Show me your moves!
Fighting games are my addiction – my Achilles heel. And I cannot resist them.
From Street Fighter to Tekken, all the way to Guilty Gear, it simply does not matter: if it involves two characters (or more) kicking the stuffing out of each other, it’s bound to grab my attention.
But why do I own so many? To be honest… I’m not quite sure. For one, you could argue that once you’ve played one fighting game, you’ve technically played them all. And the truth is I’m not very good at them, either. I’m certainly no Shin Akuma-like ass kicking machine (unless I’m dreaming, of course).
I guess my love affair with the beat ‘em genre lies in the intriguing character designs and overall art direction. The art in fighting games is usually second to none, especially for 2D fighters. Oh, and let’s not forget about the audio – fighting games have brought us legendary tunes such as ‘Guile’s theme’, which has gone on to spawn countless Internet memes – like this one…[yt_video id=”Y1iqJqNHX_g”][/yt_video]
But is it possible to list the 5 best fighting games of all time? Probably not, because everyone will have their own personal favourites. Naturally these are mine, so if you have a different selection or straight out disagree with one of my picks then I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Street Fighter Alpha 2 (PlayStation 2)
If I had to choose one game from the Street Fighter series then it has to be Street Fighter Alpha 2 (known as Zero 2 in Japan). It’s hands down my favourite fighting game ever made. Period.
The music was, and still is, amazing, and the gameplay felt tighter than a pair of 22-inch waist jeans. The game ran with a buttery smooth framerate, which is essential to any fighting game worth its salt. Every stage was beautiful animated, despite the lack of graphical horsepower, and it had just the right amount of characters to keep things interesting.
Custom Combos, Air blocking, Alpha counters ensured that the game had enough skills to master, separating the pros from the amateur players. Honestly, Street Fighter Alpha 2 never gets old.
Tekken Tag Tournament (PlayStation 2)
“No Eyes, No Ears, No Mouth, No Nose.” Who can forget those unmistakably weird lyrics from the Tekken Tag Tournament soundtrack – and what a superb soundtrack it was. Any game that features a playable bear and one of the best hairstyles in gaming (Paul Phoenix, I’m looking at you) was onto a winner.
Tekken Tag Tournament will retain a special place in my heart as being one of the greatest Tekken games ever made. It had a healthy selection of stages, introduced the tag-team element to the series for the first time, and the varied cast of colourful characters were always fun to play as. You had to ensure that you paired the right fighters together – my personal “go to” pair were the sensational high kicking duo of Hwoarang & Baek Doo San.[yt_video id=”n-k2m76TgHo”][/yt_video]
The great thing about TTT was that novice players could pick up a controller and button mash there way to victory. It was accessible to all and that’s what made it so damn good to play with friends. I can’t possibly fathom the number of hours myself, my brother and our best mate spent beating seven bells out of each. And who could ever forget Tekken Bowl mode! Such fun!
Soul Calibur (Dreamcast)
The Dreamcast was a special console. Not only did we have Capcom vs. SNK: Millennium Fight 2000 but we were also treated to the weapon-based combat of Soul Calibur – a game I fantasized about owning for months after experiencing it in the arcades.
The pinnacle of weapon-based fighters, it’s disheartening to see how much the series has faltered in recent years. Take nothing away from the original, though, Soul Calibur was without question one of the most accomplished fighters ever to grace a console.
Developed closely with Namco’s Tekken team, Soul Calibur was a game changer. It was the first 3D fighter that was close to real combat as you could get at the time. The fully-rendered 3D stages also made huge impact to the game’s mechanics, with ring-outs a constant hazard which players had to stay aware of. Forcing your opponent back as they parried your blows, or playing a dangerous game of rope-a-dope as you lured them to the edge of the stage, feinting out of harms way with a well-timed sidestep.
The characters ranged from the traditional to the downright bizarre; I still enjoy trolling people with Voldo and cringe at his truly grotesque attire. The legend of Voldo’s stylist will NEVER die.
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus (Wii)
Guilty Gear is one my favourite fighting series of all time – roll on Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- !
What I love about the Guilty Gear series, aside from the kick-ass rockin’ soundtrack, is the amazing art style. There isn’t a more beautiful 2D fighter around. The characters have depth to their personalities, and no matter who you choose you’ll feel totally badass. It’s also home to the coolest fighting game character ever: Soul Badguy! Come on now, you know I’m right!
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus is arguably the best in the series. At its heart, it’s a very technical fighter, but it’s accessible enough for newcomers to have fun with it. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to play for very long.
Marvel vs Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (PlayStation 2 / PSN)
“I’m gonna take you for a ride!” Yeah, the ride of my life! How could you not get excited for a game that features one of the most insane character rosters ever conceived. Where else could you team the might of the X-Men with the cast of Street Fighter?
The gameplay was frantic, relentless and featured some of the most chaotic and crazy combos you’ll ever witness. It was also a very technical game, and not the easiest fighter for newcomers to get to grips with.
The music added a jazz bossa nova vibe, which complemented the fast paced visuals. It’s just a shame the modern version of Marvel vs Capcom didn’t quite match up to the originals.
I couldn’t complete this list without adding a few honourable mentions of other fighting games that I’ve enjoyed in the past. These games are well worth considering if you’re looking to pick up some beat ’em ups with a satisfying punch.
Dead or Alive 4 (Xbox 360)
Virtual Fighter 4 (PS2)
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger (PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 / PC)
King of Fighters XIII (PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 / PC)
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom (Wii)