October 13, 2022

Why Retro Fighting Games are Still the Best

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Why Retro Fighting Games are Still the Best

By Nick | October 13, 2022

Let's face it, fighting games today just aren't what they used to be. In the golden age of console gaming, fighting games didn't rely on flashy graphics and Hollywood-esque cutscenes to sell themselves. Instead, they were all about tight gameplay, interesting characters, and most importantly, fun. 

One of the major factors that set apart retro fighting games from their modern counterparts is the depth and challenge found in their gameplay. These games often had a smaller, yet highly skilled roster of fighters, each with their own unique fighting style and special moves. Mastering just one character could take hours of practice, let alone learning how to compete with every fighter in the game. 

Unfortunately, in recent years, fighting games have lost sight of what made them great in the first place. But don’t worry, there’s still hope. In this post, we’ll take a look at why retro fighting games are still the best around.

Graphics aren't everything

Sure, the graphics in current-gen fighting games are impressive. But at the end of the day, do they really add anything to the experience? In many cases, it feels like developers are using flashy visuals as a crutch to make up for lackluster gameplay.

Modern fighting games have instead opted for larger rosters, but often at the cost of making each character feel generic and unmemorable. Add in the ability to constantly buffer special moves with simple button combinations, and you drastically reduce the skill gap between casual and hardcore players. 

Besides, there’s something to be said for the charm of 8-bit and 16-bit graphics. In addition, retro fighting games were known for having rich and vibrant 2D graphics as well as addictive soundtracks. While current fighting games may impress with realistic graphics, they often lack the charm and personality found in their pixelated predecessors. They may not be realistic, but they certainly have a certain appeal.

Gameplay is Key

When it comes to fighting games, the gameplay is everything. If the gameplay is slow or cumbersome, chances are players will lose interest quickly. This is where retro fighting games really shine as developers during the golden age of console gaming, understood that fast-paced and responsive gameplay was key to a great fighting game experience.

The classic titles from the 90s, like Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat II, Final Fight, Virtua Fighter, and Soul Calibur, all have one thing in common: tight, responsive gameplay. That's why these games are still beloved by millions today because their gameplay remains top-notch.

On the other hand, newer fighting games may have flashy graphics and a larger roster of characters, but if the gameplay is lacking, they won't stand the test of time as these retro titles have. In the end, gameplay trumps all in the world of fighting games.

As a result, they focused on honing their mechanics until they were just right. And you know what? It paid off. Games like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II are still played by millions of people today because their gameplay is just that good.

Fun Matters Too

As fighting game fans know, the genre is not just about competition and winning. It's also about having fun with friends and enjoying the unique characters and atmosphere of each title. Unfortunately, many modern fighting games seem to prioritize technical elements over these important aspects of gameplay. While their graphics may impress, they often lack the charm and personality found in retro titles. 

Take the Dead or Alive series, for example. This classic fighting game not only has an iconic roster of colorful fighters, but it also offers a variety of mini-games and unlocks that add even more enjoyment to the overall experience. So while current-gen fighting games may look nice on paper, it's the retro titles that truly know how to bring out the joy in every fighting game fan.

Everyone Likes a Good Fight

When it comes to retro fighting games, console versions often offer the best experience. Take Street Fighter 2 Turbo on the Sega Saturn, for example, while not as well-known as its Super Nintendo counterpart, it offers an even faster gameplay pace and a wider variety of moves. And let's not forget about console exclusives like Eternal Champions, which features a diverse cast of characters with unique fighting styles.

In comparison, modern fighting games may have flashier graphics and more advanced controls, but they often lack the tight gameplay and thrill that can be found in these classic titles. So next time you're looking for a good fighter to play, don't overlook the old console versions - they just might surprise you with their staying power.


What Makes Retro Fighting Games better than the most recent ones?

Many old-school gamers argue that retro fighting games, like Street Fighter and killer instinct, are superior to their more recent counterparts. One major reason for this is the absence of story modes in older games. This allowed for a greater focus on gameplay, with special moves and combos being memorized and practiced in order to defeat opponents.

These games were also often played competitively, with tournaments taking place both online and in person. Additionally, most retro fighting games were part of ongoing series that focused on consistently improving and updating the gameplay, rather than introducing new characters or companion apps every year. All of these factors contribute to the enduring appeal of retro fighting games among seasoned gamers.

Which Retro Fighting Game had the best combo features?

When it comes to retro fighting games, one feature that often stands out is the combo moves. While all 90s gamers will have their own personal favorites, there are a few that stand out as having particularly impressive combo features. One such game is Killer Instinct, which allowed for stringing together combos of up to 50 hits.

Mortal Kombat made a name for itself with its fatalities but also had memorable combos that could be executed with expert timing. Street Fighter Turbo's combo system was unique in allowing players to perform different combos based on the strength of the button pressed. Meanwhile, Ultimate Marvel greatly expanded upon traditional combos by adding aerial attacks and counter-moves.

However, some would argue that the King of Combos was and still is Tekken, which introduced innovative chain and juggle combos as well as launch moves. No matter which game took the title for best combo features, they all pushed players to perfect their skills and elevate the competitive nature of these classic fighting games.

Which Retro Fighting Game, if released today, would do well in the market?

If a retro fighting game were to be released in today's market, Super Smash Bros. would likely excel above the competition. The game's unique style of incorporating characters from multiple franchises and its use of stage hazards and items set it apart from traditional fighting games. Additionally, its family-friendly nature would allow it to appeal to casual players as well as hardcore fighting game enthusiasts.

The success of past Super Smash Bros. titles on home consoles also suggests that a new release would do well in this market today. However, the arcade gaming scene may not be as receptive to the title due to the lack of technical skill required compared to other fighting games with more traditional mechanics such as auto combos and special move inputs. Overall, we feel Super Smash Bros. has established itself as a popular franchise that would likely thrive in today's market.

Which retro fighting game provided the best single-player experience?

When it comes to a game night with a few friends, a classic fighting game can provide hours of entertainment. While both Capcom and King of the Fighters have a plethora of popular titles, I believe that Capcom's Street Fighter and its sequels were better for playing alone.

The various iterations of Street Fighter offered a diverse range of characters with their own unique moves and abilities, making it more interesting to play in single-player mode. In addition, the health bar functioned well for solo players as it made it easier to gauge how close they were to defeating their opponent.

Meanwhile, King of the Fighters' "team" setup was designed with multiplayer in mind, making it less enjoyable for a single player looking for a challenge. Of course, everyone has their own preferences when it comes to retro fighting games, but in my experience, Capcom's Street Fighter series provided a more fulfilling single-player experience.

Which retro fighting game had the best visuals for the era in which it was released?

While a few of my friends might argue for the nostalgia factor of Street Fighter II or the complexity of a game like Tekken, for me, Soul Calibur provided the best single-player experience in a retro fighting game.

Each character had a unique style and weapon to master, from a dual-wielding pirate to a giant ogre. Additionally, the novelty factor of tag team battles added a new level of strategy to the gameplay.

And while it wasn't the first game in its series, Soul Calibur was a reimagining that refined and improved upon its predecessors. Overall, it offered a varied and enjoyable single-player experience that kept me coming back for more.

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