The 50 Greatest Fighting Game Characters

Number One being the lowest of the great, and number 50 being the greatest of the great.

Fighting games and I have a long torrid affair, and these characters are why it's been more up than down. If I could only have a game with this roster...

Disclaimer: There may be some character spoilers in there somewhere, so you go at your own risk.

List items

  • of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters.

    "Wingnut only entered the tournament to pound some heads. He pounded everyone else and ended up winning and now will be able to waste even more money."

  • of Shaq Fu.

    Memphis is a decrepit old lich in a ratty robe, but that doesn't stop him from punching uppity basketball players in the mouth. That can do attitude is what makes him an all-star.

  • of King of the Monsters II.

    Super Geon is Godzilla, if Godzilla slimmed down, grew more spikes and started working out. He can beat you down with his tail, break your back on his shoulders or pull out his own horn to use as a sword or javelin. This is the guy we should call the next time King Ghidorah shows up.

  • of the Tekken and SoulCalibur series.

    Many men have worn the mantle of Yoshimitsu and wielded the sword of the same name through these two series, but they all manage to hold the same mixture of poise and manic insanity. For all his skill in swordsmanship, he might decide at any moment to chuck the rules and physics out the window and start using his sword as a helicopter or pogo stick.

  • of the Clayfighter series.

    Ickybod is a Jack-o-lantern ghost thing unsurprisingly made of clay, who battles such mad opponents as Sumo Santa, an Elvis knock-off, and Earthworm Jim. All smoosh under his non-existent boot heel.

  • of King of the Monsters II.

    Just look at him. Magnificent.

  • of the Bloody Roar series.

    Bakuryu is a ninja who can adopt man/animal hybrid form called a Zoanthrope. His particular animal to draw on is the mole. This isn't particularly impressive sounding until you see him in action. His newfound massive claws and burrowing ability added to his ninja talents make him a highly mobile force to be reckoned with that can cut you down in a hurry.

  • of Def Jam: Fight for New York.

    No joke. In Def Jam, Trejo plays himself as an enforcer for an underground fight club manager. A real life badass remains a badass in digital form, and who wouldn't want a chance to wreck face as Danny Trejo?

  • of the Street Fighter series.

    Zangief is not an easy character to learn, and I certainly haven't, but that doesn't diminish how badly this Russian freight train can mangle you if the player knows his business. This is a man who wrestles bears as a hobby and when he is crushing your skull like sparrows egg between his thighs, you will wonder why you were ever foolish enough to step up to him.

  • of Injustice: Gods Among Us.

    The main man Lobo rides into battle on his space hog strapped for war. With stogie in mouth, hook-chain and sawed-off in hands, and complete lack of respect for his opponent in place, he is ready for anything. A good thing to be in a world of superheroes gone mad.

  • of the Mortal Kombat series.

    Drahmin was once a mortal man, but after his death and rebirth in the netherrealm he has become an oni, a demon. The more cunning partner of the Oni Destroyer Moloch, Drahmin has a metal club in place of one hand, and a constant cloud of rotflies surrounding him feeding on his rotten flesh. Drahmin is a gruesome opponent unafraid to bludgeon you into pulp and eat the remains. Respect.

  • of the Killer Instinct series.

    Wolverine met The Terminator once, some really awkward stuff happened, and Fulgore was the result. This cyborg is the posterchild of KI to many, and quite deservedly. When this combo machine gets revved up, prepare for a beatdown.

  • of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

    The Sorcerer Supreme of Earth doesn't need to sully his fists on your face, because he has a spell for every purpose. Prepare to learn those spells yourself though, because he's going to be shouting them aloud at every opportunity. FLAMES OF THE FALTINE, DAGGERS OF DENAK, DAGGERS OF DENAK, EYE OF AGAMOTTOOOOO!

  • of the Tekken series, Soulcalibur II and Playstation All-Stars.

    The infamous head of the Mishima Zaibatsu, Heihachi struts into every situation with his customary swagger and contempt for others. He's stronger than men a quarter his age, and has seemingly unlocked the secret of eternal youth to boot. His family tree is more than a little twisted, but not for lack of his trying to prune it. He also has a bear for a best friend. Not a bad resume.

