The Forgotten Fighting Games of the 1990s

The preventing sport style has by no means been extra common, with trendy takes on most of the huge names from yesteryear. We’re continuously graced with new installments of Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, King of Fighters, Smash Bros, Killer Instinct, Marvel vs. Capcom, Guilty Gear, and so forth.

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Then I get to occupied with the preventing video games that have not been so fortunate. The ones which have fallen into the sands of time. When’s the final time we bought an Art of Fighting sport? Aren’t we due for a Wu-Tang Shaolin Style sequel about now? Do you assume any person might make a Tattoo Assassins sport that is not rubbish only for the problem of it? There are so many potentialities.

Here’s an inventory of 13 preventing video games I’d prefer to see make a modern-day comeback.


1991 | Almanic | Genesis

When an concept like Street Fighter II hits it huge, you are going to get one thing like Fighting Masters. Its coronary heart was in the precise place and it had some cool concepts (and particularly cool soundtrack), however could not pull off an enduring impression. It takes place in a galaxy the place the solar is about to go nova and a race of hyper-competent aliens cease by to say that they will save just one planet. So…preventing event among the many greatest of every planet as a result of these aliens have an odd sense of perspective. That means we get a pair people and lots of ridiculous alien designs, together with a boxing horse man.

Too unhealthy the gameplay was undercooked. Rather than feeling very Street Fighter, it got here off as extra of a collection of Double Dragon boss fights. That’s unlucky, as they nearly appeared to have one thing.

Forgotten Fighting Games


1993 | Incredible Technologies | Genesis, Arcade

Time Killers was one of many earlier preventing video games exist due to Street Fighter II‘s success. It went the Mortal Kombat route of enjoying up the gore issue. While Mortal Kombat solely used gore for stylistic causes and shock worth, a minimum of the blood in Time Killers affected gameplay. Not solely might you get your arms chopped off mid-fight and proceed the battle with a handicap, however decapitations might occur at any time, instantly ending the match.

The sport is just like the Pete Best of early preventing video games, however possibly it is about time we gave these blade-swinging time-travelers a second probability. After all, Rancid from the yr 2024 is a chainsaw-wielding punk with sun shades, earrings, an X carved into his brow, and a inexperienced Mohawk mullet with ponytail. That’s essentially the most overkill design ever and deserves a trophy.


1993 | Visual Concepts | Genesis, SNES

The ClayFighter video games have been by no means excellent, however I loved them for the cartoony nonsense. The character designs have been fairly nice, outdoors of the forged of ClayFighter 2: Judgment Clay and the racist caricatures in ClayFighter 63 1/3. On paper, the idea of the sport has tons of promise. It’s a parody of preventing sport tropes that includes a person product of taffy, an Elvis impersonator, Santa Claus as a sumo wrestler, a mopey clown, and a pumpkin-headed ghost.

The collection just about died when ClayFighter 63 1/3 bought delayed into oblivion and at last got here out as a crap sport that felt unfinished as a result of it completely was. A considerably extra polished model referred to as ClayFighter: Sculptor’s Cut got here out as a Blockbuster unique rental, however that did not precisely set the world on fireplace. It was going to be up to date for the WiiWare a couple of years in the past, however that fell via.

Just get some CGI that appears clay-like and we do not have to fret about all that uneven animation that plagued the previous video games. I’m simply saying, I would like my Bad Mr. Frosty repair. It’s been too lengthy.

Forgotten Fighting Games


1997 | Atari Games & Midway Games | N64, Arcade

If you are a preventing sport fan who owned a Nintendo 64 however not a Playstation, then there is a 95% probability you have performed Mace: The Dark Age. Developed by Atari, the fighter performed just like the Soul Edge video games with a Mortal Kombat environment. The story was extremely just like Soul Edge in that it was additionally about medieval warriors preventing over an evil weapon of final energy, solely it was positively extra steel. Even while you take away the Fatalities (referred to as “Executions” right here), you had an executioner, a knight from the bowels of Hell, a zombie crusader, a dwarf using a steam-powered mech, and an impressive-looking demon boss who was so huge that solely his prime half seems out of a portal within the floor.

It additionally had a large hen as a hidden character, which in some way led to it having a hidden character look in Gauntlet Legends. Go determine.

The sport by no means actually caught on, which is a disgrace, because it had an excellent basis for a sequel to construct on. I’m type of uninterested in SoulCalibur feeling like extra of the identical each time, so possibly it is time we give Mordos Kull one other probability.

old fighting games


1997 | SNK | Neo Geo

There have been solely two installments of Last Blade?! Really?! Like, I notice the three video games I’ve already talked about are sub-par at greatest (and Time Killers at worst), however Last Blade was so good. After years of doing Samurai Shodown sequels, SNK let unfastened with a distinct type of sword-slashing historic Japanese preventing sport that had a extra spectacular look than Shodown and easily felt grander. It performed nice, it appeared nice, and was solely held again by some vanilla character designs.

