Trendsetters week 4: Fighting

The pioneer – Street Fighter II: The World Warrior | 1991 | Arcade
In the mid-nineties, you couldn’t go to any arcade without hearing the familiar thwacks coming from a Street Fighter II arcade machine nestled in the corner. Though visually and conceptually very simple, beneath the surface it was a trove of hidden depths -  truly pain in the backside bosses, simple and alluring special moves (if there is one Japanese word every gamer knows, it’s Hadouken), lightning pace and an introduction to combos great and small. Even now we remember with fondness Guile’s immense re-dizzy combo, and the curses it drew from its victims. There was something in SFII for everyone, so instantly playable it remains timeless.

Raising the bar – Tekken 5 | 2005 | PS2
A good balance of flashy moves and more subtle strategy, Tekken 5 recaptured the pick up and play nature of Street Fighter II perfectly. The massively diverse character roster gave plenty of options for those who wanted to fight with a bit of flair, while those with a bent for technical mastery could sink their teeth into the reversals system. But Tekken 5 nails it by making the arcade mode just a small part of a package rammed with everything from a third-person adventure to a ranking challenge, which adds endless replay value. Even the sound, typically the most cringeworthy aspect of any fighting game, was satisfying and authentic, making this the most well rounded fighter we’ve seen for some time.

Above: [1] Super Street Fighter II; [2] Tekken 5; [3] Kabuki Warriors; [4] Tekken 6

Scraping the barrel – Kabuki Warriors | 2001 | Xbox
Ultimately a work of utmost laziness, many of Kabuki ’s screens were never even translated from the original Japanese. It looked horrible, it sounded horrible, and it played absolutely horrifically. Bear in mind that most 2D fighters used either four or six attack buttons. Kabuki uses one, with four variations depending which way you pressed the D-pad. In essence this meant that the infamous mash the joypad technique is a viable method to create killer combos. In practice, you could hit the controller repeatedly with a piece of spam and still win hands down. There was even less variation because the move sets were recycled between characters.

Keep your eyes peeled for – Tekken 6 | PS3
Faster and more fluid than anything before it, Tekken 6 looks as though it could redefine the whole genre. Check out these images  and keep your eyes peeled here for more coverage.

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