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With the greatest fighting game of all time (Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, silly) coming to the X-Box 360 and PS3 soon, I thought it’d be kinda nifty to recap some of the awesome fighting games that have disappeared from the face of the earth since first person shooters (why?) became the predominant genre that people flock to these days. If you can think of anymore that I may have forgotten, please leave them in the comment box below.
I’ll be frank. Fighting Vipers is basically just Virtua Fighter with armor and gates. That said, armor and gates made the game WILDLY different than that aforementioned title, and in my opinion (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you’re going to jump on my back for this), better. Using the walls strategically to bounce enemies off of, you could really rack up the air combos using the gates to your advantage. And the armor was an added treat. It made the game much more strategic than just walloping upon the other person with the punch button. Skilled Vipers (Is that what people who played the game would be called?), could evade and block and punish you for thinking that it would be as easy as just pounding the punch button to victory. Plain and simple, Fighting Vipers was awesome.
Speaking of MvC2, you know that strange looking guy with the plasma sword and the visor over his eyes named Hayato in that game? That’s pure Star Gladiator there (Or, Star, Glad-ee-a-tour, as it’s pronounced at the start up screen). Coming out even BEFORE the polygonal mess that was Street Fighter EX, this title was really hit or miss for Capcom. Even so, I still love it, if not for the spotty weapon combat, then definitely for the sheer oddballness of it all. Taking place in space, the characters range from a Wookie type thingy with an ax, to a green, Skeeter from Doug type guy with cosmic yo-yos and a conehead. All this in a semi-3D environment. Sure, the ring outs are FAR too frequent in this game, and sure, the robot character, Vector, was deceptively unstoppable in the right hands, but this is still a great game and my favorite of the lesser-known Capcom fighters. Try to find it. It’s more fun than people have made it out to be.
Bloody Roar is retarded. It’s seriously the dumbest fighting game you’ve never played, and also the most outrageously awesome. The combat when you’re just a regular Joe is just so-so, but transforming into a monster is a total blast. To put it in terms that would make you want to pick this game up on Amazon, BR is basically that scene in Altered Beast where you transform, but ramped up to the extreme. Your characters, who can side-step and roll out of the way of attacks, can also transform into their alternate selves (My favorite, of course, being a bear), whenever the transformation bar is semi-filled up, making for some pretty wicked match-ups once the claws come out. In many ways, Bloody Roar was always the game that should have been much more popular than it was, but wasn’t because it looked so lame from the outside looking in. Brawlers turning into beasts? Pfft, what is this, Animorphs? But seriously, folks, it’s friggin’ amazing.
Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style
I hate this game. Why? Because it could have been so, so very awesome. Based off of the highly controversial, Thrill Kill engine, Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style had the potential to be a very unique and interesting title if it wasn’t muddled by horrible gameplay and bad for even its time graphics. Oh, and a difficulty level that rivaled even Eternal Champions (And yes, that game’s on this list, too). Packing up to four players at a time on one 3D battle ground, the weapon based attacks were flimsy, the move set was flaky, and the music was just plain annoying (And this is coming from a Wu-Tang fanatic!). And while all of your favorites are there—even the much missed, Ol’ Dirty Bastard—the characters are voiced by people who sound absolutely nothing LIKE the people they’re portraying (Since when did Ghostface have such a deep voice?). It all adds up to make a fighter that feels like it’s missing something. And that something is fun. It should definitely be played, just to see what could have been (Both in a Wu-Tang based fighter and also in the what-could-have-been Thrill Kill), but not for too long. It begins to hurt after about twenty minutes or so.
Mortal Kombat before Mortal Kombat was a household name, Time Killers was just as gory, if not more so, than the popular, spine ripping favorite. While not a very good game in retrospect, Time Killers had one major thing going for it—severed limbs and decapitations MID-ROUND. Yeah, you heard right. You could start the match off and be decapitated within the first two seconds with a well-placed sword to the throat. It, seriously, was the greatest thing in the world if you were a fat kid with boy boobs at the local pizzeria taking breaks from the greasy buttons only to reach over and take a bite out of your sausage pizza. Time Killers was just that kind of game, you know?
What I remember most about this game was that it was hard. And I don’t just mean, like, Seth at the end of Street Figher IV hard, but like, fighting Seth for every single level in Eternal Champions hard, because every character was harder to beat than the last by a significant margin. I also remember trying to burn off calories in an octagon shaped floor pad called the Activator to middling success, often times punching the air in frustration because of not landing any hits instead of actually knocking one of the enemies in the jaw. In a lot of ways though, Eternal Champions is probably the most lamentable title on this list because it had a lot of potential to be more than just a come and gone sensation. For if Sega had not decided to put the kibosh on the series in an effort to make Virtua Figher more popular in the states (Sega of Japan decided that there could only be ONE fighter in America, so they decided on VF), we might be playing Eternal Champions 5 today instead of whatever crappy VF we’re currently on. Pick it up on the Virtual Console right away.
Next up: Clayfighter, World Heroes, Rival Schools: United By Fate and More…