Greatest fighting game Archives

Greatest fighting game Archives

greatest fighting game Archives

greatest fighting game Archives

Articles tagged with fighting Archives - RetroGaming with Racketboy

6 Articles

Presented by Ack Since the early days of Computer Space, Pong, and the Magnavox Odyssey, gaming has had a competitive edge.  Of all of gaming’s genres, perhaps the most competitive is the Fighting Game, a genre entirely designed around two opponents beating the tar out of each other to prove who is the top dog.  […]

Presented by Ack Note: Hope you enjoy our first genre-specific installment of our Defining Games series During the 1990s, the fighting genre dominated the arcade scene, helping the industry come back for a few years from a slump partially created by home console releases.  Fighting games slowly continued to evolve, trying new gameplay and graphical […]

Presented by Ack Note: Hope you enjoy our first genre-specific installment of our Hidden Gems series. Also be sure to check out our guide to the Defining Games of the Fighting Genre. In 1991, a storm swept over the international arcade scene.  Street Fighter II swept the world, invigorating the arcade scene, determine the future […]

Note from racketboy: A special thanks goes out to Ack from this roundup of the N64 fighting library.  You may remember his journey through the SNES fighting collection (both the good and the ugly) in addition to a number of other wonderful contributions.  I hope you enjoy this guide! When people think of the Nintendo […]

While the Saturn might not have been able to keep up with the Sony Playstation in terms of 3D gameplay, Sega’s 32-bit powerhouse cleaned house with it’s 2D muscle. The 2D fighter genre is essentially the best demonstration of the Saturn’s 2D capabilities. The Saturn’s raw power was shown off by the likes of Capcom […]

The Sega Saturn was a phenomenal platform for 2D fighters, but many gamers would not have expected that the Dreamcast would follow in the Saturn’s footsteps so well. The Dreamcast was strongly supported by both Capcom and SNK. It received many of the best fighting games before the PS2, XBox, and Gamecube. There are also […]

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20) Tekken Tag Tournament 2 – BOB RICHARDS/SLIM BOB
2012

Bob rules. With a design that’s Ken Masters meets Sammo Hung, his confidence comes from his massive size. Despite only three game appearances to his name, Bob’s been all sorts of things. Top US martial artist, celebrity, suave ladies man, bounty hunter and superhero. At least, that’s what he is in his Tekken Tag 2 ending.

The art style here is beautiful, taking the form of stylized motion comics with a little more movement mixed in. Bob sees some kids being picked on by a gang of punks. He shows up on the scene in a yellow superhero costume, introducing his battle cry, “SPEED AND… WEIGHT!” The punks aren’t impressed and think he’s supposed to be a road sign. They tell him to be like a good road sign and go stand in traffic. Bob doesn’t take their advice.

The kids cheer him on and join in with his battle cry. Then he sees a woman falling off a ledge on a nearby building. Bob tries to figure out how to get to her and sees a man putting bungee cords into a van. Bob steals those bungees and uses them to propel himself into the air, catch the woman and cause massive shockwaves in the ground upon landing, all while yelling, “SPEED AND… WEIGHT!” There’s an awesome shot of one of the kids he rescued excitedly high fiving the bungee van driver. An entire crowd gathers to cheer him on.

The next day, Bob is disappointed when he sees the headlines.

Bob has a similar ending in the form of Slim Bob. See, Bob is like the anti-Elvis Presley. He takes pride in his girth, but in his Tekken 6 ending, the success led to him letting himself go and becoming thin and handsome, much to his horror. That version of him became playable in Tekken Tag 2 and in his ending, he wears a red version of the superhero outfit. Unfortunately, it’s many sizes too big and he has to keep the pants from falling down. He rescues an old man in a subway from the same muggers, only this time they refer to him as “Sci-Fi Santa Claus.” Slim Bob takes them out, but feels weaker compared to his true, blubbery self.

Then he sees that the same woman from the other ending is on the train tracks, screaming for help. He picks her up, throws her off the track and then lays on the track just as a train goes over him. He’s fine, but is horrified when the woman hands him his accidentally-discarded mask. She calls him her hero and kisses him with an entire cheering crowd around them, but we later see that despite everything, Bob is still depressed over his slim frame.

19) Mortal Kombat 4 – JAX
1997

God bless the terrible Mortal Kombat 4 endings. After figuring that text was the way of the dinosaurs, Midway decided that their first 3D Mortal Kombat game needed cutscene endings. While the Playstation version had full motion video, the arcade and Nintendo 64 versions had to rely on the in-game graphics to tell the stories. Stories filled with jerky animation, horrible dialogue and even worse voice acting. They’re magnificent.

