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Top 5 Best Fighting Video Game Franchises Of All Time

Updated on July 12, 2017
Vasu Juneja profile image

Just a curious Human Being here to share knowledge and ideas. A life-long professional wrestling fan.

As an avid gamer, I have found myself many times sitting on a couch and enjoy gaming. I am an admirer of video games since my childhood. This is due to the fact that in my opinion, video games are art. Complex but great pieces of artistic presentations for our imaginations. Video games also have genres like most other art forms. One of the many genres is fighting games. Basically, a fighting game is where there is close combat style. There are health bars accompanied by power moves, punching, kicking and the good old KO(Knockout). Fighting games are an impeccable part of the industry. Countless games have spawned but there are a select few franchises that have left a mark on fans and the market alike. Let's delve in the fantastic world of fighting games and observe the games that completely revolutionized the gaming industry and gifted us hours of entertainment.
Following are the five best fighting video game franchises of all time.

Ryu Vs Ken: Street Fighter 2
Ryu Vs Ken: Street Fighter 2 | Source

Street Fighter

The masterpiece called Street fighter is a gaming franchise by Capcom©, a company based in Japan. This very game set many conventions that were followed by numerous fighting games of coming years. The first game of the same name was launched in 1987 for arcade machines.

The true success was however achieved by the second game called Street Fighter 2 released in 1991. It became immensely popular and turned Street fighter into a multimedia franchise. This was the first fighting game in which you could choose from a roster of different characters, each with unique moves and powers. The series gave us some of the unforgettable characters like Ryu, Chun-li, Blanka, Dhalsim, E-Honda, Guile just to name a few.

What makes the games really enjoyable is its fast paced action. The character design is beautiful as well as the environments. It has that typical anime feel to it with flashy explosions and addictive music. The game appeals globally as the characters are billed from all over the world. For instance, Dhalsim is from India and when you fight him in campaign mode, the stage is themed as Indian with elephants and many other cultural touches.

The Street fighter has also jumped on to other media of entertainment. There are movies, comic books, animated series, card games, board games and even a slot machine. The game has been released on all major gaming consoles. With the last game releasing in May of 2017 on Nintendo Switch console, it is on the verge of completing three decades in the industry. Undoubtedly, it has aged like old wine.

A round in TEKKEN 3
A round in TEKKEN 3 | Source


First released in 1994 by Namco©, Tekken is as polished as possible for a fighting game. Each and every fighter has a unique style. The game play is smooth with awesome artwork. The 3D animations are beautiful and crisp. The fight mechanics are easy to get used to. There are four separate buttons for each arm and leg and the combinations of these buttons result in various special moves that are just breathtaking to watch. Tekken 3 is often regarded as one of the best games on the PlayStation console, because it is so much damn fun. It also has a bonus beach volley level. Who does not like beach volley, eh?

There is no favorite fighter in the game of because each and every one is exciting to play with. Roster is full with distinctive characters like King (Tiger-headed man), Yoshimitsu (an alien), Gon(A little dino-like creature) and also some normal martial artist humans too. Every fighter brings something new to the table that doesn't make the game repetitive.

Unlike other games, Tekken has a dedicated moves list for each character during game play that helps in performing special moves without smashing buttons like a crazy ape. Also, at the end of each round, an action replay is shown of how the round came to climax. This feature had gamers always striving to perform a perfect finishing move so that they could get that awesome replay.

For the early stages of the game, the Tekken series set the bar very high for a fighting game. What makes it stand out is the emphasis that is laid onto the story. The rivalry between Kazuya and Heihachi is the central plot point in most games. Fighting games don't generally have a story as engaging as Tekken. Even if there is a story, it's just time filler for the actual fight sequences.The Tekken franchise shines as a unique and untouchable fighting game franchise.

TEKKEN 7 Art | Source
A shot featuring Scorpion from The Mortal Kombat movie.
A shot featuring Scorpion from The Mortal Kombat movie. | Source

Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat is arguably the bad boy of fighting games. The series is known for its intense violence, blood and over the top gore. The initial team behind Mortal Kombat consisted of only four people with one programmer, two art guys and a sound specialist. Ed Boon and John Tobias are credited for creating the game.

However the Unique Selling Point of the game is its 'fatalities'. A fatality is a special finishing move that is performed after defeating the opponent which involves brutally murdering and obliterating his or her body in a very bloody manner. But it is not very easy to perform fatalities as it involves pressing a series of pre defined buttons on the controller.

