Fighting games have come a long way from the early days. Unlike the early pixellated, 1v1, duelling days of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat modern fighters offer a variety of matches and mechanics.
In today’s market you can get everything from big medevil war sims to big team, 6v6 matches as well as the more traditional dual setup. The mechanics have also had a spruce, with most modern fighters including attack, defence, counter, combo and super mechanics that can take lifetimes to fully master.
On the one hand the sheer variety is great, as when done well there’s nothing more satisfying than a decent fighting game. Nothing can come close to the euphoria you’ll feel after going full on Conan and conquering your enemies in a chaotic blaze of glory in a well made fighter.
But its also a two edged sword, as the world of fighting games is not one for the weak hearted. Go into a hardcore brawler unprepared, or pick a game with badly deployed mechanics and its all to easy to send the controller flying across your lounge in a fit of rage.
Here to help save your controller, and bank balance, we’ve tested all the big fighting games on the market to offer you a definitive list of the best currently available.
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Street Fighter 2
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Platforms: Everything – HD Remix coming to Nintendo Switch
There are so many versions of Street Fighter 2 that it’s hard to keep count. What’s easy to remember, however, is the impact it has had on the industry. Arriving in 1991, the second game in the franchise was so far ahead of its time that it instantly popularised the entire concept. Making stars out of its fighters and inspiring children the world-over to try to summon balls of fire from their palms, it established many tropes that the genre still relies upon today.
Buy Ultra Street Fighter 2: The Final Challengers (Switch) from Amazon UK | Amazon.com
A huge reason for this was how forward thinking it felt. While it’s hard to understand now, the sheer number of moves and slick animation was unheard of back in the early 1990s. It was revolutionary.
Street Fighter 2 also benefited hugely from the excellent port that took it out of the arcades and onto the Super Nintendo. Fans couldn’t believe they could now experience Capcom’s fighter at home, and this idea alone was paramount to its success.
It’s the reason behind the SNES itself offering a Street Fighter bundle and why it sold in the millions. Plus with the remake now coming to the Nintendo Switch, younger players will have a chance to experience it all over again.
Related: Best Nintendo Switch Games
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Platforms: PC, PS4
Developer: Messhof Games
Disclaimer: we don’t necessarily recommend settling your disputes with violence. However, if that’s what it descends to, duelling and falling down ditches only to be eaten by a massive worm, is probably the weirdest way you can have a scrap.
Nidhogg is a curiously compelling 2D sidescroller in which you can prove your sword fighting skills against pretty, pixelated backgrounds. Movement across each 16-bit environment is slick with a range of jumps and slides, and the gameplay is satisfying with a selection of stances and attacks.
Related: Best PC Games
With a dearth of couch co-op titles out at the moment, this is definitely the best one featuring a giant mythological worm.