Jax easily has the best, especially since it’s an extension of Jarek’s ending, which is sort of an extension of Sonya’s ending. Sonya confronts Jarek on a completely generic-looking plain of grass about how now that Shinnok is defeated, Jarek is going to be taken into custody. Jarek advances on Sonya, saying that he agreed to help them during this crisis, but he’ll never turn himself in. “THE BLACK DRAGON LIVE ON!”

Suddenly, it pans out to show that they’re on top of a cliff, accompanied by the worst dramatic music you’ve ever heard. Sonya tells Jarek that the Black Dragon died with Kano and that Jarek is the last one around. With a scream of, “UMMBSULKAIIIIEEEEEEE!” Jarek runs at her, misses and falls off the cliff. Sonya calls Jax on her walky-talky to inform him what just happened, but Jarek shows that he’s not so dead after all. He climbs back up, grabs Sonya by the ankle and throws her to her death. Then he stomps down on the walky-talky so hard that it not only breaks, but vanishes completely! There are no pieces of it anywhere when he moves his foot!

The walky-talky business was pointless anyway, because Jax turns out to be five feet away all this time. Weird how Jarek didn’t notice him what with there being no trees or anything. Jarek tries to talk his way out of it, but Jax isn’t hearing it. He grabs Jarek by the throat and holds him over the cliff with absolutely zero detail below. Jarek begs for his life and says that Jax has to uphold the law. This is brutality!

“Wrong, Jarek! This is not a brutality… this is a Fatality!”

Despite the subtitles, he’s still saying, “UMMBSULKAIIIIEEEEEEE!!”

It’s so beautifully shitty.

18) King of Fighters ’96/King of Fighters ’97 – SACRED TREASURES
1996, 1997

King of Fighters ’96 is the first year to decide that certain custom teams could lead to unique endings. In this case, the main one is the teaming of Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami and Chizuru Kagura. Kyo and Iori team up to bring down Goenitz and Iori is rather surprised that for once, his flames were red. Chizuru makes an attempt to get through to them that when they work together against a threat powered by Orochi, they reenact the heroic actions of their ancestors. They need to put aside their familial differences so that they can take out the Orochi threat for good.

Neither cares about what she has to say. Even when said that his purple flames will lead to an early death, Iori doesn’t take her warning to heart. Even when he starts coughing up blood. Kyo also doesn’t listen because as he puts it, their rivalry isn’t about their bloodlines but about themselves as individuals. They go their separate ways and Chizuru swears to continue watching over them until they come to their senses.

The following year, the god Orochi is unleashed and using the same trio shows the game’s true ending. They won the fight, but Orochi is still getting back up. Kyo isn’t intimidated, though. Orochi’s body is failing and all of his followers are gone. Orochi plays his ace and points out that not all of them are gone. Iori’s blood suddenly starts boiling and he turns into his uncontrollable, unstoppable, savage Riot of the Blood form. Orochi commands him to kill Kyo and Chizuru.

Iori leaps in the direction of Kyo, but overshoots it and instead starts strangling Orochi. He’s THAT pissed off. Kyo doesn’t know what to do. Suddenly, the voice of Iori’s ancestors call out to him. They apologize for causing all of these problems, but swear that they can make good with Kyo’s help. He must seal away Orochi like they did hundreds of years ago.

“Contain the Orochi. Save Iori from our error! Finish it now! Defeat the Orochi… and do it with Yagami!”

Suddenly, after about a minute of silence, dramatic rock music starts playing. Chizuru tries to summon the power to seal away Orochi, but she’s barely able to hold on and Iori can’t last much longer. Kyo powers up his fist and lets loose.

After the explosion, the last thing we see is an image of Kyo’s girlfriend Yuki, along with the audio of her saying (in Japanese) that she’ll be waiting for him.

And THAT, my friends, is how you write a climax to a four-year-long story. Goddamn.

17) Soul Blade – HEISHIRO MITSURUGI
1996

While Soul Blade had the neat gimmick of altering the endings based on pressing the right button at the right time, Mitsurugi’s was unique. His deal is that he’s the most skilled samurai in the world, but that skill is moot with the rising of the rifle, specifically the Tanegashima. To defeat his gun-using rival, Mitsurugi goes on a quest to find the ultimate sword. Upon finding the Soul Edge swords, he finds them lacking and cuts them to pieces.

He returns to Japan to challenge the gunman, who warns him that Mitsurugi can most definitely die here. From here it becomes a fun little minigame. As Mitsurugi, you have to race towards the gunman and dodge all of his bullets before striking him down with your blade. If you fail, Mitsurugi recovers from the gunshot eventually and decides that no matter how skilled he is, he’ll always fall to the Tanegashima. He really needs to find a better weapon.

