This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated

Best Fighting Games - A Look at the Greatest Fighters Ever

Best Fighting Games Street Fighter
The fighting game community is alive and well

Fighting games have been a gaming staple since the dawn of arcades.

From Street Fighter II to Mortal Kombat, these games have caused numerous fights in the arcade scene worldwide with their addicting gameplay, sophisticated battle mechanics, and unforgettable characters.

With so many amazing fighting games available, determining which ones are genuinely the greatest can be difficult.

We'll hand select only the greatest fighting games of all time. So grab your controller and get ready to battle.

Listen To This Article

25. Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001 (2001)

Best Fighting Games Capcom vs SNK 2

Capcom vs. SNK 2's gameplay is jam packed with excitement the moment you pick it up, with over 50 playable characters from both the Capcom and SNK universes.

Being able to choose a team of three fighters to compete against the opponent's team in three-on-three combat. The game also has six "groove" systems that change how the player's power is increased, altering the gameplay dynamics.

The action is demanding, and the controls are simple, making it appealing to both casual and die-hard fighting game players.

The graphics of Capcom vs. SNK 2 are colourful and lively, with fluid animations and rich character designs.

The game has a variety of fighting areas, each with its own distinct aesthetics and background music.

The art style in Capcom vs SNK2 blows us away to this day given how vibrant and animated each of the sprites are.

24. Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors (1994)

Best Fighting Games  Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors (1994)

Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors' unusual monster-like array of characters is one of the factors that sets it apart from other combat games.

The game's varied play styles and move sets keep it fresh and exciting, and the chain combo system adds another level of depth to the gameplay.

On the negative side, the game's complexity can swiftly escalate, and some of the character designs may be repulsive to certain players.

The popularity has lessened slightly in the fighting game community, making some other options a better choice below for the best fighting game of all time.

Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors was a successful arcade game at the time, and it helped Capcom establish itself as a prominent maker of fighting games.

Its distinct gameplay and monster-like characters set it apart from other games in the genre, and it has impacted countless subsequent fighting games.

Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors is an absolute classic fighting game that has stood the test of time.

23. Skullgirls (2012)

Best Fighting Games Skullgirls (2012)

Skullgirls is known for its rich and sophisticated gameplay mechanics, which provide a high skill ceiling for gamers searching for a competitive experience.

The distinct graphic style and character designs are also significant pluses for people who enjoy sophisticated visuals. On the flipside, some fans saw the game's short pool of 8 characters at launch as a squandered opportunity for variation.

Skullgirls has made an impression on the arcade market by offering a novel twist on the fighting game genre, complete with colourful character designs.

We like that Skullgirls is a great experience for newcomers to the fighting game genre but gives you that added boost if you take the time to learn the game.

22. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (2011)

Best Fighting Games Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (2011)

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3's aesthetics are bold, colourful, and visually appealing.

The character movements are slick, and the game captures the adrenaline and excitement of a comic book combat admirably.

The enormous character pool in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 offers players a broad choice of options when creating their teams, which is one of the game's strongest points.

Due to the complexity of its battle systems, the game has a high repeat value.

However, one potential disadvantage of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is that rookies may become overwhelmed by the game's intricate gameplay.

The game has a steep learning curve, and mastering it may take some time.

21. Dead or Alive 5 (2012)

Best Fighting Games Dead or Alive 5 (2012)

DOA5's graphics are amazing and realistic, with highly detailed character models and surroundings. The environments in the game are vibrant, with interacting objects and destructible components that add to the immersion.

The character motions are fluent and realistic, lending weight to each move and action. A high-energy music and realistic sound effects add to the atmosphere and intensity of the fights in the game's sound design.

DOA5's ideal combination of aesthetic and substance is one of its many qualities. Innovative gaming mechanisms and deep controls in the game create an interesting and exciting experience that rewards players for mastering its systems.

The broad cast of people and their individual storylines add depth and personality to the game, drawing gamers in.

20. Samurai Shodown II (1994)

Best Fighting Games Samurai Shodown II (1994)

We like how it takes a different approach to classic fighting games, with the deathmatch component providing an added layer of intensity to bouts. The aesthetics and acoustics of the game are also praised. Sure, at times the difficulty level was a bit on the high side, particularly when competing against specific opponents.

