Believe it or not, most of the biggest fighting game franchises have branched out. For example, Marvel vs Capcom is like a spinoff of Street Fighter. However, this article will not focus on pure fighting game spinoffs. The goal here today is to look at ten games that spun off into other genres.
The most natural transition is to transition from fighting game to brawler. After all, fighting games naturally evolved from arcade beat ‘em ups, so why shouldn't they try to go back to their roots? It’s a good idea, but the execution usually leaves something to be desired. There are, of course, other genres touched on, including sports titles and RPGs.
10 Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball
The thing that everyone took notice of when Dead or Alive launched in arcades was its detailed physics. No other fighting game moved the way this did at the time, especially when it came to the women. So naturally the developers thought it would be an advantageous idea to showcase their modeling prowess with a girls-only beach volleyball game. Yes, it may be a bit risqué, but despite that fact, these are actually decent volleyball games.
9 Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero
Unlike a lot of these entries, Mortal Kombat tried several times to make a decent beat ‘em up. Their first attempt was Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero on PS1, which is a flash game at best. They upped their game with Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, which starred Jax in a top-down 3D brawler also on PS1. It had more of a vision, but it was still blurry at that. The last spinoff was actually pretty good, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks on PS2. So much so that it’s crazy they never tried again.
8 Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight
There is a difference between the North American release and the Japanese version of this game. In Japan the main character, Kevin, was unrelated to the games prior to this. To relate better to Street Fighter, the English division of Capcom changed the name to Ken to imply this is a future version of Ken Masters. Regardless, the game is a disaster and somehow manages to be even more frustrating than the Ninja Gaiden trilogy. Yeah, it’s that brutal. For a better time, try Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, which is an equally weird, Tetris-like spinoff, except it's actually good.
7 Soul Calibur Legends
Soul Calibur Legends was, like many Wii games, waggle-intensive. Players couldn’t simply button mash their way through this Dynasty Warriors clone. They instead had to flail around like maniacs.
Without the hindrance of motion controls this game could have been decent. The story is compelling enough and it looks good for the platform. Too bad it didn’t get ported over to any other consoles.
6 Death By Degrees
Death by Degrees stars Nina Williams from Tekken. In a way, this almost feels like an answer to Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, except these developers focused on one woman. It makes sense that Nina would have her own game, as she is an assassin. It wasn’t just a straight-up brawler either in the traditional control sense. Instead of buttons, players used the analog sticks to input combos. It was interesting to say the least, but did Nina’s clothes really have to be ripped apart when damage was taken?
5 Virtua Quest
At first glance, Kingdom Hearts seemed like an impossible dream. How can Final Fantasy and Disney be combined for anything remotely good? Well, look where we are now. The same cannot be said for another attempt at a crossover RPG: Virtua Quest. Set in the Virtua Fighter world, a kid gets sucked into a virtual world with gameplay similar to the aforementioned Kingdom Hearts series. It is cute, but Virtua Quest doesn’t quite go the distance.
4 The King of Fighters: Kyo
This is a visual novel with very light RPG elements. Apart from tons of text dumps, battles are framed like classic fighting games, except players don’t input commands naturally.
Punches and kicks are instead chosen like a turn-based RPG. The blend of the two genres is strange and disorienting, to be kind. Maybe if the text were in English - yes this was Japanese language only on PS1 - it would have more widespread appeal.
3 Guilty Gear Judgment
Guilty Gear Judgment is the most straight-up arcade-like beat ‘em up on this list. It’s 2D, side scrolling, and features a bunch of characters from the flagship series. This is what these spinoffs should be in concept, and as an idea this is a great example. However it, like most of these, Guilty Gear Judgment was simply executed poorly. It didn’t help that it was a PSP exclusive, limiting its appeal.
2 Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits Bushido Retsuden
Shinsetsu Samurai Spirits Bushido Retsuden (phew) is a turn-based RPG from the Samurai Showdown series. As a special note, it’s simply called Samurai Spirits in Japan. Based on the name alone, one can probably deduce this never came to the West. It was exclusive to Japan for both the PS1 and Sega Saturn. Like the fighting game on which it is based, players can choose a character to play as in their own little vignettes.
1 SNK vs. Capcom: Card Fighters DS
There have been numerous SNK vs. Capcom games in true fighting game fashion. This, as the name would suggest, is not a fighting game, but a card-based RPG. This is actually the third one in the series, believe it or not. Apparently it was successful enough to warrant three games, but we have no idea why. Based on what we played, at least for this third one specifically, it’s very basic and boring.