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13 Old school fighting games deserving a next gen release pt. II

I was happy to catch some inspiration from some of the readers of part one of this article. After my first list of fighting games deserving a next gen release, I felt more or less obligated to continue the frenzy. The first one was my personal taste; part two of this list contains the direct suggestions from you. Thanks!

#13: Clay Fighter: 1994

13fighters2_10 I don’t like Clay Fighter. I thought it was a mutilated biological experiment where poisonous Killer Instinct DNA was brewed with some Leslie Nielsen’s semen, a pint of bat’s blood, freshly grinded undead clowns and a frog’s genitals. But, since we’re talking over the top action games with endless possibilities, they could actually create something more powerful of the concept of a parody fighting game involving creatures created out of clay. Since there’s numerous titles mentioned on this site alone and lots of inspiration found elsewhere to re-create this ridiculous and stupid parody game with claylike figures it could theoretically work out. The battlesystem really (really) sucked and it mainly was a succes because of… well, I guess it was funny to see.

To stop whining and think of the possibilities for a change: Maybe this could work if players around the world would be able to create their own clay figure to fight in 3D toy factory-arenas. A milder look at the game shows that the characters were pretty well thought out, like Helga¸ an obese opera singer, Blue Suede Goo, an Elvis impersonator and Bad Mr. Frosty, an evil snowman. Give players a toolbox filled with toys, clay, parts and snot and let the carnival begin!

#12: Mace: The Dark Age: 1997

13fighters2_1Remember that 3D Mortal Kombat-with-weapons-try out with the janitor and the chicken fatality? That’s Mace: The Dark Age. It was created by Atari and was ported by Midway to N64 in 1997. Funny stuff, created quite beautiful with cool design and brutal executions (fatalities). Involving weapon specialists instead of just the fists. I think they kind of hoped that the brutal stuff and the humor should be a recipe for success like Mortal Kombat (also Midway) but it didn’t work out that way. It was filled with colorful characters like an Arabian assassin wielding two swords, a Viking prince and a blind monk fighting with a bo. According to this list, only the design makes me want to see it again. Because the game play sucked. It was your typical button basher but the gory style just had something.

#11: Fighting Force: 1997

13fighters2_8This was a real arcade style four player co-op game. Looking at the combat system we see in modern Grand Theft Auto titles, you can see some resemblances and style. The 3D environment even looks a little like an early GTA episode. It’s a completely different game altogether. There’s a co-op battle system with up to four selectable fighters. While being a little flawed in 3D motion graphics a decent co-op brawler, including combo system, grappling and suplexing foes. Why not add a Tatsumaki like air attack? It always looks good and kicks ass. Eidos made a clunky and a little sloppy 3D fighter which was still good fun. It was planned to be Streets of Rage 4 but I don’t see any resemlences compared to that game. One reason to be remade is to recreate the pretty good combat system in a world you can destroy with your bare hands.

#10 : X Men: Mutant Academy: 2000

13fighters2_9If we look at the 3D graphics of this game now, we can hardly believe this was the stuff we dreamt about back then. It was the first fully 3D X Men fighting game, so it was bound to succeed anyway. But while not being completely ugly, the corniness is so abundant it hurts your eyes. That’s for the cinematics, because the battles look pretty good. A decent combo system, powerful special attacts and the familiar bar we all know to charge your ability to use powers. Since fighting with mutated super humans always is good, a dozen beloved X Men makes it all taste just a little more exquisite.  But, it wasn’t really enough to make this title a blockbuster. It wasn’t a powerfull fighting game, it lacked over the top cinematic action and speed at some time. Since it’s still 3D X Men battles there were two more of the series. The X Men (or Marvel heroes) are currently busy starring in Marvel VS Capcom. Let’s just say they re-make something like this with a taste of Marvel vs Capcom, a handfull of Injustice: Gods among Us, blended with a swirl of Tekken. Maybe that’ll make it as popular as those titles.

#9: Streets of Rage: 1991

13fighters2_2Another golden piece of nostalgia. Streets of Rage, named Bare Knuckle: Ikari no Tekken (Furious Iron Fist)  in Japan. What’s wrong with that name? Maybe bare knuckling gives a little too much… Of things I don’t want to say out loud. This is a game resembling two other games from the first list I wrote about this: Final Fight (FF) and Double Dragon (DD). It played like the combination of the two, a thing very common in the universe of fighting games. Compared to DD, this game had more sophisticated moves and attacks. The animation was better and with smooth appearance compared to other beat ‘m ups back then. Compared to FF, this game was more fine tuned and a little more gracious.  Compared to DD, the techniques where more detailed and greater in number. The fighters were all ex-cops with a vengeance, with likenesses of the above named games. Axel, the alphamale in this game looks like a fusion between FF’s Cody and DD’s Jimmy Lee. This title had 3 episodes and was ported to different consoles as downloadable game in the late zero’s.  I can imagine a new Streets of Rage for the 21st century. But only if they name it Bare Knuckle: Ikari no Tekken again and Tom Clancy writes a story about three special agents with martial arts skills who got blackmailed by the mob.

