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Fighting Games That Could Get More Love

The world's always gonna be ruled by the likes of Street Fighter and Tekken, but get a bit further and there's a treasure trove of fighting game Luxembourgs that might have little notoriety, but probably deserve more appreciation and recognition than they currently get.

List items

  • One button parries, a tall heavy-hitting Shinsuke Nakamura look alike, and a freakin' tank with a skull face. Also a prime contender for SNK Boss trope lists. This one never saw a release outside of Japanese arcades, which is a shame. Thankfully, imported cabinets and ROMs have made this playable for everyone else.

  • SFxT gets a lot of deserved flak for its gem system, but divided from that and its poor debut this features some solid 2v2 Street Fighter with some creative, imaginative transfusions of Tekken characters that stay true to the source material while introducing some interesting new quirks that make them feel natural in the SF universe.

  • An easy to pick up anime fighter with some interesting character designs that border on parody. The option to select between different special and super moves on top of a move list also allow some variance in play styles, several years before Netherrealm experimented with this in Mortal Kombat X.

  • An altogether solid fighter with heavy influence from D&D and fantasy. Plays a little bit slow and rudimentary in the present day, but still has charm.

  • Ranking of Fighters might've beaten me to it, but Endless Duel was a heck of a lot of fun for a young mecha obsessed kid who'd discovered emulation in the early 00's. While matches and characters alike can tend to be on the slow side, there was a lot of care placed into keeping the spirit of the source material alive: Duo & Deathscythe are balls to the wall rushdown against Heavyarms' ranged assault.

    While it's nothing too special mechanically, it's meter heavy gameplay and tech have helped it age better than most fighters of that era, and the game's style still looks pretty cool. While it looks like Gundam Versus and the Breaker series are probably the direction for mobile suit games going forward, it'd be amazing to see an anime style fighter with some of the Gundam series' notable characters.

  • While the base game is kinda a black mark to the Smash community for varied reasons(pratfalls, Meta Knight, etc.), I'm throwing in Brawl for a blessing that wouldn't be a thing without it: Brawl Minus.

    Put simply, Brawl Minus is a Smash mod that was released in the wake of the more popular Project M, but took a different approach to how to improve the game: instead of taking a purists' approach to making Brawl an optimised version of Melee, the designers balanced Minus by making every character broken: many moves and character specific mechanics are radically altered to not only make the entire cast feel powerful, but to fit in better with more traditional fighting game archetypes.

    Bowser becomes a terrifying grappler with super armor on literally everything and legit command grab combos into air command grabs. Pichu goes from a joke character to a legitimately terrifying zoner/setup character with potential for monster damage. Samus gains stun properties on her charge beam, allowing for ridiculous combo conversions each time it hits. While it probably flies in the face of everything the Smash community adheres to for the series, it results in a fast paced, incredibly fun game to play that can fly 1v1 or as a party game.

  • While many credit DOA 3 as the high point of the series, the Dreamcast release of Dead or Alive 2 (and its subsequent updates in DOA2 Ultimate for PS2) provided the foundation that made that possible. While keeping the rock-paper-scissors style of the first game, the sequel took the basic components and supercharged them: juggle combos became heavier hitting, danger zones were replaced with massive stages where environment became a key component to one's game-plan (prior to and better than Tekken 4's), the slower pace of DOA1 became a white knuckle rush to KOs, and the game practically exuded an air of heavy handed, hard hitting cool.

    DOA2 managed to carve out a niche at a time when Soul Calibur and a cadre of Capcom games(MvC2, 3rd Strike, Power Stone) dominated the console market, and arguably stands out as a project that saw Team Ninja and Itagaki at their most focused before doubling down on the fanservice. Bring back Bomb Factory.