When it comes to thinking about the top 25 Most Iconic Fighting Game Moves, you have to consider a lot of things. Some moves are known for their utility. Others are known for their style. Still others are known because internet culture has created memes out of them. Considering all of that, we have put together a list of the most prominent fighting game moves to shape our gaming history and culture. These are the top 25 Most Iconic Fighting Game Moves. Time to bring the pain.
Werewolves and rockets, they go together hand in hand right? No? Well according to Darkstalkers they do. John Talbain was able to rocket forward like a missile and juggle his enemies by doing so, and for some reason it was his werewolf powers that gave him this ability. As a result, wolf style characters from fighting games everywhere have been using the same template. Wolverine has the Drill Claw, which is very similar, and Valkenhayn’s werewolf drive mode makes this one of his only special attacks. The Beast Cannon rocketed its way into our list of the 25 Most Iconic Fighting Game Moves.
Kyo is the iconic King of Fighters character, and the Orochinagi is the iconic King of Fighters move. This gigantic blast of fire has been an incredibly important part of Kyo’s arsenal as his move-list changed in each new King of Fighters iteration. It also plays heavily into Kyo’s story and reveals much about his special powers. This is one of those moves that is so popular, entire websites are named after it, as Orochinagi is easily one of the most trusted King of Fighters resources on the web.
Are you a fighting game character? Do you have claws? If so, then you likely have a variation of Wolverine’s Berserker Barrage. The move is a simple multi hitting super which lets Wolvie head toward his opponent, slashing back and forth in an X-formation. It’s simple and is usually used to add damage at the end of combos, and nearly every other feral character in fighting game history uses it. Taokaka from Blazblue has her own version of the attack. Ms. Fortune from Skullgirls even shouts out a parodic, “Furrserker Purrage” when she uses hers. But we'll stick with Wolverine's.
The Mortal Kombat slide is not the latest dance craze that you’ll be forced to do at your sister’s wedding. It’s a move that many of the Mortal Kombat ninjas have that allows them to slide across the ground in a low kick, seemingly against the laws of physics. This move was the poster-boy for Mortal Kombat’s strange movement physics which allowed characters to accelerate suddenly, jump in strange arcs, and even disappear off one side of the screen to appear on the other. We still see the slide today in games like Mortal Kombat 9 and Injustice: Gods Among Us.
Zangief’s Spinning Pile Driver has not only served as a template for all command throws in fighting games since Street Fighter III, but also as the template for the grappler fighting style. It was because of the Gief that grapplers were forever pegged as slow characters with few combo options but devastatingly powerful throws. In fact, it’s unlikely that you’d find big bruisers in fighting games without command throws these days, just as unlikely as you would find quick and spry strikers with command throws. It took nearly 25 years for Street Fighter to shake up the formula a bit with their fast Mexican luchador, El Fuerte. The Spinning Pile Driver head smashes its way into our list of the 25 Most Iconic Fighting Game Moves.
Morrigan’s Soul Fist projectile has actually gained notoriety just recently, due to some techniques used in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. By quickly flying and unflying between Soul-Fist throws, you are able to throw them much faster than normal. Combining this with her clone super which causes a reflection of her to throw fireballs from the other side of the screen, it makes her one of the most powerful zoners in the game, and perhaps the only viable one to boot! Even though UMVC3 made this move famous, Morrigan has had access to it ever since her first appearance in Darkstalkers. It simply wasn’t as powerful back then.
Cable’s Air Hyper Viper Beam is well known for being one of the most overpowered moves in video game history. This is one of those supers that can link into itself over, and over, and over again. Not only that, but it does a ludicrous amount of damage and homes in on the opponent’s location. With three bars of meter, Cable could use Air Hyper Viper Beam loops to take out any character on the screen from anywhere as long as they weren’t blocking. This move long stood for everything that was good, and bad, in Marvel vs. Capcom 2.
The Izuna Drop is the iconic ninja throw that all ninjas need to master. It involves launching the opponent into the air, jumping up to follow them, wrapping your hands around their body, and spinning with them as you rocket toward the ground. Ryu Hayabusa, from Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden fame, may be the most notable character to use the Izuna Drop, but tons of ninjas from fighting game history have used it. Kage-Maru from Virtua Fighter, Rock Lee from Naruto, Guy from Street Fighter, Amaterasu from Okami, Batsu from Rival Schools, Galuda from Power Stone, Strider Hiryu from Strider and the Versus series, and even Yoshimitsu from Tekken have used this iconic throw, just to name a few.
Yoshimitsu is another one of those characters that has a lot of iconic moves. His spins and face spit are two very notable tools in his repertoire, and as mentioned earlier, he has access to the iconic Izuna Drop. However, none of these moves are his most bizzare, and Yoshimitsu is known for being bizzare. No, Yoshimitsu’s starngest attack allows him to kill his enemy by killing himself. He turns around, bends over, and shoves his sword right through his gut. He has access to this move in both the Tekken and Soul Calibur franchise and it has never actually been a useful move in combat, because it does cost you a huge chunk of life. It’s just something strange that he can do, for some reason, and we really never knew why.
The Tiger Knee by Sagat isn’t really one of the most well-known moves in Street Fighter, but it is one of the most well-known motions. When the move was first integrated, players had to perform a quarter circle from down, to forward, to up forward in order to make the move come out. This was eventually found to be too complicated and was thus simplified to a dragon punch motion in later games. However, gamers later found out that doing this motion allowed you to execute aerial special moves extremely close to the ground. The game would read the up as a jump, but would still read your quarter circle motion as a move input, thus performing your special the instant you take to the air. This instant air special motion is now forever known as the “Tiger Knee” motion. Players still use it in multiple fighting games today, which is why it deserves to be on our list of the 25 Most Iconic Fighting Game Moves.