Samurai Shodown II was a critical and commercial success, becoming a fixture in many arcades and popularising the fighting game genre. The game's success generated a number of sequels and spin-offs, solidifying its place in gaming history.

Samurai Shodown II is still regarded as a fighter masterpiece. You'd expect to see people playing this one for decades to come.

19. Dragon Ball FighterZ (2018)

Best Fighting Games  Dragon Ball FighterZ (2018)

Dragon Ball FighterZ is an epic 3-on-3 tag-team fighting game. Players form a team of three Dragon Ball characters and face other players or AI opponents in high-speed, intense bouts.

While it's extremely easy to pick up and play, it'll take the uttermost twitch like reflexes to get good. The Dragon Rush feature allows you to conduct a cinematic super attack that can swing the tide of battle.

Dragon Ball FighterZ has caused quite a stir in the arcade industry, with many fighting game enthusiasts hailing it as one of the best ever.

18. Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013)

Best Fighting Games Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013)

The game's graphics are stunning and visually attractive. The backdrops are also extremely detailed, with some even interacting with the players throughout the battle.

The sound is likewise fantastic, with each punch, kick, and hit landing with a resounding thud. The game's background music and voice acting are also excellent, adding to the overall immersive experience.

The game has a number of fans and detractors. The innovative control mechanism, a vast roster of DC characters, an intriguing plot, great graphics, and sound are all favourites.

The lack of character customization, rather limited move-sets, and limited replayability after completing the game are the main drawbacks.

17. Tekken 7 (2015)

Best Fighting Games Tekken 7 (2015)

Tekken 7's gameplay is fast-paced, accessible, and offers enormous depth to players of all skill levels. Exploring and learning each character's combat style with a vast roster of characters was a thrill to expereince.

Rage Arts and Power Crush gave us such a new layer to the gameplay and make bouts more intense and entertaining.

Tekken 7's popularity has had a tremendous impact on the arcade scene, bringing a fresh wave of interest to both the game and the fighting game genre. The popularity of the game has also translated into its console version, with the title becoming a commercial success globally.

We think that Tekken 7 will continue to be played competitively in the fighting game community for years to come.

16. Killer Instinct (2013)

Best Fighting Games   Killer Instinct (2013)

Killer Instinct has had a tremendous impact on the arcade industry, attracting enormous crowds and cultivating a devoted fan base.

The game's competitive scene is thriving, with tournaments hosted all over the world and top players battling for large cash awards.

One of Killer Instinct's most notable aspects is its wide cast of distinct characters, each with their own narrative and fighting style. The combination system is also a big element, allowing for virtually limitless gameplay possibilities.

There were some extremely tough opponents that felt a little cheap before getting used to the gameplay by putting in the time. Once you master it, you'll be punishing your opponents in no time.

15. Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (2010)

Best Fighting Games  Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (2010)

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition has excellent visuals. The extremely high quality and vibrant graphics immersed us in the game's universe right of the get go. The character designs are distinctive and intricate, making the game a visual feast.

Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition is well-known for its fierce gameplay. The game offers an immersive experience that keeps gamers returning for more. It also has an interesting narrative and great graphics.

One major complaint about the game is that some characters are strong, making gaming unfair at times. Some stages in the game also include difficulty spikes, making them difficult to accomplish.

14. BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma (2012)

Best Fighting Games BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma (2012)

One of my favorite aspects of BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma is its emphasis on both offence and defence. It allows players to try out new strategies and play styles.

I particularly like the game's comprehensive story mode, which offers various pathways to pick from and provides a lot of replayability.

One disadvantage of the game is its steep learning curve, which may deter some players.

When BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma was published in 2012, it made a tremendous impact on the arcade sector. The game was popular in arcades, and competitions were conducted all over the world.

Its deep, sophisticated battle system and amazing plot made it a success.

13. Mortal Kombat (2011)

Best Fighting Games Mortal Kombat 2011

Mortal Kombat originated in arcade gaming, and the game's popularity prompted the production of more Mortal Kombat games. The game's influence on the arcade scene cannot be emphasised, and it still has a cult following today.

The amount of realism in this fighting game will blow you away, seriously. We thought that the roster payed homage to the original SNES and Genesis releases way back in the 90s.

