• 15

    Dead or Alive 2

    Tecmo Koei

    Boobs! We mean… Dead or Alive 2 was a great example of melons… mechanics that were easy to learn but hard to master. On the simplest level, the game was just Rock, Paper, Breasts, Scissors with throws beating blocks and holds, holds beating punches and kicks, and punches and kicks being throws. However, learning the frame data and mastering the timing was where the real depth of this game came in. Also, it has to be said that Dead or Alive 2 has one of the most fan service laden female casts of any fighting game ever. Bazongas!

  • 14

    Virtua Fighter


    Dead or Alive was roughly based on the Virtua Fighter series which did a whole lot with almost no buttons. All you have is punch, kick, and guard, but with those three buttons and presses of the joystick, Sega created an incredibly deep fighting game experience that is simple to pick up, but requires almost frame perfect skill at higher levels to master.

  • 13

    Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3


    Mortal Kombat was never the most balanced fighting game. Almost every character had the exact same normals, being separated only by their special moves which quickly became broken if you knew how to use them. However, one of the most balanced and most fun Mortal Kombats was Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, which had just enough variation to foster an interesting metagame. It also helped that it had one of the biggest rosters in gaming history at the time.

  • 12

    Power Stone 2


    Power Stone 2’s big draw was intractable environments and it may be the only fighting game who has ever done them well. In addition to your normal moves, your characters could pick up objects around them and use them as weapons. If you manage to transform into your super form by picking up the titular power stones, you can pick up even bigger and heavier items like pillars and cars. Power Stone was so good, it was a reason to own a Dreamcast, and you can still find old Dreamcast setups running this game at conventions across the country.

  • 11

    Melty Blood

    Type-Moon/French Bread

    Melty Blood was a fighting game based off the young adult vampire Manga/Anime, Tsukihime. Who would have thought it would have been so mechanically sound? It had a simple three button control scheme, but an incredibly deep combo system that was very rewarding. It also let the opponent do something while they were being comboed. By matching your combo timing with their own button presses, you were able to reduce the damage they were dishing out.

  • 10

    Street Fighter Alpha II


    Street Fighter had a lot of iterations, and after Street Fighter II came out, Street Fighter Alpha decided to carry on Street Fighter’s legacy with prequels. The franchise introduced variable combos, three level super bars, and more, and the most loved entry in the franchise is easily Street Fighter Alpha II.

  • 9

    The King of Fighters 98: Ultimate Match

    SNK Playmore

    The King of Fighters 98: Ultimate Match is just an incredible dream match super battle for anyone who was a fan of SNKs fighting game franchises. It had great mechanics, a fun but kind of unbalanced roster, and was considered one of the best fighters of the PS2 era. It’s because of The King of Fighters 98 that fighting game fans are eagerly awaiting the next dream match game from SNK.

  • 8

    Soul Calibur II


    Soul Calibur was a big hit when 3D fighters were first being introduced. Its unique brand of weapon based fighting and ability to equip different weapons with different stats to the same character was a huge draw to both the fighting game and the RPG crowd. No title in the franchise made people waste more quarters than Soul Calibur II, whose conquest mode allowed players to battle against A.I. replications of the best players in the arcade. It gave arcades a meta-plot and backstory, as legions of gamers tried to win back territory, push their way up the ladder, and foster their character’s stats. While this mode was absent in the home version, we got cameo versions of Link, Heihachi, and Spawn instead.

  • 7

    Tekken Tag Tournament


    Tekken Tag Tournament was a “me too” game that came out when Capcom started releasing its Vs series of tag team games. However, it was incredibly good! Its roster was huge and was decently balanced. Its tag mechanics were simple but functional. It was also the first game to introduce the, “lose one character lose the round,” style of tag gameplay that forced you to switch characters back and forth just to survive.

  • 6

    Capcom Vv SNK 2


    Capcom Vs SNK 2 is another one of those games that is still being played in tournaments today. The fusion of iconic fighting game companies and their characters was enough to hook any fighting fan from the casual to hardcore. The ability to choose different “grooves” or fighting systems made the game even more customizable, and you could choose your own “ratio” or team strength for your team as well (though everyone eventually chose the maximum team size.)