The character Hibiki bought to indicate up in Capcom vs. SNK 2, however that is not sufficient. It’s been 16 years for the reason that final sport. Why aren’t we being overwhelmed by Last Blade sequels?


1991 | SNK | Neo Geo, SNES, Genesis

Okay, SNK, what the hell?! How did one thing as sensible as King of the Monsters fall into obscurity so fast?! The sport was about large monsters (blatant copies of Godzilla, King Kong, and Ultraman) preventing via large cities. That can be cool by itself, solely their preventing takes the type of a large hardcore skilled wrestling match the place you need to use buildings as weapons! The cities have electrical borders to field them in, performing like ring ropes. The creatures carry out suplexes and bodyslams. You have to truly pin your opponent.

There have been different large monster fighters like Primal Rage, the Godzilla video games, and War of the Monsters (which is the closest factor we have ever needed to a King of the Monsters reboot, even when it is made by a distinct firm), the very idea of large monsters wrestling is a really deep nicely to take from. There’s a purpose why Kaiju Big Battel has lasted so lengthy. Actually, whereas we’re at it, can we get Kaiju Big Battel its personal online game? I’d be good with that, too.

Strangely, SNK did make a sequel to King of the Monsters shortly after, however the sport was a side-scrolling beat ’em up as a substitute. It simply wasn’t the identical, man.

Street Fighter


1995 | Capcom & Incredible Technologies | PS, Saturn, Arcade

All proper, all proper, all proper. Before you leap all the way down to the feedback to flame me, let me clarify. Everything concerned with Street Fighter: The Movie is laughable, together with the truth that they made a mediocre preventing sport primarily based on a film primarily based on a legendary preventing sport. But here is the factor. Recently, DC Comics launched a collection referred to as Batman ’66 that expands the world of the previous Adam West present to not solely present new adventures, however present what characters like Killer Croc and Harley Quinn can be like had they appeared on that previous present. There’s additionally a webcomic sequel to the horrible Super Mario Bros. film from twenty years in the past that retells Super Mario Bros. 2 within the first film’s setting.

The Street Fighter: The Movie ports had that happening too, to a lesser extent. Not solely did they introduce the live-action Akuma into the story, however they claimed that Gunloc from Saturday Night Slam Masters was secretly undercover as M. Bison’s henchman, Blade. Also, he was Guile’s brother. That’s fully bonkers and I type of need extra. Bring again that goofball universe for one more go. I wish to see what Gill can be like. How off-base might they make Dudley? Or even Rufus? Holy hell, the chances are countless.


1993 | Sega Interactive | Genesis

Eternal Champions is subsequent to Killer Instinct when it comes to video games that have been type of an enormous deal for a brief burst after they got here out, however then vanished for years, by no means to be heard from once more. Ergo, if Killer Instinct could make a comeback, the place’s Eternal Champions? The sport had a reasonably kickass story the place the Eternal Champion picked victims from throughout historical past who would have been nice forces for good had they not been tragically killed. In order to assist convey steadiness to the timeline, one in every of them would get the precise to relive their closing moments and alter the course of historical past. How would that be determined? A horrible bloodsport event. Naturally.

The sport had a sequel in Challenge from the Dark Side and two fully unplayable spinoffs (Chicago Syndicate starring Larcen Tyler and X-Perts starring Shadow Yamato). They have been going to have a closing sport to convey the story to an finish, however Sega determined to axe it as a result of they felt it hindered Virtua Fighter‘s recognition. God forbid two fully completely different video games exist underneath the identical firm.


1996 | SNK | Neo Geo, Arcade

To be truthful, the primary sport within the collection is Savage Reign, however that is a reasonably forgettable one-on-one fighter that is not actually value revisiting. It did not actually kick in till the sequel, Kizuna Encounter: Super Tag Battle, SNK’s first try at a tag staff sport. In truth, it got here out simply weeks after Capcom’s common X-Men vs. Street Fighter, one of many many causes it is fallen into the sands of time. Despite that, it felt completely different than Capcom’s tag fighters. The characters felt larger and extra grounded. It felt extra like a 2D model of Tekken Tag in a means. The sport was tremendous enjoyable.

Also neat was that it came about in the identical timeline because the Fatal Fury video games, solely a few hundred or so years into the long run (that includes an previous man sporting Terry Bogard’s discarded hat and Kim Kaphwan’s descendant). I like the designs as a result of as a substitute of creating the whole lot all futuristic, characters are largely simply both dystopian or additional gaudy. It provides us supervillain King Lion, who has the triple risk of physique armor, boxing gloves, and a large sword. We’re presupposed to take him critically. Why not? It’s the long run! Maybe sooner or later wanting like a cross between Dr. Doom and Strong Bad is taken into account threatening. The man confirmed up once more in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, however no one performed that both.

