It may have been a long time coming but fighting games are finally making the transition to eSports and the history of this illustrious genre is being observed by newcomers and veterans alike. Not every series is Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, some having just one release before fading away in time.
This year’s resurrection of Samurai Shodown proves that holding out for a past classic to make a comeback isn’t always a lost cause. From arcade mainstays to legitimate oddities, it’s time to dust off the arcade sticks and make some noise to bring these lost classics out of the past and into the modern spotlight. Here are 10 forgotten fighting games.
10 Rival Schools
Even though the last entry of the Rival Schools series was released almost 20 years ago, there remains plenty of interest in a revival of the high-octane fighter that could be best described as a toned-down version of Marvel vs. Capcom.
Outside of Kyosuke being a playable character in Capcom vs. SNK 2, the series has remained dormant with fans clamoring for its return.
When considering the failure of Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite and the divisive Street Fighter V, it might be time for Capcom to bring out something old to start something new.
9 Power Stone
To those who remember it, Power Stone was a memorable foray of carnage on the Sega Dreamcast. Up to four players could compete in a full 3D environment, use weapons and stage obstacles and even transform into their powerful alter egos after collecting three of the fabled stones.
After Power Stone 2, the franchise seems to have fallen by the wayside as there has been no word from Capcom that they will bring the series back. Until then, fans of the game will never forget and those unfortunate enough to have never played the series will continue to miss out.
8 Eternal Champions
When Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat were dominating arcades in the 1990s, there was one game fighting fans absolutely had to play if they had a Sega Genesis, and that game was Eternal Champions. What made Eternal Champions unique was that it incorporated elements of the aforementioned titles while still feeling original all on its own.
If Killer Instinct can be brought back and succeed in today’s fighting game landscape, then why can’t a game that allows players to fight as an actual Shih Tzu?
7 Bloody Roar
One of the best fighting game franchises that thrived on the Sony Playstation, Bloody Roar and its sequels were among the best 3D fighters ever made. Though the gimmick of changing into a raging beast mid-battle was neat enough, the game’s combat was as fluid as any Tekken or Virtua Fighter game at the time.
By the time the series made it to the PlayStation 2, it was clear that the novelty had worn off as the quality of the last two games failed to match its predecessors. The series has been dormant since 2003’s Bloody Roar 4.
6 Primal Rage
Nothing turns the eye quite like an old fashion monster mash, and therein lies the appeal of Primal Rage. Trading punches and kicks for teeth and tails, players assume the roles of titanic beasts as they bite, claw and even vomit their way to victory.
A massive hit in arcades and on home consoles, Primal Rage had a sequel in development until Atari pulled the plug leaving all hopes for more dinosaur carnage dashed forever.
Though Primal Rage 2 was never completed, its story would be adapted as a comic book in 1997.
5 Virtua Fighter
With the rampant success of the Tekken series, it's shocking that the granddaddy of all 3D fighters has seemingly been put to pasture. Sega’s Virtua Fighter revolutionized the genre and had been a well-loved title from its early days as a polygonal mess to its refined later titles.
Since the critically acclaimed Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown, the landmark franchise has laid uncharacteristically dormant save for it being a playable mini-game in Yakuza 6. Despite Final Showdown being featured in a side tournament at Evolution 2019, it is looking more likely that the sun has set on the legendary fighter.
4 Bushido Blade
The brilliance of Bushido Blade was in its simplicity: No life bars, no time limits and death can come in a single blow. The samurai themed fighter was as close to a real sword fight as gaming could get, and the sheer scale and depth of the game were well before its time.
While the series never continued beyond the second entry, its spirit lived on in the poorly received Kengo series for the PS2 and Xbox 360.
While parodies are meant to be satirical and not trying to improve their medium, there are instances where they are just too good to be ignored. Clayfighter was one such instance as it combined all the best aspects of 2D fighters with a healthy dose of humor and a lot of clay.
A hallmark of the 16-bit era, Clayfighter’s fate was sealed when Interplay Studios shut down shortly after the release of the heavily delayed Clayfighter 63 ⅓.
2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters
While there is a debate surrounding if this game stands alone or acts as the final game of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, Tournament Fighters was a well-received title that still sees tournament play today.
Praised for being on par with Street Fighter II in terms of presentation and great utilization of the property, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighter was great to play alone or with friends.
1 Fatal Fury
Though SNK’s King of Fighters series would become the chief rival to Capcom’s Street Fighter II and its variants, it was actually Fatal Fury that emerged as the original contender to the throne. With a colorful cast of characters and fighting mechanics that gradually improved with each entry, Fatal Fury is one of the great forgotten fighting games.
Perhaps most frustrating was that the last standalone title in the series, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, is considered to be one of the greatest fighting games ever made. With the resurgence of King of Fighters and Samurai Shodown, there is no reason for Fatal Fury to remain forgotten.