Top 5 Favorite Fighting Games

I love fighting games, and these are my favorites.
June 08, 2011
Hello again retro junk, welcome to my favorite fighting games list. Now I know it's kind of a cliche to do top # lists around here, So please don't judge my article on that fact alone. Fighting games have always been one of my favorite genre of video games so I wanted to make a top 5 list of my favorite games from the genre. As well as naming my favorites, I'm also gonna name some of my least favorite fighting games as an added bonus to You, the reader. So without further ado, I bring You my top 5 favorite fighting games.

# 5. Killer Instinct

The number 5 game on the list is video game developer(s) Rare's answer to the mega smash hit franchise Mortal Kombat in the mid 90's. During the 1990's, the fighting game genre was skyrocketing in popularity thanks to iconic games such as Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. With the sudden increase in popularity came a slew of new fighting games from different companies trying to get a slice of the pie. Most of these new franchises were mediocre at best. Among the heaping pile of lackluster fighting games was a diamond in the rough known as Killer Instinct.

Killer instinct, or more commonly referred to as just simply "KI", was released in arcades in 1994 and for the super nintendo entertainment system in 1995. Killer instinct has company 'Rare''s signature graphic style that they used for most of their titles during the 16-bit era of video games. The graphics on KI are some of the best graphics on the super nintendo. KI's over the top combos really make this game stand out as a unique fighting game because they brought something original to the table in terms of gameplay, as oppose to just doing what everyone else was doing at the time. You could execute insane 30 hit combos (anything over 21 hits is known as an "ultra combo") that look awesome in 16-bits. You can also do finishing moves in a similar fashion to Mortal Kombat.

Pictured above are all the characters in the game including the games boss character Eyedol (pictured center). KI boasted a roster of many memorable characters such as Spinal (the skeleton warrior with the big sword and sheild), TJ Combo (the boxer), Sabrewulf (the werewolf) and the games poster boy, Fulgore (the cyborg). My favorite characters to play as are TJ Combo, Jago, Thunder, Spinal and Orchid. Fulgore is also on the front of the games box art.--->

Despite having only three official titles in the franchise, which were Killer Insinct, Killer instinct gold (N64) and a release on the nintendo gameboy, the franchise still has a cult following and a legendary status. Long time fans of the series such as myself are still waiting for the day they release an official announcement to continue production on the series, but from the way it looks now, that may just be a pipe dream.

# 4. Tekken tag tournament

Namco's premiere 3-dimensional fighting game series Tekken has been around since it's first release in 1994. Tekken had established itself as an elite fighting game franchise with 1998's Tekken 3, which was a massive success and a truly amazing game. The next entry in the series has a tag team based fighting system and is called Tekken tag tournament. Tekken tag tournament (or just Tekken tag) was one of the first Playstation 2 titles and is still one of the best fighting games on the system.

I had fallen in love with the Tekken series after playing and then eventually owning Tekken 3, but Tekken tag took my love of the series to another level. Now it was official, I had become a loyal fan to the 3-d fighting series and all other 3-d fighters (virtua fighter, dead or alive) werent as appealing to me anymore. I played so much Tekken tag at my friends house before I actually got my own copy. I have alot of fond memories of my brother and I having our friends come over and stay the night during the summer, and we would stay up all night playing PS2 and especially Tekken tag. It was awesome finding which team I liked the most because there were over thirty characters to choose from. Ultimately, my most kick ass teams consist of Paul and Bryan and Bryan and Jun. Those are my best teams but I have other combinations of characters I liked as well. Other character combos I would use are Law and Paul, and Baek and Bruce to name a few.

You had Your standard arcade mode, Your time attack mode, versus mode and survival mode (survival mode rules). If You got bored playing the regular fighting modes, You and Your pals could play a game of bowling in the Tekken Bowl mode for a nice change of pace. This was a great addition to the game, the fact that You could play bowling was really cool and not to mention actually really fun too. I think my highest score on bowling was a 270-something, which is an impressive score that took years of practice might I add. Survival mode is my favorite mode because You see how many opponents You can defeat without dying.

Tekken tag was amazing and I think it was a little ahead of it's time in terms of gameplay and graphics in a fighting game. Amazing news for us Tekken fans, Tekken tag tournament 2 is expected to be released in arcades in summer of 2011. As well as Tekken tag 2 on the horizon, look out for Tekken X Street Fighter which is being made now. Things are looking very bright for the series and for the fans of the series.

Worst of the worst: Shaq-Fu

Regarded as one of the worst fighting games of all time,
Shaq-Fu lives up to that title. This game is a prime example of why gameplay is always the most important part of a video game. Shaq-Fu had good graphics, some cool characters and cool levels but the gameplay was pure and utter Shit.
The controls were very frustrating and it's hard to get Your timing right on any thing in this game. If You want a good laugh than You should play this game. Other than that, I would'nt recommend it.