If he wins, he bitches out at the gunman for wailing over just a scratch. He realizes that it isn’t about the weapon, but the mind and body of he who uses it. Mitsurugi decides to up his training efforts and runs off.

16) Waku Waku 7 – SLASH
1996

Waku Waku 7 is an obscure fighter based on putting together as many anime archetypes and conventions as possible. The characters fight over the rights to seven magic balls that when put together, will grant you a wish (sound familiar?). Thing is, to get the wish, you have to free the magic fairy and to free the magic fairy, you have to defeat the terror known as Fernandez. Fernandez, the most fucked up of all fighting game bosses, is like some kind of middle ground between adorable and Lovecraftian.

Slash is a monster hunting elf dude and after defeating Fernandez and liberating the fairy, he’s offered a wish. Slash takes the virtuous road and says he only wishes to use his sword to free those who are cursed, such as the fairy. The fairy takes that to heart and lets out a magical cry of, “SET THEM FREE!”

Unfortunately, what Slash may not have realized is that this fairy isn’t the only magical being who’s guarded by a giant bowling ball nightmare.

An entire family of Fernandezes give chase and Slash screams while cheesing it. Meanwhile, the other fairies swoon over his selfless heroism and thank him while keeping a safe distance.

15) Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact – HUGO ANDORE
1997

In the second iteration of Street Fighter III, Capcom took an almost completely new roster from the first game and added familiar faces in Akuma and Hugo. Hugo is meant to be one of the many Andores from Final Fight, making for an interesting choice from left field. With fellow Mad Gear member Poison at his side, Hugo has left the criminal life to master the square circle. There’s a big CWA tag team tournament coming up and he wants to enter. The question is, who is going to be his tag team partner? Hugo searches the world for the right partner while legally binding them to join him if they lose to his unparalleled might.

What’s cool is that there’s no single answer. Hugo’s final boss is randomly going to be one of four different fighters. In all the scenarios, Hugo tells Poison that he’s made his decision and he’s found his comrade. We cut to the arena where the opening rounds of the tag tournament are announced. Then we see Hugo and his partner of choice, along with a team name.

No matter who it is, they’re all into it. Ryu is pumped, Elena wants to entertain the fans, Necro wants to electrify the fans (while his companion Effie is a little concerned) and Gill is entertained by this variation of the battle format.

The one thing I don’t like about all of this is that if you earn your way into getting a final boss match against Akuma or Shin Akuma, you don’t get a special ending where Hugo and Akuma join forces and the “Slam Masters of Fist” rule the ring.

14) SNK vs. Capcom – AKUMA
2003

Akuma’s endings tend to be either some kind of amazing feat of badass or him grumbling about how he can’t find anyone good enough to give him a real challenge. This ending is both. Now, there’s no real story to SNK vs. Capcom (unless you go by the bizarre comic from Hong Kong which I own every volume of and have been meaning to review it for years), but if I could hazard a guess from stuff in the game, it’s that all the fighting all over the world has been causing holes to open in time and space. Characters from the past and future have started showing up and the fighting gets so severe that it causes the winning character to accidentally end up in Heaven or Hell without dying first.

You know what? Never mind any of that. You know why this ending ranks so high?

AKUMA PICKS A FIGHT WITH GOD HIMSELF! THAT’S WHY!

I guess Akuma’s been reading Preacher.

13) Tekken 5 – WANG JINREI
2005

Man… The Tekken 5 story for Wang is so good that it takes a character I never cared about and stabs me in the heart. The story brings back Jinpachi Mishima, Heihachi’s father and Wang’s best friend, who had been thought to be dead for years, but was really just imprisoned by Heihachi. Some kind of beast not unlike Devil had possessed his body and now Jinpachi holds the King of Iron Fist 5 in hopes that someone can put him down before he loses control. When Wang’s confronted by his old friend, he outright refuses to fight him. Jinpachi starts begging him to fight, as he can’t hold the demon off much longer and soon he’ll end up destroying the world if he isn’t stopped. Wang wishes there was another way, but reluctantly gets into his stance.

Once things are won, Wang cradles a human Jinpachi in his arms. Jinpachi is apologetic about causing so many problems, but Wang tells him to hush. He’s like a brother to him. Weakly, Jinpachi says that he wishes that they had time for one last drink together. Then he dies in Wang’s arms and immediately turns to dust.

