Not everyone agrees about the value of video game remakes and remasters, but we find them to be a great way of keeping the classics alive and available for new generations of gamers. They’re also a handy way for developers and publishers to keep making money on their back catalogs. When it comes to fighting games, some might argue that there’s no point in remastering them because each new installment builds on what came before, but we think this is nonsense. Classic fighting games are composed of a delicate balance of characters and features that can easily get lost in a sequel.
Here are some of the fighting games that definitely need to be remade for current platforms.
1. Marvel vs. Capcom 2
Have you ever wondered who would win in a fight between Spider-Man and Mega Man? If you have, then you’re in luck, because there’s a whole series of fighting games dedicated to answering this question and many others like it. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 lets you duke it out between a whole host of video game characters and superheroes like Mega Man, Ryu, Captain America, and Wolverine. And guess what? It’s just as fun as it sounds.
Fighting games that feature crossovers between two universes of characters are nothing new, but despite coming out in 2000, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is the best of the bunch — and it ranks as one of the best fighting games of all time. Not only does it have an incredible roster, but it also provides each character with a set of easy-to-learn moves, making it more accessible than most fighting games. It’s a cool idea that’s wonderfully executed, and it’s high time to bring it back with a remaster.
2. Primal Rage
Most fighting games have ridiculous story lines — there’s only so much you can do to explain why a whole roster of unique supernatural fighters are gathering to pound each other to paste. Even among stiff competition, Primal Rage might have the most off-the-wall backstory.
It takes place on Urth, a post-apocalyptic version of our very own planet that’s devolved into a Stone Age-like existence. And, wouldn’t you know it, the continents have realigned so they look like a fire-breathing skull from above. The world is ruled by seven beasts who happen to dislike each other quite a bit, which is why they fight to the death using special abilities and ghastly finishing moves. The game was popular in its day, but it hasn’t exactly stood the test of time. That’s why it needs to be remade as a modern fighting game.
Dreamcast was the first of its console generation to launch, so when SoulCalibur came out for the system in 1999, there was virtually nothing else on the console market that looked this good. From the detailed character models to the smooth, flowing animations, SoulCalibur blew away its competition. Even the game’s story outclasses its competition, by bringing all kinds of disparate fighters from various time periods together in search of a special sword.
But no matter how you dress it up or pull it together, a fighting game is only as good as its gameplay mechanics, and once again, SoulCalibur nails it. With incredibly responsive controls and a variety of fighters and styles to master, this was a game for the ages. With a gem like this in its back catalog, it’s high time Bandai Namco brings it back in HD.
4. Battle Arena Toshinden
One of only 10 launch titles for the PlayStation One, Battle Arena Toshinden was the weapon-based fighting game to have for early adopters. Good thing it’s a killer game with a broad cast of unique characters to master. It’s also one of the first 3D fighting games that let you sidestep to avoid attacks — something many other fighters latched onto in the ensuing years. With characters like the whip-wielding Sophia and the club-bashing Rungo, what’s not to love?
The only thing holding it back by today’s standards is its graphics. The low-polygon fighters and fuzzy-textured environments don’t exactly stand the test of time, even if the gameplay does. That’s why Battle Arena Toshinden deserves a modern-day remake.
5. Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
There’s little debate about the recent Mortal Kombat games being fantastic in their own right, but almost all ’90s gamers have fond memories of brawling their way through Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, a game that represents the pinnacle of the early years of the series.
To bring it back for modern consoles in a way that does justice to the original, they’d have to hire actors and film them doing the moves (with the exception of Goro, who would still be stop-motion animated, of course). Think about how great that could be on today’s powerful hardware. This game really needs to be remade.
6. Tekken Tag Tournament
What’s better than a fighting game that has you control one character? How about one that has you control two? That was the then-new idea behind Tekken Tag Tournament. This game had a deep bench of great characters to choose from, ranging from standard fighters like Jin to insane combatants like a kangaroo and velociraptor with boxing gloves.
For new PlayStation 2 owners, it was one of the most graphically advanced console games in existence. It represented a major leap over games of the previous generation, so any remake would have to look as sharp as it plays.
7. Bushido Blade
A more unconventional fighting game is Bushido Blade, which came out in 1997 for PlayStation One. It’s a realistic sword-fighting game that drops players in deadly one-on-one battles in larger environments than most other fighting games. And unlike most other games in the genre, you won’t find a time limit or health bars. Defeating your opponent takes as little as a single well-placed strike, though it’s tough to land it just right.
If you can’t manage that, you can always hack away at your opponent’s limbs. This will severely wound them, slowing their attacks and retreats and even making their legs so useless that they have to crawl after you. It’s a shame this series didn’t continue past its second installment, making it a perfect candidate for a modern remake.