With JoJos Bizarre Adventure getting an HD remake, all bets are off. We never thought wed see the day when such a niche (albeit memorable) fighter would get ported to modern day consoles, but were elated all the same. Its also opened the floodgates for hopes and dreams of other obscure, old-school fighting games getting ported or improved for todays systems. That can mean grand undertakings like the high-def revamp seen in Street Fighter HD, or something as (relatively) simple as a straight port with additional aspects ratios, online play and training modes included.
These are the classic fighting games that mightve escaped the general publics awareness when they were first released, or never made it to our shores at all. Just like JoJo, those who remember them will feel the fond, fuzzy memories rushing back, while those who dont will wonder just how obscure we could get with these picks. We wont count games that have been released on PSN though we whole-heartedly support classics being re-released, calling them HD remakes would be a farce. To see any of the following games in 720p with online modes would bring a tear of joy to our eyes
Since we first posted this feature, both Capcom and Sega have announced even more HD fighting games, so we added nine more entries to the list that we want to see from either publisher.
Power Stone 2
Power Stone is pretty much the only fighting series of its kind, letting you roam around using 3D platformer-style controls and giving you items as frequently as any Smash Bros. game. Its bright colors, flashy supers, and inventive battling made it awesome as a party game, co-op beat-em-up, or a tense one-on-one fighter. Dreamcast owners knew that knew it was a necessity for any respectable collection, on a console known for its stellar library of fighting games.
Now, we sort of got what we wanted out of the PSPs Power Stone Collection, which upgraded the classic 3D brawlers visuals and put them on the same disc. But lets think bigger, shall we? Why not implement four-person online multiplayer, new characters, or additional environmental items as DLC? Whatever you desire, Capcom--we just want to see Fokker, Wang, and the rest of this series memorable characters make a comeback.
Not to be confused with Jackie Chans Rumble in the Bronx, this three-dimensional fighter was all about weapon-based urban combat. It might not sound like the most intense experience to bash someone with nunchaku atop a gigantic skyscraper, or stab your opponent with twin sai in the middle of a cargo bay--but trust us, it is. Add in some groovy tunes that were very much in the vein of late 90s brawlers, slick animation, and fast-paced rounds, and you had a pretty bang-up 3D brawler.
The cool part was that, unlike the flamboyant demons and scantily clad swordswomen of Soulcalibur, Last Bronxs combatants were just average Joes swinging weapons around. No fighter in recent memory has taken this kind of approach, so a Last Bronx HD would feel like a breath of fresh air amidst the multitude of medieval weapon-based beat-em-ups.
Super Gem Fighter: Mini Mix
Capcoms so skilled at making fighting games, even its kid-friendly spin-offs are amazing. Featuring chibi-fied cutesy characters from across Capcoms fighting franchises (including Tessa from the rarely seen Red Earth), Gem Fighter reduced the 2D duels from six- to four-button fighting. Instead of consistently powerful special moves, players could pick up the colored gems that would scatter from pummeled opponents to boost the potency of their fireballs and whatnot. There were also a slew of colorful orbs that could be chucked for game-breaking elemental effects, like freezing the target in place or poisoning them. Needless to say, they work great for setting up insane combos.
A reboot would be a great change of pace for Capcoms HD upgrades, and itd make a great package deal bundled with Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. Plus, at high resolution, wed have an easier time spotting the near-countless Capcom cameos littered through the background of each stage.
You might remember Hayato from Marvel vs. Capcom 2 as that one guy with the light blue lightsaber. In point of fact, he wields a plasma sword--hence the name of this 2.5D space fighter. The sequel to the little-known Star Gladiator, Plasma Sword spotlighted weapon-centric battles between bizarrely dressed humans and ever-weirder-looking aliens. Playing similar to Street Fighter EX but featuring way more futuristic weapons and frequent super attacks, it was certainly a series unlike any Capcom fighter before or after it.
