The fighting game genre has been around since the earliest days of the Nintendo Entertainment System and Mike Tyson’s punchout. Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter brought it into the limelight in arcades and then to our homes on the SNES and Sega Genesis. The genre has evolved over time and yet still there sits a substantial percentage of us that find the greatest joy in the simple 2D fighters of days’ past. Whatever your favorites, the fighting genre is a classic and long standing tradition among gamers that brings them together to swear, drink, and break things in frustration because “he’s being cheap!”
The Playstation 2 and now Playstation 3 have the benefit of a couple very long standing traditions, those of Tekken and Virtua Fighter. Virtua Fighter has since gone on to appear on other consoles, but the combination of those two along with a slew of 2D fighter support made the PS2 the console to own for fighting fans. The options were limitless, from the best of 3D fighters, to the grand collections of Capcom and SNK. There was something for everyone, and don’t forget Soul Calibur in there either.
Virtua Fighter 4-5
The Virtua Fighter series has long been one of the best fighting platforms available for any system. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the hardest. Not only do most people consider it a little bland in the effects department – it’s pretty, but there aren’t the explosions or weapons of Mortal Kombat or Soul Calibur – but to get the most out of it, one must become a master of incredibly complicated, multi-button combos. But, for those that can, this is easily the most rewarding and deepest of the many fighting options. And with the newest offering, Virtua Fighter 5 recently released for the Playstation 3, it’s as good a time as any to jump in and figure some of those combos out.
Tekken has always been at the top of the heap, the number one franchise for Sony’s flagship platform. The first true master of 3D fighting games and one of the prettiest franchises around, Tekken is more or less the best, even after the stumble of Tekken 4, Tekken 5 came back with a vengeance in the later years of the Playstation 2’s life span. Look out for Dark Resurrection, a variation on the Tekken 5 gameplay, to appear on the Playstation 3 console soon and bring some straight up competition to the Playstation 3’s only true fighting option right now, Virtua Fighter 5.
Guilty Gear X2
Sammy’s vibrant, character laden 2D masterpiece first appeared on the Playstation console a few years back and like all good 2D fighters had a solid underground following, spurred by the flurry of combo and weapon options, including the always popular auto-kill move. Guilty Gear X2 offered up all of the many characters of the original plus some new ones from Japanese arcade fame and a slew of options and fighting modes. The game didn’t push any boundaries or break through with new features, but it was damn fun.
Capcom Vs. SNK 2
Probably the best 2D Fighter available for the Playstation 2 console, Capcom Vs. SNK2 – Mark of the Millenium showed up early in the console’s lifespan and brought with it dozens of characters from Streetfighter and King of Fighters Fame. The game was huge, and the options endless. The game returned with Capcom’s trademark styles and offered up a ton of game play options and method for unlocking characters and features through racking up style points, awarded for combos, quick kills, and perfects.
Soul Calibur II and III
Soul Calibur II was one of the truly great games of the last generation’s fighting genre. It appeared on all three major consoles and destroyed the competition, but only the Playstation 2 was privileged with the sequel, Soul Calibur III. The game wasn’t nearly as good as its predecessor, offering up mostly the same options with only a couple of new characters and a weaker story mode, but it was easily as good and brought with it hours upon hours of new gameplay. The Soul Calibur series has one of the most solid fighting systems and the inclusion of the many weapons variation with their limitations and stats boosts make it one of the best games around still today.