The Fighting Game Genre: Entering The Third Dimension And Beyond

Here is how the fighting game genre entered the third dimension … and beyond!

Fighting games had a hayday in the days of the arcades, but the popularity of the genre began to fade as consoles took over and gave other genres a spotlight. The introduction of the Xbox and the PlayStation made 3D gaming the new direction to go with any genre, and the fighting game genre couldn’t stay in the 2D realm and stay profitable in a world where first-person shooters were taking over.

The first foray into the third dimension was not kind to fighting games at all. The biggest names in the genre nearly died trying to convert. Street Fighter EX and its sequels turned the series into an ugly mess and gave us the laughable Skullomania (probably the predecessor to Street Fighter IV‘s El Fuerte), and just about killed the series forever as we began to look fondly back on the 2D days and the Marvel crossovers. The fighting game genre was beginning to exist mostly in hindsight.

Mortal Kombat IV didn’t help matters as it gave us some of the worst animation in the history of the series. Just watch any ending movie for a character and count how many times the same flailing gets repeated in the same scene. It was embarrassing.

With the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 came Mortal Kombat V (Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance), a new direction in the series which brought dignity back to the game, but by then it was already going up against the likes of Soul Edge, Tekken, and the Virtua Fighter series, all of which were born in 3D and had time to perfect it, but were most popular in their one-player or two-player local modes.

It wasn’t until Capcom came back with Street Fighter IV that the fighting game genre started seeing popularity again, as the game used a 3D system, but left it on a 2D plane.  It is debatable whether or not the upgrade to Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition was worth the price.

Mortal Kombat tried to come back, but Mortal Kombat 9 followed the example of the Soul Calibur and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series and included Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street. It doesn’t look like Midway is planning to stop the ridiculous crossovers either, as they brought Scorpion from Mortal Kombat into Injustice: Gods Among Us as legitimate DLC, only reminding us of the awful Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe.

In the end, fighting games are back, but they will never be as popular as they were in the ’90s.  Check out how fighting games got started, right here on The Inquisitr!