Never Base a Fighting Game on a Movie!
Let's forget the fact that Fight Club wasn't really about fighting, but the inner struggle to find your own identity (and commercialism). And let's not forget that it just happens to be several years old, not filled with traditional fighting game characters, and is a lot deeper than your average brawler. But if all this doesn't convince you, then you should just remember that it's hard enough to make a good movie game, but almost impossible to make it a good fighting game. It's this kind of thinking that leads to the Catwoman game or somebody making a Vice City-clone out of Scarface. This kind of insanity needs to be stopped, and somebody needs to take care of it soon, before some company decides to make the Requiem for a Dream video game!
Let Mortal Kombat have a Sense of Humor
At this point the world of Mortal Kombat is more of a parody than anything, it's filled with fun characters, but it can barely keep a straight face. Yet for what seems like no reason at all, Midway has put in place a no-joke policy in their MK titles. In its newest incarnation, Deception, the characters have no sense of humor, and seem deadly serious. Perhaps this is because at the end of the round they get might be killed . but how can you not make a joke when you've just ripped somebody's head clean off? That sounds like the perfect time for an inappropriate one-liner, or at least a stupid pun. But Midway won't have any of that, and at the end of the day Deception makes Mortal Kombat II look like Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles.
Bring Back the Novelty Character
One of the staples from the very beginning was the weird, often wacky novelty characters. A character like Dhalsim might not seem practical, but it's nice of them to include somebody so different from the rest of the cast. These days the novelty character seems to be on its way out. Games like Tekken, Dead or Alive, and Virtua Fighter all feature realistic characters instead of the occasional weird and wacky character. Oh sure, Tekken has a bear and Virtua Fighter has a drunk, but what about the three armed characters? Where's the love for the headless dwarf? What about that big fighting blob in the corner? It's fun coming up with new and weird characters, you should try it. Even Mortal Kombat has failed to provide novelty characters, instead making everybody fit in with the world surrounding it. Sigh, I suppose the Dhalsim's of the world are just doomed to a life of unemployment and ridicule.
Different Story Modes
While most fighting games don't actually feature deep stories, most give you a reason to go from one character to another. If you're going to go that far, why not limit some characters to only characters that make sense to their story? That way it could open it up to several different stories per characters, or even better, extra character specific bosses. This would work especially well with games that have deep stories, like Mortal Kombat. It would also give developers an easy way of offering extra variety for the replay. I'm probably alone here, but if you're going to make Ryu fight Dhalsim, at least you could give me a good reason.
Let's NOT Make this a Family Affair
There are a lot of people in this world you can fight, so why bring the family into this? Is there a certain reason fighting games insist on pitting brothers vs. sisters, daughters vs. fathers, and everybody against the step-children? The Dead or Alive series is ripe with this trend, just about everybody is related, it's a whole giant soap opera with just about every kind of family member accounted for. Just what made these people hate each other so? And why is it we go from a scene of brother/daughter carnage to one of them holding each other? I get the feeling that the creators of Dead or Alive have some unresolved family issues they need to get to the bottom of . and that's not even mentioning the whole misogynistic thing.
Character Specific Arenas
Games used to have character specific arenas . but then again, games used to come with strategy guides for free. These arenas would often give the characters a personality in a way that dialogue and fighting just can't convey. You learn what that character likes, where they choose to fight, and all kinds of other useless facts that ultimately make you feel closer to your favorite fighter. But these days it's strictly random arenas, so you never get to see where these people live, what they eat, and the kinds of things you would find out if you were fighting in their hand picked arena. I may be the only one complaining about this, but it seems like something at least one game should bring back, if only for me.
New Ways to Mess with the Second Player
I love throwing fireballs, I love countering enemy's moves, and I love picking my foe up and pile driving them . but these are all things we have done dozens and dozens of times already. Why not give players moves that don't do damage, but instead mess with the other characters controls? For example, perhaps you do a move that reverses all of the keys for your enemy, so suddenly his left is right, his up is down, and the buttons are just a mess. How about cursing your enemy, or simply being able to break one of the arms (so they can't fight as hard). It's these little things that we don't see every day that would really add a lot of novelty and replay the to the games. At first switching the controls may seem hard to overcome, but like everything else in fighting games, if you can learn it both ways you should be able to kick butt no matter what! Just an idea.
