Injecting a bit of realism into fights doesn’t mean they have to be any less satisfying when it comes to the crunch of knuckles on jawbones, as the ultra-technical (and ridiculously fun) Fight Night series taught us. Pulling off an uppercut as a knockout move here gives you a slow-motion, multi-angled view of the hit, as your glove’s impact sends ripples through your opponent’s face (and a good amount of spit, sweat and blood flying in all directions).
We could just show you a few more pictures of this, but that wouldn’t do it justice. And if you haven’t played the Fight Night games, then you really need to see it in action:
Dudley’s Rolling Thunder
As intensely gratifying as realistic knockouts can be, a little over-the-top silliness courtesy of Street Fighter IV doesn’t hurt. Seeing an opponent collapse after a straight-up power shot to the dome is great, sure, but it can’t quite compare with launching them about 10 feet straight up after a flurry of punches.
Here, watch the whole thing in action for maximum enjoyment:
Mortal Kombat’s basic uppercut
Easy to perform and screen-shakingly devastating, uppercuts in the first four Mortal Kombat games were simple attacks shared by nearly every character. They were an icon of the series, as well as an easy way for beginners to kick ass and see lots of blood in a hurry. They were also a reasonably satisfying finisher, if you didn’t know any real fight-ending Fatalities.
Of course, they became an actual Fatality once you reached the Pit stage, where a post-fight uppercut would send your opponent careening off the narrow platform…
… and into a bed of bloody spikes:
Above: OH NOES
The stage-Fatality became so popular that the next game featured three of them, and they quickly became a staple of the series – especially in the third game (where it was also possible to uppercut your opponent through the ceiling and into a completely different stage). Rather than recap them all one at a time, here’s a handy YouTube video that details every Pit Fatality from the first three games:
Of course, uppercuts were an actual part of several legitimate Fatalities, most notably Liu Kang’s somersault-kick-and-uppercut combo. While an insufferably lame way to finish off an opponent in the first game (apart from maybe over the Pit), the move gained a considerable amount of savagery the second time around.
Of course, it was still fairly gentle compared to Johnny Cage’s primary Fatality, which was to uppercut his opponent’s head right the hell off:
As if that wasn’t a rewarding-enough way to end a match, holding down a few extra buttons in the second MK would make him do it again…
… and again.
Sadly, the uppercuts became less of a universal staple when MK moved into its more “realistic” phase with Deadly Alliance, Deception, Armageddon and vs DC Universe, but we know for a fact that they’re returning exactly as we remember in the new, upcoming Mortal Kombat. Here’s to once again spilling a quart of the red stuff every time we connect.
Before Street Fighter II’s release, uppercuts were a badass way to floor your opponents. After Street Fighter II’s release, they were a damn art form. This is almost entirely because of Ryu’s Shoryuken (aka dragon punch), which quickly became one of the franchise’s most recognizable signature moves, as well as the basis for one of gaming’s most legendary April Fool’s jokes).
It’s not difficult to see why, as the basic dragon punch is so instantly fulfilling that it’s been ripped off by just about every 2D fighter worth a damn. This is even after Ken’s arguably superior version added flames to literally set opponents on fire, something that hasn’t been as widely copied.
It’s also not even counting all the other SF-specific imitations that sprang up in the dragon punch’s wake, like Sagat’s Tiger Uppercut. It’s more or less indistinguishable from the Shoryuken, apart from the flip at the end, the multiple hits on the way up and the amount of damage it deals out.
A couple of our other favorites: Sakura’s Shouoken, a multi-hit dragon punch with a running start for an extra thrill:
And Dudley’s Jet Upper, which looks even cooler as the three-stage, whirlwind-enhanced Rocket Upper:
Despite his hundreds of imitators, though, Ryu’s ordinary Shoryuken remains the untouchable classic. Even in Super Street Fighter IV, you can tell where the developers’ real love lies; while Ken gets a flashy Ultra Combo Shoryuken that looks like this:
Ryu’s is possibly the single most dramatic move in the game, actually muting the music so you can hear every detail of how cool it sounds to punch a human chin in slow motion:
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