I can’t do justice to Wang’s voice acting, as he desperately screams, “JINPACHI!” while crying and clawing at the dust that was once his friend. The sad music helps too. Wang feels that this is all because of the cursed Mishima bloodline. He looks up into the stars and tells Jinpachi that his own time has not yet come.

Wang does die in his Tekken 6 ending after killing the final boss Azazel. His last words are him taking solace that finally, he and Jinpachi will be able to get that drink together.

12) Guilty Gear – ZATO-1
1998

When you first meet Zato-1, he seems like king shit. A top-ranking assassin who is so crazy and determined that he gained the ability to weaponize his shadows by sacrificing his eyes via the dark arts. He seeks out to get revenge on Millia Rage, a fellow assassin he loved who betrayed him and the entire guild. Zato enters Testament’s tournament and afterwards is high on his own success.

That’s when shit starts to go down.

His shadow starts moving on its own without his command. This freaks him out. Zato didn’t make any commands. Then the shadow starts speaking to him. All this time when Zato thought that he was this master of forbidden magic and turned himself into the best assassin ever? Not even remotely correct. The shadow is actually a creature that, much like the Gears, was genetically created by the government. Zato’s just an idiot who cut out his own eyes for nothing and unknowingly had a parasitic creature do all the work for him.

Zato laughs at his own misfortune, but then starts screaming for help because he doesn’t want to die. The shadow assures him that he needs a living host to survive and the more pathetic and weaker the mind, the better.

With Zato’s ending revealing him as such a knockoff of Marvel’s Eddie Brock, it’s fitting that later games renamed the shadow beast as “Eddie”.

11) Mortal Kombat 9 – KURTIS STRYKER
2011

In comics, there’s a phrase about how there’s no such thing as a bad character. Just bad writers. Just because someone has sucked for years doesn’t mean they can’t be amazing in the hands of the right writer (reference: Jeff Parker’s Red Hulk, Christopher Yost’s Scarlet Spider, Zeb Wells’ Carnage). Stryker is seen as kind of a joke when people think back at Mortal Kombat 3. The tough guy cop who really looked like Randal from Clerks in a silly, colorful outfit. Then they tried putting him in a silly SWAT Team uniform in Armageddon and that didn’t work out. It wasn’t until the reboot that they got their shit together.

Stryker was shown as more of a no-nonsense, snarky, hard-boiled cop who didn’t have time for any of this invasion garbage. In his bio, it shows several instances of him saving lives from criminals that are blatant references to old action movies (specifically Die Hard and Speed). He’s more of a fit in the game’s atmosphere and comes off as a lot more likeable.

After killing Shao Kahn and making him explode, Stryker reacts simply by making the “forget you” gesture and walks away. It’s said that he was incredibly humble about the adventure, repeatedly saying that he was only doing his job. Despite that, he becomes a major celebrity. He’s beloved for his actions in saving the world and is constantly hounded by the press and paparazzi. He’s merchandized into oblivion with a best-selling biography, action figures and overly-violent video game. It isn’t until they ask him to sell the movie rights that he outright refuses to play this game anymore.

“Never would he allow himself to be portrayed by Johnny Cage!”

It’s Cage’s sad slouch that makes this.

10) Cyberbots – JIN SAOTOME
1995

Jin Saotome is mainly known for his appearances in the Marvel vs. Capcom games, but he was introduced in Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness, a fighting game featuring giant mechs. The game takes place in the distant future, where the shady military government takes the form of the organization Earth Force. Jin is basically Fox McCloud from Starfox in that his father Ken Saotome was this legendary pilot who died and now he’s kind of working as a pilot for hire to honor his father. He discovers that there was more to his father’s death and that he, much like the rest of his troop, were killed by some kind of Earth Force experiment.

Jin’s search for the truth leads him to destroy the Earth Force hivemind (a giant brain called GOD), but now a giant satellite is falling out of orbit. It’s set to crash onto Earth and kill an untold amount of civilians. On his way to stop it via sacrifice, Jin is intercepted by SHADE, a crazed pilot he fought earlier in the story. Shade is completely insane and is set off by hearing that Jin’s last name is Saotome. He believes him to be Ken and demands to know why he won’t stay dead. Jin finally has the answers of who truly killed his father and is ready to exact his revenge.

Upon his defeat, Shade’s humanity starts to take over. He remembers who he used to be. Earth Force brought him in as an experiment to create the perfect soldier, altering his body and destroying his mind, culminating in having him kill his friends. Ken was his best friend and those monsters turned them against each other. Shade thanks Jin for setting him straight and giving him one last battle.