The bulbous-brained Gore, the green-Conehead-lookalike Saturn, and crazy-haired, space-halo-wielding June are far, far stranger than goofs like Blanka or Dhalsim--but we can always use more weirdos in our modern fighters. Bundle Star Gladiator and Plasma Sword together and polish out the impurities in the graphics, and youd have quite the entertaining downloadable.
Alright, well admit it: Burning Rival is quite honestly god-awful. But wouldnt it be nice to have this piece of purposely forgotten history brought to light in an HD collection? With eight of the most nondescript characters a low budget can buy, its shocking to know that this abomination was the first fighting game work of Sega-AM2. But fear not, Virtua Fighter devout: Yu Suzuki was in no way involved.
The games hand-drawn animations were pretty impressive for 1993, but the stuttery gameplay and boring backgrounds were not. Playing it now would be a hilarious lesson for how not to copy Street Fighter, and why you should never name your protagonists such memorable monikers as Bill or Arnold. You know what--forget everything we said. We absolutely do not want an HD remake of this P.O.S. fighter.
Virtua Fighter Kids
People love the Virtua Fighter series for being one of the deepest in the genre, and even when the series tried to appeal to a younger audience, the game was still a great time. Virtua Fighter Kids is the result of Segas AM2 team trying to reach a wider, younger audience than before. They shrunk down the cast, made their heads huge, and Saturn fans loved it.
The action was slightly tweaked from the original, but still clearly based on the VF2 engine, meaning the gameplay was some of the best of its time. One of our favorite bits was AM2 taking some cues from Tekken by giving each character an ending cutscene. Hopefully if Sega rereleases Kids, theyll make sure to make those HD along with the actual game.
Long before Super Smash Bros. or even Marvel vs Capcom, Sega had its own huge crossover fighter that brought together the stars of its two most popular 3D fighting games. One of the most loved games on the Sega Saturn, Fighters Megamix brought together the straightforward roster of Virtua Fighter with the more down and dirty brawlers of Fighting Vipers. But Sega didnt just stop there, instead choosing to create one of the weirdest rosters in fighting history.
The entire rosters of Vipers and Virtua Fighter 2 were included--though they played a little bit like their Virtua Fighter 3 counterparts--characters from Virtua Cop 2 and Sonic. But then Sega got really silly. The game has a car from Daytona USA, palm tree from the developers logo, and Rent-A-Hero from the completely forgotten Genesis game. And if Megamix got an HD rerelease, Sega could give US players their first chance to play as Pepsiman.
We understand why Tech Romancer was one of the least played games on one of the least played consoles. It was a new IP that featured giant mech battles between expert homages to famous anime franchises. If you were one of the few gamers that had an encyclopedic knowledge of obscure Japanese cartoons, it was a mana from Heaven. Everyone else ignored one of the top original fighters for Dreamcast.
The moves, design, and stories were all elegant references to shows like Gundam, Evangelion, and Macross, but even if you missed those, the huge-scale combat featured visually impressive super moves and a slick interface that would look outstanding in high def. Capcom has been releasing so many obscure 2D games, its time one of their overlooked 3D fighters got a second chance. Otherwise, the only way to play it is to pay high prices on eBay.
This 3D fighter holds a special place in many a gamers heart--provided their arteries werent severed on the sharp edge of a katana. Unlike pretty much every single one of its peers, Bushido Blade took into consideration what would actually happen if you tried to block a sword with your bare flesh. Everything hinged on landing a fatal blow to the opponent's weak points; matches could take anywhere from 20 minutes to 20 seconds, depending on how aggressively you were trying to get the perfect stab. With no health bar to speak of, these samurai duels came down to who had the better killing instinct.
While we choose to forget the quasi-HD spiritual successors like Kengo and Kabuki Warriors, wed gladly welcome the original PS1 games in glorious high-res. Also, updated graphics would go a long way for the games buckets of blood, which look a tad pixelated by todays standards.
Gundam Wing Endless Duel
Back in the day, there were two 16-bit fighting games we desperately wished we could get our mitts on: a Dragonball Z game or a Gundam Wing game. Endless Duel was just the fighter we were longing for, showcasing all of the shows most memorable mechs with smooth sprites and even smoother framerates. Granted, the fighting wasnt all that in-depth but it had the requisite sword-slash shoryukens and plasma-beam projectiles to produce endless fun between two like-minded players. Its a shame, then, that it never officially made it to our shores.
