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Is There a Fighting Game Curse?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on May 03, 2002   |   Episode 18 (Show Archive)  

In doing my normal research, reviews, and whatnot, I came acrossed a disturbing trend. There are more than a few games that peaked at number 2, only to go downhill from there (or worse yet, never go anywhere from there). I noticed that this was not common with other genres, that is, action games, puzzle games, and role playing games do not suffer from this curse, by and large. So, I put fighters to the test. And here are some of my findings. Perhaps we can get to the bottom of this mystery. Or maybe it's just meant to be. (Remember: There's a whole second page to this article. I know, I know, it's all over the place.) street fighter Street Fighter II: Why It's the Best: Few games have been as big as Street Fighter II. If it weren't for Street Fighter II most of the games you read about on this list would never exists. Street Fighter brought great character, easy to learn control, and mixed it with a whole lot of personality. Few games are as good as Street Fighter II. Did Capcom set the bar too high to begin with? Thoughts on the Sequels: Okay, so perhaps Street Fighter III wasn't all that bad, but it wasn't Street Fighter II, either. This third version doesn't have interesting characters, it doesn't have fast play control, it actually a pretty dull all things considered. What did Street Fighter III influence? That's what I thought. Future Prognosis: Who knows. Chances are Capcom will again use Street Fighter, but who knows where. It took half a decade to bring a third installment, so Capcom likes to take their time at releasing sequels. Perhaps we'll see Street Fighter 4 sometime in 2004. street fighter Mortal Kombat II: Why It's the Best: Every so often story, characters, and game play just comes together. Mortal Kombat II was dark, gritty, and filled with surprises. It controlled about as good as you'd expect from a Mortal Kombat game, and it had more hidden moves than any game I can think of. This game features the best cast of characters, too, including Kung Lao and Baraka. Mortal Kombat II is the peak of the series, no question about it. Thoughts on the Sequels: No matter if it's Mortal Kombat III, Ultimate Mortal Kombat III, Mortal Kombat IV, or any of the crappy spin offs, the ONLY good Mortal Kombat is the second game. Mortal Kombat III was far too cute and silly, mixing robots, bright colors, and funny (not morbid) fatalities. Mortal Kombat IV was far too hard to control. Mortal Kombat II gave us the right characters, a brilliant story, and no frills, that can't be said about any other in the series. Future Prognosis: Hey look, it's Mortal Kombat 5! What's that? Nobody cares? Yeah, that's kind of what I thought. street fighter Tobal 2: Why It's the Best: Square's fighter mixes tradition 3D fighting with an adventure mode like no other. Tobal 2 runs at a blistering frame rate, giving us some of the greatest animated characters I've ever seen. The play control is some of the best you'll ever see, too. I think that if Tobal had been given more of a chance to succeed it could have been one kick ass franchise! Thoughts on the Sequels: Alright, so this IS the sequel, but it's also the peak of the franchise. Dream Factory brought us the similar controlling Bouncer for the PlayStation 2, but I hardly count that as a sequel. Tobal 2 is a game that only Sqaure would produce, it's half fighting and half adventure. Not sure that appeals to the average gamer, but I'll tell you what, Tobal 2 is the best of its kind. Future Prognosis: The future doesn't look good for Tobal. In fact, I'd almost guarantee that we'll not see another Tobal on these shores. I would just like to take this time to say that this makes me very sad. Very, very sad indeed. Without a doubt the best combination of characters, control, graphics, and blood were found here, in SNK's phenomenal Samurai Shodown II. It looks great and controls even better, plus it pulls heavily from classic Japanese lore. Few games have quite the style and look of this game. (Note: Even though this refers to the Neo Geo game, when it came to Neo Geo Pocket games, Samurai Shodown peaked at two as well.) Thoughts on the Sequels: Even though SNK attempted several sequels, Samurai Shodown II was the best of the series. Samurai Shodown added too many characters and didn't keep enough of the old, and Samurai Shodown IV just didn't add anything at all. None of the other games (included the ill fated Samurai Shodown 64) had the pure enjoyment of the second game. Future Prognosis: The future doesn't look good for Samurai Shodown. It failed in two 2D sequels, and the 3D version is less a joke and more offensive. Even before the fall (and possible return) of SNK nobody seemed to want to bring Samurai Shodown from the ashes. It's really a shame, it's a great franchise. street fighter Killer Instinct II: Why It's the Best: Well, it certainly isn't the "best", but compared to the original and Killer Instinct Gold, Killer Instinct II is the peak. This is just about the best controlling the game gets, and I suppose it has the best character animation of all of them. It's also a lot easier to control than Gold (but mostly because of that horrid Nintendo 64 pad). Killer Instinct II isn't worth playing, but it's the best of the series, let's just leave it at that. Thoughts on the Sequels: The original and Killer Instinct Gold are two of the worst fighting games you'll find. Gold suffers from poor control and limited appeal, whereas the original is just painful to play. Killer Instinct is like drinking light fluid for dessert right after eating broken glass. Dear God stay away from this game, just do yourself that much. Future Prognosis: I'm pretty sure the people that brought us Killer Instinct are done bringing pain to millions of gamers. I haven't heard anything about Killer Instinct 3, but then, I haven't been listening, either. Have I mentioned that this series should be avoided, and the there really is no reason for me to include this in a list like this. I can't believe I've written this much about such a terrible game. street fighter Last Blade II: Why It's the Best: Last Blade II took everything we loved about Samurai Shodown, mixed it all up, and brought us one of the best fighting games out there. Each of the characters is based on popular (and underground) Asian cinema, and the animation is second to none. And you know what they say, "it's better to burn out than to fade away." Thoughts on the Sequels: Okay, okay, so Last Blade II peaked on it's final game, it still fits the theme. Last Blade II improved on the original in just about every way. It looks and feels better, it has cooler backgrounds, and some hard to resist characters. It might have fizzled away on every system it appeared (including the Neo Geo Pocket and Dreamcast), but Last Blade 2 is one of the greatest sequels on any system. Future Prognosis: If SNK isn't going to update Samurai Shodown, then you better believe they've left Last Blade behind. This forgotten treasure will likely die a quick death in obscurity. It didn't exactly set the charts afire when released on the Dreamcast, and with the future of SNK's properties in peril, one can only guess.


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