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For dedicated gamers and those of us needing a legal way to whup the stuffing out of someone, nothing beats legally beating the bejasus out of an opponent. The genre is headed by the Street Fighter franchise, but there are squillions of other superb, good, average and really rubbish games available.
Rating them is a highly personal thing with no easy way to set up a universally agreed top 10. Everyone’s a critic and everyone’s list will be different. Using Metacritic’s user ratings is one way, but that’s a boring approach.
Here’s our best of list. Like it, don’t like it, make up your own list, whatever.
Latest Best Selling Fighting Games
Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, Vita
The latest version of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is the best. It has 12 additional fighters,it pulls in characters from other Capcom games and obviously includes classic Marvel characters, both well-known and lesser-known.
There aren’t a great number of game modes, but the basic one on one mode is stunning. The special combinations and moves of the characters is awesome.
One for the must-have list.
Street Fighter X Tekken
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, PlayStation Vita
Opinions are divided between Tekken and Street Fighter fans on this game. Some think it not so good, others think it a well-balanced blend of both. Either way, it’shas a bright colour palette and great animation with a slew of options. There is also an online mode.
We still think Balrog is useless, but that the game overall is a successful combination rather than a complete waste of time. We like it.
Street Fighter Alpha 3
Platforms: PSone, Arcade, Game Boy Advance, PS2, Saturn and Dreamcast
Street Fighter Alpha 3 re-vitalised a moribund genre back in the day. It came with 28 new characters, plus a new combo system and three new franchise characters. It was quick , colorful and the new features coupled with lots of new characters made it the game to play. One for the shelf if only for the historical value.
Super Smash Bros. – Nintendo Wii U
Platforms: 3DS, Wii U
Developer: Sora, Bandai Namco
This is a very new game still finding it’s feet, but all indications are that it will become a formidable contender in the genre. Metacritic likes it, with a score of 92 and a user score of 9.0 – a good indication.
The paint job is superb and already has loads of content and rocking gameplay. It comes with more than 35 available characters, and 12 more that can be unlocked. Announced developments will only add to it.
We really like it.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, PS4, Mobile
Developers: NetherRealm Studios
If you want one-one one player to player fighting, this is one for you. A fine range of characters and playing modes. Simply put, it takes DC’s finest heroes and villains, brings them into a game and lets you beat the living daylights out of them. Don’t bother with the online option. Another for the History Shelf.
King of Fighters XIII
Platforms: Arcade, PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Mobile
Developers: SNK Playmore
A firm favorite of fans of the fighting games genre, KoF XIII is the best release in the franchise. It has won many awards and has been put forward for the highest honors. With 35 characters and many options it wasn’t the easiest of games to master, but great fun when you did. Beautiful looking with unique stylized animation.
Super Smash Bros Melee
Developers: HAL Laboratory
Super Smash Bros Wii U will probably rise up the lists in time, but isn’t ready yet to overtake others in the Nintendo stable. It introduced new and novel styles to the genre, for example health percentages rather than a health bar. Winning was also different. Rather than just beating the bejasus out of your opponent, you need to force a ring-out using your abilities. Worth a look.
Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown
Platforms: Arcade, PS3, Xbox 360
Developers: Sega AM2
Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown is considered the definitive version of VF5. A bargain price at release, it proved not just to be an inexpensive game, adding new modes, new and customizable characters and new arenas.
It took ages to master because of it’s depth and limitless possibilities for combos.
One for the shelf.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Platforms: Arcade, Saturn, Genesis, SNES, GBA, Nintendo DS, PS2, PC
Developer: Midway Games
An early icon in the genre and much loved by many players. Much copied, it was considered to be too violent by some, but most loved the kick, punch, maim, dismember style. This was a tremendous game because of it’s large repertoire of old and new playable characters. The graphics were improved and new mechanics introduced.
It wasn’t the best received, but we thought it the best of the franchise.
Platforms: Arcade, PlayStation, PC, Genesis, Saturn, Game Gear, SNES
Developer: Atari, Bitmasters
Are you bored with superhero versus immortals versus mortal man? Primal Rage had the unusual quirk of having you choose your ideal beast from a comprehensive roster and fight with other beasts. The game quickly became stale and had no follow-ups but might translate well to today’s modern generations of consoles and graphic environments. We liked it, if only by providing a rest from the usual cast of characters.