Actually, were feeling like kids again just contemplating the thought of a nostalgic-show-themed fighting game extravaganza, uniting Endless Duel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Fighting Edition into one glorious HD bundle. Scads of red tape mean itll probably never happen but we can dream, right?
Waku Waku 7
This cheery, colorful Neo Geo fighter is often remembered best for Mauru, the games would-be mascot who resembles a cross between a purple bunny and the lovable, hefty Totoro. Other standouts from the games cast include Politank-Z, a comical mech piloted by buddy cops in the form of a man and a dog, and Tesse, a somewhat-creepy maid robot who launches miscellaneous household items at her opponents.
Though the zany roster is only seven fighters strong (not including goofy secret characters like a sentient punching bag), Sunsoft crafted quite the fun brawler that gives you super meter and glitzy special moves as often as modern-day Marvel Vs. games. It might not be substantial enough to stand alone, but wed love to see it bundled with Sunsofts other notable fighters, Galaxy Fight and Astra Superstars.
Power Instinct Matrimelee
Very little in this oft-overlooked Neo Geo game made sense - and we wouldnt have it any other way. With old ladies, buff superheroes in a dog suits, and a final boss in the form of the dainty Princess Sissy wielding Pandoras Box, PIM is all the right kinds of crazy. As the follow-up to the similarly-crazy Groove on Fight, it had everything you need from a quality fighter: tight controls, a diverse roster, and smoothly-animated graphics.
Thought it was released quite late in the Neo Geos lifecycle, those whove played Matrimelee can attest to its over-the-top battles and bizarre cast. And, wouldnt you know it - Atlus is the games developer and publisher! Knowing its appreciation for niche fighting fans, well keep our fingers crossed for Atlus one day releasing a multi-game Power Instinct pack.
Many mourn the fact that this Square-publisher PS1 brawler never made it to our shores. With character designs by Akira Toriyama, the esteemed artist behind such classics as Dragon Quest and Chrono Trigger, and what is likely the largest roster ever in a 3D fighting game, its a shame we may never get the chance to play it. By largest roster, we mean the game has 200 fighters to choose from once youve captured every last monster in the games fairly elaborate Quest Mode.
Square-Enix even acknowledged the games greatness with a 2007 rerelease, but that too was reserved for Japans fortunate fighting fans. It may not have the prettiest visuals by todays standards, but just being able to spend quality fighting time with the record holder for the biggest batch of playable characters would be a treat.
Also known as Dark Awake, this unique team fighter was released on the Japanese PSN fairly recently but its practically unknown anywhere else. As a rare medieval-era fighting game, it matches elves and dwarves against orcs and ogres, with up to three warriors on either side. It also boasts one of the most intriguing assist systems weve seen in a game: with four open slots on your roster, youll need to select a build from a combination of 18 fighters and 32 items, with at least one of each.
Depending on what you choose, your assists will have a wildly wide range of effects. Anything from potions to passive effects can be chosen before the match, creating an absurd amount of possibilities to team compositions. In line with the distinct mechanics, Chaos Breaker also has a very distinctive aesthetic, with sprites captured from 3D renders resulting in a look akin to Diablo II or Clayfighter. Its already been tuned to work on the PSN just tweak the netcode and unlock the region, and itd make for one of the easiest HD remakes yet.
And you thought Darkstalkers was a neglected Capcom franchise? Rival Schools and its sequel Project Justice have long been adored by fighting fans, but we havent heard a peep about the series since the last installment on the Dreamcast. The games title is quite literal: a bunch of Japanese high schools are pitting their pugilistic students against their peers. The result? An insane battle royale filled with athletic pupils bashing each others brains out with baseball bats and tennis rackets.
