(ThyBlackMan.com) From the PlayStation to the PlayStation 4 there have been many fighting games. Tons of them, really. For a period in gaming history, PlayStation was the console for fighting games. It was also the console for Japanese RPGs but this is about fireballs, combos, and long-running series. Here are the ten greatest fighting game franchises on PlayStation.
1. Marvel vs. Capcom (Capcom)
During the 90s, Capcom developed a few Marvel Comics-inspired fighting games. My favorite was X-Men: Children of the Atom—that is until Marvel vs. Capcom dropped. Who would’ve thought that it would be a dope idea to have Marvel’s mutants and superheroes battle it out with Capcom’s world warriors and night warriors?
Someone in both companies did and it worked. This franchise is truly worth playing if you dig 2D fighting goodness and miss Capcom’s character art style from the late 90s.
2. Tekken (Namco Bandai)
I’d say Tekken is the king of fighters—no pun intended. This is the franchise that resulted in business picking up for the gamer guide magazines during the late 90s. Pages and pages of moves, combos, and strategies all for the Tekken games. Not only that, this was one of the first fighters where the story was explained through each game. Things advanced, characters aged, new characters were introduced and not simply added. Plus, the series got better with each franchise.
Tekken is just awesome.
3. King of Fighters (SNK)
Capcom always rolled out dope concept and manual art for Street Fighter and Darkstalkers but SNK delivered the goods on that and in-game graphics. There was just something about how their characters moved while fighting and bounced in their stance that was missing from Capcom games. Actually, it was missing from everyone’s fighting games and made SNK’s stuff unique.
As far as the actual fighting element of the games, they were largely similar to other 2D fighters of the time. SNK threw its own gloss on the mechanics of their games so that they couldn’t be considered Street Fighter clones in the west. Ultimately, they were similar enough that when we finally got Capcom vs. SNK, it was a natural fit.
However, when it came to picking between King of Fighters or a main line Street Fighter title on PlayStation or PlayStation 2, I always leaned SNK.
4. Soulcalibur (Namco Bandai)
I’ve said for years that Soulcalibur is both “A far better Battle Arena Toshinden” and “Tekken with swords.” Both are true but Soulcalibur is an extremely good fighting game franchise. It came after Tekken and Battle Arena Toshinden nudged the doors open on PlayStation and took Tekken’s approach. It’s only natural that it would since Namco develops both Tekken and Soulcalibur.
It’s a franchise that delivers on a solid single-player experience, a good party experience, and is just an all-around great fighting game.
5. Rival Schools (Capcom)
When I first got my hands on Rival Schools it was via Project Justice on Dreamcast. Rival Schools was pretty much in line with what you’d expect from a Capcom fighter but featured cool characters and a storyline that would’ve made for a good continuing anime. As a matter of fact, Capcom should’ve just continued this as an anime or merged characters into Street Fighter.
I mean, if not the whole roster at least my boys Batsu and Daigo should be Street Fighter characters.
6. Street Fighter Alpha (Capcom)
By the time Street Fighter Alpha came out, I had been playing the varieties of Street Fighter II for years. This was SF updated for the new console generation. The art style looked fresh and the combos were plentiful. My first exposure to the Alpha series was on the SNES but once we had a PlayStation, this, King of Fighters, and Bushido Blade were fighting games I played often.
As a party fighter, Street Fighter Alpha is alright. It’s not up there with Tekken, MvC, or Soulcalibur but it’s still a fun series.
7. Bushido Blade (Square Enix)
Yes, I love Bushido Blade and it has popped up several times when discussing the PlayStation. It was a great series that ran for two games but it was a big departure from tournament fighters. In a genre where speed and reflexes are extremely important, Bushido Blade made them crucial. You could be very fast and still get caught off a counter strike.
Normally, this wouldn’t be a dire situation unless your health bar was low. However, because Bushido Blade featured different mechanics, getting caught with a well-placed slash could ruin your whole approach. It was groundbreaking for the time it appeared.
Bushido Blade is such a good but somewhat forgotten title.
8. Street Fighter EX (Capcom/Arika)
EX is a 3D fighter that would put you in the mind of the bright and blocky series Virtua Fighter around that time. Yes, Virtua Fighter looks much better now thanks to advancements in developing and technology but at the time it was…bright and blocky. The Street Fighter EX series was a mix of Capcom’s top fighters and Arika’s originals and it was an interesting mix.
Just to see SF in 2.5D was a sight to see in the late 90s and the gameplay was pretty standard. It didn’t stand out but it wasn’t bad at all. I’m not going to lie to you, the best part of the EX games has always been the character Skullomania. Saying otherwise is a flat out lie.
9. Def Jam (AKI)
Earlier I asked “Who would’ve thought that it would be a dope idea to have Marvel’s mutants and superheroes battle it out with Capcom’s world warriors and night warriors?” This question applies to Def Jam Vendetta and Def Jam: Fight for New York.
Someone looked at the landscape and said “Fighting games are still popular but people are eating up wrestling games. What if we took that engine everyone loved from WCW/nWo Revenge, WrestleMania 2000, and WWF No Mercy and had rappers fight?”
That had to be the line of thought because it truly came out of nowhere and it worked. By the time I hit high school, wrestling games were big and roughly everyone who had a console had at least one SmackDown game. Def Jam Vendetta ended up being a hot game and a top three party fighter around here. Playing it solo was also a fun experience and it had a dope soundtrack.
If only a new Def Jam game or something modern could be made.
10. Star Gladiator (Capcom)
Yes, we have another Capcom fighting game because that’s mostly what they put out when they weren’t working on Onimusha, Resident Evil, and Devil My Cry. Oh, and when they forgot Breath of Fire existed. Star Gladiator was a Capcom weapons fighter with a sci-fi theme. I guess you could say it was Street Fighter in space and you wouldn’t be wrong.
That said, Star Gladiator was something mildly new from Capcom on the fighting front. It was rare to find anyone who had this for PlayStation growing up but it was an enjoyable game and serviceable when you had friends over who wanted to throw down.
11. Battle Arena Toshinden (Tamsoft)
This was a great party fighter when it dropped and you found the one person who had it. Since we got our hands on this before Tekken and no one owned a Sega Saturn, this blew us away as a 3D fighter. Looking at it now, it’s blocky as hell as were other 3D fighters that dropped between 1995 and 1997 but it got by on being new and putting fighting games in a realm we hadn’t seen before.
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.