Last week, we asked you to pick from a list of well-known fighting game franchises that have currently been dormant for at least a decade (along with a write-in option). The results were some of the closest we’ve ever had, with the top 3 especially getting almost equal shares of the results and number 4 finishing well above the rest. That is why we decided to just spotlight the top 4 finishers as they placed significantly higher than number 5 on down.
#1 – Darkstalkers, 18%
There was a time when Darkstalkers was one of the major pillars of Capcom’s fighting game lineup, the Art of Fighting to Street Fighter‘s Fatal Fury (hopefully you kept up with that needlessly convoluted analogy). These days, it seems that Capcom is content with relegating Darkstalkers to being a cast-off franchise to draw Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom characters from – and typically only Morrigan and Felicia. Darkstalkers used to be so much more than something to borrow a sultry succubus and mostly-naked cat girl from, and its dark, Gothic vibe and other interesting characters made it stand out from most fighting game fare. While I assume that the people who voted for Darkstalkers would rather have a new game that returns to the hand-drawn sprites of its predecessors, I think most would be content with Capcom just using the Street Fighter IV/V engine if it meant actually getting a new, dedicated Darkstalkers game.
#2 – Power Stone, 17%
The lasting success of Super Smash Bros. has proven that people really love the idea of frantic four-player fighting games. Power Stone and its sequel also provided that service for a brief couple of years in the early 00’s, but it had a decidedly different vibe than Nintendo’s brawler. For one, it relied on a more traditional drain-your-enemies’-health-to-win approach instead of SSB‘s “smash” set up, which doesn’t mesh as well with a lot of gamers (myself included). PS also felt a lot less chaotic and frantic, and you didn’t have to feel like you were just wildly mashing buttons and not really knowing what was happening unless you poured dozens of hours into learning it. Finally, the PS games are 3D and allow you to move freely around large multi-tiered environments rather than just flat 2D ones, which definitely went a long way in giving Power Stone a very different feel than a SSB game. There really hasn’t been a game like Power Stone since the second installment, and that’s a shame. Not only does the world need as many different fighting game options as possible, it needs more four-player party game-type fighting games that aren’t Smash Bros.
#3 – Bloody Roar, 16%
Truth be told, Bloody Roar would’ve taken this competition pretty handily if all the people who “voted” for it in Facebook comments had actually translated those votes to the poll itself. But that’s not how we count votes, so Bloody Roar‘s official position is third place. Still, even its official standing is nothing to scoff at, proving that there is a lot of love for this odd franchise. If there is one thing the modern fighting game genre needs more of, it’s weirdness. Other than some of the fringe fighting games like BlazBlue and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, fighting games these days largely play it safe, relying on boring old tropes like human fighters, robots, and so on. Bloody Roar had you transforming into humanoid animals, from the vicious (bears, tigers, werewolves) to the cute and fluffy (bunnies?) It was completely absurd…and completely awesome. A video game landscape without Bloody Roar is a boring one indeed.
#4 – Rival Schools/Project Justice, 11%
Capcom’s forays into 3D fighting games were decent but largely unremarkable. Sure, the Street Fighter EX series has its fans – enough that there were multiple installments – and there are people who still speak fondly of Star Gladiator. But for the most part, the 3D fighting realm was always owned by Namco – with Sega and Tecmo staking pretty solid claims as well – with Capcom largely staying out of their way. The most glaring exception to this was Rival Schools, a fantastic PS1 fighting game with an equally fantastic Dreamcast sequel called Project Justice. The high school conceit meant that the characters took on archetypes like cheerleaders and baseball players, the latter which was armed with a bat, with Rival Schools being one of the few franchises to pit armed fighters against unarmed ones (and one of the only ones to do it well). The Rival Schools games have become so forgotten by Capcom that they don’t even get the luxury of living on in cameo form in games like Marvel vs. Capcom or Street Fighter, which is inexcusable given how unique and interesting much of the cast is.
The rest of the votes broke down as follows: Eternal Champions, 8%; Bushido Blade, 6%; ClayFighter, 5%; Fatal Fury, Toshinden, and Tobal, 2% each; and one vote each for the following write-ins: Star Gladiator, Capcom vs. SNK, Iron & Blood, and Atari Real Sports Boxing (nice).