Long ago, before “MMORPGS” and first-person shooters dominated the competitive gaming scene, there was only one way to settle who was the most powerful nerd in all the land: 2-D fighting games.
THESE ARE THE GAMES THAT WHICH LORD REPTILE HOLDS MOST SACRED IN THE FIGHTING GAME REALM. IN ORDER TO QUALIFY AS A 2-D FIGHTER, THE GAME MUST INCLUDE 2-D CHARACTER SPRITES WHICH FIGHT ON A TWO-DIMENSIONAL PLANE. EVERYTHING ELSE IS NOT WORTHY OF BEING ON THE REPTILE’S LIST.
2-D FIGHTING STILL THRIVES TODAY IN THE FORM OF ANIME FIGHTERS. BUT BEFORE YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THE TRUE ART OF 2-D FIGHTING, YOU MUST LOOK BACK AND STUDY THE RICH HERITAGE OF THE ORIGINAL FIGHTERS.
YOU ARE NOT A WARRIOR. YOU ARE A BEGINNER. FIGHT OR DIE.
1. Karate Champ
BACK IN 1984, THERE WERE NO TOURNAMENT FIGHTERS. THE TENTH MORTAL KOMBAT TOURNAMENT HAD NOT YET HAPPENED ON EARTHREALM. INSTEAD, RYU AND KEN WERE THE SAME PERSON JUST WEARING DIFFERENT COLORED GIS IN A GAME CALLED KARATE CHAMP.
Karate Champ is a game that rewards your ability to press buttons. If you hit an opponent once, the fight stops and you’re awarded points.
Karate Champ is evidence that games don’t always have to be great to be influential. It’s definitely not a very fun game but millions of idiots lined up to play it because it was the only head-to-head fighting game available. The Reptile acknowledges Karate Champ for its influence, not for being a fun game.
2. Street Fighter
The original Street Fighter may seem laughable when compared to its far more popular sequel, but in 1987 it may have been the most advanced fighting game ever created. With its enormous cabinet and iconic characters, Street Fighter quickly made itself known in Japanese arcades. Unlike Karate Champ, points are not awarded for executing moves on an opponent.
INSTEAD THE PLAYER IS REWARDED BY BEATING THE OPPONENT UNTIL THEY CAN NO LONGER STAND. SUCH IS THE TRUE NATURE OF STREET COMBAT.
Street Fighter invented the life bar in one on one fighting games, and also special moves. The original Street Fighter was essentially the very first actual tournament fighting game. Despite its clumsiness and the high degree of difficulty that goes into performing special moves, Street Fighter served as a prototype for every fighting game that came after.
3. Street Fighter II
Street Fighter had so much left to prove after its first installment. Street Fighter II will live on in the consciousness of every ’90s arcadegoer as the very first competitive fighting game. It brought in combos by sheer mistake, but players quickly began to capitalize on Capcom’s mishap and used it to punish their opponents. Ryu, Ken, Chun Li and Guile quickly became household names as a movie was made in the mid-’90s hoping to capitalize on the hype. It wasn’t very good.
Street Fighter: the Movie may have sucked, but Street Fighter II saw at least five different updates in arcades and on consoles. Street Fighter II on the SNES was the first first 16-bit cartridge in console gaming, and its successors kept pushing the envelope in fighting games for years.
ALL OTHER FIGHTERS WERE INFERIOR TO STREET FIGHTER II FOR YEARS TO COME. IT IS MOST IMPRESSIVE THAT THE SEQUEL SURPASSED THE ORIGINAL STREET FIGHTER WITH ITS SHEER INTENSITY AND COMPETITIVE GAMEPLAY.
Street Fighter signaled the end of the dark age of arcade fighting games with the creation of the CPS cabinet, Capcom’s first of three cabinets deisgned to house their arcade games.
4. Samurai Shodown
AFTER I FINISH MEDITATING I WILL DESTROY YOU.
The Reptile did not play Samurai Shodown until very recently but it is obviously one of the finest weapons-based fighters ever made. SNK may not have gotten as much attention as Capcom when it came to fighting games but Samurai Shodown rivals Street Fighter II in terms of gameplay and presentation. Even the music makes you feel like a samurai.
Whenever you lose and push start, remember that you’re not doing it to beat the game: you’re continuing for revenge against the deadliest of foes. Your sole objective is to strike down your enemy with your sword of justice.
The staggering variety of fighters and special moves makes this one a daunting challenge even for fighting veterans.
5. Mortal Kombat
IF YOU WISH TO FIND THE REPTILE, PERFECTION IS THE KEY.