As Jin screams out, Shade pilots his mech into the falling space station, killing himself in the process. The explosion knocks it off course and nobody else dies from its descent. Later, we see Jin and his mentor Gawaine standing over Shade’s grave. Gawaine calls Jin a hero, but Jin disagrees. All Jin did was act out of revenge, yet the man he was out to kill was ultimately more of a hero than he’d ever be.

9) Mortal Kombat II – SUB-ZERO/SCORPION
1993

This one’s classic to me. The attract mode profiles claim that Sub-Zero was killed in the first tournament, yet here he is! I mean, what’s the big deal? The game is nothing but people dying and reappearing. No need to break the fourth wall about it. Anyhow, Sub-Zero’s sent once again to assassinate Shang Tsung and Scorpion returns from Hell to make sure Sub-Zero stays dead.

With Sub-Zero’s ending, it’s revealed that he’s actually the younger brother of the Sub-Zero from the first game. He finds out the truth of why Scorpion killed his brother, but finds it curious that Scorpion has spared his life in battle. We also get to see Sub-Zero unmasked for the first time, which I believe is the only time he’s ever been shown as actually Asian.

Scorpion’s ending expands on this. Scorpion witnessed this new Sub-Zero spare an opponent in battle and put two and two together. This Sub-Zero isn’t the enemy. Scorpion defeats Sub-Zero as part of the tournament, but also chooses to spare his life. After getting his revenge the last time, Scorpion’s lost his sense of purpose, but now he’ll exist as a guardian angel to this righteous ninja as a way of atonement.

Also, that unmasked Scorpion picture with the skull background will never stop being the best.

8) Skullgirls – PARASOUL
2012

Parasoul’s storyline in Skullgirls is a complete punch in the gut. Parasoul’s mother was the queen of the Canopy Kingdom, who became the last Skullgirl when she wished to the Skull Heart that she could bring unity to her countries. Her wish came true when the Skull Heart turned her into a vicious, destructive beast that was so devastating that all armies had to band together to put her down. Now Parasoul runs her own action military squad to keep the peace of the land. She’s also constantly followed by her little sister Umbrella, who Parasoul wants to stay away from these kinds of affairs. Coincidentally, the queen was pregnant with Umbrella during her time as the Skullgirl.

Umbrella goes missing and is kidnapped by the current Skullgirl Marie and her allies. Marie is destroyed, but now the Skull Heart needs a new host. Umbrella is drawn to its power because of her connection to it and Parasoul knows that she can’t destroy the Skull Heart in time without killing Umbrella. With no other choice, she grabs the Skull Heart and wishes that Umbrella will never become the Skullgirl. The wish is granted, but in time, Parasoul will fall under the Skull Heart’s spell and become an unstoppable terror like her mother once was.

Parasoul rides off on her motorcycle with a sleeping Umbrella behind her. Parasoul appears rather emotionless and tells her little sister that tomorrow they begin her training.

So just to reiterate, Parasoul is training her sister to one day kill her. :damn:

7) Guilty Gear – SOL BADGUY
1998

Guilty Gear takes place in a future where man created genetically-enhanced, magical robots called Gears. This blew up in humanity’s face when the first known Gear known as Justice went all Skynet/Magneto and started a war that went on for-freaking-ever. The series has two main heroes in pure-hearted space knight Ky Kiske and loner bounty hunter with the silliest name Sol Badguy. Sol’s job is to act like he knows everything while being annoyed at everything and everyone, all while having an air of mystery to him. He also has a cool metal headband thing, but at first that appears to be for show.

Sol stands over Justice and it’s shown that during the fight, Sol’s headband got knocked off. Justice is less surprised over her defeat and more over Sol’s identity and how it relates to what just happened. Sol’s been wearing that headband to hide the emblem on his head that proves that he too is a Gear! He’s been one all along!

But why can’t Justice simply command him like she could all the other Gears? Where did all this free will come from? Sol tries to spell it out by saying that those created after Justice were under her control. Still, Justice doesn’t understand.

“Isn’t it obvious? I’m the prototype Gear.”

Justices weakly laughs at this revelation while Sol explains that Gears represent all that’s wrong with humanity and it’s up to him to wipe them all out. Justice starts to remember Sol from the old days and thinks back to their creator. Justice dies and Sol sadly stands there, thinking about their creator and how he won’t rest until That Man pays with his life.

The narration also refers to Sol as “the Guilty Gear”, which is the perfect way to cap off this reveal.

