games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Fighting Games Needing a Revival – Darkstalkers, TMNT, More

April 10, 2018 | Posted by Marc Morrison

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball. I was thinking about fighting games recently, and how some hit the mark (Injustice, Killer Instinct) and others don’t (Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite). Some of these games have been fixed, while others are seemingly abandoned (Infinite). In the 90’s and 2000’s, there were a lot more fighting game franchises out there, with everyone looking to get in on the gravy train. Here’s my list of ones that I wouldn’t mind seeing make a comeback. Enjoy:

#8: Battle Arena Toshinden

Toshinden was the cooler competitor to Tekken when the PS1 first launched. While Tekken arrived a few months later, Toshinden generally impressed audiences with a weapon-based fighter with creative characters in a 3D environment. Between the two, I just enjoyed Toshinden more, it was faster and the moves were easier to pull off. The funny part is that with every iteration, Tekken generally got better, with every new Toshinden game, it just seemed to move further and further away from what made the first game fun. The last Toshinden game, in American at least, was in 1997, and while another came out in Europe/Japan, it got very negative responses. If Killer Instinct can come back, and actually be successful, why not Toshinden?

#7: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

There have been a few TMNT-inspired fighting games but they are generally unrelated from one another. The most popular one was Tournament Fighters for the SNES/Genesis, specifically the SNES version. It was basically a clone of Street Fighter 2 but got by with having some inventive character moves and by being pretty colorful. With the recent success of the Turtles in the Injustice 2 game, why not make another Tournament Fighters style of game? The thing you’d have to do, really, is differentiate the Turtles from one another, Donatello should have longer reach but be slow, while Michelangelo should have shorter reach but his Nunchucks can cause multiple hits. Oh, and bring back Cyber Shredder, since we all know things that are “Cyber” are 50% cooler.

#6: Bushido Blade

There were only two Bushido Blade games, and only one of them was cool, that being the first one. The second one was an “ok” game, but deviated from what made the first game special. The first game had you play as one of 6 warriors, and you picked one of 8 weapons. You then had to hunt down the other play, as you ran around, climbed up walls, and acted like a ninja, while trying to stay alive. The thing with Bushido Blade is that, one hit basically means you’re done. You can survive, if the hit doesn’t connect with a vital organ, but generally, you can’t survive much. You can do damage against legs or arms, to disable, which makes for an easier kill. In a world where the Battle Royal/PUBG genre exists, imagine if you and 99 other players were dropped into an area where you only had melee weapons at your disposal? That might be kind of fun.

#5: Ehrgeiz

I put Ehrgeiz on here, despite my rule of “at least two games in a franchise” thing above, for two reasons. One, is that Ehrgeiz did come out in Japanese arcades first, so I’m counting that. The second reason is that Square keeps making those Dissidia games, which are spiritual successors to Ehrgeiz, only like ten times worse. Ehrgeiz was a 3D fighting game where you could run around an environment, attack, do special attacks, etc., to down your opponent. It was famous for having a lot of Final Fantasy 7 characters in it like Cloud, Sephiroth, Tifa, Zack, and a few others. Ehrgeiz might have played strangely, but compared to Dissidia, it at least was an actual fighting game, and didn’t have some overtly complicated mechanics involving summons, or brave attacks, or that nonsense. Frankly, I’d take another Ehrgeiz game over another Dissidia, any day of the week.

#4: Bloody Roar

Bloody Roar came out during the rash of 3D fighters, after the success of Tekken. Think Soul Edge, Dead or Alive, and others. Bloody Roar wasn’t too indistinguishable from those, except for its core mechanic where your human fighter could turn into an animal at the press of a button. This let you turn into a man-sized animal, from a lion or wolf, to a rabbit and let you continue fighting. This altered your moveset a bit, and let you do additional damage during your attacks. You could also execute a “Rave” state, which increased your damage further, restored some of your vitality, but caused your beast bar to decrease quickly. If you got knocked down with no beast bar, you would revert back to human and have to build it back up. Honestly, Bloody Roar wasn’t too special aside from this transformation gimmick, but it does have a small and loyal fan base out there.

#3: Power Stone

It’s astounding that in the era where Smash Brothers took off and became a juggernaut that Power Stone didn’t do the exact thing. True, Smash Brothers is 2D and features more recognizable characters, but Power Stone had a more cohesive aesthetic, was 3D, and was a much more chaotically fun affair. The game involved you beating up other fighters in a 3D environment so that the titular Power Stones would drop from them. If you collected all 3, you could transform into a powered up state (with a limited timer) where you would gain special attacks and could do a very damaging super attack. There were also random items you could pick up from guns, tables, golf clubs, boxes, and other stuff to throw or use against other fighters. Power Stone 2 wasn’t as popular as the first game, I don’t think, but both were neat games. The last thing Power Stone related Capcom put out was a PSP collection with some horrible load times.

#2: Rival Schools

I’ll always love Rival Schools. It was how a 3D Street Fighter game should be done right. Set in various high schools in Japan, the game was very clique-focused, one was about sports characters, one had American students, one had the “bad” kids, etc. A lot of characters tended to play like Street Fighter characters, but that’s not a bad thing. The main character, Batsu, was a total Ryu clone, only his dragon punch wasn’t super high and hurricane kick didn’t travel as far. The game had a very cool look to it, with it being very anime-looking. Both games had a lot of extra mini-games in Japan that never came out in America. It’s a bit of a shame.

#1: Darkstalkers

A lot of people want a Darkstalkers game but considering the last few Capcom releases, I don’t have a lot of hope that they wouldn’t mess it up. The last “real” Darkstalkers game was in 2000 on the PSP, the Resurrection HD port doesn’t really count. Darkstalkers is full of weird, off-kilter characters, the gameplay is a tad discordant but is fun, and there is a fairly deep lore compared to other fighting franchises. Yoshinori Ono has talked repeatedly about doing another one but has never gotten the “OK” from Capcom to do it. Frankly, a new Darkstalkers game wouldn’t sell well at all, none of them did really, but it is still a quality franchise with a diehard fan base. If they ever did do another one, I’d want it to be 2D sprite-based, just with incredibly high resolution graphics. Yeah, I’m sure that’s coming any day now.

For comments, list which fighting game franchises you’d like to return and why. Anyone who says ClayFighter is fired.

Next Issue
Top 8 Games Missing from Game Informer’s Top 300 List

article topics :

The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison