My Bottom-10 Fighting Games
Some while ago I posted my Top-10 fighting games, here are my least favourite fighting games. Even though I love the genre, as I’ve devoted a list to my favourite fighting game characters and the Hottest Mortal Kombat characters, it is a genre prone to a lot of terrible design choices and there have been many terrible fighting games.
Here are the 10 worst fighting games I know…
1. Virtua Fighter 2 MegaDrive
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. If you’ve read any of my prior blogs show-casing terrible games from Sega, then you already know this one was going to be number-1. A long time ago it was my lowest rated game ever, and it single-handedly peaked my Bad Games by Good Companies and Worst Mega Drive Games lists. This abomination should have never been released and because I don’t want to repeat what I’ve said about it countless times already, I recommend you check out the prior blogs instead.
Commodore-64’s strange cult hit title, International Karate was one of the first one-on-one fighting games around. Sadly it is also one of the worst. With the C-64 only having a joystick with a single button, the controls for International Karate can be best described as baffling. You punch by pressing up diagonally and holding the button and pressing in different directions has all kinds of bizarre effects. You’ll eventually learn what most of the attacks are but it’s honestly a lot more confusing than it would need to be.
Also, while it’s commendable that a game this primitive tried to abide to the actual rules of Karate, where matches end very quickly, the fact that you have to beat your opponent three times (by getting two full points) in order to win the match just makes the game a whole lot more tedious than it needs to be. Though there’s nice graphic variety , a catchy main theme and even some mini-games in between matches – you’re always fighting the same red gi wearing asshole.
However, it would be harsh to call International Karate a bad game just because it lacks many of the conventions one comes to expect from modern fighters. It’s crappy, but it’s only crappy because it was one of the first. Also, in a weird way, I kinda enjoy it.
While Capcom’s Street Fighter 2 defined the entire fighting game genre for years to come, its far lesser known predecessor was honestly a complete mess as a fighting game. A lot of the same things apply here as with SF2, with an energy bar, special moves, opponents from multiple countries and cheesy character portraits of your beaten opponents.
Unfortunately, what kills Street Fighter 1 is the gameplay. Ryu moves as if in tar and you only have two attack buttons with which you must press at different strengths to activate different moves. It’s needlessly difficult and as a result doing special moves becomes a burden and a nuisance. It’s really a shame because without this one crippling flaw Street Fighter 1 wouldn’t even be that bad of a game.
There’s great graphic variety, your opponents are interesting, even though you can only play as one character, you can choose your first opponent, the soundtrack is actually pretty good and the voice acting has a definite so-bad-it’s-good quality. Street Fighter 1 is another sloppy game that I actually enjoy to some extent which is why it’s fairly low on the list. Regardless, it’s a really disappointing game compared to its sequel.
SNK’s fighting games are a bit of a mixed bag. I actually quite like Fatal Fury, even though it’s a very primitive fighter. King of Fighters shows a lot of polish but suffers from annoying challenge and unbalanced rosters. Art of Fighting is about the most shameless Street Fighter knock-off that SNK ever made and it’s not even that much fun as a fighting game.
The problem is that you can only play as one of two characters in the story-mode which just limits the game a whole lot (you at least had three characters in Fatal Fury). Secondly, with one exception, your roster of enemies is pretty uninteresting and bland. Even the main hero seems like a total Ryu knock-off. Thirdly, I always hated the zoom element of this game. It’s completely unnecessary in a 2D fighting game and just an unnecessary flash-factor.
The music and production quality isn’t bad, but the game just doesn’t feel very worth-while and, of course, the difficulty spikes up towards the finale where you’re expected to learn a near impossible special-move to even beat the game. The only good thing about Art of Fighting is that it introduced King, who is about the most interesting character from this or any other SNK series.
During my Bottom-10 rush before Christmas, I made no secret of the fact that I’m not a fan of Smash Bros. Really, it could have been a coin-toss between Brawl and Melee to be up here, but I chose Melee since it has no redeemable qualities with the absence of the Subspace Emissary mode from Brawl, which was the only reason to even play that game.
Smash Bros. is a terrible fighting game format. You’re expected to build up your enemy’s damage meter until they get thrown off the stage. This makes the fights way more time-consuming and boring than they should really be. The controls are simplistic but the roster is anything but balanced and some characters are absolutely dreadful to play as. And that annoying zooming in and out that was so annoying in Art of Fighting, it’s way worse with this game which added to its frantic pace makes watching the game almost vomit inducing.
