Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ve all played Street Fighter and already know all the characters —Ryu, Ken, green monster with electricity, Russian who bites people, Indian Stretch Armstrong—but Capcom actually has a whole roster of other awesome fighting franchises that you may or may not have ever heard of before. With the upcoming Street Fighter IV coming out in the next few months or so, why not take a look back at these other games that have no chance in hell of ever getting a sequel? Maybe you’ll find a diamond in the rough in this list here. Or maybe just more reasons to laugh at that crazy, crazy company Capcom. Either way, this list compiles games you’ll probably never see again unless you find them on eBay or Amazon.com. Enjoy.
Rival Schools: United By Fate
Last game seen: Nekketsu Seisyun Nikki 2 (Japan Only)
Rival Schools is fun to say the very least, and annoyingly just short of being amazing to say the very most. This game, which mimics the 3-D look and style of Street Fighter EX, but none of the clunky floatiness, features only four buttons instead of six, and a lot more of that off the wall, crazy fun that Capcom has been embracing for years. The plot is simple but ingenious. Rival schools are beefing with each other and having an all out throwdown. And that’s it. Okay, okay, there’s a little bit more to it, with something involving kidnappings or something like that, but who cares about story when you have the school nurse and the school principal duking it out with shoryukens and spinning bird kicks? There really is nothing quite like Rival Schools: United By Fate, and daggonit, I consider that a shame.
Last game seen: Plasma Sword: Nightmare of Bilstein (Japan Only)
Though, with Capcom’s track record of making vaguely similar fighting games, Star Gladiator isn’t just Street Fighter set in space. Using a fully functional 3D environment, characters, which range from a Chewbacca look-alike to a cone head shaped Saturn guy with yo-yo’s, can walk in and out of the foreground and background just like in that other weapons fighter, Soul Caliber. The only problem is, the music, the somewhat flaky controls, and the horrible graphics, even by yesteryear’s standards, hindered this title from gaining any real fans besides the hardcore. But it’s definitely an interesting title that’s certainly worth a peek. Also, just in case you’re a purist like myself who wants to know where all the references in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 are coming from, Hayato Kanzaki, the lightsaber swinging badass in MvC 2, is actually the quintessential Ryu character in this game. See, you learned something today.
Saturday Night Slam Masters
Last game seen: Ring of Destruction: Slam Masters II
Saturday Night Slam Masters, in all truths, isn’t really a fighting game. It’s a grappler. But with Street Fighter-esque joystick commands, a handful of bizarre, what-were-they-thinking characters, and an overall fighting game feeling, Slam Masters definitely lands on the list of prominent Capcom sock and boppers. Walking the tightrope as a a 2-D game played with a pseudo 3-D feel, Slam Masters offered you a great roster of characters that were so similar to actual prime time wrestling, that you actually sometimes felt like you were playing an arcadey version of what you might have seen on WCW the night prior. El Stingray was your lanky but lethal luchador, Biff was your standard, all American grappler, and The Scorpion, was your badass Vader looking competitor. All that was pretty much missing were signs in the background and now standard T&A matches from keeping this off the shelves as a genuine wrestling game competitor with Raw and WCW vs. nWo: World Tour.
Last game seen: Power Stone 2
Power Stone is definitely an acquired taste as it’s not your typical fighting game. Some might even say it’s not really a fighting game at all since your main objective isn’t to fight but to find. In its purest sense, Power Stone is a mad dash where you have to seek out the three powerstones in the level and get them before your competitor does in order to transform into your beastly alter ego. But what was marvelous about the game was its ultimate sense of replayability. Sure, the idea of collecting three gems sounds awful repetitive and often times, it is, but it’s extremely fun when played with another person and there are obstacles all over the room that you can latch onto, chuck, or hide behind to reach your destined goal, and that’s what really makes this game shine. Really, it feels like one giant bar fight where everything and anything can be used as a weapon, and you use the arena to your benefit to one-up your seasoned opponent. Power Stone was not the kind of game that was ever destined to be a runaway hit, but that’s okay. It’s fun enough to play that you’ll excuse it for not being the kind of game your grandmother, who never plays video games ever, would have ever heard of before like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat. Overall, Power Stone is an excellent game all around.
Last game seen: Darkstalkers 3
Out of all the games on this list, Darkstalkers is probably the one most Street Fighter fans have probably actually played before. And that’s because so many of the characters have already appeared in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and other games in the ground-breaking series. While Star Gladiator wasn’t just Street Fighter set in space, Darkstalkers was just Street Fighter with a horror theme attached to it. Starring all your favorite bizarro characters, there’s the wolfman, a nunchucku swinging beast named Sebastian, a vampire, a catwoman, a mummy, and even a vampire hunter named Donovan in the later games. Just feeling out the excellent, deeply mimicked controls, you could feel that this game was proud of being such an off the wall, 2-D game. If Street Fighter never came out and Darkstalkers did, the world would probably have turned out exactly how it did today. Street Fighter may have been the ultimate influence for all things fighter, but Darkstalkers is an excellent substitute, and one that definitely deserves to be played today.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
Last game seen: Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood (Japan Only)
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure doesn’t make any sense, and it’s not supposed to. Based off a similarly weird manga, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure plays like a very watered down Street Fighter with a whole bunch of wacky characters thrown in the mix just for good measure. What makes this game different though is that everybody has shadow like, “stands,” which help you out in battle and work as sort of an extra character on your side that will aid you in your battle. The thing is, even with the stands, the downright ludicrous characters, and the extremely odd move set, that still can’t save Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure from being perversely mediocre in the very purest sense. Capcom has faltered quite a bit over the years, but this one is one of the bigger ones. X-Men: Children of the Atom
The game that gave birth to quite possibly the greatest fighting game of all time in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (Don’t believe me? Just check out eBay, the game is going for upwards of $80 bucks right now), Children of the Atom plays exactly like Street Fighter, but at the same time, nothing like it at all. Featuring all of your favorite X-men and a few of your favorite villains, CotA has a move list similar to Ken and Ryu’s, but a totally different outcome when you perform them, as these characters truly mimic your favorite characters in ways no other comic book video game ever has. Wolverine is an all out quick monster, who moves with the ferocity that you’d expect him to move with, Cyclops is a deadly brawler who uses his “optic blasts” to send his enemies flying, and Colossus is a beast who can build up his metal exterior to really bring on the pain to any and all in his path Capcom followed this game up with Marvel Super Heroes (Check), and that game begat, X-Men vs. Street Fighter, and that game begat Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, which ultimately brought along the original Marvel vs. Capcom, which was followed up by, you guessed it, Marvel vs. Capcom 2. You see? Learning can be fun. Almost as fun as this game.