6 awful fighting games we played as kids because we were morons

The early 90’s were a veritable utopia for the fighting game genre. Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, Virtua Fighter, Soul Edge, and any other series worth mentioning made its debut during this time. Those were the halcyon days when you could sprint into the nearest arcade, kick someone in their digitized nuts, and then rip their head off without your mother’s incessant whining about “human decency.”

However, this era of the dominant arcade fighter also proved something very important: kids don’t have good taste. Period. We may have had an excellent list of fighters to choose from, but we were also up to our armpits in bullshit knock-offs. And we played all of them. Shamelessly.

Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi

What is it about?

The Death Star just got all blown up and the Empire is pissed. Being a huge UFC fan, the evil Emperor Palpatine seeks out the services of Arden Lyn – an assassin chick that has a cappuccino-maker where her right arm should be. Well-versed in the deadly hand-to-hand art of Teräs Käsi (grammatically butchered Finnish for “steel hand”), Lyn sets out to eliminate key members of the Rebel Alliance; however, since the Empire posted the job notice up on Craigslist, the Alliance is fully aware of the impending danger.

Why did it suck?

Ever wonder if Princess Leia could handle Chewbacca in a fight or if one of those stupid-ass pig-soldier things from Jabba’s fortress could stand up to Darth Vader mano a mano? No. No, you did not.

Above: Your wasted youth

Masters of Teräs Käsi was aborted bleary-eyed and confused from the womb of LucasArts in the fall of 1997. Imagine if Tekken and Soul Edge got together for a one-night stand and accidently conceived an evil bastard child. That should give a clear idea of where this game’s combat system stands. The game’s button mapping follows the Tekken-style variety and also features an utterly pointless weapon button to swap between armed and unarmed combat. WHY THE HELL WOULDN’T LUKE SKYWALKER USE HIS LIGHTSABER IN A FIGHT??? To be honest, if you’re the type of person who prefers their fists when taking on a dude brandishing a hyper-condensed energy sword, you’re definitely a couple TIE fighters short of a Star Destroyer.

Absolute lowest point?

The super moves. Hands down. The majority of these bastard moves could take anywhere between 50%-70% of your life, they were unblockable AND THEY TRACKED YOU. F%$& you, LucasArts.

War Gods
(Arcade, PS1, N64, PC)

What is it about?

An alien space ship drops magic ore onto the planet Earth. Ten human beings find the ore and turn into “gods.” Everybody starts kicking ass.

Why did it suck?

Word on the Internet is that Midway Games released this atrocity to the public simply as a test run for its new 3D software that was getting prepped for Mortal Kombat 4. In all honesty, that does seem like a perfect explanation. Spend more than five minutes with War Gods and it quickly becomes apparent that this…thing…should never have seen the light of day.

Above: Calling it 3D doesn’t seem entirely accurate…

War Gods’ 3D digitized character models give the game this strange sort of wet garbage-y look and each fight is anything if not incredibly awkward with the goofy combos and tacked-on fatalities. However, Midway does instill War Gods with that high level of memorableness that MK was known for with such characters as Warhead (a fist-pumping American douchebag) and Kabuki Jo (a Japanese…guy). The game’s agenda seems geared more towards offending a menagerie of races, creeds and religions as opposed to being a competent fighter.

Absolute lowest point?

The fatalities. For instance: Ahau Kin – an Aztec “god” – straps his opponent to a stone slab, rips their heart out and takes a big ol’ bite out of it. Take THAT people of Central Mexico!

Jordan Baughman is a freelance journalist who has written for the likes of GamesRadar and Gamer magazine. With a passion for video games and esports, Baughman has been covering the industry for years now, and even hopped the fence to work as a public relations coordinator for clients that include EA, Capcom, Namco, and more.