games / Columns

The Top 8 3D Fighting Games: Soul Calibur, Def Jam, More

September 24, 2019 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Soul Calibur

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! This week I’m talking about 3D Fighting Games. Note that when I say “3D Fighting Games”, I mean games that either exist on a 3D plane, or 2D games, but you can still move in and out of the background/foreground. So, while Bloody Roar may somewhat seem 2D, it’s not. BUT, a game like Dragon Ball FighterZ or Smash Bros, despite them being “3D”, are locked to a 2D plane and never exist in a 3D space controlled by the player. That’s my big distinction here. I also did think about Tekken and Dead or Alive but I’m not a fan of either one, so they aren’t on here. Let’s begin:

#8: Bloody Roar

Bloody Roar was always seen as a B/C Tier fighting game. While I admit that the actual fighting was somewhat boring, I still enjoyed playing it more than its contemporaries, namely Tekken or Dead or Alive. I think I liked it more because of the creativity involved and just that it had slightly more of a hook than the other fighting games then. The problem with Bloody Roar is that it really didn’t have any innovation aside from the animal stuff, and that wore out by about the second game in the series.

#7: Ehrgeiz

Square keeps trying to make fighting games and keeps sucking hard at it. The only semi-decent one in the bunch was Ehrgeiz and that’s because it tried to be a fighting game. Dissidia is super weird because it always has this element of “Bravery” attacks vs. actual regular health. You have to whittle down the Bravery bar so you can actually do damage to your enemy. WHY DO THIS?! Why not just let you directly attack like Ehrgeiz did? It at least made some kind of sense! Ehrgeiz was known for having a roster half-full of Final Fantasy 7 characters (Cloud, Red XIII, Tifa, Sephiroth, etc.), and a pretty involved dungeon battle game, at least for the home port.

#6: Def Jam: Fight for New York

You could technically put any wrestling game on a list like this but the only other valid game is WWE All Stars, since every “main” WWE game has been terrible for at least the past decade. I liked New York because it was fairly fast-paced, had a decent story, and there was some actual skill to the battle system. Also, the game had Danny Trejo, Henry Rollins and Ice-T as fighters. Any game where I can fight Snoop Dogg with Ice-T gets an A in my book.

#5: Fighters Megamix

Megamix is a big mishmash of various characters from Sega franchises. It nominally has characters from Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighting Vipers but that’s only the start. There are characters from Sonic the Fighters, Virtua Cop, Virtua Fighters Kids and finally Daytona USA. Yes, you can play/fight against Hornet the Car from Daytona USA, who stands on its hind wheels/bumper and fights with its front wheels. It is glorious. The only thing better is Fighting Vipers Japanese edition had Pepsi Man in the game, and we all know that Pepsi Man is cool.

#4: Bushido Blade

Bushido Blade is still a fairly interesting fighting game. It has two fighters inside an area and they have to try to attack each other all while staying alive from the enemy attacks. The thing is, most attacks can either cripple you or outright kill you, so it becomes a big game of cat and mouse of trying to attack your opponent while trying to prevent them from attacking you. Other fighting games use this as well, but Bushido Blade was probably the best example of this.

#3: Rival Schools

For all intents and purposes, Rival Schools is a 3D Street Fighter game done correctly. While Capcom has occasionally dabbled in 3D Street Fighter games, none have been as good as the Rival Schools franchise. Rival Schools featured characters from various schools banding together to fight against an evil school who is somehow trying to take over the world? I’ll admit, it’s not the greatest motivation, but I really enjoyed the different school types, one features sports characters, one has American student, etc., and how they played different from one another.

#2: Soulcalibur

Let’s be honest, the first Soulcalibur game is still the best Soulcalibur game. The later games got too cute with complicated battle systems or lame guest character (Soulcalibur IV springs to mind). The first game kept it real simple but the game had some amazing depth if you got deep enough into the combo system. Each character could be great if you played them enough, even scrub characters like Lizard Man or Hwang, if you knew how to use them. Also, at the time, the game looked gorgeous and was the reason to own a Dreamcast back in the day. Well, Soulcalibur and another game were reasons to own a Dreamcast.

#1: Power Stone

Another big reason to own a Dreamcast was for Power Stone. It’s pretty much the definitive 3D fighting game, full of creative characters, wild effects, and objects to pick up and use against your foes. While you can just beat your opponents into submission using attacks, special moves or weapons scattered around the environment, the real fun stuff is trying to gather the three titular Power Stones. If you manage to gather all 3, usually by hitting enemies or as they spawn in the level, you transform into your super form and gain more attack/defense and different special moves. This game really was a great representation of how a 3D Smash Bros game could work, but aside from a somewhat less popular sequel in Power Stone 2, no one has done anything else in the genre like this game.

For comments, list your favorite 3D games and why.

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