Its actually quite the clever premise for a fighter: with every after-school activity and sport represented, theres a surprising amount of variety to the colorful cast of characters. Even teachers and school staff get in on the mix and who among us hasnt yearned to administer 10 ccs of pain as a voluptuous school nurse? Simply put, this fighter needs more mainstream exposure just the kind that an HD rerelease can deliver.
Jackie Chan in Fists of Fire
Im Jackie Chan. THIS IS MY GAME! Thats the greeting you get from the man himself in the intro to Jackie Chans flagship fighting game, a little-known arcade fighter with digitized mo-cap in the same vein as Mortal Kombat. This is actually a sequel to The Kung-Fu Master Jackie Chan, only now Jackies three(!) forms are playable instead of being off-limits bosses, and the other, nondescript actors portraying the rest of the cast have had their palettes mysteriously swapped to have green or blue skin. Huh.
Despite its low-budget look and dearth of interesting fighters (besides Jackies incarnations and a nifty Chinese Lion character), Fists of Fire is a surprisingly fun time. Jackies three styles Drunken Fist, Five Animal Fist, and Bagua Zhang look almost as cool as they do in his movies, and the animations are so corny and confusing that youll be laughing in perplexed delight. Wed much prefer this to Street Fighter: The Movie HD.
Asuka 120% Limited
All-female fighting games are, at their best, just a little bit pervy. Theyve usually taken the route of pandering to male shut-ins by featuring copious amounts of T&A (Strip Fighter comes to mind). But every now and then, theyll end up as legitimately fun fighters, like Sailor Moon SuperS on SNES or the recent Arcana Heart 3. Asuka 120% Limited: Burning Fest. Limited (the doubly limited edition?) on the Sega Saturn was one such game, with a roster of feminine butt kickers that could bust out incredibly entertaining combos.
Like classic console fighters of old, Asuka is the kind of game that looks ordinary enough until you play it with a buddy, at which point you can lose hours to its addictive, simple battles. Even though it only used two buttons, its brawls were riveting exchanges of flashy supers and blazing-fast normal. It reminds us of another oft-forgotten all-female fighter
SNK Gals Fighters
If you actually owned a Neo Geo Pocket during its oh-so-short shelf life, then youre part of an elite group of SNK supporters. Sadly, so few gamers would actually get to experience once of the greatest handheld fighters before the GBA, DS, and Vita rolled around: the fan-service fiesta that is SNK Gal Fighters. Taking the lovely ladies from throughout the Fatal Fury and King of Fighters franchises, SGF had awesome, authentic-looking sprites of your favorite femme fatales, all chibi-fied.
The more we think about it, the stronger we feel that SNK should release all of the Neo Geo Pockets exclusive titles in one deliciously retro eShop package, if only to expose gamers to the glory that was 16-bit handheld gaming. Shockingly, Gal Fighters gameplay and graphics still hold up, provided youve got an appreciation for pixel-based visuals; isnt it time that this handheld fighter got its due?
War of the Monsters
After finishing work on the awesome Twisted Metal: Black, Incognito Entertainment made the interesting decision to create a giant monster fighting game. Evoking such timeless classics as Rampage and King of the Monsters, WotM has you duking it out with other conventional leviathans in the midst of skyscraper-filled cities, using radio towers and passing eighteen wheelers as weaponry. While not the most traditional fighting game, the monstrous two-to-four-player duels were no less intense as you leapt from building to building raining fire and rubble on the opponent.
The monsters themselves struck the right balance between conventional archetypes and inventive creatures: everything from your standard King Kong rip-off and giant Japanese mecha to a freaky eye-embedded-in-electric-purple-plasma gets represented here. WotM was actually released on PSN earlier this week, so pick it up and see what you think then get ready to start pining for an HD sequel or reboot to this monster mash.
Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness
Most people thatve played Marvel vs. Capcom (1 or 2) have taken a liking to the gung-ho brawler Jin Saotome, but few know that his origins lie in this entirely overlooked 1995 fighter. Interestingly, the characters and their mechs werent package deals, so you could mix and match mech pilots as you saw fit. Cyberbots is actually spin off of Armored Warriors, a three-player beat-em-up starring the same mechs but fewer pilots.
The game offered the Primal Rage-like thrill of fighting as two gargantuan behemoths amidst the ruins of cities and dilapidated power plants, and the game tried interesting mechanics like one-button projectiles and eight-way air dashing. The game also spawned Princess Devilotte de Satan III, of adorable secret character in Puzzle Fighter fame. If Capcom were feeling particularly generous, a package deal of Cyberbots, Armored Warriors, and the 3D spiritual successor Tech Romancer would be a giant robotic godsend.
Psychic Force 2012
What better time to release this Dreamcast diamond-in-the-rough than the year 2012? Playing somewhat like the aerial battles from classic Dragonball Z episodes, Psychic Forces scuffles took place entirely in the air. As one of the games Psychiccers, each high-flying duel was an energy-imbued exchange of mental fireballs and good old-fashioned fists. It mightve been challenging to come to grips with the newfound Z-axis and fully-three-dimensional movement, but play Psychic Force with a friend, and youre guaranteed to have a good time.
The backdrops to each battle were one of the games best features; slapping around enemies amidst skyscrapers or clashing above the clouds was an experience unlike any other fighter. Psychic Force fans have long clamored to Taito for another game in the series, but wed bet theyd be just as happy with an online-enabled HD rerelease to tide them over.
From Beast Wars to Animorphs, it seems that the public consciousness wants nothing more than being able to shapeshift into various animal forms. So why not base a fighting game around the concept? The Bloody Roar series might not have had the most serious plot or premise, but being able to switch back and forth between human and mole/penguin/bat/tiger forms mid-fight was just too good to pass up.
The character designs were also a lot of fun: Each human form would reflect the animal they could morph into, with pigtails in place of bunny ears on Alice the Rabbit or the bulbous eyes and disgustingly long tongue of Busuzima the Chameleon. With five games in the series (not including ports), this franchise seems ripe for a fur-and-scale-filled HD revival.
Last Blade 2
One of the Neo Geos prettiest, deepest fighters, Last Blade 2 deserves an HD rerelease pretty much this instant. With a diverse cast of distinct swordsmen (and swordswomen), LB incorporated picturesque vistas, smoothly animated katana slashing, and a serene soundtrack on top of rock-solid one-on-one fighting. Like the 2D fighters of all, it all comes down to tight spacing and constant poking, in search of an opening to unleash a flurry of damaging special moves.
Each fighter has two styles, Speed and Power, adding another wrinkle of strategy to the already-complex game. It also struck the perfect balance between the over-the-top swordplay silliness of Samurai Shodown and the stylized realism of a game like Garou: Mark of the Wolves. You know what? Just package LB1 and LB2 with Garou, give em all sprite-smoothing filters (or not, for purists), and youve got yourself a dang enticing old-school fighting bundle.
Okay, were cheating a bit on this one: This doujin fighter (another way of saying fan-created games) isnt all that old but it is old-school in nature, with authentic hand-drawn sprites and a parry system reminiscent of Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, so were counting it anyway. We think it warrants a large-scale HD release, if only to spread the word that theres a fighting game where you can play as a skull-headed tank that takes up half of the screen. Also, he (do tanks have genders?) shoots lasers out of his eyes and grenades out his rear. It doesnt get much better than that.
The setting itself is also starkly unique, with the environments and characters set in a futuristic Japan that implies the Germans won World War II. Were not sure how well the WWII undertones would fly here in the states, but theres no way wed turn down a two-pack of Akatsuki Blitzkampf and its sequel, EN-Eins Perfektewelt. Yep, thats its name.
X-Men: Children of the Atom
Besides the release of JoJos Bizarre Adventure this fall season, Capcom is also giving the HD-and-online treatment to the original Marvel vs. Capcom and the not-that-popular Marvel Super Heroes in the Marvel vs. Capcom Origins bundle. So why not take it all the way back to the true origins of the very Versus series itself? X-Men vs. Street Fighter is the game that truly started the crossover madness that we know and love and before XMvSF, there was Children of the Atom.
