It’s summertime fighters, which means the major fighting game tournaments will begin soon. Most notably ‘Evolution 2019’, the fighting game world championship, is scheduled for August 2, 2019, at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. However, fighting games weren’t always this popular. Back in the 90s, fighting game tournaments were fought out in arcades scattered throughout the world. Coining the term “quarters up” to see who would face the winner of the previous match; for the simple pleasure of bragging rights. Though, when arcades began to dwindle in the early 2000s, fighting games began to lose popularity. It was left to the hardcore fans within the Fighting Game Community (F.G.C for short) to keep the genre alive and running. Hard to do something like that when gaming developers slowed their production of fighting game content. Low and behold in 2008 Japanese game developer, Capcom, released the highly anticipated ‘Street Fighter IV’ and thus began the line of new fighting game installments and fans. So grab your dusty arcade sticks and controller pads because it’s time to see which fighting game is truly the best of all time.
10. Virtua Fighter V: Final Showdown (2012)
Publisher: Sega/Developer: Sega AM2
‘Virtua Fighter’, as a series, has been noted as the grandfather of 3D fighting games. The series comes before other 3D fighters such as ‘Tekken’, ‘Soul Calibur’ and ‘Dead or Alive’. What makes this game the best in the franchise, as well as one of the greatest fighting games of all time, is that it comes with the highest number of combatants in the series, being a 20 character roster and an in-depth combo system that is unique and balanced with each character. Players are certainly rewarded for taking the time to understand each of the characters and how they specifically play against one another in the multitude of matchups.
9. Capcom VS. SNK 2: Mark Of The Millenium 2001 (2001)
Publisher: Capcom/Developer: Capcom
Two of fighting games most recognizable developers, Capcom & SNK, teamed up in this second crossover event and gave the F.G.C a game that celebrated its own community. Within this game, players will have have a choice of six different “groove” types; these types being named “C, A, P” & “S, N, K”. Acronyms for their own companies. With each “groove” type featuring a different play style; choose type “A” and you will have ‘Street Fighter Alpha’ custom combos. Choose type “K” and you will gain ‘Samurai Shodown’ rage meter. Beyond these “groove” types, players can also play as one, two or three characters. Depending on how many characters you choose to have on a team will decide how much power those characters have. We’re sure that people within the F.G.C would love to see a rebirth of this crossover event.
8. Guilty Gear XRD REV 2 (2017)
Publisher: Arc System Works/ Developer: Arc System Works
With a return of the franchise back in 2014 with ‘Guilty Gear Xrd’, the high octane series has done nothing but garner more popularity. Focusing on forming 3D character models in a robust anime art style, keeping to its roots, while combining tricky combos, cancels, and arcane systems with a rocking soundtrack, Arc System Works doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Forcing players to choose characters that play wildly different from one another, and this is not a small roster, this game will make a mediocre player into a mid-level player. If that player doesn’t get frustrated and quit that is. ‘Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2’ is surely a fighting game players dreamboat of high difficulty and steep learning curve.
7. Soul Calibur II (2002)
Publisher: Namco/Developer: Namco, Project Soul
Fighting game fans fell in love with ‘Soul Calibur II’ because of the easily accessible fighting system, diverse weapon based choice, that came with its cast of memorable characters, and eight-directional movement (similar to Namco‘s other franchise ‘Tekken’). Long-time fans will say that this was all in ‘Soul Calibur’; however, what makes ‘Soul Calibur II’ the better choice is that the game provided more weapon/character choice, more stages, a better arcade ladder, and an entire adventure mode to unlock characters and more weapons (also additional modes that added more flavor overall). Throw in the fact that three special guest characters, one for each system, was also included. ‘Link’ from Nintendo on ‘Gamecube, ‘Spawn’ created by Todd McFarlane on ‘Xbox’, and ‘Heihachi’ from ‘Tekken’ on ‘PlayStation 2’. This makes ‘Soul Calibur II’ one of the greatest fighting games of that console generation and this number seven spot.
6. Marvel VS. Capcom 2: New Age Of Heroes (2000)
Publisher: Capcom/Developer: Capcom
Another legacy crossover event with two amazing companies, Capcom & Marvel, with many different memorable franchises from the two. With a roster size of 55 characters, that can be chosen in a 3-on-3 team based combat style, ‘MVC2’ brings each of these characters to life in amazing 2D sprite work, color popping stages, and an arcade-style soundtrack. This gravity-defying combat system will feature one on one fighters on screen with two additional characters, on each team, standing by as assists and can be tagged in to be played as the main fighter on screen. Each character can be chosen alongside an assist type. Examples include: “Projectile”, “Anti-air”, “Dash”, “Heal”, “Expansion”, and so on. Each assist type is different and certain types are better suited in different match-ups, and team synchronization. This is what makes ‘MVC2’ so memorable to the F.G.C; the team possibilities are endless.
