The fighting game genre has been around since the earliest days of the Nintendo Entertainment System and Mike Tyson’s punchout. Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter brought it into the limelight in arcades and then to our homes on the SNES and Sega Genesis. The genre has evolved over time and yet still there sits a substantial percentage of us that find the greatest joy in the simple 2D fighters of days’ past. Whatever your favorites, the fighting genre is a classic and long standing tradition among gamers that brings them together to swear, drink, and break things in frustration because “he’s being cheap!”
Nintendo was once the king of all things fighting, with Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Punchout to keep its fans sedated. Now adays, they’re relying on innovation and the inhouse brand name to bring the fighting games to the masses, and though they have a diluted line up, there are some gems in there, including the best version of Soul Calibur II, if only because of the inclusion of a certain green clad Hylian. The Wii has endless potential as well, offering the option to not only be involved in the action, but get tired doing so. If Wii boxing is a sign of things to come, fighting games could get very interesting indeed.
Soul Calibur II
Soul Calibur II released for all three major consoles, but many regarded the Gamecube edition as the one true best game to own, mainly because it offered the opportunity to play as Link, in his full adult form (Twilight Princess was not even announced at this point) and he kicked a decent amount of rear end. The gameplay, like the other two editions was astounding. Multiple weapons, hours long quest mode, countless multiplayer modes and one of the best fighting game engines around made Soul Calibur II a must own for any fighting fan. If you happened to be a Nintendo supporter at the time, you got that much luckier with Link.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Probably the crème de la crème of all Nintendo fighting games, Super Smash Bros, started on the Nintendo 64 console, exploded on the Gamecube with one of the biggest and best gameplay experiences on any console. The familiar formula of all Nintendo’s favorite mascots stuffed into one great big fighting game run by a gamer via his little figurines is genius and in Melee, Nintendo pushed the boundaries, offering dozens of characters, some from games never even released in America like Fire Emblem and dozens of quest modes, unlockable items and multiplayer modes. The statistics included for whom you fought with and how much are incredible as well. Hundreds of hours could be put into this game and you’d keep coming back for more. Now, with the release of the Nintendo Wii, the long awaited sequel is on the horizon. The Super Smash Bros. Brawl will probably see shelves by this summer and features even more characters and one of the most anticipated features, online play. For those worried about the use of the Wii remote for Smash Bros. gameplay, Nintendo has already announced that it will use traditional control schemes.
Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2
One of the Nintendo Wii’s many release titles, Budokai Tenkaichi 2 was great for a few reasons. First off, it’s the best Dragonball Z game around. After the first few mediocre Budokais, they got it right and produced a massive, cel shaded, Dragonball Z fan’s dream. This game is perfect for any fan of the classic fighting anime and that’s enough for most people. The Wii edition however has a great setup, allowing the use of the Wii remote in ways that fighting games have never been played before. Special moves are acted out and flying is an art all of itself. This game becomes incredibly hard in its deepest parts and that’s a credit to the design. But it’s not sloppy and that’s the most important part. Many people worry about the ability of game designers to put together games for the Wii that don’t fail to utilize the hardware properly. This game doesn’t and that makes it one of the best anime based games around.
The fighting game roster for Nintendo’s consoles might seem sparse, and mainly that’s because of the limited hardware abilities in the last generation, but with the introduction of the Wii and it’s amazing control scheme, something many developers are beginning to see is not a gimmick, more games like Budokai Tenkaichi 2 will be on the way, utilizing the Wii to its full extent.