25 Best Fighting Games #5 – #1
Street Fighter III: Third Strike is widely regarded as one of the best fighting games of all time from numerous fighting game fanbases. The addition of “parries” to the standard Street Fighter system made the game incredibly complex. You never knew if your opponent was trying to bait you, or if they actually did throw out a sloppy move. Throwing out a move in neutral was always unsafe, 100% of the time. You really had to think long and hard about how you planned your attack, or else random supers would get parried and punished all day long, much like they did in EVO moment #37… and if you haven’t seen this classic fighting game triumph, go watch it on Youtube right now.
For a long time, fighting games fit the mold of simple to learn, hard to master. All you had was attacks, blocks, and a special move or two. However, Guilty Gear game along and changed all of this. Now you had air-dashes, jump installs, special character specific meters and mechanics, barrier blocking, bursting, dust launching, dust overheads, force breaks, insta-kills, and much much more to worry about! Arc System Works decided to simply give players as many tools as possible and told them to go at it. The result was an incredibly fast paced combo fest that defined what we think of “anime fighters” today.
Marvel Vs Capcom 2 was proof that a game did not have to be balanced to be fun. At the end of this game’s popularity, there were maybe four characters that were viable to play on point and maybe eight or so characters that were ok to use just as assists. The playable roster of the game was 52 characters big, and most of those characters were just throwaways. Still, we played this game competitively for 10 years, and whether you were a casual player who liked fooling around with Guile, or a tournament pro who always picked Magneto, Storm, and Sentinel, Marvel 2 was the finest game that the Vs series had to offer.
I can already hear some of you saying, “But Smash Bros. isn’t a fighting game!” Shut up. Yes it is! It’s a game where different characters get together and fight each other. Fighting game. Melee in particularly is still loved by hardcore fighting game players everywhere. It was the winner of the EVO charity donation drive and will now be featured as one of the main games at the biggest fighting game tournament the world has to offer. It’s also one of the most polarizing fighting games to ever have existed. Some people play with items. Some people play without. Some people think wave dashing is cheating. Some people think the c-stick is cheating. Everyone plays Smash Bros. in their own way, and that’s what made it so popular.
Before there was Mortal Kombat, or Guilty Gear, or Marvel, or Virtua Fighter, there was Street Fighter II. This game created the fighting game formula as we know it. Six buttons -- three punches, three kicks -- each increasing in strength but decreasing in speed. Hold back to block. Hold down back to block low. Hold up-back to block high. Press up to jump. Quarter circle for projectiles. Dragon Punch for invincible uppercuts and anti-airs. Reduce an opponent’s life bar to zero to win. We all take these things for granted right now, but all of this, all of it, started with Street Fighter II, and Super Street Fighter II Turbo is easily the most loved, and the most played game in the franchise. It's still being played at tournaments to this day and people are figuring out new tech for old characters even now. If you haven’t played this fighter, then you haven’t played fighting games at all. Congrats, Super Street Fighter II Turbo. You've Hadoukened your way into the #1 spot of our 25 Best Fighting Games list.