Mortal Kombat is a classic fighting game, and while it's massively violent, fans of the franchise will completely appreciate its complexity and superb graphics.

12. Virtua Fighter 5 (2006)

Best Fighting Games Virtua Fighter 5 (2006)

We always felt that the Virtua Fighter line of games didn't get enough love for how good they always were. Sure, they were pioneers in the polygonal 3D fighters that the late 1990s had offered.

Visually, Virtua Fighter 5 holds up nicely even now. The character models are really detailed, and the animations are fluent and seamless. The game also has some excellent lighting and particle effects that contribute to the overall visual extravaganza. The sound design is likewise excellent, with powerful sound effects and an unforgettable soundtrack.

When it was initially published, Virtua Fighter 5 had a big impact on the arcade world.

It was one of the first fighting games to employ 3D visuals, which helped it stand out in a market dominated by 2D graphics at the time.

11. Street Fighter III: Third Strike (1999)

Best Fighting Games Street Fighter III: Third Strike (1999)

The graphics of Street Fighter III: Third Strike were pioneering when it was initially released, and they still stand up incredibly well now.

The characters are stunningly crafted, with fluid motions and exquisite features that explode off the screen. The backdrops are likewise spectacular, with each stage having a different locale and a variety of interactive components.

Street Fighter III: Third Strike offers a series of well balanced characters. Each fighter has their own distinct personality, with skills and weaknesses that make them feel like they belong in the game.

We did however find that the game can be rather difficult, taking time and devotion to properly master.

10. King of Fighters '98 (1998)

Best Fighting Games King of Fighters '98 (1998)

The graphics in The King of Fighters '98 are excellent for the time period. The game's 2D graphics are clean and sharp, with well detailed character sprites and vivid background backgrounds.

The sound is equally pleasant, with catchy music selections that perfectly complement the game's ambiance.

One of my favourite aspects of The King of Fighters '98 is its broad and intriguing cast of characters. Each character feels distinct and has an own personality.

The gameplay is also engaging, as are the rewards for mastering the combo system. One thing I detest about the game is the lack of an instructional mode. This can make mastering the game's mechanics difficult for beginners.

Still, with such a cult following this SNK gem has to offer, you can't go wrong with King of Fighters '98.

9. Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R (2012)

Best Fighting Games Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R (2012)

One of our favourite aspects of Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R is the hard and rewarding gameplay system. The game has a high skill ceiling, which motivates players to keep improving and mastering the game's mechanics.

Furthermore, the cast of characters in the game is broad and engaging, with each character having their own individual personality and past.

Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R has excellent graphics and acoustics. The game has nicely crafted 2D graphics and backdrops that are a visual pleasure.

The soundtrack of the game is also noteworthy, with a mix of rock, metal, jazz, and techno music that perfectly suits the game's violent action.

8. Street Fighter Alpha 3 (1998)

Best Fighting Games Street Fighter Alpha 3 (1998)

Things are really heating up on our list of the best fighting games of all time. Street Fighter Alpha 3 will always have a speical place in our hearts given just how good it is.

We loved the unique roster set, encouraging you to always learn a new character.

Street Fighter Alpha 3's sound design is likewise excellent, with famous sound effects and music that add to the game's overall ambiance.

The characters each have their own distinct voice, while the announcer's thunderous accent adds to the suspense of the battles.

You can't go wrong with this excellent Street Fighter release in the saga it has built a legacy off of.

7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018)

Best Fighting Games Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018)

Nintendo has always been more of an afterthought in the fighting game community for quite some time. Until the release of the series of Smash Bros games. What a great opportunity it was for Nintendo to cash in on their memorable cast of characters.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's graphics are just beautiful. The game is brought to life by extremely detailed character models, brilliant colours, and incredibly fluid movements. The stages are also nicely produced, giving gamers an immersive and rich gaming experience.

One of the most notable aspects of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is how well-balanced the gameplay is. The mechanics are simple to learn but difficult to master, and the characters are all distinct and offer a variety of playstyles.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a great option for a multiplayer fighting game that will entertain you and your pals for quite some time.

6. SoulCalibur II (2002)

Best Fighting Games SoulCalibur II

We were absolutely blown away when the first SoulCalibur made it's way as a launch title on the Dreamcast.

Those graphics and gameplay mechanics were so crisp for the time.