Forgotten Fighting Games


1994 | Capcom | PS, Arcade

It’s arduous to just accept that Darkstalkers has fallen to the wayside as a lot because it has. While it was by no means going to be as huge as Street Fighter, it did really feel common sufficient to be a staple in Capcom’s library. Then once more, take a look at the whole lot that is occurred with Mega Man… Anyway, Darkstalkers was a superb preventing sport with monsters, and it was cartoony as all get-out. There have been follow-ups and whereas they did change up the gameplay right here and there, they have been nonetheless utilizing the identical sprites time and again, making the video games look much less like sequels and extra like upgrades. It did not assist that lead heroine Morrigan confirmed up in a bunch of crossover fighters (ie. Marvel vs. Capcom and Capcom vs. SNK) and so they selected by no means to replace her graphics in any respect, making her stick out like a sore thumb.

Capcom’s bigwig Yoshinori Ono has wished a brand new Darkstalkers sport for ceaselessly, however determined that it might solely occur if individuals bought Darkstalkers Resurrection, the HD re-release of the earlier Darkstalkers video games. I hated that. But hey, good to see that Capcom was nonetheless attempting to get as a lot play out of these 20-year-old sprites as they may.

We wrote way more about Darkstalkers proper right here.


1999 | Capcom | Dreamcast, Arcade

Man. Power Stone. What occurred? Second to Smash Bros., Power Stone was such a enjoyable celebration sport fighter, primarily based purely on operating across the setting and beating your opponent with something and the whole lot you possibly can get your fingers on. This was particularly chaotic within the sequel — it was 4 gamers and the levels have been more and more ridiculous and elaborate. While on the floor, the characters largely performed the identical outdoors of pace and energy, the true enjoyable was being the primary to seize three Power Stones and go full ham in your unstoppable, overly-cheap, super-powered identification. That’s the place the true selection got here in. Good occasions.

While the second sport was a pleasant step up, it bought slightly too repetitive and will have used extra levels and outlandish methods of injuring your enemies. Save up all these concepts for a 3rd installment – possibly even toss in some iconic Capcom characters for taste – and you possibly can have an instantaneous basic.


1991 | SNK & Takara | Neo Geo, Genesis, SNES

1999 | SNK | Neo Geo, Dreamcast, Arcade

In the early days, Fatal Fury was one in every of SNK’s solutions to Street Fighter‘s recognition and, very like Art of Fighting, it fell into the background as soon as King of Fighters hit the scene. They nonetheless made Fatal Fury video games, however they by no means felt sufficiently big to unseat King of Fighters as SNK’s flagship preventing collection. At first look, it made sense that they merely stopped making the video games.

EXCEPT. Their final sport was Garou: Mark of the Wolves, a virtually new fighter that came about ten years later. Only one character (Terry Bogard) returned and his look was fully modified. The animation and play model have been up to date.

It was great. You might play as a person named Butt! Jeff Hardy was there for some purpose! It’s simply among the finest video games SNK’s ever produced and appeared like a tremendous first step on this new route!

So after all nothing ever occurred to comply with up on it. Several characters – particularly essential hero Rock Howard – bought to indicate up in another video games, together with a Mark of the Wolves-based trio in King of Fighters XI, however essentially the most we ever bought was speak years in the past that they have been completely in the course of making the sequel. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been phrase on it since 2008. Lame.


1993 | Capcom | SNES, Genesis, Arcade

A handful of Capcom video games are a part of the identical continuity, which is type of cool. Sakura from Street Fighter pops up in Rival Schools, whereas main forged members of Final Fight present up in Street Fighter Alpha.

At one level, somebody figured, “Hey, we have established that Mike Haggar from Final Fight was a wrestler. Why do not we do a wrestling sport with him in it?” And so we bought Saturday Night Slam Masters.

The sport was a complete blast. A sport the place characters might do over-the-top strikes a la Street Fighter, however within the context of a wrestling match with wrestling guidelines. For occasion, King Rasta Mon (a hybrid of Blanka and Bruiser Brody) would seize you, leap straight up about 15 toes whereas backflipping a dozen occasions, then throw you straight all the way down to the mat. Much of the forged was actually Capcom recreations of basic wrestlers like Big Van Vader, Tinieblas, and The Great Muta.

They did make a sequel referred to as Ring of Destruction, however they modified the gameplay in order that it was extra of a Street Fighter clone with pinning. It removed one of the crucial entertaining elements of the sport the place you possibly can do tag staff twister matches and the entire thing simply felt rather a lot much less particular.

I’d like to see Slam Masters introduced again in some type. Considering the shared universe, they may even toss within the likes of Zangief, Hugo, Poison, El Fuerte, and nearly anybody else who would slot in a wrestling ring.

What different fighters would you prefer to see dug up and introduced again? Sound off within the feedback.

Gavin Jasper needs to remind you that the top credit theme to the Darkstalkers animated collection is prime notch. Follow him on Twitter!

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