The fighting game genre is one that seems to go through brief stints of popularity, then almost completely falls off the map for a while, only to resurface whenever a new entry into an established franchise is released. If any genre has suffered from the death of arcades, it's this one. I've always been a fan of fighters, Karate Champ introduced me to them, but it was the first time I dropped a quarter into a Street Fighter II machine that got me hooked.
I'm sort of a "middle ground" player, I don't study every game I play, don't really break it down to science, but then I'm far from a button-masher too. I despise button-mashers. I tend to find one or two fighters, and focus on them. The rest of the roster on the game I just use to beat up on. That works fine for single player, but when you're playing with friends, it can get boring using the same old fighters, so mixing it up becomes interesting when you're playing characters you've never played before.
Recently, the wonderful people at Xbox made Street Fighter III Online available at half price, lowering it to a mere 600 msp, and I finally lost my resolve and bought it. This makes the 6th time I've purchased this game, by the way. I still have all three Dreamcast versions, as well as the Street Fighter Anniversary Collection on both PS2 and Xbox. I'm a fan. In fact, Street Fighter III is not only probably my favorite fighting game of all time (I go back and forth between it and Capcom vs SNK 2) but it's one of my favorite games, period.
With all that in mind, and based on the fact that I'm currently fixated on Street Fighter again, I thought I'd do a top 5 featuring my favorite fighting game characters of all time. These are the five that if you're playing against me and you see me pick one, you better bring your "A game" because it's going to be a battle.
Top 5 Fighting Game Characters I'll Beat Your Ass With
5. Scorpion (Mortal Kombat) - Yeah, uh-huh...you know what it is....blackandyellow, blackandyellow, blackandyellow, blackandyellow. Remember the first time you saw Mortal Kombat? I do, and it was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. There was blood! The characters looked like real people! Holy shit, did that ninja just rip that dude's spine out?! YES. Mortal Kombat has gone through a couple of changes over the years, some worked, some didn't, but the one that that's never changed is that as soon as I play a new MK for the first time, I'm Scorpion all the way. Be prepared for teleportation, fire breath, and of course one of the most famous lines in fighting game history....GET OVER HERE!!! Also be prepared for these words.... Scorpion wins, Fatality.
4. Voldo (Soul Calibur) - It's absolutely impossible for me to play any Soul Calibur and no immediately go to Voldo. He initially caught my eye because of his looks, like some kind of cross between a gimp and something you'd run into in the hospital in Silent Hill, but it's his quickness, reach, and unorthodox fighting style that makes me love him. He's absolutely lethal regardless of his stance. Facing forward, backward, on the ground, doesn't matter. His weapons put him at a slight disadvantage to some of the other fighters, especially those with long reach weapons like Seigfried, but his speed more than makes up for it.
3. Hwoarang (Tekken) - In multiplayer fighting amongst friends, I am to this day undefeated with Hwoarang, or as I like to call him, feets of fury. This motherfucker is as deadly as fighters in Tekken come, especially with me behind the controller. He uses a Taekwondo style that mixes plenty of different kicks with quick jabs, and some lethal throws. There is literally no other character in Tekken that comes even close to being able to compete against him. Well, maybe Eddie Gordo, maybe. But he was so cheap that he basically broke Tekken 3 anyway. Anyway, Hwoarang, I pick him and you're done.
2. Sagat (Street Fighter) - TIGER GENOCIDE. Those two words should send a chill up the spine of any Street Fighter player. I know they do mine. The single most devastating maneuver to ever grace a fighting game, and I use it mercilessly. Of course there are plenty of Tiger Uppercuts and fireballs leading up the Genocide as well. I actually never cared much for him until SF Alpha 3. I feel like that's when he really came into his own and felt more like a regular character instead of a slightly overpowered sub-boss. I fell in love with him then though, and I've never looked back. Sagat is Ryu's rival both in game, and in my own heart for best SF character overall.
1. Ryu/Ken (Street Fighter) - Probably the most over used characters in the history of fighters, especially Ryu. Ryu is like the Wolverine of fighting games. But just like Wolverine, that doesn't mean he isn't a bad motherfucker. I decided to put them both at #1 because aside from slight differences they are basically the same, and also to keep Street Fighter from completely taking over the top 5. I've been a Ryu guy since the first time I played Street Fighter II. He's my go-to anytime I feel like I'm going up against a player who knows what they're doing, Ken is my second. I can remember living in Atlanta and having matches with my roommate Walt (who is a Ken man) that could only be described as wars. Any time a new Capcom fighter is released you can count on two things, Ryu will be in it and he will be the first character I play with. Hadouken!!!
So there's my top 5 favorite fighting game characters! There are a ton of people that I felt bad leaving off, but I've been playing fighters for over 20 years now, and there's no way I could list them all here. If you've got any favorites that aren't here, feel free to give them a shout-out in the comments section. Any other fighting enthusiasts out there want to throw down? Shoot a friend request to either of the gamertags over there in the sidebar, Lil Bones on XBL or Mister_Bones on PSN.