  • of the Bloody Roar series.

    Stun was once a normal mad scientist, but a betrayal by his partner left him as an unstable insectoid Zoanthrope. This instability requires him to drink blood regularly to survive, leaving him a cursed man. Setting this unfortunate business aside, Stun is a badass bugman who will beat you down, jack you with his horn and stomp your face in.

  • of the Soulcalibur series.

    I like axes, particularly large ones. I also like bad guys. Never have the two been married so well as in the mighty Astaroth. A golem built by a dangerous cult, he has long since outgrown his creators, mostly by murdering them. He now wanders the earth indulging his cruelty, searching for Soul Edge and occasionally playing enforcer for more organized villains. He's living the dream, and it's inspiring.

  • of Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

    Ever wonder who teaches the innumerable henchmen in comic books their rudimentary to decent combat skills? It's this guy. I'm pretty sure he teaches the goons in video games and action movies too. Anyway, Taskmaster is blessed with what he calls "Photographic Reflexes". This means he can perfectly emulate any action he observes. Through vigorous study of some of the greatest in the world, he has swiftly grown to stand among them.

  • of the Tekken series.

    Steve Fox is a boxer, which happens to be one of my favorite martial styles in fighting games. He makes boxing fun by bringing tons of positioning and spacing tricks, and more importantly, tons of knockout PUNCH. I like his name too.

  • of the Street Fighter series.

    Edmond Honda is more than happy to remind you that a fat man can whip your ass, my ass, and every ass around. He came to the World Warrior tournament to prove Sumo is as strong as anything else, and he proved it by planting a hundred hand slaps in the opppositions faces.

  • of Deadliest Warrior: Legends.

    Whether you're talking about her historically or in her various video game appearances, the Maid of Orleans is a force to be reckoned with. In DW she's as likely to put you down with a crossbow bolt to the face as she is to send your head tumbling from your shoulders with her blade. Vive la France!

  • of many, many Dragonball Z games.

    Vegeta is an asshole. Good guy? Bad guy? An asshole either way. He may perpetually be second banana to the golden boy Goku, but he's far more exciting and dynamic. His power is nothing to sneeze at either, with more than enough to blow up a few dozen planets and still fly home for lunch.

  • of the Killer Instinct series.

    Spinal is a crazy undead badass with a killer laugh, mad teleports and combos for days. Whether he's conquering the opposition or the box office, Spinal comes to win.

  • of the Darkstalkers series.

    This undead rocker is just as dangerous on the stage as he is the battlefield, bringing violent insanity, crazy attacks and his axe wherever he goes. And seriously, badass name.

  • of Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

    Dormammu is the demonic overlord of an entire dimension who sometimes lowers himself to our level so he can slap us around. Magnanimous of him.

  • of the Soulcalibur series.

    Mitsurugi is a master swordsman who initially quested for Soul Edge to gain a weapon that could defeat the mighty Rifle. He never got it, but he figured out a way cut gunmen down without cursed uber weapons. Now he wanders the world looking for a foe who can challenge him. He hasn't been too successful, as his swordsmanship is unparalleled.

  • of the Street Fighter series.

    USA! USA! USA!

    Guile is a United States soldier who pounds bad guys with his fists and flash kicks in his spare time. No idea what's going on with that hair though.

  • of the Street Fighter series.

    The brother of Ken and Ryu's master Gouken, Akuma wields the dark side of the Force, I mean the Satsui no Hadou. He spends his time searching for a challenge (fruitlessly usually) and occasionally tempting his adoptive nephew Ryu to join the dark side. Darth Akuma fears nothing, and serves no one.

  • of Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

    Mayor Haggar is an honest politician during the day, a ruthless pounder of gang members at night, and a suplexer of sharks at all times. I don't know that there's much more to say.

  • of the Soulcalibur series.

    Once the chosen of Hephaestus, Aeon was transformed into a Lizardman by the same cult that made Astaroth. Since that traumatic event Aeon has struggled both with trying to keep some of his humanity and his sense of good and evil. That aside, he's a badass lizardman with one or more axes who battles the best warriors the world can offer.

  • of Injustice: Gods Among Us.

    Born on a Monday.

    Christened on Tuesday.

    Married on Wednesday.

    Took ill on Thursday.

    Grew Worse on Friday.

    Died on Saturday.

    Buried on Sunday. But that's not the end of Solomon Grundy.

    Nothing is ever the end of Solomon Grundy, the immortal zombie who clashes with the Justice League on the regular. Props to him for being the first character I ever figured out a chain grab with as well.

  • of Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

    Weskers image may have been damaged somewhat since his days of being a universally feared super villain in a world that didn't have super villains. Global Saturation and "cheapness" in MvC aside, Wesker is still pretty damn cool. I'm still gonna play him.

  • of the Guilty Gear series.

    A time-displaced dude from our time, he battles the increasingly odd warriors of the distant future. He wields a kusari-gama that is exactly the length it needs to be, and endeavors to find a way back to the present. Well, his present. You know what I mean.

  • of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

    STARSSSSS

    The Nemesis is danger, terror, power, rage and indestructibility poured into a mad science blender and unleashed upon the world. He's intimidating enough when he steps onto the field alone, the rocket launcher is just gravy.

  • of the Mortal Kombat series.

    The original secret character of a series famed for secret characters, Reptile is the legendary green ninja. Acid spit, a hunger for flesh, crazy force ball things, invisibility and great martial skill all lie within his bag of tricks. He's slowly eschewed the trappings of his former human disguise as the games have gone on, only making him cooler.

  • of the Guilty Gear series.

    Also known as the Dr. Baldhead, Faust is a batshit insane former serial killer who does his best to redeem himself for his terrible actions. His methods of attack are just as mad as he is, whether he's using his giant scalpel as a pogo stick, popping out of dimensional doorways, diving with a massive needle, or dressing up as a little boy with a baseball bat. Pure deadly madness to be sure, but he's almost certain to heal you after he's done beating you.

  • of Persona 4 Arena.

    Naoto has a fighting style specifically designed to screw with you. Traps, gunfire, quick jabs, and her persona Sakuna-Hikona's invisible attacks all conspire to whittle you down. And if whittling doesn't work, she has instant death traps. This detective knows how to bring down any foe.

  • of Soulcalibur II and the Smash Bros. series.

    The legendary boy in green is the posterchild for overpreparation. He comes to battle with sword, shield, bow, boomerang, magic, bombs, hookshot, and anything else he can find in a dusty ruin. Battling the greatest fighters of other worlds is just another adventure to him. And Link is the master of adventure.

  • of Injustice: Gods Among Us.

    My favorite member of the Bat Family, Barbara Gordon is Batgirl. An invaluable asset to Batman at most times, in Injustice Barbara is free to step to center stage to save the world from the mad heroes who oppress it. She's also free to pummel the Joker all day every day, which is pretty satisfying when you know their history. Fast, tricky, tough and dangerous at all ranges, Batgirl is no joke.

  • of the Mortal Kombat series.

    Kano is the wiliest, most treacherous, murderous knife enthusiast in Earthrealm or Outworld. If he can't stab you, he'll strangle you, if he can't do that he'll burn you with eye lasers, if that doesn't work he'll rip your heart out with his bare hands. If all else fails, he'll tear your skeleton out wholesale. Kano is consistently the wild card within the Mortal Kombat tournaments. A criminal arms dealer, a professional traitor, and a deadly killer, Kano is no one to toy with.

  • of Persona 4 Arena.

    Everyone's favorite slightly dim chair-wielder comes into this list just shy of the top ten. He and his persona Take-Mikazuchi enter the fray with brash power and wild, bombastic attacks. Dropkicks, chair shots and lightning bolts abound when Kanji is around. He and his pal also share the best instant finish in the game with the Ultimate Brofist attack. Only Kanji could stumble into a tournament his friends have been dragged into and assume it's just a dream.

  • of the Marvel vs. Capcom series.

    Shuma-Gorath is the Cthulu-esque lord of the Chaos Dimension. Which it will be more than happy to welcome you to the hard way.

  • of the Tekken series.