SoulCalibur II takes what the original game brought you and amplified it. There were more characters, better sound and an overall beter experience.

Don't get us wrong, the first release was good it's just that part 2 of many games have perfected the formula while still keeping things fresh.

5. Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (2000)

Best Fighting Games Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (2000)

If it wasn't for the infinite combos, we would probably keep Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes at number one on our list of the best fighting games of all time.

The roster in this game is massive and that's an understatement.

MvC2's soundtrack is dynamic, featuring a mix of uplifting and fast-paced electronic music that fits well with the game's high-speed action.

The sound effects in the game are also enjoyable, with each punch, kick, and special move having its unique sound that contributes to the whole experience.

MvC2 is a timeless fighting game with attractive graphics, dynamic action, and explosive effects that still look fantastic today.

4. Mortal Kombat II (1993)

Best Fighting Games Mortal Kombat II (1993)

Did you know that Mortal Kombat was the reason why the ESRB came into place for rating video games similar to movies?

That's right, Mortal Kombat caused quite the uproar in the eyes of politicians. Calling for strict messages to be displayed right on the box art.

In arcades, MKII was a great hit, with long lineups forming around the machines. The game's success spawned a slew of sequels, merchandise, and even a film adaptation.

The game became an arcade scene staple in the 1990s, paving the way for modern fighting games.

3. Tekken 3 (1997)

Best Fighting Games Tekken 3 (1997)

Arguably the best 3D fighting game is Tekken 3. We remember seeing it for the first time on our shiny new CRT TV.

The characters were so cool looking for the time. Each with their own playstyle and unique moves you had available.

The PSX was home to some fantastic fighting games. The gameplay, visuals, and sound are all excellent and hold up well even now.

The addition of new characters and moves increased the game's variety and depth.

We still love firing up our favorite console and going a round or two in Tekken 3.

2. Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001)

Best Fighting Games Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001)

Super Smash Bros. Melee's gameplay is quick, furious, and immensely addictive. Players select their favourite Nintendo characters, such as Mario, Pikachu, and Donkey Kong, and compete on numerous stages.

The game's mechanics are simple to learn but tough to master, which is what makes it so appealing.

Every combat feels new and thrilling because to its distinct move sets, special attacks, and character-specific powers.

1. Street Fighter II (1991)

Best Fighting Games Street Fighter II (1991)

The game that started it all in the I got next community of gamers. A place where smoke filled the massive rooms and fights would break out to who put their quarter down on the big blue cabinet.

Street Fighter II is an iconic game in the arcade scene and revolutionized fighting games to come. You'd have to hop in a Delorean to simply understand the impact this game had.

It was everywhere from laundry mats to pizza shops, even your local mall had an arcade cabinet of Street Fighter 2 around.


Finally, the field of fighting games has given us endless hours of thrilling action, heated competition, and unforgettable experiences.

These 25 finest fighting games stand tall as testaments to the beauty, depth, and excitement that the genre has to offer, from the classics that revolutionised the genre to the modern masterpieces that continue to push limits.

So take your controller, pick your fighter, and prepare to start on an adventure filled with furious combat, strategic mind games, and the thrill of victory.

Let the battle begin!

  1. Street Fighter II (1991)
  2. Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001)
  3. Tekken 3 (1997)
  4. Mortal Kombat II (1993)
  5. Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (2000)
  6. SoulCalibur II (2002)
  7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018)
  8. Street Fighter Alpha 3 (1998)
  9. Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R (2012)
  10. King of Fighters '98 (1998)
  11. Street Fighter III: Third Strike (1999)
  12. Virtua Fighter 5 (2006)
  13. Mortal Kombat (2011)
  14. BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma (2012)
  15. Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (2010)
  16. Killer Instinct (2013)
  17. Tekken 7 (2015)
  18. Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013)
  19. Dragon Ball FighterZ (2018)
  20. Samurai Shodown II (1994)
  21. Dead or Alive 5 (2012)
  22. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (2011)
  23. Skullgirls (2012)
  24. Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors (1994)
  25. Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium 2001 (2001)


Passionate gamer and nostalgia enthusiast. Journeying through the pixelated realms of retro video games, unearthing forgotten gems and sharing the joy. Join me on a nostalgic adventure! 🎮✨