Fighting games have come a long way since the arcades of the late 80s and early 90s, with a lot of the popular titles coming to the home consoles of the time. With almost everything ported over, the Sega Megadrive fighting games were a mixed bag, but there were some gems. So, here are five of the best to fondly remember beating your siblings at.
Street Fighter II: Champion Edition
Obviously this was going to be in here. Street Fighter as a series is the grandfather of the fighting game genre, and Street Fighter II is a game that has yet to be surpassed in the eyes of many. In fact, people are still playing this game now, and there are still tournaments run in this game today, so that is the kind of calibre of title we’re talking about here.
The gameplay is still tremendously solid, with that old glitch that caused combos still feeling great to exploit even now. All of the World Warriors are distinct both visually and in terms of gameplay, and the playable addition of the Grand Masters (otherwise known as the Four Kings of Shadaloo) was a great call. Furthermore, the soundtrack is flat out iconic.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
Everyone remembers Mortal Kombat and all the controversy is courted in the 90s (and still does now to be fair), but surely we can all agree that out of the retro titles, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 is the best title right? Taking all of the great advancements to the series made with the third entry and then polishing it all to a great shine really shows.
All of the gore and violence that you’ve come to love with Fatalities is still here, along with the ridiculous like the Babalities (the wonderful act of turning your opponent into a baby), so this is very Mortal Kombat. The only problem with this port is that the sound is inferior to both the arcades and the SNES port released around the same time. Altogether now: Get Over Here!
Virtua Fighter 2
Virtua Fighter has a pedigree of being a fantastic 3D fighting game franchise that pioneered and popularised fighting games on the 3D plane. What a lot of people don’t remember about the series is that the second Virtua Fighter title was actually ported to the Megadrive a year after it was released on its successor – the Sega Saturn.
The most interesting detail about this was that the game was changed into a 2D fighter in the transition, but kept a lot of the core mechanics from the original. The end result was a great, if a little clunky, fighter with incredibly solid gameplay. It hasn’t aged very well visually, but it’s quite the technical feat and still feels well despite both the age of it and the hardware it’s on.
This series is far more niche than it deserves. But, with another iteration coming this year and being added to the main roster for the biggest fighting game tournament in the world, it can’t really be argued that this game isn’t great. What’s most astounding is how great the Megadrive iteration of the series looks even by today’s standards.
Unlike several of the games on this list, it still looks incredible now, with some of the nicest visuals of the entire console lifespan. Also, the sound design is great too, managing to drag the absolute best out of the limited sound chip of the Megadrive. Couple this with some great, albeit slightly broken, gameplay and you have potentially one of the best fighters ever.
Now, I know that this is a bad game; in fact, it’s considered to be one of the worst games of all time by a lot of critics and fans alike. But, and bear with us on this one. It’s a fighting game. With Shaquille O’Neal. In an alternate dimension. Fighting an evil mummy. Just the unbelievable insanity of this as a concept was enough to get this onto the list over others.
The gameplay is pretty much horrid, the sound design is grating, and the visuals are utterly bland. However, it is so unbelievably charming that it’s hard to discount it entirely. Plus, the game has garnered an inexplicable cult following, leading to a sequel to be released last year in Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn. So it can’t be that bad, right?
That’s ours, but have we missed one? Let us know in the comments!