Capcom set the precedent with this lavish-looking fighter, cramming in the fan service, captivating graphics, and frantic gameplay that the Versus series is now known for, but in the one-on-one variety. CotA may also be Capcom and Marvels first-ever crossover, given that Akuma is a hidden character within the game. Packaged with XMvSF and the follow-up Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, this would be an HD bundle thatd be easily on par with the offerings in Origins.
Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style
Wu-Tang Clan aint nothin ta, uhmesswith. As luck would have it, rappers Method Man and Ghostface Killah showed up in a fighting game long before AKI Corporations rap/wrestling hybrid Def Jam Vendetta, alongside RZA, Raekwon, and the other rhyming martial arts masters of the Wu-Tang. It may not be so easy on the eyes by todays standards, but Shaolin Style had a bunch of things going for it: a soundtrack supplied by the titular group, simultaneous multi-tap four-player, and 36 Chambers-worth of imaginatively violent fatalities.
The games violence is of note its built on the same framework as Thrill Kill, the obnoxiously gory, cancelled arena fighter that shares much with Shaolin Styles core gameplay. This needs an HD remake simply to fill a void in the current fighting game market: the complete lack of any game including Dont mess with Big Baby Jesus win quotes from Ol Dirty Bastard.
Capcom vs. SNK 2
Every fighting game fan needs to play CvS2 at least once but at the moment, they really dont have easy means to do so. This is often hailed as one of the deeper fighters out there, with almost as many combatants as Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and six different styles to choose from (each matching up to a distinct Capcom or SNK franchise). The games team-building system has influenced modern games like Skullgirls, where players choose how many fighters they want on their side before assigning power levels accordingly.
CvS2 also launched the careers of many pro-level fighting fans, who got hooked on its minute to learn, lifetime to master systems and diverse range of tactics. An HD remake could very well accomplish the same, and online play would be an absolute gift to old-school fans now that the arcade scene is so sparse and spread out.
Mega Man: The Power Battle
And now for something completely different. Take Mega Mans core gameplay, strip out everything except the boss rooms, and you have a sense of what this intriguing offshoot is like. As Mega Man, Proto Man, or Bass, you get to skip straight to the good stuff by fighting mish-mashes of bosses from throughout the series in large, brightly-lit arenas. Best of all, the Robot Masters have thematically-accurate weaknesses, and youll still gain their powers as you defeat them in the order of your choosing.
The game was even good enough to warrant a sequel, Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters, which added the heavyweight police bot Duo as a playable hero even before his appearance in Mega Man 8. We think weve devised a foolproof way for Capcom to make a ludicrously-simple buck: slap Power Battle, Power Fighters, and kart racing spin-off Battle & Chase, and youve got a miniature downloadable that any Mega Man fan would be happy to own.
When we first posted this two months ago, we predicted this HD remake. We're keeping it in the list to remind you of how right we often are.
Darkstalkers offers just as much 2D fighting goodness as the venerable Street Fighter series, but its never gotten the same kind of respect. Morrigan, Felicia, and Hsien Ko mightve made it into the public eye with their recent appearance in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, but classic characters like Bishamon, Huitzil, and Lord Raptor seem doomed to languish in anonymity and that just aint right.
The games crisp spritework is a marvel to behold especially in the backgrounds, which convey the kind of creepy atmosphere that compliments the supernatural fighters perfectly. Rumors have been circulating that a new entry in the Vampire Savior series (as its known in Japan) might be announced at this years Super Battle Opera tournament; if we cant get a full sequel, wed gladly settle for an arcade-perfect, online port of the old ones.
It's their time to shine
Which classic fighting game do you remember from your youth, and wish you could play again this instant in glorious high resolution? Leave a comment below telling us which HD remake youd support. Who knows you might just be the catalyst to a wave of fan demand that pushes a publisher into action.
Want to delve into other obscurities from throughout gamings history? Youre sure to get a kick out of 30 obscure facts and random trivia about Nintendo's mascot Mario and the 15 most bizarre crossovers in gaming.