Feature: Fighting Games Throughout The Ages

It’s not hard at all to see that fighting games are becoming more popular. Many gamers, myself included, have very fond memories of the old days when MvC 2 and 3rd Strike were talked about non stop amongst the fighting game community. Skip forward to 2010 and we have so many new fighters it’s unbelievable. It’s not just Capcom either, many other video game companies are dishing out their beat em ups in hopes of competing. Hit the jump for the full feature article

The past few years have given us a storm of new fighting games. With the likes of Street Fighter IV, Blazblue: Calamity Trigger, Super Smash Brothers Brawl (it’s considered a fighting game, shockingly), Tekken 6 and even more. 2010 has even brought us updates to some of these games, the most notable being Super Street Fighter IV, which introduced 10 new characters and many other features. Not only that but we have even more fighters on the way. The arcade release of Super Street Fighter IV, the long-awaited Marvel vs Capcom 3 and the newest crossover, Street Fighter x Tekken. For today’s feature article, I’d like to take a look back at some of the old fighting games, as well as a few of the more recent titles.

Hadoukens, Hadoukens everywhere

Street Fighter II
Developer:
Capcom
Year of release: 1991

Ahh yes, the game that started it all. The original Street Fighter didn’t exactly prove popular but it set a standard that Capcom would be sure to follow. It may not seem like much now but back in the day, Street Fighter II introduced a lot of features we had never seen before. A full roster of unique characters (bar Ryu and Ken), awesome special moves and it even introduced the first playable female character in a fighting game, Chun-Li. Street Fighter II was a massive hit, so much it had several updates and home releases. Each update introduced something new. Champion Edition and The New Challengers introduced some new faces, as well as making the 4 bosses playable characters where as Super Turbo introduced players to the super combo. All of these features have been carried over to Street Fighter titles and still remain. Whether you love it or hate it, you cannot deny that Street Fighter II set the bar for fighting games.

Heh, Panda's in fighting games. Who woulda thunk it?

Tekken 3
Developer:
Namco
Year of release: 1997

The debate between Street Fighter and Tekken has been a long one, and it will finally be answered when Street Fighter x Tekken arrives in the near future. In all honesty, it’s quite hard to compare the two. Street Fighter is focused on 2D gameplay where as Tekken is built around 3D gameplay … and no projectiles. Tekken 2 and Tekken 3 are considered some of the best in the series but I decided to go with Tekken 3 for this feature. Tekken has its own unique style, consisting of button inputs as opposed to Street Fighter’s style of directional input. Tekken’s fighting roster is equally unique, with fighters in the form of skeletons, pandas and some sort of tree trunk with a face. I’ve never been a big fan of the Tekken series but I can see why people would like it. It’s good competition for Capcom.

You have one guess as to what is about to happen

Killer Instinct
Developer:
Rareware
Year of release: 1994

Ahh, Killer Instinct. As with the Mortal Kombat franchise, KI was one of those games that aimed to be violent. Blood sprays, off-stage deaths and finishing moves are all present, also simular to Mortal Kombat! Killer Instinct was ported to the Super Nintendo in 1995 with a few of the arcade features removed or changed. This didn’t change much as the core gameplay still existed. For its time, KI looked fantastic with its 3D models. The series spawned a few titles before sinking away into the shadows, never to be seen again. Its legacy still lives on, as many people continue to play KI to this day. Heck, even its infamous combo breaker line is still quoted amongst internet users. There’s certainly a lot of demand for the series to make a return, and Rare are listening. It could still happen, just a matter of time …

Such a fun game ... such an attention grabber for tourneyfags

Super Smash Brothers Melee
Developer:
HAL Laboratory
Year of release: 2001

The Super Smash Brothers series was Nintendo’s way of getting into the fighting game genre. Instead of the usual 1 on 1 fighting with health bars, Nintendo went the other way and introduced the percentage system. The focus of Smash Brothers is to knock your opponents off the stage with a barrage of attacks and special moves, with the assistance of Nintendo-themed items. The series has had 3 entries so far, with a possibility of a 4th. Of all the games, Melee is still spoken of as the best of the three. It would be safe to say it was one of the reasons the Gamecube sold so well. Melee was fast, furious and fun. Even now, the game is still played at tournaments around the world. And since you cannot mention Melee without it, here’s your obligatory Wombo Combo.

Pretty much the only match-up you'll see online

Blazblue: Calamity Trigger
Developer:
Arc System Works
Year of release: 2008

Blazblue is one of the more recent entries to the fighting game list and it’s proving to be pretty popular. Blazblue is often considered the spiritual successor to Arksys’ previous series, Guilty Gear. The game features an extremely heavy anime style, a rocking soundtrack and an insane combo system. Just like in Guilty Gear, you are required to use one of the 4 attack buttons combined with a directional input, although they can get quite confusing in higher level play. Blazblue’s popularity most likely comes from the fact that every playable character is unique. Be it Jin, Bang or Tager, everyone has their own style and personality. Sure it’s no Street Fighter but you can’t help but admire the graphics. The presentation is just fantastic.

So there you have it. A small, personal insight to some of the many fighting games that are out there. I haven’t even scratched the surface! Sure I’ve missed games such as MvC 2 and Mortal Kombat but you probably know about them already. It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran or if you’ve never played a fighting game in your life, these games are still enjoyable for players of any skill level. With the increase of titles, it’s bound to introduce many more players to the world of fighters. The golden age of fighters is back. Dust off your fightsticks and get practising!

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