# 3. Mortal Kombat II

Mortal Kombat II or "MKII" came out a year after the groundbreaking "Mortal Kombat", which was released in 1992. The first Mortal Kombat game had set the standard for violence and blood and gore in video games. MKII followed in it's predecessor's footsteps by keeping the same violent nature that is a trademark in the franchise. As a child, I was drawn to MKII more than any other entry in the series, even though I was already a fan of the first Mortal Kombat. There was just something about this game that I absolutely loved. The games dark, evil atmosphere and the awesome new characters like Baraka, Reptile (he did appear in the first game though), Kung Lao and of course, the new four armed foe that You would face before doing battle with Shao Kahn himself, Kintaro, made this game even better than the first game for me. The gameplay also seemed alot smoother than the first game.

A real strong point for this game is the amount of playable characters to choose from. The first game only had seven characters to choose from but in MKII You now have the option to choose between twelve characters. Each characters unique and often ultra-violent fatalities (finishing moves) are one aspect of this game that helped it stay one of my favorites all these years. All the awesome special moves that each character has really made this game great. You had infamous moves like Liu Kang's bicycle kick, Kung Lao's hat throw, Baraka's chop chop blades and Reptile's acid orb just to name a few.

Here are some pictures that depict some of the ultra-violence in the game.

Mk II is a fan favorite of the series and is definetly my favorite entry. I've been playing this game since I was like five years old and I'll probably still be playing this game when I'm seventy five years old. This game and the first one had a huge impact on me and helped warp my fragile little mind as a child.

If You would like to read more about Mortal Kombat II, please feel free to read my article entitled "Mortal Kombat II". You will find everything about MKII there.

# 2. Super Smash Bros. Melee[/b]

Now here's a good example of an addictive fighting game. I spent a good chunk of time on this game, be it single player mode or smashing some of my friends in a death match. One thing that shines about this game is it's replay value, so many things to unlock in this game, there's hidden characters to unlock, new levels, seemingly endless trophies to earn. There's also special modes such as the home run derby and break the targets for example. Almost anyone can get the hang of this game in no time. It's always fun to have a nice smash session with some of Your chums in four player death match. I'm sure some of You are wondering why not Smash bros. brawl? It's simply because of the nostalgia this game brings me, so many great memories.

Everyone knows the characters are what make this game. You can play as some of Nintendo's most famous characters in a fight against one another. All of the Nintendo greats are here to fight such as Link from the Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Pikachu of Pokemon fame, kirby, Samus Aran of Metroid and of course, Nintendo's main man Super Mario. Some other notable characters include Star Fox, Luigi, Zelda, Yoshi and one of the fan favorites, Captain Falcon of the F-zero racing series. My favorite characters to use in this game are Mario, Link, Roy of Fire Emblem, Captain Falcon, Donkey Kong, Star Fox, Pikachu and the always fun to use Mr. Game and Watch.

Every character has moves they use from their respective games. Each character has Four special moves which are done by pressing the B button or pressing B while holding the joystick in different directions. Each characters controls are the same, they just have different moves. Because of the simplistic controls, the game is an easy one to pick up and play for beginners, but still fun for advanced players. This game is one of the best multiplayer fighting games ever. When playing the game with a group of friends, smash bros. melee is the among the best for pure four player mayhem.

Super Smash bros. melee has some of the coolest levels from all the great Nintendo games. Pictured to the left is one of my personal favorite levels, it is a level from the Legend of Zelda series. The object of the game is to inflict enough damage to Your opponent(s) until their damage meter is high enough to inflict a blow that will send them flying out of the screen thus resulting in a lost life for them. Some levels are easier to smash Your opponents into oblivion in because alot of levels are filled with hazards that You must be careful of. Pictured below are a few levels with hazards. To the left You have a level from the Earthbound series where cars will drive by on the road and hit You if You're not careful. To the right we have a level from the Metroid series where the acid lava will rise up to the level and if it touches You it can do some damage and send You flying.

This is a timeless masterpiece thats alot of fun for people of all ages. Smash bros. melee brought me alot of good memories when I was younger, memories with friends that I will never forget.
Worst of the worst: Justice League Task Force

When I first saw this game so many years ago I really wanted it to be a good game but that was not the case with Justice League Task Force. I thought it was a cool idea to make a Justice League fighting game. It had all the good characters like Superman, Batman, the flash and all the other Justice league members. I remember it just played like crap, it just wasn't fun. I have'nt played this game in many years but I'm sure it's gotten worse with age. It's another game I would not recommend.

Honorable Mentions

Here are a few games that just barely missed the list but are still worthy of an honorable mention.