Platforms: Arcade, SNES, Game Boy
Developers: Rare (Rareware at the time)
Not the new Xbox Killer Instinct, but more fun. Unique characters and a fast pace meant you had to perfect your moves or have a short life. It’s best feature was the colorful and unique cast of characters providing many gameplay variants.
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Standard Edition
Platforms: Arcade, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360, PC
Developers: Arc System Works
A five-round rather than three round game giving longer play times was one of the best innovations of Blazblue: Calamity Trigger. Thegameplay had great depth, superb anime style graphics and working online rebels.
Unfortunately, a limited roster and the release of Street Fighter IV at the same time dented it’s market penetration.
Platforms: Arcade, PlayStation
Tekken 3 brought a new style to the Tekken world, hooking many players into it. The graphics were more life-like, and the animations much improved. Fifteen new characters provided faster fights, including an improved range of motion. Metacritic tells us it is the best of the franchise, with 96/100 and appearances on the lists of top Playstation games.
Mortal Kombat II
Platforms: Arcade, SNES, Game Boy, Saturn, PlayStation
Developers: Midway Games
Some people think the Mortal Kombat too brutal, but not us. Unnecessary violence is an essential part of the genre. Mortal Kombat II saw the introduction of many soon to be loved characters as well as the return of classics. Brutalities, fatalities and general mayhem was the order of the day.
Street Fighter Alpha II
Platforms: Arcade, SNES, PlayStation, Saturn, PC
It was the first introduction of Rolento, a quick and agile fighter that was second-to-none, and Sakura, Ryu’sfangirl. Street Fighter Alpha II was very well received, and Sakura and Rolento both quickly became fan favorites in the Street Fighter franchise. Now that Rolento has been included in Ultra Street Fighter IV, Alpha II has lost just a little of its value.
Soul Calibur IV
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Developer: Project Soul
I cut my gameplay teeth on Soul Calibur IV and I loved it. Particularly being able to pull on the mantle of Yoda and Darth Vader. Combo the Yoda excellent was. It was also a complex game, not easy to master, but one worth sticking with. For the day, graphics were state of the art, and online play against superior opponents honed your skills. If you wanted away from Star Wars, the roster of players from previous releases was impressive and SC IV added several new.
Tekken Tag Tournament
Platforms: PS2, Arcade, (PS3 in HD)
It takes you back a bit to realise that Tekken Tag Tournament first came out fifteen years ago, and second to realize that Namco hasn’t done anything to better it. State of the Art graphics and extreme character moves, a host of over 35 characters, some transported over from Tekken 2 and 3, made Tekken Tag a firm favorite of fighting gamers. Usually included in the “Best of” PS2 games over all franchises.
Super Street Fighter II Turbo
Platforms: Dreamcast, SNES, Game Boy Advance
Super Street Fighter II Turbo marked a sea change in the franchise and on into other titles. Powered-up Super Combos were only one of the new features. Others were the variable playing speed and the new ability to execute mid-air combos. One for the shelf..
Marvel vs. Capcom 2
Platforms: Dreamcast, Arcade, PS2, Xbox
Arguments about No. 1 or No.2 for Marvel vs. Capcom 2 will rage as long as there are gamers. An awesome 50 strong character list, taken from Marvel and Capcom ensured that it is the best Marvel fighting game to date.
What you want to play to release the adrenaline in a legal way.
Super Street Fighter IV
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC, 3DS, Arcade
Super Street Fighter IV is for us is the No. 1. No question. No argument.
The visual effects generated by 2D characters playing on a 3D backgrounds stunned users. Well animated and colorful special moves delighted players, as did the 35 available characters. Two new characters just put the cherry on the top. The online mode is highly enjoyable and exposes you to players that will really test you.
There is an Ultra version, but in our view is not fully developed right now. We didn’t consider it when looking at SSF IV. If you can have only one game of this type, then this is it. Go buy now.