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(I-TravelNewswire.Com, June 10, 2020 ) Jimmy’s TOP 20 Martial Arts Video Arcade Games of All Time! If you were a teenager during the 80’s or the 90’s, then I will bet you played these fighting arcade games! IN THE NEW AGE (inthenewage.com).
Ok, once again, I thought it necessary to create a list of some of the TOP video arcade games from the 1980’s through the 1990’s. But, keep in mind, the following 20 games is a limited selection of some great classic martial arts arcade games. And much like my other top arcade game articles, these are my personal picks and not necessarily in any order.
20. Final Fight/Streets of Rage – Arcade/Mega Drive
final Fight is so high because at the time I loved scrolling beat-me-ups and this really did tick all the boxes. You can select from 3 characters. I used to choose Guy the martial arts guy who had an awesome spin kick. Sega’s answer to this was Streets of Rage which is awesome and terribly similar. Choose 3 characters and take on all coming with anything weapons you can get your hands on such as bats, iron bars, knifes, bottles etc. I really could not include one without the other. I always preferred Final Fight. Originally started as a sequel to the Original street fighter It was going to be called Street Fighter 89 but it was so different, they changed it to Final Fight. There are still little cameos in other Final Fight games from Street Fighter characters and eventually, the Final Fight characters would be playable in later Street Fighter games such as the alpha series. It is still a great game even today
19. Mortal Kombat – Arcade, Mega Drive
Much like street fighter, everyone has heard of this. I have never known a game to create such a buzz as this one did. Even the original advert was epic and we all know why. Because of the gore. The first game to really portray such gore or even purposely inflicting it on a defeated opponent. I got the Mega Drive version of course to get the gore. Watching as the Nintendo people looked on in envy still trying to justify their version. That was until Mortal Kombat 2 came out which had all the gore on the Nintendo and was clearly the better port but hey. Let us not get into the whole what better Mega Drive of Super Nintendo debate which is still going on now. Just check YouTube.
18. Street Fighter 2 – Arcade, Mega Drive, Nintendo
I Do not think there is a person on the planet that do not know what this is. When I very first got a Super Nintendo, I got this with it. Everyone else got the Mario World bundle. What I loved about it was the different style of fighters. The 2 karate guys Ken and Ryu. The typical wrestle Zangief. The Boxer Balrog. Muay Thai guy Sagat. Whatever the hell Blanka was. Seen as there wasn’t really any one on one fighting games on the 8-bit Nintendo which I had before this and I didn’t have an Amiga or Mega Drive at that point this was the first proper one on one beat em up I played and it blew my mind at the time. A hundred thousand sequels and spin-offs later it is still going strong.
17. Shadow Warriors – Arcade
More commonly known as Ninja Gaiden. Before Ryu Hayabusa was chopping heads off on the Xbox 360 and featuring in the Dead or Alive series, he was in an awesome scrolling beat-em-up. It was completely different on the Nintendo and Master system but I always preferred the Arcade version. I had it on the ZX spectrum which was not a great port. The Amiga had an awesome port. You simply walk right while beating up big muscular dudes in hockey masks who smash through telephone boxes, barrels, park benches and whatever else you kick them into. Eventually, you upgrade to the swords. The bosses were stupidly hard but a great game. Had one of the best continue screens as well.
16. Shinobi – Arcade
The original Shinobi is still my favorite out the entire series. Later sequels were The Revenge of Shinobi and Shadow Dancer which I also owned. Shinobi was platforming at its finest. Scroll right throwing ninja stars at everything collecting kidnapped children. Collect enough and upgrade to this little gun thing that he holds weird. Press the special button and perform a ninjutsu attack that kills everything on the screen and hits the bosses 3 times. I always loved the bonus level which just shows your hand in point of view throwing ninja stars at ninjas that are running back and forth and jumping towards you. They get all the way to you and you lose. Got to the very last stage but never could complete it, too many ninjas about.
15. The Way of the Exploding Fist – All formats
Pretty much the same game on every format. Probably the first martial arts game I ever played and boy did I play it. Has a multitude of moves, low/mid/high/jump/spinning kicks? Stomach punches, face punches etc. Each direction represents an attack type. One hit knocks out and every time you KO someone you are getting half of a ying-yang symbol. Get 2 full symbols and you win the match and move on. I never got it though why sometimes you get a full Ying Yang symbol instead of half. Maybe if you performed a hard to do move. I played this game so much as a kid and could only get to the 4th match which was 4th dan belt. You go up in dan’s every time you win a match. There were sequels to this such as IK+ (International Karate) which had 3 guys facing off and you could get up from your knockdowns. Also, a great game.