6) Tekken 5 – KAZUYA MISHIMA
2005

Kazuya’s defeated his possessed grandfather and rushes over to his body, much like in Wang’s aforementioned ending. Kazuya has a look of concern on his face as he tries to awaken the dying, old man. Kazuya gets wistful for a moment, flashing back to his childhood, back before all this insanity began. Just him and his grandfather, happily training together. Back to the present, Jinpachi weakly looks up and it’s hard to say what’s going through his mind. Is he connecting with his grandson or does he know what the near future will bring? Because Kazuya goes from this…

…to this…

In no seconds flat. Jinpachi gasps and Kazuya impales him with his fist. Jinpachi turns to dust in Kazuya’s hands and Kazuya looks over his shoulder at the viewer and gives an evil smile. Damn, that’s cold.

I kind of love how Kazuya is the should-be hero character who outright refuses to be a hero. Almost all of his endings have a moment where any other main character would be brought into a state of sobering humanity, yet he always spits at it and acts like a complete dick. Bless him for it.

5) Dead or Alive 4 – HELENA DOUGLAS
2005

Yeah. I’m just as surprised as you are. I don’t even like Aerosmith and I dig the hell out of this ending. Helena went from “opera singer who knows martial arts” to big deal character pretty quickly. Hell, in Dead or Alive 3, her ending was just her swimming around in a bikini. It’s a nice step up.

To catch up, Helena is an opera singer and illegitimate daughter of the chairman of the corporation DOATEC and one of his mistresses. Her father was assassinated and Helena too was meant to be assassinated during a performance, only for her mother to take the bullet instead. Helena has worked her way into taking her father’s spot as chairwoman of DOATEC, but the organization is filled with too many secrets and corruption that she’s not supposed to know about, nor be able to do anything about. You aren’t able to play as her until you complete the game with everyone else, so her ending is the big finale.

To the tune of Aerosmith’s “Amazing”, we see Helena put on some makeup as if she’s about to put on a grand, final performance. While doing so, she flashes back to her old life and memories of her mother. In the game’s story’s big climax, the DOATEC towers are under attack by all the ninja characters and everything’s going up in flames. Helena calmly walks through the flames while Kasumi fights her evil clone Alpha to a standstill, Hayate and Ayane take out enemy soldiers and Hayabusa continues to blow up helicopters.

There’s a quick part where a woman named Anne gets shot in the head. Supposedly, she was another mistress of Helena’s father who may have had something to do with Helena’s mother’s death. I’m not sure if this is a flashback or if Helena is doing the deed on the way to destroy what her father built. In tears, Helena turns on the self-destruct sequence and takes an elevator to the rooftop. Kasumi tries to stop her, but Ayane holds her arm up, saying it’s too late.

With the place about to explode and crumble, Helena stands tall and says, “Sayonara.” Cut to the credits as the song continues.

But that’s not all!

The credits show a series of clips from the various endings. Once it reaches the end of the song and they show Ayane and Hayate creating a bigass explosion, the film breaks and another explosion bursts through that. Suddenly, Zack of all people arrives in a helicopter to rescue Helena at the very last second!

The music changes to opera and Helena watches as it all goes down in flames. Just awesome. One of the best cinematics I can remember. Everything about this ending is top-of-the-line.

4) Mortal Kombat 9 – SUB-ZERO
2011

Sub-Zero kills Shao Kahn and afterwards, Raiden lets him know an interesting little fact about his past. The Lin Kuei was responsible for the deaths of his family as a child. They slaughtered them and then stole he and his brother away to be trained. Raiden also tells him that the Lin Kuei was also responsible for the death of Scorpion’s family. Sub-Zero is royally pissed and seeks out his old rival. He and Scorpion have a common foe and a joint need for vengeance.

From there on, the powers of fire and ice work together to annihilate the entire Lin Kuei clan. Two guys who were once warring ninja assholes find a purpose by serving justice side-by-side. After exacting their revenge, they vanish into obscurity, only this “Deadly Alliance” returns every now and then to snuff out the forces of evil.

This is depicted via the two of them being attacked on all sides by a never-ending army and all it succeeds in doing is making it rain dead bad guys. It’s fucking sweet.

3) King of Fighters XI – ART OF FIGHTING TEAM
2005

This one slays me. The Art of Fighting Team this year is Ryo, Yuri and King. Ryo and King have always had kind of an unrequited connection and Yuri decides to play on this by inviting them out on a celebratory dinner at a fancy restaurant. Yuri never seems to show up, leaving King and Ryo (who is wearing the swankiest orange suit) alone in awkward silence. Finally, the waitress arrives and asks about what they want to order. Pretty quickly, they recognize that it’s Yuri. She plays dumb.

Another waiter shows up and asks if there’s a problem. Ryo’s explaining the situation until noticing that the waiter is just Robert. Robert also plays dumb. Soon the manager arrives and Ryo cannot believe this shit.

