At base, all a fighting game needs is a single bar on-screen — the life bar. But it's the addition of that second bar that pushed the genre into newer, flashier territories, which is why we did a list of the 15 Greatest Fighting Game Super Moves. We speak, of course, of the super meter, that little indicator that tells you when it's time to start wreaking some serious havoc (and looking absolutely dope while doing it). Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo popularized the concept of a super combo/super move, and from there everyone and their gramma started including these flashy attacks as part of their games. With the resurgence of fighting games in the last few years, we've seen a resurgence of these incredibly awesome moves, which is why we've scoured the genre to bring you, dear reader, the 15 Greatest Fighting Game Super Moves.
Midler's Motor Show
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
As the title might suggest, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is filled to the brim with weird characters who have even weirder movesets. Midler, for example, can summon a giant head to chew on her opponent for a while, which is certainly weird and memorable, but there's something about the straightforward strangeness of Motor Show, which summons a tidal wave of cars jutting out of the ground, which sticks with us even harder. That's why it's on our list of the 15 Greatest Fighting Game Super Moves.
The Flash's Speed Zone
Injustice: Gods Among Us
People refer to The Flash as The Fastest Man Alive for good reason — ain't nobody faster. Any fool who would dare wonder whether he'd win in a race against Superman best think again, because this is a guy who can run so fast he can break the light barrier and travel through freaking time. While he doesn't go that fast in Speed Zone, he comes pretty damn close, and when he does, he delivers a wallop that should send any bad guy home to his henchmen.
Imagine getting pulled into the Underworld, a blood-filled miasma of terror and pain, and getting mauled on all sides while a psychotic monster stands mere feet from you, laughing at your torment. Well, with Jedah's Underworld move you don't have to wonder any longer. The characters of Darkstalkers are like the bastard children of Street Fighter and every major movie/mythological monster. The characters tend to be wild, shapeshifting creatures with the kind of special and super moves you won't find anywhere else.
Goku's Super Spirit Bomb
DBZ Budokai 3
Goku's got a dumb head, strong hands, and a good heart, which is why he can master a technique as pure as the Spirit Bomb. Unlike most of Dragon Ball Z's random energy blasts, the Spirit Bomb has a thematic component to it — in order for the attack to be executed it requires that the planets' lifeforms (willingly) give up a tiny piece of energy, all of which come together to create one massive ball o'power big enough to seriously smack the crap out of whatever baddie is attacking Goku and his pals that week.
Naruto's Tailed Beast Bomb
Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
The Naruto Ninja Storm series has done an amazing job of capturing the fluidity and clarity of the ninja series' animation and translating it into video game form, and an even more amazing job of giving us mind-blowing cinematic super moves to inflict on our opponents. It was tough to choose which of the many attacks found in this series was the most incredible, but the one that really made us believe it was the flashy, fiery, oh-so-sweet, Tailed Beast Bomb.
Juri's Kaisen Dankairaku
Super Street Fighter IV
Sadism: a condition in which a person derives great pleasure (of an occasionally sexual nature), from the pain of others. It's clear that Juri's a sadist, and at no time is this quality clearer than during her Kaisen Dankairaku. During this super move she makes use of her incredible flexibility and speed to demolish her victim right before asking, "That felt good, didn't it?" and then face-planting the poor sucker right into the dirt.
Captain Falcon's Falcon Welcome
Super Smash Bros Brawl
Brawl's inclusion of Final Smashes may be a hotly-contested topic among the devoted fans, but the one thing everyone can agree on is that they're damn cool looking moves. So cool, in fact, that it was tough to pick just one to go on this list. After much deliberation, however, we finally settled on Captain Falcon's. Why? Because he hits you with a freaking space car, that's why!
Iron Man's Iron Avenger
Marvel vs Capcom 3
Iron Man is famous for having a huge arsenal at his disposal, so it makes sense that Mr. Stark's ultimate attack is one that not only ensures his foe isn't getting back up, but gives his crowd that sense of "Wow!" Plus, Eric Loomis has one hell of a Robert Downey Jr. impression, which really kicks up the awesome factor. No wonder this made it onto our list of the 15 Greatest Fighting Game Super Moves.
Kim Kaphwan's Rei Shiki: Hou'oukyaku
King of Fighters XIII
While this attack lacks the sparkling energy of most of the moves on this list, what it lacks in flash it makes up for in sheer punchiness. During the Rei Shiki: Hou'oukyaku, Kim strikes his foe in a flurry of kicks so lightning-fast you'd be hard-pressed to keep your eyes on him, and then tops it all off with a massive kick (complete with a sweet-ass zoom in for dramatic effect).
Shin Akuma's The Raging Demon (Shun Goku Satsu)
Capcom vs SNK 2
Most of the attacks on this list look powerful, but seem like something you could end up walking away from. Akuma/Shin Akuma's Raging Demon, on the other hand, seems like the kind of thing that ends in a funeral.
Lambda's Sword of Destruction
Like its spiritual predecessor, Guilty Gear, Blazblue doesn't shy away from overly long, cinematic super moves, and the coolest of them all is undoubtedly Lambda's Sword of Destruction. It's a grab, so pulling it off successfully is a crapshoot, but once you do you're treated to a 30 second cutscene that ends with a KO'ed opponent and a smug feeling in your tummy.
Darth Vader's Critical Finish
Soul Calibur IV
Bringing Darth Vader to the medieval swords n' sworcery series seemed like an odd choice. Once you got past the initial shock of seeing this future-samurai fighting an ancient samurai, you probably realized that he fit right in. In addition to bringing in a few Force-powered characters to the table, Soul Calibur IV also introduced Critical Finishes, which were awkward to pull off, but awesome to watch finishing moves. Darth Vader's Critical Finish involved him abusing the heck out of both the Force itself and his foe, slamming and slicing at them telekinetically until they cried uncle.
Oni's Tenchi Sokaigen
Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition
Tenchi Sokaigen is a strange addition to SSFIV: AE. No other move shifts the art style to something completely different than normal, so while this move might fit in more with the aesthetics of the Naruto games, it's that uniqueness that makes it so amazing to watch.
This super grab begins with Peacock and her gang of cronies stomping the crap out of her opponent. Then, while a tiny, animated bomb continues whaling on the victim, Peacock walks away puffing a cigar (a terribly unhealthy habit for anyone, let alone a fourteen-year-old, to have). She tosses back the cigar, which hits her little bomb friend, and lights him up in a huge explosion — an explosion Peacock never looks at, of course, because cool people never look at explosions.
Ryu's Shinkuu Hadoken
Marvel vs Capcom 3
That's right, folks, the Shinkuu Hadouken tops this list of the 15 Greatest Fighting Game Super Moves. It's a move that defined the idea of super moves, as it's literally a super-charged version of Ryu's signature Hadouken. This attack has seen many iterations over the years. Some are flashy and fancy, like the one from Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and others are more meat-and-potatoes, like the one from the Street Fighter Alpha series. No matter what version you're looking at, though, it's always awesome, and it's always incredibly satisfying to deliver one to your unwitting opponent.
next: 25 most iconic fighting game moves