Fighting games were one of the first video game genres to hit the arcade. The genre was so successful, that it is even going strong today. Most new gamers are drawn to the genre because of how easy the concept is to get your head around. Two players face off, and the last one standing is declared the winner. However, a series of unique moves and multipliers make it a great game for experts to master. Therefore, a lot of fighting games last longer in players’ hands than most people would expect.
That is one of the reasons why the fighting game genre has lasted for so long. However, a video game genre won’t grab the attention without some characters for people to gravitate towards. As such, there have been plenty of fighting game franchises throughout the years. But which are the best?
The arcades were doing well in the mid-80s; however, a new game was about to enter the circuit that would change things forever. While some fighting games like Heavyweight Champ and Karate Champ had started the fighting game genre, many would argue that it was the arrival of the first Streetfighter game in 1987 that truly perfected it.
Released by Capcom, this new game saw players progress through highly stylized worlds with some weird characters that all had their own unique moves and personalities. Players could use the karate champ, Ryu, or the big electric monster, Blanka, to eventually take out the cruel dictator known as M. Bison. The personality and character designs were enough to catch the imaginations of young kids, but the gameplay was the first real display of the easy-to-play yet difficult-to-master ethos that has defined the fighting game genre. The success of Street Fighter 2 on home consoles is also responsible for catapulting Street Fighter into the mainstream as one of the best video game franchises ever.
If Street Fighter is the family-friendly fighter that anyone of any age can play, then Mortal Kombat is the edgy older brother in the fighting game genre. Released in 1992 by Midway, the first Mortal Kombat gripped arcade gamers with its gritty visuals and violent gameplay. It seems strange now, but video game violence wasn’t a thing that was discussed until this game came out.
While Street Fighter established the fighting game formula, Mortal Kombat perfected it. The moves were harder to pull off, the characters were meaner, and the brutal fatality moves that ended each fight were so gruesome that many parents banned their kids from the arcade so that they weren’t exposed to such violence. In fact, it is this reputation for gore and chaos that has kept the franchise going to this day. The franchise is so big that it has even supported an ongoing film franchise.
After the Mortal Kombat games expanded into the realm of franchise crossover when they collided with the DC Universe in Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe in 2008, fans were left clamoring for more fighting game action from some of the DC superheroes. Fans loved pitting characters like Scorpion and Sonya Blade against the Joker, but everyone knows that Batman should always be the one fighting his arch-nemesis. As such, Injustice: Gods Among Us was born.
Accompanied by a tie-in comic book series, the Injustice games took some of the more serious aspects of the Mortal Kombat series and put them through the DC Comics lenses. With a lot of the brutality and gore toned down, players could take control of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, or The Flash to enjoy some of the best fighting moves that players had seen in decades. While there have only been two games in the series so far, the DC franchise isn’t going away any time soon. This leaves the Injustice games as a very promising well for developers to return to.
Marvel Vs Capcom
Of course, the pairing of DC and the Mortal Kombat franchise was done in response to the success that Marvel and Capcom had when they first joined forces in 1998. It was almost as inevitable a Pdftools becoming one of the industry-leading PDF services. The first game in this franchise was first sent to arcades, and both entertainment companies have gone from strength to strength ever since.
The Marvel Vs Capcom games take everything about the family-friendly edge of the Marvel Comics and original Street Fighter Games and slam them together. All the games in this series have a classic arcade aesthetic, with players being able to use household names as fighters, such as Spiderman, Captain America, Mega-Man, and the aforementioned Ryu. Again, this is a franchise that fans of either title company can just pick up and play.
Almost everything in the 90s had to have a streetwise edge to it, even the newest fighting games. As such, the first Tekken game was released in arcades in 1994 but was quickly ported to the PS1. Soon after. This console launch made Tekken the coolest and most up-to-date video game franchise in people’s eyes. Couple this with a flair for the intense and a killer soundtrack, and Tekken quickly found a niche in the genre.
The characters in the game were made up of break dancers, martial artists, and tiger-headed thugs, with each one moving to reflect their design and background. This development made the special moves in Tekken feel much more fluid and impressive than in older titles. Also, the distinct style allowed the series to deviate from the established fighting game formula in games such as Tekken Tag and Tekken Revolution. The franchise is so successful, in fact, that Capcom felt it necessary to release Street Fighter X Tekken in 2012.
The best fighting game genres are all up for debate, of course. However, if you were to ask a group of individual gamers about their favourite fighting game, you can almost guarantee that their answer would contain a game from one of the franchises mentioned above.