#8: Golden Axe: 1989

13fighters2_3Those were the days. It was a time 8-bit consoles where conquering the world. Golden Axe was a side scroller beat m up with a couple of sequels. It also had a spinoff, a 2D figthing game, which just as well could be on this list: Golden Axe: the Duel. (1996)

This dragon riding game is Conan the Barbarian style with one dwarf and magic spells. It could also be considered a hack and slash game because of the orc slaying… Maybe that’s why it felt completely different and much more as a real adventure. Other sidescroller beat ‘m ups are simply based on sweeping goons out of town. This is magic weapon battle against former heavenly creatures. The main hero’s name’s Ax Battler (logically wielding a broadsword) accompanied by Tyris Flare, the Amazon and a dwarf, Gilius Thunderhead. Working together you have to finish Death Adder, your regular medieval executioner, who does have an axe. Just to make things clear, you’re Ax, in search of an Axe and to get it you need to defeat a guy with an axe, get it? You thought Diablo was the first to come with an item dropping Gnome? Guess again! Creator of the game Makoto Uchida was also responsible for that other typical Sega game: Altered Beast.

#7: Battle Arena: Toshinden: 1994

13fighters2_4Once upon a time, having 3D weapon fighting games never happened. It was a phenomenon often heard of, but never acknowledged. Everybody knew that with the release of the first Playstation (19 frikkin’ 95) things were going to change dramatically. After Sony and Nintendo couldn’t find a way to work together, Sony created their Playstation and almost immediately started crushing the competition. Nintendo’s N64 wasn’t half as big is its predecessor. Anyway. When the Playstation arrived, Battle Arena Toshinden was the first 3D weapons fighter and was more or less succeeded by Soul Edge and Soul Caliber. The last of these two already has 5 pretty good sequels, even guest starring Darth Vader & Yoda. In the 1990’s, we poor scoundrels couldn’t afford a Playstation, so all we could do was hang at the local electronics store and play the available demo-Playstation until closing time. There’d be like ten or twenty kids in that store in line to play a demo of Battle Arena: Toshinden, with just two characters, loving every minute of it. It’s said to be the first ‘official’ 3D fighting game because of one thing: Sidestepping.

#6: Battletoads in Battlemaniacs: 1993

13fighters2_5This was a very entertaining and way too hard videogame created by former prodigy studio RARE. There was one game before it, but technically this was a re-use of the former version 16-bit style. It’s about NOT the Ninja Turtles but the Battletoads Blitz, Pimple and Zitz. The Battletoads are being transferred to a game world while hanging out with some crazy professor. One girlfriend and Zitz get abducted by a pig of the apocalypse. The remaining Rash and Pimple have to fight their way to the evil Dark Queen and her ally Silas Volkmire  It’s been in the top of the hardest games ever created only because of the plat forming and ridiculous hard racing and evading objects! Of course, this fighting game has also been combined with another title: Battletoads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team. Since spike-booting skeletons is always a load of fun, bring those Battletoads!

#5: DragonBall: Budokai: around 1650 or something

13fighters2_7DragonBall. I could go on and on about the philosophy and the origins of this modern age Chinese (yes, Chinese) Folklore and the politically correct ideal son-in-law Goku;  it’s easier to say he’s just so cool that it’s always good to flame up the game in to rage as a Super Saiyan. For those who’ve never heard of Goku, look him up for yourself, because you can’t miss him. Or his son, his grandchildren, his special moves, his enemies and his faithful friends. If you really come to think of it, DragonBall is so insanely huge, you can barely grasp it. A billion fans, at least. The animated manga series is from 1984. So that’s almost three decades of Goku. Wait! It gets worse. It has a strong relation to a 16th century Chinese series of books named西遊記 (the Travel to the West) Already feeling old? Fun detail is that Akira Toryama, writer of the series has designed characters for Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (2007). So, will there be a next gen release of a DragonBall fighting? Probably. What would it contain? Endless fusions of the endless list of characters in the DragonBall Z universe. Would that be cool? Definitely!

