soon have an identity of its own, and eventually became one of the most popular fighting games Nintendo has ever created. It isn’t until Super Smash Bros. Melee that took things to a whole new level. New characters were introduced including Ganadolf, Bowser, Peach, and Mr. Game and Watch, and tournaments slowly began to creep into our local areas with Smash Bros. Melee. The game is a massive mayhem, mostly when play with up to four players at a time, 8 if you get the latest installment of Smash Bros. Above all else, this also shows why characters are more important than gameplay as our favorite Nintendo characters from nearly all the Nintendo franchise are represented in this series. Not just Nintendo characters, but also characters from Sega, Capcom, Konami, and shocking enough Rare/Microsoft, showing that Smash Bros is an open door for those who were on the Nintendo consoles no matter how big or small it is to get an invite to become a Smash Bros. character. Just imagine the possibility of who is going to be in the game should there be another release of Smash Bros in the near future? I’m still waiting for my dear Shantee to make an appearance thou.
Of all the 3D fighting games to come out in the arcade or on consoles, Tekken is by far one of the best fighting games of all time. Let’s talk about the story first. A tale of a cursed family battling out for supremacy and world domination dating back to one of the casts childhood, well count me in. Several characters in the game have some thrilling story behind their arc and is done magnificently well, for the most part. And speaking of characters, Tekken has some of the best characters that can relate to us or have that special martial art style or charisma that we enjoy beside Heihachi and Kazuya. Guys like King, Nina Williams, Paul Phoenix, Martial Law, Lili, Askua Kazama, and a few others have display a variety of jaw dropping movesets and interesting story and rivalry with one another. The gameplay has improved over time as well. Being basic from the start of the series to something that can be a bit complex with it’s combo system, especially the 10 hit combo, and the series has introduced the juggling combo, where players can unleash a series of multiple hit combos without giving the opponent a chance to breathe. The music is also memorable, even in the latest installment of the Tekken series as well as special features from Tekken 3 and then on, which includes Bowling. There’s nothing more satisfying then to settle a family feud with 10 pins, 10 frames, and a single bowling ball. The game also introduced cinematic endings, though the endings would improve over time in later installments. If you're looking for a perfect fighting game that is fast pace and unique, Tekken is the definite game to go to
2 Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat was controversial. Mortal Kombat was brutal. Mortal Kombat was amazing!! For over 25 years, Mortal Kombat has been able to create an identity of its own as one of the most outstanding fighting games to capture the audience's attention with their blood and gore. But to say that only their ultra violence feels pretty much a crime to what they truly had over the years. Well for the least part that is. Mortal Kombat had an interesting story ranging from the first Mortal Kombat game to their 3D adventures, into their reboot at later generations, as well as the time travel story. The gameplay has also changed over the years, but thankfully, it has focused on its roots and even improved on it in recent years, yet the blood and gore for shock factor has always remain the same...with the exception of one game in the series. Above all else, the characters who enter the Mortal Kombat tournament since the very beginning has helped evolved the Mortal Kombat franchise. Everyone has their favorite, whether it be Sub-Zero, Scorpion, Kitana, Lui Kang, Raiden, or even Shoa Khan. And speaking of Shoa Khan, who could ever forget getting a chance to go toe to toe with this behemoth final boss and had their controllers broken. Well him and other characters like Goro, Kintaro, and Motaro. Characters aside, Mortal Kombat will and has always been known for their fatalities, a new feature in fighting games where you mercilessly murder your opponents in a display of awe and speculator wonder. So much so that it caught the attention of the US Government. You naughty video game.
1 Street Fighter
It's the game that changed everything. While fighting games were available prior to this, no other franchise has changed the way fighting games would be today than Street Fighter. Now it didn't have a strong start, since the one before part two was pretty much a button mash game, but once the release of Street Fighter 2 on the arcades arrive, fighting games soon evolve. It introduced female competitors such as Chun-li and Cammy. Characters like Ryu, Ken, Guile, and Bison are well remembered. And the music is hummed into our heads like an annoying bee around a blooming flower. As more release of Street Fighter go by, the gameplay changes and more characters are introduced like Sakura and Akuma. It brought in the ideal of fighting game tournaments before Evo. And has put Capcom on the spot as one of the most successful companies thanks to the release of Street Fighter in the 4th generation.