King’s aggravation increases by the second and Ryo tries to reason with his idiot family. Manager Karate accepts that these two are unhappy with their service, so he offers them a room key to the penthouse suite with a beautiful view they can enjoy together. Ryo stammers and King’s had enough.

Notice that Eiji Kisaragi, Kasumi and Malin are there. That’s because this trio, which is made up of people who outright hate the Art of Fighting Team, spends their ending at the same restaurant, waiting to strike. As you can see, it doesn’t go so well.

2) Street Fighter II – GUILE
1991

In his Alpha 3 storyline, Guile had to bring Charlie back because his quest for Bison had gotten too personal. Here, the shoe is on the other foot. To avenge Charlie, Guile’s obsession has destroyed his life. He left his wife and daughter to dedicate himself to making Bison pay. And to be fair, Bison is literally evil incarnate.

When Guile wins, he doesn’t even do a winpose. He just walks right over and grabs Bison by the collar, asking if he remembers what happened between them and Charlie in Cambodia. Bison admits defeat and says that Guile isn’t the runt he once was.

Guile’s ready to exact revenge when his wife Jane arrives and screams to stop him. If he kills Bison, he’ll just be another murderer, no better than him. It won’t bring Charlie back and will only succeed in putting cold blood on Guile’s hands. At first, Guile glances over at her, but then he closes his eyes out of shame.

His daughter Amy calls out that they still love him and hearing his daughter for the first time in God knows how long grounds Guile. He does the right thing and spares Bison’s life (where he’s presumably slain by Akuma, who doesn’t have to worry about being a family man). Guile is seen at home, enjoying the family life and admitting that he feels like he just woke up from a terrible nightmare. He tells his wife he loves her and all is well.

1) Real Bout: Fatal Fury – TERRY BOGARD
1995

Terry’s ending here is a lot like Guile’s, only just a little bit better. Mainly because Bison’s only role in the Guile ending is to egg him on and then be written off. In this story, both Terry and his rival Geese Howard are at it for the sake of revenge. Terry is naturally mad about Geese killing his father while Geese wants to get back at Terry for defeating him in the first game. Geese holds another King of Fighters tournament and the finals brings us Terry vs. Geese at the top of Geese’s tower.

Terry wins and in one last gasp, Geese unleashes his Raging Storm attack. Terry counters it with his Power Geyser, which not only wins out, but knocks Geese off the roof. Geese holds onto the edge and reaches up. Terry chooses to save Geese’s life and screams his name while reaching his hand out. Geese sees this and decides that he’d rather die than accept Terry’s help.

Holy shit, Geese. Terry looks down from up above and as far as the game’s canon goes, Geese is totally dead this time.

That’s cool in itself, but the rest of the ending is plenty interesting too. Terry is seen hanging out with some little blond-haired boy. Together they fish, play basketball and watch the stars. Considering Terry is a drifter, this makes little sense. Who the hell is this kid? Later on, we’d discover that he’s none other than Rock Howard, illegitimate son of Geese, adopted son of Terry and future main character of the Fatal Fury series.

Not only does Terry take the high road in the fight against Geese, but he takes it again by proving to be able to raise Geese’s son better than Geese ever would. Plus, you know, Terry’s kind of sympathetic about having your dad killed and knows that this circle of hatred needs to be put to rest.

…Really wish we’d get that sequel to Garou: Mark of the Wolves.

Welp. Hope you enjoyed the list. Special thanks to David Brothers, Dr. Destructo, James Howard, Thomas Wilde and Peter Kowalsky for helping me rank the top ten. Thanks to VG Museum for making research that much easier. And thank you for being you, you crazy funsters.

So are there any endings that you’re flabbergasted didn’t make the cut? Speak now or forever hold your peace. No, really. The comments on this site cut off every couple weeks to ward off spambots.

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Posted in Lists, Top 200 Fighting Game Endings, Video Games by Gavok |

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Tekken: the fighting game that gives women the meatiest stories

A young woman stands at the grave of her recently departed father, her blond hair in a ponytail. After a quiet moment, she places flowers on the ground, then hears the crunch of gravel behind her. She whips around, pulls out her gun and finds a brunette woman of roughly her own age. The brunette smiles faintly and reassures the blonde that she’s not here to fight. She, too, is here to pay her respects. They walk past one another, visibly tense in blocky 1996 animation, and decide to let the feud rest. For today.