14. Dragon the Bruce Lee story – Super Nintendo
Released on multiple platforms which were identical on each but I preferred the Super Nintendo version because there was a button for every move. No fireballs, no sonic booms, no ice blasts, or Yoga flames. Just pure fighting with your feet and fists. One on One, you play as Bruce Lee and it’s loosely follows scenes from the movie. Each fighter usually has a certain way to beat them and will be susceptible to certain moves. And never forget to do the chest stomp when they are down. Lifesaver. If you build up your bar, you can unlock your fighter mode and Nunchakus too. Is tough but can be beaten. I mainly could never get past the giant ghost thing that would kill me every time. Had a 3-player mode too.
13. Shaolin’s Road (Kicker) – ZX Spectrum/Arcade
Shaolin’s road or sometimes known as Kicker. I originally played it on the ZX Spectrum but in terms of gameplay, it is mostly the same as the arcade. Shaolin’s road is addictive as they come and still is if you played it now. A simple game where you jump platforms and kick or jump kick enemies who then spin off the screen in a comical manner. You can also collect weapons such as fireballs, a giant ball thing that you can control with direction and a force field. After a couple of levels, there will be a boss who you can only really defeat with a weapon.
12. Vigilante – Arcade
OK, this one is going to take the place of Kung Fu master because it is basically the same game but better. Anyone who is played Kung FU master knows you walk left and kick people that fall off the screen. If they get too close, they hold you and drain your health. Same concept here except instead of walking floors you walk the streets, can kick, punch, jump kick and even get Nunchakus. Opponents can carry chains, bars, and guns. Some enemies take multiple hits to defeat. The voices and music are great. Each level finishes with a boss that sometimes is at least 5 foot taller than you. I originally played on the Master System but the Arcade version is best by far.
11. Virtua Fighter was the first ever 3D fighting game as well as the first to rely heavily on realistic techniques. Virtua Fighter 2, however, outperformed its predecessor, with breakthrough graphics, an expanded character roster with the addition of characters such as Lion Rafale and Shun Di. It also had an even more expanded move set for each character helping to accurately represent various fighting styles, and unique gameplay features such as giving players ‘infinite health’. The game was so great that even the series head developer Yu Suzuki said in an interview that Virtua Fighter 2 was his favorite out of all the games he developed.
10. Bruce Lee (Datasoft/U.S. Gold 1984)
Being one of the first games I ever owned, this will always be a little bit special to me. The basic aim of the game has Bruce Lee infiltrating a temple and fighting off ninjas and a sumo wrestler called “The Green Yamo”, with just a couple of simple moves, that included a flying kick, just like the one Lee does at the end of “Fist of Fury”! I completed the 20 levels quite quickly, but you could keep going round and round the levels, racking up an ever-higher score. I must have played this for hours! I also loved the title page which featured a rather good 8-bit rendition of Bruce Lee’s (licensed) likeness!
9. Kung Fu Master (Irem/Data East 1984)
In this sideways-scrolling platform game, the player controls the hero Thomas, with a four-way joystick and two attack buttons for punches and kicks. Punches and kicks could be performed from a standing, crouching, or jumping position. The game was initially released in Japan under the title of Spartan X as a tie-in based on the Jackie Chan film “Wheels on Meals”, “Spartan X” being the Japanese title of the movie.
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989)
This was a great interpretation of the popular animated series at the time. The player could choose to play as one of the four Ninja Turtles: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael. After Shredder kidnaps the Turtles’ friend April O’Neil and their mentor Splinter, they must give chase, save their comrades, and defeat the evil Shredder. Donatello had slower attacks but a longer range, Michelangelo and Raphael had faster attacks but a shorter range, and Leonardo was a well-rounded Turtle with average range and speed. One of the best parts was the pioneering four player version, where you and three friends could team up and each play one of the turtles. Cowabunga!
7. Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior (Palace Software 1987)
Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior is a video game first released for Commodore 64 personal computers in 1987; the title was developed and published by Palace Software and ported to other computers in the following months. The developers licensed the game to Epyx, who published it as Death Sword in the United States. Barbarian is a fighting game that gives players control over sword-wielding barbarians. In the game's two-player mode, players pit their characters against each other. Barbarian also has a single-player mode, in which the player's barbarian braves a series of challenges set by an evil wizard to rescue a princess.