The game play of the original Mortal Kombat is not as in-depth as street fighter. This is because, in early versions of the games, most of the characters fight mostly the same. There is no difference in fighting styles except special moves and fatalities. But that does not mean that it is not fun. The series has evolved over the course of time and has become great. As the technology progressed, each fighter got a unique fighting style and personality. Digitized sprites were used in the beginning of the series that was a novelty as compared to other games that used cartoonish, hand-drawn graphics. The game also notoriously used same sprites for some characters with different color palettes to create a wholly different character. For e.g., Scorpion and Reptile was same, the only difference being the yellow and green color respectively. Mortal Kombat 4 was the first 3D game of the series.

Two live-action movies have been released of the same name as the game. Comic books and an animated series can also be found in the list of spinoff multimedia of the game. The characters have always been very memorable like Raiden, Scorpio, Sub-Zero, Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, etc. being mostly focused on.

The excessive gore created some controversies on the way too. The game was banned in several countries. Mortal Kombat also played a giant role in the creation of ESRB ratings system for video games to determine the age group on which the game is targeted. The franchise has set many benchmarks for this genre and has helped the evolution of the video gaming industry itself.

Scorpion performing his Fire Skull Fatality
Scorpion performing his Fire Skull Fatality | Source
In clockwise order: Sonic, Pac-Man, Mario and Megaman
In clockwise order: Sonic, Pac-Man, Mario and Megaman | Source

Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. is a fighting game published by Nintendo. This game is very different from all the games we have discussed on this list. It is not about revenge or vengeance or even winning a fighting tournament to capture glory. It is just about having endless fun while you smash your opponent until he or she falls from the platform. The first game of the series was released on the Nintendo 64 console in 1999. The game is super addictive and the aura is unmatched by any other game. Nobody could have imagined at that time that a funny party multiplayer game would be standing toe-to-toe with other great fighting games.

The games contain characters from all of the Nintendo Universe. The household names like Mario, Bowser, Pikachu, Link, Princess Peach and many more you can imagine fight each other to create an ultimate party fighting experience.

The game is very light-hearted unlike other games which are rather serious. Humor is the specialty of the game. It is damn funny to see Mario fight his own princess, isn’t it?!

The later titles also contain third-party characters like Megaman and Ryu from Capcom, Sonic the Hedgehog from Sega (Nintendo’s rival company) and many more that made this game have an edge over other crossover titles in the market. All the games have always received a positive feedback from players and the critics alike.

The latest entry being Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U released in 2014, the series is expected to grow and ensure that its legacy is kept alive as one of the greatest fighting games of all time.

Mario and Army
Mario and Army | Source
Jacky Vs Sarah in VF2
Jacky Vs Sarah in VF2 | Source

Virtua Fighter

The Virtua Fighter game series was created by Sega Co. Ltd. The first Virtua Fighter is regarded as the first fighting game to use polygon based graphics, i.e. it was one of the first 3D fighting games.

The objective is similar to other games, ‘beat the hell out of the other guy and win’. The game play mechanics use a kick, punch and a guard button. There is an additional control for grappling move. The combinations of the controls result in special moves, however, you have to be skilled to perform all the moves. As they say, easy to play, hard to master. With an array of different game modes, this is a game to beat. The game play is fluid and addictive. The roster is one of the most in-depth in terms of fighting games; Jacky, Pai Chan, Kage, Shun-Di and Dural are some of the most famous ones. The game also introduced a concept of ring-outs and sudden death.

The game is always looked upon as the pioneer in 3D fighting genre. It paved the way for an entire industry and showed that 3D fighting games could be fun and successful at the same time. In addition to its legacy, the series has several Guinness World Records to its name.

Like other games in this list, Virtua Fighter also has its fair share of media spin-offs like animated series and manga. It is sad to realize that the final game was Virtua Fighter 5: The Final Showdown released in 2012 and the series is no longer expected to make a comeback.

Major Virtua Fighter Characters
Major Virtua Fighter Characters | Source

Do you agree with this list? Is there any great game I should have included? In your opinion, who is the most recognizable fighting game character? Feel free to educate me in the comments below.

© 2017 Vasu Juneja


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    • Vasu Juneja profile image

      Vasu Juneja 2 months ago from India

      Thank you suraj

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      suraj 2 months ago


    • Vasu Juneja profile image

      Vasu Juneja 2 months ago from India

      Thank you

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      Jarvis 2 months ago

      Nice and crisp list