Tekken 5

Arguably the best fighting game of the 2000's decade, Tekken 5 is a critically acclaimed smash hit. I remember the first time I seen/played this game, it was on a demo at the old Hollywood video/game crazy store. I copped this game as soon as it came out. I played this game for hours on in, before school, after school and any spare time I had. I had become so good at this game that I actually won a local Tekken 5 tournament that was held at game crazy. This game, as is usual with most Tekken titles raised the bar in 3-d fighting games. Tekken 5 boasted some of the best graphics on the PS2. The levels were beautifully designed. The games roster was really good, You had all the great classic characters from the franchise as well as new comers Asuka, Raven and Feng Wei.

I still play Tekken 5 because this game never gets old to me. If You've never played Tekken 5, I strongly recommend that You do so.

Mortal Kombat Trilogy

Mortal Kombat Trilogy, The ultimate Mortal Kombat game for any fan of the series. This game is basically the first three Mortal Kombat games and Ultimate MK3 combined into one game. This is an undeniably awesome game, I mean who does'nt want a choice between like three different Sub-Zeros? I love playing this game with my friends, we even bust it out on occasions these days. This is definetly one of my favorite fighting games on the PS1. This game is still considered one of the best titles in the MK franchise.

Marvel vs Capcom 2

The Marvel vs Capcom series is one of the most popular fighting game franchises ever. It's easy to see why, the games are insanely fun. It's awesome to pit some of Your favorite superheros and villians against Your favorite Capcom characters. There's so many great characters to choose from, there's Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, Wolverine, Captain America, Venom, Ryu, Mega Man, Jill Valentine, Captain Commando, Chun-Li... and thats not even all the characters. Aside from playable characters, there's also characters that You are randomly given after you select Your character that act as a side attack (You can have them come on the screen real quick and do an attack).

This is a game that I rented quite a few times, it's always a good one to play with some friends. This game is awesome and I would recommend it to any gamer.

It's come down to this, my number one favorite fighting game....

# 1. Street Fighter II

Street Fighter II (and it's many reincarnations) are the reason fighting games became so popular in the 1990's. There really wasn't a fighting game genre before Street Fighter II came along. Street fighter II really sculpted the genre and gave it a nice structure. You can see influences of Street Fighter II in virtually any fighting game released after it. When this game was released back in 1991 it basically revived the arcade scene. Arcades were booming and filled with kids and young adults all willing to spend huge amounts of quarters to get in on the action. These machines were every where, Your local corner stores, arcades, laundromats, they were all over the place.

On the old arcade machines, that video where the two guy's are fighting in front of all those people and that big building, and the Street Fighter II theme music was playing, that would always draw me in like a fly in a bug zapper. I could'nt resist the call of the machine, I would have to play it. Below is that amazing Street Fighter II intro.

Street Fighter II was unlike any other fighting game before it, Capcom had really broke new ground with this game.
The gameplay was superb and You could pull off special moves with relative ease with the games crisp controls. The special moves in this game are infamous, moves such as Ken and Ryu's Hadoken, Guile's Sonic Boom, E.Honda's one hundred hand slap and Dahlsim's Yoga Flame for example. In this game unlike alot of fighting games released in the 90's, the special moves did'nt feel like a chore to do them. Street Fighter II had really great graphics in it's time and has aged quite well. The game's soundtrack was awesome in my opinion, it had some real memorable songs like Ken's theme and Sagat's theme are a few good examples.

Another really great and memorable aspect of this game was the cool bonus stages that You play during arcade mode. There were three bonus stages in all, one where You beat up a car, one where You destroy a stack of bricks and one where You break the barrels that are being dropped from above You. After every three or four opponents You defeated, a bonus stage would pop up. The barrels one was the hardest in my opinion, it still gives me trouble.

Some of the stages in Street Fighter II looked really cool. I always thought as a kid that in Ryu's stage those were big canons in the background. The stage with the big statue in it is Sagat's stage in Thailand and it's one of my favorites. E.Honda's stage is pictured... I'm not sure if thats some kind of sauna but we always just called it the bathroom.

Street Fighter II released many versions of the game in the 90's, Each time adding something new to the game. I felt as if they were just releasing so many versions to cash in on the success of street fighter II, but that was until 1994 when they released Super Street Fighter II.
Super street fighter II introduced four new playable characters and four new levels. The new characters include Dee Jay, T-Hawk, Fei Long and Cammy. Super Street Fighter II is probably my favorite version of Street Fighter II.

Street Fighter II and it's many different versions are responsible for the fighting game genre and for that I thank them. I grew up playing Street Fighter II and it holds a special place in my heart. I'm very happy that in recent years the franchise has been reborn and I hope it continues to grow. The gaming world would not be the same without Street Fighter.

Well everyone, thats my top 5 fighting games. I hope You enjoyed reading my article. The characters of street fighter II (pictured above) would like to congratulate You for reading. Thanks for playing, see ya later.

Bonus Round

For the bonus round I've made my own little retro video game trivia for You guys. Please post Your answers in the comments if You like.

1. Before Super Mario got his name, what was he known as?

2. What was the inspiration for the design of the character Pac-Man?

3. What did Nintendo originally manufacture before video games?
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