#4: Weaponlord: 1995

13fighters2_6Before Mace: the Dark Age there was another ancient battlefield where people got swords gently thrusted up their rectum. It was the more fun and much more playable Weaponlord. Namco and a studio named Visual Concepts created something familliar with Soul Calibur and Battle Arena: Toshinden, only in 2D. This time with combo fatalities, something unheard of. Mortal Kombat also tried it later on but failed. This-is- Weaponlord!

It’s the weapon fighting, the style and the gore. It had some unique traits like being able to counter attack, evade attacks and being able to attack floored foes. Combined with clashing swords, insane combo’s and over the top ‘fatalities’ this was a good game to begin with. Fun to play and -like lots of fighting games- easy to learn, hard to master. Here I go speculating again: If Namco Bandai re-invented this game it should probably be a game with less Soul Calibur and more Weaponlord. It’s a long shot because they probably traded in Soul Calibur for Weaponlord.  So no more decapitating->smashing out brains->piercing heart fatalities from their side…

#3: Eternal Champions: 1993

13fighters2_12This was 16 bit time already. This hilariously brutal hommage to Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat was a frantic effort to call in to question exactly those titles. Now, that we would like to see again. There weren’t many studio’s capable of creating a decent 2D fighter, but Sega put it together okay. I never ‘loved’ this game because I didn’t want to buy a separate controller. This game had six attack buttons, but that controller only had three buttons. This meant pressing the start button in between. Which was too bad because it was full of good content and pretty funny characters like Slash, a prehistoric caveman, Trident the gladiator and Xavier Pendragon, a blacksmith. It didn’t feel as smooth as other 2D fighters from that time but still a very good looker, reasonably good combat and gory finishes including over the top and lengthy, detailed (stage) fatalities. Like transforming into goo and dissolve your enemy to the death. Or feeding them to the lions. Or werewolf.  Let’s just say they try this again, obviously with no six button trouble. Having a new Mortal Kombat/ Street Fighter cross over look alike including fantastic fatalities… My imagination goes crazy.

#2: Rival Schools: United by Fate: 1997

13fighters2_11Ever wondered why Street Fighter didn’t work out as a 3D fighter? The reason could be Capcom didn’t use the same engine as they used in the super cool, action packed, humorous and seriously good fighting game Rival Schools. It’s because it plays like 3D Street Fighter in a lot of ways.  The number of characters was insane for that time, including students of the rivaling schools, teachers, janitors, cheer leaders and the swim teacher. Compared to other games back then, Rival Schools and all of its expansions offered a whopping total of 26 playable characters. The awesomeness was that all of these characters could work together in a tag team, pulling off epic co-op attacks. It was guest starred by Street Fighter’s Sakura. With all the crossover fighting games today, a new Rival Schools bulging with more bully bashing seems completely logical to me…

#1: Bloody Roar: 1997

13fighters2_13Originally named Beastorizor (again, what’s wrong with this name?) Bloody Roar didn’t get 4 titles for nothing. It’s a 3D action fighter, with characters capable of transforming in to wild animals. You have to earn that ability during the fight and you have to time your attacks accordingly. Like other fighting games, the story is totally irrelevant and the attention all goes to transforming in to beasts. Once you’re transformed, you stay that way until your power wears off or if your opponent beats it off your limp body. When in beast mode, you’re able to perform brutal and ferocious attacks in caged fights. Speaking of animal rights! You could ram your opponent through the fence off the arena  in a final attack. More episodes of this game meant more animals. Since there’s still new animals found today, there’s no reason this game shouldn’t be followed up. I think this is easily the best game Virgin ever spawned (correct me if I’m wrong). Humans transforming into abominations just works out good.  Bloody Roar 4 has been ten years, only a reboot on PSN in 2009. There’s an actual group of people gathering themselves for the release of Blood Roar 5. Here: facebook.com/pages/Petition-for-Bloody-Roar-5/155826501121225. Give them your like. Maybe it’ll happen!


  • Kamille

    you have beat ’em ups and fighting games mixed together. They are not the same genre you know.

    • Kobus Kunneman

      Doesn’t matter, still a great trip down memory lane.

    • Obviously. But I can’t put fighting,- co-op sidescrolling beat ‘m
      up,- and super smash/brawl games in one title. It’s about kicking ass.

  • Patrick Verhagen

    Nice list, love to see a remake of battletoads! that game was hard as hell.

    I would also like to nominate another personal favorite of mine:

    One Must Fall 2097 (originates from 1999)

  • Patrick Verhagen

    Nice list! I Would also love to see a remake of Battletoads, that game was hard as hell!

    And may I nominate a personal favorite of mine to the list?

    One must fall 2097


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