Monday, February 21, 2011


I have been a long time fan of fighting games.  Along with the Mario games and Castle Wolfenstein, fighting games are what really cemented me into liking video games.  The funny thing is that I have never been all that good at fighting games.  This past week I got a couple of new games, that have me trying to pull of combos again.   What follows is the history of my flirtatious affair with fighting games.

Round 1
The first game that started everything was Mortal Kombat.  In the early/mid 90's there were really two big fighting games, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter 2.  Street Fighter was the technical game, but Mortal Kombat was the flashy game, and with it's over the top violence , it was the one that drew me in.  In 8th grade, we had a Sega CD and one of the games I had for it was the arcade port of the original mortal kombat.  I got really good at that game.  Once that year , I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia.  I felt fine, but I was contagious and banned from school for a couple of days.  The entire time all I did was play Mortal Kombat on the Sega CD.

  The next year, my freshmen year, Mortal Kombat 3 came out for the consoles.  This was the first game that I bought the day it came out.  I saved up for a couple of months, and got my parents to take me to Best Buy the day it came out. 
Photobucket I even got the strategy guide (only strategy guide I ever bought!) so that I had a list of all the special moves, fatalities, and combos.   I played this game a lot, and I was really good at it.  As a side note, I have bought this game more than any other.  After buying it for the SNES, I eventually bought it for the PS2 has part of a Midway games collection.   Then when I got the 360, it was released as an arcade game and I bought it a third time. 

During this time, the  other fighting game that I played a lot was World Heroes.  My dad (and brother) bowled a lot at Franklin lanes in Evansville.  That means I spent a decent amount of time there, and so I played video games in their diner area.  They had a multi-game Neo-Geo cabinet that had World Heroes as one of the games.  One of the fighters was a Bruce Lee inspired copy, he was fast as a fighter and I played him.
Photobucket Every time I was the bowling alley I would play it, and I kept getting better at the game until I finally beat it.  It is the only arcade cabinet game I can claim to have actually beat.  Also, from time to time we would rent games and when I got to pick the game I always gravitated to fighting games.  Eventually though, with computer games and the Nintendo 64 I began to move away from fighting games.

Round 2
In college at the very beginning of my Junior year, I bought a Nintendo 64 off of ebay.  This was at the very tale end of the N64's lifespan, and after Christmas of that year a lot of places had a fire sale on Nintendo 64 games.  I picked up several, including some bad fighting games.  I really liked bad fighting games, because they were unbalanced messes that were great for button mashing.  One specifically was Xena: Talisman of Fate. 
PhotobucketThis game was unique in that it  allowed up to four fighters at a time on screen, and had silly special moves like Caesar calling for a catapult strike.  We had a lot of fun with it.  Another one I spent way to much time on was Bio-Freaks.  It is not a good game.  Don't play it.

When I graduated college and got a PS2 I got a beginning group of games that included Tekken Tag Tournament.  I once again put a lot of time into a fighting game, as I beat the game with every single character.  A year later on the PS2, I really got into Mortal Kombat: Deception.  One of the big sell points of this game was that it had extra modes.  It had an adventure mode, which was a neat idea.  It also had a puzzle fighter clone, and my favorite part chess mode. 
PhotobucketChess mode took the game's fighting and gave it more context beyond climbing a ladder to a main boss.  This idea of putting the fight game in a meta-game of sorts was one I really liked, and one that was used in Soul Calibur III.
PhotobucketSoul Calibur III is probably the fighting game I had the most fun playing.  It had a create a fighter mode that was neat, and I spent a lot of time with that.  However, my favorite part was the Tales of Souls mode.  In this mode, the player took created characters through levels in a very light RTS game.  When an enemy character and a player controlled player occupied the same space, then there was a fight using the fighting game engine.  The Tales of Souls game play was simple, but adding the extra level of game to give a context to the fighting really made a great game for me.

On the PS2 and into the 360 there were a few other fighting games that I messed around with, but nothing serious. On the 360 though, my game got stepped up.

Round 3, Final Round.  
On the 360, I pre-ordered Soul Calibur IV.  Given how much I loved the third one, it was a given.  The fact that Yoda and Darth Vader  were  playable characters made me really excited for the game.
Photobucket I played Soul Calibur IV a decent amount online.  In fact, after the original Mortal Kombat on the sega CD, Soul Calibur IV is the first fighting game I took seriously.  I practiced in practice mode to best learn how to preform special moves and combos.  I played over 100 matches online.  I do not remember my record, but I won more than I lost.  I mostly played Amy.  She was a fast character with a couple of change up combos.  This meant I went from a high attack to a low attack, which was very hard to block against, as one of the hits would most likely connect.

  That year (2008) for Christmas, there was not a whole lot I really wanted.  So when my parents asked for a Christmas list, they said I needed to put more on there to give them better options.  On a lark, I added a specialized controller for fighting games and that is what I got.
Since I now had a specialized controller for fighting games, I had to get a new one!  I downloaded a couple of arcade titles, but there were several fighting games set to come out in 2009.  I spent time researching the various options.  The popular title that year was Street Fighter IV, but I bypassed that one to go with BlazBlue.
PhotobucketBlazBlue was really great, because playing the game was like playing cartoon.  It looked really, really good.  It also had story missions with branching paths for each characters, so I really enjoyed playing though those. I also played BlazBlue online, and my record was just above .500.   In the end, I did not play the game as much I would have liked.  Other shiny games like Halo: ODST and Modern Warfare 2 distracted me.  Then Connor came along, and my game playing dropped dramatically. 

Finish Him!!!
This gets us to now.  The motivation for this post is that I got two new fighting games in the last week.  The first is Marvel vs. Capcom 3.  I knew that I was going to get a fighting game this year and I chose this one over the new Mortal Kombat for a few reasons.
PhotobucketFirst, this one has a larger roster of fighters so if I want to mess around with it there is more to do.  Second, the online play will be stronger and last longer in this game most likely.  Third, it is rated T so I can use it at youth group events like lock-ins.  In Marvel vs. Capcom 3 instead of having multiple rounds like a lot of fighting games, each player chooses three fighters.  When all three fighters are defeated it is game over.  After a lot of tinkering, I found a set up I like and will probably run with.  I am going with Dante, X-23, and Captain America.  If I decide I need more range after playing with this, I might sub in Deadpool or Chris.  I have not really played online yet, because there are players in this game who can do scary crazy combos (starts at the 25 second mark):

But I will go online eventually.

The other game I got is Yomi.   Yomi is actually a card game, that is made to simulate the type of fighting games that I have been talking about, and it is really, really good.
Photobucket In Yomi each player takes a deck of cards representing a fighter.  Then each player picks a card and reveals it at the same time.  A paper rock scissors mechanic governs the game.  Attacks beat throws.  Throws beat block/dodge, and block/dodge beats attacks.  If an attack or throw hits, then a combo can be started.  There are even special moves, and hyper moves.  This card game perfectly capture the best parts of fighting games, without any of the worst parts.  The game simulates the fighting, the out guessing an opponent, and the joy of pulling off a combo.  However, Yomi does not have the down side of fighting games like memorizing the inputs for special moves and combos, as well as having the manual dexterity to flawlessly enter a complex (and often long) line of inputs.

I will be playing Yomi a lot I think.

If you made it all the way to here, then good for you.  There is only one thing left to say:
Reader 1 Wins!


Blogger ButlerBowldog said...

What about Wrasslin'? How could you forget Wrasslin'? Now there's a fighting game.

7:40 PM  

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