Fighting games have been one of the most popular types of video game genres since the release of Karate Champ in 1984. Most classic fighting games allow for the player to move horizontally back and forth across the screen while doing battle with a single evenly matched opponent, rather then a group of opponents like in Beat ’em up games. While moving the player, you can choose to attack, block, or attempt to chain together several buttons into combo and perform a super move. Over the years, fighting games have changed from 2D pixel masterpieces into 3D computer graphic monsters but this has had little effect to the core gameplay of this genre. The basic controls and simple goals of fighting games have led to some of the best and worst games ever made, so be sure not to miss out on any of the games that made out list of the top ten fighting games with pixel graphics.
Top 10 Fighting Games with Pixel Graphics
#10 – Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition is a fighting game with pixel graphics based on the first few seasons(before it went to hell) of the MMPR television show. The game was released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System by Bandai using the same engine that would be used for their future title “Gundam Wing: Endless Duels”. This was the first Power Rangers title that allowed the player to control the Zords rather then then their human counterparts. This game has been placed last on the list because of the lack of depth in story and gameplay. While fun to play, this game offers nothing you won’t find in all of the other games on the list.
#9 – World Heroes 2
World Heroes 2 is a fighting arcade game published by ADK/SNK in 1993 that was eventually ported to the Super Nintendo. Expanding on the first game of the series, World Heroes 2 increases movement speed and adds several new gameplay features such as the ability to counter grabs and reflect projectiles. Although it lacks the popularity of Street Fighter II most gamers will agree that it is just as good of a game with equally enjoyable action and characters. As with most fighting games of the time, World Heroes takes places during a mysterious fighting tournament that has pulled fighters from all through out time. In 1994 a sequel was released called “World Heroes 2 Jet” and gave the fighters the ability to dash forward and backwards.
#8 – Samurai Shodown II
Despite only making number 8 on our list, Samurai Shodown II was always a cult favorite because of the ability to use weapons rather than fist to fist combat. All of the combatants in the game were masters of a particular weapon and would use said weapon in combat, much like Soul Caliber set in 18th century Japan. Samurai Shodown II was the first game to add a parry technique that allow the player to deflect and counter incoming attacks, adding another level of depth to combat.
#7 – Fatal Fury Special
Fatal Fury Special is an enhanced version of Fatal Fury 2 which new characters and small chances to the games mechanics. So pretty much, Fatal Fury Special is to Fatal Fury 2 what Street Fighter II: Turbo is to Street Fighter II. The game features fifteen playable characters and an indepth combat system making it fun to play but is often over looked when compared to the bigger hits like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II which were both released around the same time(1993).
#6 – Primal Rage
Primal Rage sets itself apart from the other fighting games on the list by using prehistoric monsters and dinosaurs as combatants rather then the common humanoids. Originally developed for the arcade by Atari Games in 1994, Primal Rage’s gameplay can easily be compared to other fighting games of the time containing basic attacks, special moves, and special finishing moves for each character. Primal Rage’s plot takes place on “Urth”, a post-apocalyptic version of Earth, in which 7 monstrous gods are battling for control. One of the coolest features in the game are the human worshipers that come out during a battle. While they usually do not affect the outcome of a match, nothing can compare to the satisfaction achieved by eating them.
#5 – Eternal Champions
Eternal Champions is probably the least known game on our list of the Top 10 Fighting Games with Pixel Graphics. This is because it was released directly on the Sega Genesis in 1993 and did not receive the publicity of the arcade circuit. Despite it’s low popularity, Eternal Champions is one of the most unique fighting games of the period with character-specific moves(force fields and reflectable projectiles) and one of a kind stage-specific finishers. The story of the game follows a tournament known as the “Eternal Champions” where a group of recently deceased heroes throughout time can battle for a chance to be sent back for another chance at life. Eternal Champions is one of the few fighting games to focus heavily on the plot, allowing your to understand your fighters motives and sympathize with them.
#4 – The King Of Fighters ’98
The King of Fighters ’98 is one of the only fighting games with pixel graphics to be released exclusively on the Neo-Geo CD and the PlayStation. This is because by this time, most fighting games were upgrading to us 3D graphics such like the ones seen in the original Tekken. Despite not having an actually plot, KOF ’98 is considered by most fans of the series to be the best because of the style of gameplay and beautiful background stages. Due to it’s popularity, KOF ’98 was eventually ported over to the Playstation2 and Dreamcast under new titles and featured 3D versions of the background stages to utilize the power of the next generation engines.
#3 – Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash Of The Super Heroes
Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes is the third installment of the crossover fighting game series Marvel vs. Capcom and was originally released in 1998. Unlike other games of it’s time, the arcade and Dreamcast versions of Clash Of The Super Heroes allowed for players to choose multiple fighters and switch them in and out freely, Tag Team style. This mode was removed from the Playstation versions of the game to preserve game speed. The greatest feature of this game is it’s large amount of lovable characters from varies games, 16 of which are playable.
#2 – Mortal Kombat 2
Mortal Kombat II was released in 1993 and is the second game in the Mortal Kombat series published by Acclaim Entertainment. The game expanded on the story and mythology behind the original Mortal Kombat and introduced several new mechanics to the game including new basic moves and an increased number of Fatality’s. The story line continues where the first game left off and takes place at the following year’s tournament. Many players prefer Mortal Kombat 2 over Street Fighter II due to the graphic violence and darker tone of the game. Like the next game on our list, the popularity of this franchise has lead to several movies and spin off games.
#1 – Super Street Fighter II Turbo
Super Street Fighter II Turbo is an extremely entertaining fighting game released on the Super Nintendo in 1994 with 17 playable characters from around the world and nonstop action. To a lot of professional gamers Super Street Fighter II Turbo is considered to be the best fighting game ever made because of it’s high speed gameplay and in-depth combat mechanics. Turbo is the fifth and final update to the Street Fighter II sub-series and added several new gameplay features such as “Super Combo’s” and the ability to “juggle” your opponent in the air. Selling over 6.3 million copies, Street Fighter II remains Capcom’s best-selling game on a single platform to this day. The population of Street Fighter II actually jumped started the video game renaissance and lead to the creation of many of your favorite fighting game series.
Are any of the games we listed one of your favorites? Do you think we missed a great game on our list of the Top 10 Fighting Games with Pixel Graphics? If you answered YES to either of these questions please let us know in the comments.