I have some affinity for the original Smash Bros. on the N64 as a novelty but I really can’t stand most of the games in this series. I would want to like some of them for the cross-over element between different Nintendo franchises, but with a game this hacky and badly designed, it’s not really worth the effort.
Mortal Kombat 4 is an opinion splitter, but Midway were also guilty of creating a genuine stinker of a 3D fighting game when they made the game’s predecessor, War Gods. It’s a great idea for a fighting game ruined by terrible execution.
Rather than actually playing as different gods, you just play with a bunch of badly conceived wannabe’s who all look like they were ripped off from other games and movies. The gameplay is mediocre at best, the gore is quite pathetic and the game just lacks anything noteworthy or novel to make it stand out from its competitors. It’s as shameless of a Mortal Kombat knock-off as you can get and what’s sad is that it was made by the makers of Mortal Kombat.
There’s some entertainment factor with Pagan’s jiggly, pixellated boobies and some of the asinine character designs. However, it’s not enough to make you want to replay the game after experiencing it for the first time.
Capcom’s 2.5D fighters are just not a whole lot of fun. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is supposed to pit Capcom characters against iconic Tatsunoko anime characters. Unfortunately, Tatsunoko isn’t “iconic” enough for me to really care and as a result this cross-over turns from moderately interesting into a shameless cash-cow effort.
The gameplay is jumpy and not fun. Not only is the roster unbalanced, my general lack of interest in Tatsunoko’s characters just made me unwilling to play as any of them. But more-over, when jumping and fighting is very unenjoyable, accompanied by boring stages and uninteresting music – you can see why I would be unmotivated to play the game for very long. Plus, not even animated ending scenes for the characters? What was the point of even teaming up with an anime studio?
I would say that this game would be worth checking out at least as a curiosity if you actually liked Tatsunoko. But I wont. So… nope.
Let’s keep the running theme going here. My dislike for Capcom’s 2.5D fighters really started with their lacklustre fourth instalment of the official Street Fighter series. I was even more disappointed because this game was one of the reasons I bought an Xbox 360.
The gameplay is terrible. For some reason the characters just move very erratically and I hated that playing is near impossible without learning the block-breaking moves (whoever thought of those needs to get shot). I also hate the art-style and the soundtrack was only mildly good at best, completely bland at its worst.
The final boss in the arcade mode cheats like no tomorrow, which makes acquiring new characters hard enough as it is. And the fact that there were only four new characters introduced at the off-set (accompanied by a bunch of SF2 and Alpha characters) just made this feel like a real rip-off, with Capcom only releasing more new characters in subsequent iterations of the game (good ol’, money-grubbing Capcom).
Bottom-line: Street Fighter 4 was terrible. I’m truly dreading how Capcom will screw up Street Fighter 5.
Street Fighter 4 may be terrible, but at least on some level it functions like a regular fighting game. How about a game then where you don’t even have to try to win a fight? That’s what Budokai Tenkaichi 2 is. I’ll reiterate that it’s really sad that considering what awesome material Dragon Ball Z would possibly make for a fighting game, no-one has to date made a decent one.
In Budokai Tenkaichi 2, you at least get to fly around freely and that’s about as DBZ-ish as this game gets. There’s even some nice animations for your special attacks and it has the official Funimation dubbed voices. However, there’s not much you can say for the gameplay, since it’s just a brainless button-masher. There is zero strategy involved and that’s what really makes the game so terrible.
While the in-game animations are fine, the cutscenes are super lazy and the game really doesn’t offer anything substantially entertaining or noteworthy. You can play it for fun for maybe 15 minutes before you get bored. That’s just a disappointing game.
It was a practical coin-toss between this game and Virtua Fighter 2 in order to decide which one was worse. Yes, this port of Mortal Kombat 2 for the Game Gear is truly that bad. It’s almost inexcusably bad considering that the Game Gear wasn’t really an under-powered system or anything. Yet every fibre of this game’s being oozes from a lack of effort (why was it that Sega’s versions of the MK games were always so much worse).
The big problem is the presentation. The animations run incredibly choppy, frames have been removed and there are only two backgrounds in the whole game. The voices wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t always over-lapped by the sound effects of characters falling down. And the same themes just play over and over again in a droning fashion. Your reward for beating the arcade mode is a bit of text. That’s it.
MK2 for the Game Gear wouldn’t even need to be such a poor title but you can clearly tell that Acclaim wasn’t even trying. In that, it’s hard for me to judge if the game deserves to be on the list, but even as a portable fighting game experience, it’s just a terrible game over-all.