    Paul Phoenix was one of my first "mains", not that I really buy into mains. He's a slightly dopey, brash, fun-loving, proud, hellishly strong bear of a man. Who often fights bears. The man who actually defeated Ogre, but nobody ever believes him. Poor dude. At least he always knows he can punch dudes flying down the streets.

  • of the Smash Bros. series.

    Ganondorf is a man who has a lesson to teach us. When you get knocked down, when you get shot in the face with a light arrow, when a small child impales a blade into your head, you get back up. You get back on the horse, practice your dark magic, and find a pit to kick someone into. This is a lesson we can all take something from.

  • of the Guilty Gear series.

    Zappa isn't actually a very good fighter, or an aggressive man. The small army of ghosts that use him as a frat house are pretty violent though! There's somewhere between 5 and 30 ghosts hanging out inside the poor fellow, and they tend to take the steering wheel whenever someone who'll put up a decent fight is around. "Zappa's" fighting style is insane, riddled with supernatural effects and impossible body movements, making him a deeply unpredictable opponent. Zappa himself is only vaguely aware that something is wrong, mostly because he wakes up surrounded by unconscious bodies and covered in wounds. So he quests across the land searching for a doctor. Good luck Zappa.

  • of the Tekken series.

    Bryan Fury is a dead man. At least he was once, after his death he was brought back by one Dr. Abel through the magic of cybernetics. This makes him officially a Zombie Cyborg. He also happens to be a cruel, violent killer who likes taking long walks through the battlefield with a gattling gun. When Bryan Fury kicks or punches you, you fly.

  • of the Street Fighter series.

    The ultimate boxer in the fighting game universe, Balrog can and will punch anyone in the face. Doesn't matter who, doesn't matter where, he'll punch them. His punches are brutal, his footwork is good, and he keeps the boxing gloves on whether it's a street fight or not. That's class.

  • of the Soulcalibur series.

    Voldo is a strange man. He is the guardian of his dead Master Vercci's dungeon-like vault. Every now and then he strikes out in search of Soul Edge to bring home to the ghost of his beloved master. Or maybe there is no ghost and he's completely mad. Or maybe he's completely mad either way. What is true is that Voldo has a unique, somewhat disturbing appearance and fighting style, a pair of razor sharp katars, and impressive battle awareness considering his eyes are always covered. Voldo is also the greatest senior citizen on this list that doesn't cheat with magic, clocking in at 67 years old. Judging by his prowess and um.... assets, age ain't nothin' but a number here.

  • of the Mortal Kombat series.

    Kano is a vicious criminal. Drahmin is a man-eating demon. Reptile is a lizard ninja of a dead race. Stryker shoots them all in the face and then goes back to work doing the real tough stuff, enforcing the law on the mean streets of NYC. He has no magic powers, no weapons of the gods, no infernal or celestial patron, no technology more advanced than what you can find in your local police station. But he beats people that have those advantages and more with a simple and effective style, and the tools of his trade. Stryker is the greatest Kombatant.

  • of Persona 4 Arena.

    Aha! Is this our champ? Not quite. Chie is the only person on this list who has proven capable of kicking tanks into low orbit, that's awesome. Chie is an upbeat martial arts fan with a good heart and a drive to protect the ones she loves. She and her persona Tomoe are fast hard-hitters, if not above being distracted by a nice steak bowl.

    Vinny and Jeff approved ass-kicker.

  • of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition.

    NUMBER ONE, NUMBER ONE, NUMBER ONE

    Ivan Ooze is the cheapest, bustedest fighting game character you can play as outside of Mugen. Combine his fighting prowess with the fantastic masterpiece of cinema he debuted in, and you have all that and a dumptruck of chips. This makes him rather obviously the best character ever as well. Alright, nah I'm just screwing with you. Ivan doesn't belong on this list, let's move onto the real King.

  • of the Guilty Gear series.

    Slayer is who I would want to be if I was a fighting game character. Pure and simple. He has a fast, hard hitting combat style of his own creation, a punch that could flip a tank, an entire Assassin's Guild at his command, more class than you can fit in an oil tanker, an immortal, unkillable girlfriend, and a fine beard. He's also an ageless, hellishly strong vampire. He wins the battle just by getting up in the evening. Hail to the King.