6. YieAr Kung Fu (Konami 1985) Yie Ar Kung-Fu features the protagonist who is a Bruce Lee-based Kung Fu master named Oolong controlled by the player. Oolong must fight all the martial arts masters given by the game (eleven in the arcade version; five to thirteen in the home ports) to win the title of "Grand Master" and honor the memory of his father. On his side is a variety of punch and kick blows reachable by combining the joystick with one of the buttons (punch or kick). He also has the greatest jumping ability of all the game's fighters, except for "Blues".
The player faces a variety of opponents, each with a unique appearance and fighting style. The player can perform up to 16 different moves, using a combination of buttons and joystick movements while standing, crouching or jumping. Moves are thrown at high, middle, and low levels. Regardless of the move that defeated them, male characters (save Feedle) always fall unconscious lying on their backs with their legs apart (players flail their feet), and female characters always fall lying on their sides. Feedle disappears. When a player gains an extra life, the word "xič xič" (Mandarin for "thank you") is heard.
5. Double Dragon (Technos 1987)
Double Dragon became one of the most popular fighting arcade games of the 1980’s, spawning home computer conversions, comic books and an animated series. It was even made into a movie starring Mark Dacascos and Scott Wolf as brothers Jimmy and Billy Lee, along with Alyssa Milano and Robert Patrick. The game takes place in a pseudo 3D perspective with the player character moving in four directions but always facing left or right. The player could perform a variety of unarmed fighting techniques against their enemies, as well as use melee weapons such as baseball bats and throwing knives, normally obtained from enemies. The best part of Double Dragon though was teaming up with a friend in a “co-op” mode, fighting your way together to the end of each level.
4. Street Fighter (Capcom 1987) The player competes in a series of one-on-one matches against a series of computer-controlled opponents or in a single match against another player. Each match consists of three rounds in which the player must knock out an opponent in less than 30 seconds. If a match ends before a fighter is knocked out, the fighter with the greater amount of energy left will be declared the round's winner. The player must win two rounds to defeat the opponent and proceed to the next battle. If the third-round ends in a tie, then the computer-controlled opponent will win by default or both players will lose. During the single-player mode, the player can continue after losing and fight against the opponent they lost the match to. Likewise, a second player can interrupt a single-player match and challenge the first player to a new match.
In the deluxe version of the arcade game, the player's controls consist of a standard eight-way joystick, and two large, unique mechatronic pads for punches and kicks that returned an analog value depending on how hard the player actuated the control. An alternate version was released that replaces the two punching pads with an array of six attack buttons, three punch buttons and three kick buttons of different speed and strength (Light, Medium and Heavy).
3. Final Fight (Capcom 1989)
The original development of this game was as a sequel to Street Fighter. However, following the success of Double Dragon, the format was changed to a sideways scrolling, cooperative beat ’em up. Set in the fictional Metro City, the player controls one of three characters; former pro wrestler and mayor Mike Haggar, his daughter’s boyfriend Cody and Cody’s best friend Guy, as they set out to defeat the Mad Gear gang and rescue Haggar’s young daughter Jessica. The game featured some of the largest animated characters seen on screen, who could interact with their environment, picking up oil drums to throw at the bad guys, smashing phone booths, or picking up a drainpipe to use as a weapon.
2. My Hero
The arcade version consists of three different levels, each continuing in an endless loop until the player runs out of lives. It starts out with the player character (named Steven according to the arcade flyer, Takeshi in Japan) on a city street watching as a street thug runs off with his girlfriend (named Remy, also according to the arcade flyer, Mari in Japan). As he pursues him, he must fight off gangs of other various street thugs. Halfway through the level, Steven has an opportunity to save a captive bystander who (if rescued) will help him fight until the bystander is killed. Soon (after jumping across platforms and dodging fireballs) Steven arrives on a beach and fights the thug that has captured Remy. After the level boss is defeated by after being hit 10 times, the level is complete. This same process repeats for the remainder of the game, only with two other bosses and stage designs. The second stage design resembles an Edo Japanese ninja epic, with ninja themed enemies and boss, followed by a sci-fi theme loosely based upon Planet of the Apes, including ape/human enemies and a boss.
1. Karate Champ (Data East 1984)
Believe it or not, this one was a game changer! It set the format of tournament fighting games for the best part of a decade. The player could perform a variety of recognizable martial art techniques by moving two joysticks in various directions. You could reverse punch, low sweep, roundhouse, side, spin, front and jump kick. But best of all, you could fight a friend. I had great fun on holiday the summer this came out, playing “winner stays on” in the arcade, making new friends and having some epic “best of three” duels. There were bonus levels where you had to get the timing right to smash through huge piles of tiles, or sidekick through a multitude of boards!
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