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10 Best Fighting Games

Best Fighting Games
Tecmo/Midway Games/Nintendo

Fighting games are the perfect way to settle an argument, but there is etiquette to observe.

First, you gotta let your opponent know you mean business and a slapping a silk glove across his face just doesn’t cut it. Smashing him in the face with a controller is more the style. Then once a controller has been slapped across your face in acceptance, the fight to the digital death. But the question now remains, which games should you play?

Well, we’ve already taken care of that for you. Here are the 10 most satisfying fighting games to play.

10. Virtua Fighter 2

Really the breakthrough for graphics in a fighting game, Virtua Fighter 2 is one of the granddaddies of all the games that have come after it. At the time, the angular people were considered the height of graphical fidelity, and the controls were as smooth as they could be on the Dreamcast. It was simple and it was fun. That’s all you really need from a good fighting game.

9. Bushido Blade

This might be the only attempt to bring actual samurai duels into the digital realm. The graphics were a bit primitive and the core gameplay was fundamentally flawed. (The secret was to mash the attack button before the fight started and you’d automatically land a killing blow on your opponent every time.) But, this is the spiritual ancestor of such games like Soul Calibur and for that, it deserves a bit of respect. It also introduced some weaponry and reality when fighting games were all fireballs and fatalities.

8. Tekken 3

A classic in it’s own right, Tekken 3 kept the fighting fast and frenetic. Whether it be in the arcade, or back home on your PlayStation, Tekken 3 was always a solid choice when trying to blow off some steam. Even by today’s standards, it is still a decent-looking game. The gameplay was addictive and the characters responded to almost every move or mash of a button. Don’t forget, that one guy had a lightsaber. Who isn’t pumped to be fighting with a lightsaber?

7. Dead or Alive 3

Ok, forget Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball and the gratuitous boob physics. Underneath all of that jiggling is a serviceable fighting game with enough charm and silliness to render it enjoyable. Sure the women look ridiculous and sure the franchise has pandered to the creepiest of fans at times, but at the end of the day, it’s a perfectly fun game where you can kick the crap out of each other on screen. Oh, did I mention boobie physics? Just making sure.

6. King of Fighters Series

The name is a boast in and of itself, and one that it almost lives up to. A long-lived series, the King of Fighters has always been the quirkiest entry into the genre. The latest edition has fully embraced the insane number of characters (over 30) and a unique anime art style. If you were looking for something a bit different than the usual offerings, look no further than the King of Fighters.

5. Soul Calibur Series

Taking a slightly different route than most fighting games, the usual fray of fists in the Soul Calibur series is enough to satisfy even the most rabid fighting junkie while introducing some serious weaponry into the tussle. Each edition refines the already tight formula and fighting styles. Switching stances for different combos is a cinch and real skill is involved when trying to read and outwit your opponent. This is one of the few fighting games where button mashing only hurts your fingers and your pride when “You Lose” flickers up onto the screen.

4. Super Smash Bros

Never before has a game caused so much laughter and satisfaction than the original Super Smash Bros. The absolute lunacy involved in the gameplay made it endlessly playable late into the night. The bare bones of simply bashing your opponent into submission until they were blasted across the level engendered a wonderful sense of glee. Playing with three other friends frequently degenerated into rollicking laughter at the sight of Pikachu squealing off into the sunset after a thrust from Link’s sword.

3. Mortal Kombat 2

It is hard to think of a video game that has caused more controversy than Mortal Kombat. With it’s realist depictions of dismemberment and disembowelment, it caused such an uproar that it is still referenced today by anyone looking to fault video games for too much violence. But, the second iteration of the franchise shines, with all the guts and glory, as a great example of what a fighting game is. Mortal Kombat 2 is one of those classic games that you still keep on your shelf long after the system has died. There, it serves as a reminder of all the gruesome fun you had mashing buttons to commit some sort of atrocity against your opponent.

2. Marvel Vs Capcom 2

Nothing is more fun than to watch characters that would normally never cross paths beat the ever-loving hell out of each other. Who wouldn’t enjoy watching the Incredible Hulk beat up Mega Man? Sticking with the crisp controls that make the best fighting games, MVC2 is a joy to play and the visuals are delightfully overwrought and exciting. What makes this edition of the still-running franchise so memorable is the sheer amount of playable characters. Editions later may have featured different characters, but none of them offered the wide array offered in this second edition.

1. Street Fighter II Special Championship Edition

The undisputed champ of fighting games (see, it even says it in the title!) has been delighting gamers for years and spurred some furious competition. There have been many late nights fueled by Mountain Dew and Cheetos where red-eyed gamers keep telling themselves “one more round” before going to bed. Tight controls paired with tons of memorable characters and an unmistakeable feel of fun allowed this game to pummel the competition into submission.

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