The first Mortal Kombat introduced excessive blood and revolutionary graphics provided by digitized actors. It was this element of realism combined with ridiculous finishing moves that turned heads in arcades for years. If one were to pick a movie that inspired the grisly fatalies of Mortal Kombat, it would most likely be Rikki-Oh. The sheer satisfaction of finishing off a beaten opponent by eating their head is what has kept The Reptile coming back to the MK franchise for every new installment.
IF YOU WISH TO FIND THE REPTILE, THEN FATALITY IS THE KEY.
Athough Mortal Kombat may not have introduced as many new fighting mechanics as its main competitor Street Fighter II, it was far more notorious for being the most violent video game of its time. Check out these blowhards on the news shaking their fingers at MK’s mature content. SUCH WEAK, PATHETIC FOOLS. THE REPTILE LAUGHS AT THEIR DISCOMFORT. I WILL CRUSH THEM IN ONE BLOW.
6. King of Fighters
SNK put out more fighting games than any other company and almost all of them were impressive but the most well known series is King of Fighters. Stemming from the Fatal Fury series, the creator of Fatal Fury was one of the original creators of Street Fighter. King of Fighters introduced the 3 vs 3 head to head mode which unleashed a plethora of possibilities for team combat. King of Fighters has changed quite a bit over the years but it has always boasted superior fighting mechanics. Recently it crossed over to the 3-D realm but SNK probably knew this wasn’t the best idea and returned as an impressive looking anime fighter for its 2013 installment.
Darkstalkers was the first true Anime fighter ever made so Reptile considers that to be a very important advancement made by Capcom. The characters broke boundaries of fanservice that no other game would go through. Plus you could play as a Sasquatch, a zombie, Frankenstein and pretty much every other universal monster you can think of plus extras.
DARKSTALKERS IS ESSENTIALLY STREET FIGHTER FOR MALL-DWELLING GOTHIC TEENAGERS. THROW ON SOME NINE INCH NAILS AND BODY YOUR OPPONENTS WHILE WEARING YOUR BEST CORPSEPAINT.
Morrigan, the succubus and main character of the franchise brought in the gothic anime hybrid that the genre had been missing the entire time.
Darkstalkers plays like a Street Fighter clone but there’s just something about it that makes it so incredibly endearing that the Reptile most certainly prefers it over Street Fighter II.
8. Guilty Gear
If Darkstalkers left fighting game fans doubting the competitive potential of anime fighters, Guilty Gear proved that they were fools for doubting the genre. This weapons-based fighter has been a mainstay at Evolution fighting tournaments ever since Guilty Gear X2. It boasts some of the most ridiculous characters to ever appear in a fighting game. The Reptile mains the pirate girl May, who fights with an enormous anchor that she lifts and swings around with ease. But she’s probably the most normal character in the entire roster, Guilty Gear is as strange as it is competitive.
GUILTY GEAR ALSO HAS A MOST IMPRESSIVE HEAVY METAL SOUNDTRACK. THAT HEAVY RIFFAGE WILL MAKE YOU CRUSH YOUR OPPONENTS INTO A PULP.
9. Marvel Vs. Capcom 2: Golden Age of Heroes
MvC2 is the most HYPE fighting game to ever exist. Although the crossover tag team fighting genre was started by X-men vs. Street Fighter years prior to MvC2, it wasn’t until the second installment of Marvel vs. Capcom when maximum hype was achieved. An insanely disorienting and chaotic fighter, you swap out fighters and use assists to overwhelm your enemy. Where else can you see Megaman, Sentinel and Chun Li team up and take out Thanos? No fighting game can top MvC2’s absurdity or blistering competitive tag team gameplay. MvC2 is arguably the only fighting game you will ever need, and that’s coming from a diehard Mortal Kombat fanboy.
CROSSOVER FIGHTERS ARE AMONG THE MOST HYPED FIGHTING GAMES CREATED. THE TAG TEAM FIGHTING GENRE WOULD HAVE BEEN QUICKLY BURIED UNDER THE COUNTLESS WRESTLING GAMES OF THE NINETIES IF IT WERE NOT FOR SUPERIOR TITLES SUCH AS MARVEL VS CAPCOM.
10. Street Fighter III: Third Strike
I FEEL THE POWER LEVEL OF THESE TWO NERDS IS VERY STRONG. THEY LOOK TOUGH. WHO ARE THEY?
The final 2-D fighting game on this list is one that The Reptile considers the last classic of the genre. Third Strike was the final version of Street Fighter III, and the only one to really get it right. Featuring both classic characters such as Ryu and Akuma and newcomers like Dudley the boxing dandy, Street Fighter III is an extremely advanced yet traditional fighting game. It introduced the counter system, which as you can see in the above video can turn the tables in even the most seemingly hopeless matches. As if this wasn’t enough, the popularity of Third Strike at Evo proved that the spirit of 2-D fighting games is alive and well in the fighting game community.
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