6. Mortal Kombat 2
Mortal Kombat 2 stood out from its contemporaries during the golden of arcade gaming partly due to the sheer brutality on show, especially those gruesome fatalities, but also because of a host of memorable characters, smooth and responsive controls, and technical prowess. Often lauded as the entry that solidified Mortal Kombat’s legacy as a mainstay of the fighting genre, Mortal Kombat 2 is by far the number one fighting game to emerge from the West.
5. Dragon Ball FighterZ
The most recent entry on our list, Dragon Ball FighterZ is a return to the heyday of fighting games with smooth, polished mechanics, multiple play styles, and an eye popping art style which remains faithful to the original manga series. Though this remains to be seen, Dragon Ball FighterZ has the potential to be the next big eSports fighting title.
4. Injustice: Gods Among Us
Not necessarily showered with the same praise as established fighting brands, Injustice: Gods Among Us is one of those under the radar gems. Pitting DC comics heroes and villains against one another through a balance of accessibility and a high skill ceiling, the game also offered a huge amount of content with different modes and a rich online experience.
3. Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes
Crossover titles are often hit or miss, but Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes was a resounding success, with a huge number of fan favorite characters from both franchises. On top of this unmatched selection, the game was a stunner with polished and fast paced game play. Come on, Ryu vs Captain America doesn’t get better than this. Successor Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a mainstay of the eSports landscape even today.
2. Super Smash Bros. Melee
Ensemble fighting games are common currency in the genre and Nintendo followed suit with the remarkable Super Smash Bros. Melee. Turning the traditional health bar on its head in exchange for a damage percentage based scoring system, Super Smash Bros. Melee revolutionized how fighting games were and are enjoyed from the home sofa all the way to the highest echelons of fighting eSports.
1. Street Fighter IV
Street Fighter 2 is arguably responsible for popularizing fighting games to a wider audience. Street Fighter IV is responsible for claiming the coveted spot of the perfect fighting game and has a lot to do with a resurgence of the genre in the past decade. A brilliant mix of 2D and 3D, the game struck gold with the ultimate combination of special attacks, combos, a boat load of endearing characters, deep mechanics, and a refined game play style that many imitators only dream of matching. Following on from this legacy, we now have Street Fighter V, arguably the most popular fighting eSports around.