This is one of the more conservative story endings for Nina Williams, a much-beloved combatant in the Tekken series of fighting games. In conversations around classic female video games characters, she often gets overlooked. Street Fighter’s Chun-Li is the first lady of the fighting genre (the Princess Leia buns, the thighs that launched a thousand “crushed to death” fetishes) and, although Peach wins the popular vote, no one has ever come close to stealing Lara Croft’s crown when it comes to overall iconic omnipresence. But growing up, Nina Williams was by far my favourite character, which naturally made Tekken my favourite two-player title. It wasn’t just that she was Irish – although I remember gasping the moment I read that in the Tekken 2 booklet, it being the first time I had anything in common with a woman from a video game – it was that I felt as if I knew things about her.

As the years went on, I watched her rivalry with her sister Anna through 30-second clip scenes that were earned through beating the game with either character, often showing two sides of the same interaction. They go from the playfully combative, quasi-erotic dynamic in Tekken 1, to Dynasty-style dramatics in Tekken 2, lurching forward to a sci-fi plot in Tekken 3 where both sisters are put under cryo-sleep and Nina’s eggs are harvested to help create her son, Steve Fox, to Tekken 4, where a memory-wiped Nina is contracted to kill the son she doesn’t know she has, and spares him at the last moment. There’s more, a lot more. Tekken is the very definition of “a lot”. It’s soap opera, anime, drama, toy commercial. You fight and grind with one character for hours to unlock 30 seconds of story, so you can add that to a scrapbook of other 30-second clips, most of which make almost no sense, but need to be pieced together as part of the wider narrative.

In Tekken, every character is on their own hero’s journey, in which they enter the Iron Fist tournament, usually because they need to confront someone, get something or stop something. Nobody ever enters Iron Fist for the money or the heck of it. They battle through a dozen or so fights of three rounds, usually ending with a supernatural near-unbeatable boss, and then they walk off into the sunset. And we get to see what that sunset looks like for them. Sometimes it’s Jun Kazama taking a bus to the middle of the woods. Sometimes it’s Michelle and Julia Chang, archaeologist and scientist respectively, trying to take down the Mishima Zaibatsu. For me, Tekken is the gold standard in terms of classic arcade games that went out of its way to show a diversity of female characters.

Diversity here is a relative term. There were no black women in the series until Master Raven in Tekken 7. They’re all smoking hot, crazily proportioned women with insane fashion choices. Nina was, rather conveniently for the designers, put under cryo-sleep for 15 years and woke up still in her 20s, while Kazuya Mishima’s face aged like a railway map in the rain. But in comparison with Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Dead or Alive, and the other fighting games of the era, the women never felt like tokenistic afterthoughts, there for girls to feel mildly included and for boys to ogle. By taking every character on their own hero’s journey, they necessarily had to write every journey. Tekken exists in a crazy, mixed-up world where women are people. They have jealousies, rivalries and long-standing misunderstandings that morph into lifelong feuds. They have children, and they have weird feelings about those children. Teenagers, mothers, daughters, assassins, nature girls, sexpots, cat-masked demon thieves (Kunimitsu, we never see enough of you!), they all had as valid a place as the male fighters and as complex a history.

Tekken gives you a lot more story than virtually any other fighting game, and asks for more mental flexibility from its players. When you win the Iron Fist tournament with a character, you are given their victory, and what they do with it. However, a parallel narrative universe exists that is the game’s “real” version of events: each Tekken game has a canon winner, and this canonic story focuses on the Mishima family blood feud.

If you are confused, you’re not alone. “How are you even supposed to know what actually happens?” says Awp Williams, a Tekken YouTuber. “The answer would usually be to wait until the next game or look for clues in other characters’ scenes and dialogues in the same game or a previous one and decide for yourself. What I learned through my research of Tekken as an adult is that these scenes/endings show what would happen if certain conditions are met. More specifically, it shows what a character would do if they in fact ended up in the situation they find themselves in. It shows you what kind of person they are, which can give you clues for scenes that do matter to the canon story. It makes it fun to theorise.”

Complicated and unwieldy? Absolutely. But it has also made Tekken one of the most enduring fighting games of all time. Like any soap opera or pro-wrestling storyline, Tekken exists on a principle of in medias res: a universe where stories are never ending and never beginning, and the viewer is expected to either catch up or ignore what they don’t understand. “If you’ve never played Tekken,” reads a 2017 review of Tekken 7 posted on Mic, “the newest game doesn’t want you to start.” And that may be so, but for every casual fan Tekken might lose, another obsessive is born. One who, like me, has been piecing together this scrapbook for more than two decades, and doesn’t plan on stopping.

• This story was amended on 26 February 2020 to note that there were no black women in the series until Tekken 7 and to correct the spelling of a character’s name.

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