5. Mortal Kombat (2011)
Publisher: Warner Brothers/Developer: NeatherRealm Studios
Coming in as number five is the only western fighting game on this list (sorry ‘Killer Instinct’ fans). ‘Mortal Kombat’ was a complete reboot for the entire franchise. However, unlike most reboots, this rebooted franchise only targeted the original story and kept all of the characters from ‘Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3’. Though we did see returning characters such as ‘Quan Chi’ from ‘MK4’, and later on, as DLC we saw the return of ‘Kenshi’ from ‘Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance’, and ‘Rain’ from ‘Mortal Kombat: Armageddon’. This game featured a complete, cinematic, story mode that had never before been seen in a fighting game, which we are seeing these story modes in other fighting game franchises because of ‘Mortal Kombat’s success. Going through the stories of ‘MK1, 2, and 3’, with some new and appealing twists happening within. This game also brought back “Babalities”, “Stage Fatalities”, and “Test Your Might”; however, the developers added other modes as well. Up to four players could play in “Tag Kombat”, and new fun combat game modes like “Test Your Sight and Luck”. Plus the “X-ray” super moves were gruesome and awesome.
4. Street Fighter II: Turbo (1994)
Publisher: Capcom/ Developer: Capcom
This game is the game that defined the entire genre known as fighting games. ‘Street Fighter II: Turbo’ is the definitive version of ‘Street Fighter II’ with most of the players, that originally played this game in arcades, still loving it to this day. Add in that this game still gets new competition and is played competitively at ‘Evo’ makes it a titan when compared to some of the other titles on this list (even though it comes in at number four).
3. Tekken 7 (2017)
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment/ Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
We can honestly say that with this installment in the ‘Tekken’ franchise, ‘Tekken 7’ is number one. With more fluid and explosive character movements/combo styles, add in the heavily improved camera angles and zoom-ins, for certain moments within a match, ‘Tekken 7’ provides exciting matches for all to participate and spectate. Let’s not forget that ‘Tekken 7’s roster is nothing to snort at either; providing additional fan favorites and new ‘Tekken’ fitting characters to the roster gives plenty of variety. Plus, the guest characters are certainly entertaining: ‘Akuma’ from ‘Street Fighter’, ‘Geese Howard’ from “Fatal Fury’, ‘Noctus’ from ‘Final Fantasy XV’, and ‘Negan’ from The Walking Dead, this game has a guest character for all to enjoy. ‘Tekken 7’ is the most highly anticipated game for this years ‘EVO’ Tournament.
2. Super Smash Brothers Melee (2001)
Publisher: Nintendo/ Developer: HAL Laboratory
We understand that there is some (a lot) of discrepancy when it comes to the F.G.C and the Smash Community. However, ‘Melee’ is a game similar to fighting games with its mechanics; even if it’s an unconventional fighter based on said mechanics. Within ‘Melee’ we have a roster that is teeming with some of gaming’s most iconic characters and they are duking it out. ‘Melee’, when compared to the rest of the franchise, is the fastest and most polished which makes it a tournament staple. However, ‘Melee’ will not be at ‘EVO’ this year as one of the main tournaments; however, we’re sure that fans can expect it to be a side tournament at the event. Pulling in massive success.
1. Street Fighter III: Third Strike (2000)
Publisher: Capcom/ Developer: Capcom
‘Third Strike’ takes everything that worked in ‘Street Fighter II: Turbo’ and improves upon it vastly. Improvements include throw teching, super meter, punish opportunities, and combo potential. Add in the new mechanic “parrying”, then you have a game worth remembering. What “parrying” does is that it allows players to risk it all for a chance to take no “chip damage” (damage when blocking) or “parry” and punish accordingly. However, to “parry” players must press forward right before an attack hits. This can result in your favor or not and you’ll take all that damage. There are two forms of “parrying”: one is a normal “parry” (your character will flash blue; the other is called a “red parry” (your character will flash red), which only happens when you “parry” two frames before your hit with an attack. Both of which are tremendously satisfying to pull off. Beyond “parrying”, ‘Third Strike’ features a cast of characters that is a combination of old favorites and odd newcomers. All characters are unique in how you play as them and how you approach them in all match-ups. This is what makes ‘Street Fighter III: Third Strike’ the greatest fighting game of all time.
We understand that not everyone got their favorite fighting game on this list; that doesn’t mean its bad or worse than any of these. All fighting games are amazing and so is the community that enjoys them. Fighters should play all fighting games to understand their strengths and weakness, or to just have fun. All of these games will provide a wide range of content and replayability.