Fighting games represent one of the most pure forms of gameplay, pitting two pugilists against one another with a set number of weapons in their arsenal. The player who can utilize that arsenal the best, wins. But while fighting games are still alive and kicking, there are a few series I wouldn't mind seeing make a triumphant return to the arena.
It's easy to see why I first got into the Bloody Roar series way back in the era of the original PlayStation. It's a fighting game in which the combatants can transform into animals mid-battle. Of course that's going to grab the attention of a teen who grew up surrounded by Street Fighter and Animorphs. A 3D fighter, Bloody Roar packed in all of the essentials, including a colorful cast of characters, memorable arenas, a silly story and a fighting engine that accommodated many styles. Some characters were fast and furious while others were slow and methodical. And did I mention that they had the ability to turn into a freaking animal midway through the fight, allowing you to dish out extra damage or unleash unique moves? If you ever wanted to pulverize a goofy iguana in a Hawaiian shirt as a high-jumping rabbit or combo-heavy tiger, this is the game for you. Bloody Roar got several sequels throughout its run, but I think it's been more than long enough to warrant a new gen reboot.
This is, in my humble opinion, one of the best mech-based fighting games ever created. In truth, the headline for this entry could have simply been “mech-based fighting game,” since I think the Pacific Rim and Real Steel brawlers were the latest games to pop up in the category. No offense to those download-only titles, but what I want is a fully featured fighting game boasting a ridiculous anime storyline and enough robots to fill a Michael Bay film franchise. There's something special about massive hunks of metal clanging away at each other and occasionally whipping out plasma swords, rocket barrages or laser beams, and Tech Romancer delivered on all fronts. Whether it's an HD remaster of this Dreamcast classic or a brand new entry, I'd love the chance to duke it out as robots once again.
Rival Schools/Project Justice
Easily one of my favorite fighting series of all time, Rival Schools offers a premise so crazy that it actually works. Students from various schools around Japan are being kidnapped and, while investigating the disappearances, students from *ahem* rival schools keep getting in each others way. The only way to settle these disputes is battle, leading to one of the most interesting cast of characters to ever grace a fighter. Students represent basically every club and stereotype you can imagine. From the too cool for school biker to the class president, or members of the baseball team, photography club or music program, fighters use their unique skills to dish out damage. Project Justice introduced three-player battles, with a unique system to call in support or, if your timing is good enough, cancel the support being called in by an opponent. You simply haven't lived until you call on the aid of the captain of the swim team, interrupting standard fisticuffs with a synchronized routine that pummels your opponent.
For those of you keeping count, Power Stone makes three entries on this list from the Dreamcast, just going to show how Sega's doomed console was an absolute powerhouse for the fighting genre. Released the same year as the original Super Smash Bros., Power Stone was a similar type of brawler that opted for 3D arenas, rather than 2D. A bright and colorful fighter, Capcom's Power Stone allowed players to run and jump around big arenas while utilizing their character's special moves or picking up and using items that get dropped into the heat of battle. Platforms allowed for an element of verticality with various dynamic bits of the environment forcing players to stay on their toes. In this age where couch gameplay is slowly starting to make a return i popularity, a new Power Stone would be a perfect fit.
I would call Bushido Blade the ultimate fighting game, and it's a real bummer that a proper sequel never really popped up outside of the original PlayStation. The game was an exercise in simplicity, giving players just a handful of standard attacks and guards to overthrow their opponent. Battles took place in large, open arenas, where players had the ability to whittle their opponent down a little at a time or completely obliterate them in a single swing of the sword. Depending on who was playing and how well they knew the game, you could either be going at it for a matter of seconds or for over a dozen minutes on end. An exercise in perfect timing and true patience, a new Bushido Blade is long overdo. Hell, I'd settle for the original games or an HD remake being released on the PlayStation Network Stateside. I'm not picky., I just want to play this series again.
Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.
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