No More Character vs. Character in Story Mode
There is no reason for this, it's just lazy programming. When you're playing a story mode, no matter how skimpy the plot is, there shouldn't be a time when you suddenly see yourself. You don't see that too often in martial arts movies, and the logic is simply baffling. Sure, character vs. character in multiplayer is great fun . but outside of a weird science fiction explanation (like cloning), playing yourself in a fighting game is just stupid. In the past fighting games did not pull this stunt, they kept you fighting people that looked nothing like you. These days it just seems like the programmers have you fighting random people, even if that person is yourself. I wish they would think long enough to realize that playing yourself makes no sense, and is a special treat for the two player mode. It may just be a pet peeve, but in this day and age there is just no reason such small problem.
Neo Geo: It's Time for a Change
SNK has gone through some tough times recently, what with going out of business and then being reborn under a different name. But now that everything seems to be stable again, maybe it's time to actually fix some of the problems with the original game plan? After all, you did just go out of business!! Even if you don't want to change your entire structure, at least take challenge yourself to actually develop new types of games and grow your fighting games past 1996 standards. Getting yourself a new board to work on would be a start, and maybe even redrawing every single character from scratch . that is, while you're coming up with brand new characters that are unlike anything we've seen before. Oh yeah, and don't forget to embrace some of the advancements made by the current generation of fighters, such as Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution and Guilty Gear X2. Furthermore, if you ever consider making another game like SVC Chaos, I will do everything in my power to make sure you go out of business for the second time!! That's a promise you can bank on.
No More "Vs." Games Until you Develop New Characters
Look, I love you Capcom, I really do. Without you we probably wouldn't have a list to write. But look babe, either you need to come up with some new character or get your butt out of the fighting game arena. You've had your time, maybe it's time for other companies to shine. Because I'm not sure I can stomach another one of your "Vs." games, and trust me, I'm your biggest fan. Not only are all of these games extremely boring and clich?, but they always seem to feature the same cast of characters. How many times do we need to see Ryu, Ken, Chun Li, and the same fighters go up against everything from Marvel Super Heroes, SNK characters, and, most recently, themselves. They are always the same characters, always the same moves, always the same game play . we've been here before, a number of times. It's not like you don't have new characters you can mine, what about Viewtiful Joe? Leon from Resident Evil 4? Dante from Devil May Cry?? These are great characters, and I'd rather see those names than your basic World Warriors. Sorry, Ryu.
Let's face it, not all fighters should have a future. These days we're pretty limited by our selection, but at least they are good franchises and not titles you never want to hear again. But everything that is old will be new again, and it won't be long before some real bad games get revived for the 21st century. We may not be able to do anything about this, but I would like to offer up a few games I would rather not see in a collection, updated, or revived. Let's keep these games as dead as disco.
Four Fighters That Never Need to be Brought Back
In the 1990s Rare and Midway teamed together to create one of the lamest fighting series of all time. Yet even now clueless gamers - either drunk or remembering a far better game - demand that Rare updates it. But this is exactly the type of game I want to steer clear of, it featured generic characters and a combo system that looked impressive, but was actually among the lamest "enhancements" ever to be added to fighting games. Of course, you don't have to be a sucker for those 100 hit combos, you can simply do a combo breaker . but by that time I'm ready to just break the game in two.
Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi
Up until recently, most Star Wars games were poorly conceived cash cows that did nothing for their either the genres or Star Wars name. Such was the case with Masters of Taras Kasi, the fighting game that let you beat up on famous characters from episodes four, five, and six. Thanks to its name it sold like hot cakes, but it featured abysmal controls and muddy graphics, making it both frustrating and hard to look at. Besides, these days the only Star Wars character worth beating up on is Jar Jar Binks.
Say what you will about Mortal Kombat, at least it's not War Gods. Here's a game that proved that not only did Midway not understand their mistakes, but they were ready to revel in them just to make more money. In the arcade War Gods was bad enough, but when they brought it home, Nintendo 64 users didn't know what to do. It was the only non-Killer Instinct game on the system, yet it's a chore just to play it. Even all these years later, you still need to avoid it.
Now here's a game that like Fight Club, completely misses the point. In the early 1990s companies thought that just as long as they had blood, gore, and violence your game would do as well as Mortal Kombat, but that just was not the case. Time Killers gets this theory wrong in every way possible. It looked horrible, the violence (which included characters chopping limbs off each other) was more comical than horrifying, and the controls make the whole experience uneven. Way to completely miss the point, guys.