Mortal Kombat, King Of Fighters, Street Fighter, Tekken...I've played my fair share of fighting games over the years, but they've always fallen into either very good or very bad categories. You see, Fighting games, as graphics intensive as a developer wants to make them are pretty much defined by their gameplay. A fighting game can look like crap compared to the beautifully rendered high definition affair of today, but if it plays like a dream, I'll take that ugly one any day. I figured today I would discuss a few over hyped and beautiful for their time fighting games that proved to be pretty pieces of crap.
Rise of the Robots was highly touted for it's graphics, namely how the Arcade version would change the way fighting games would look. The buzz generated by the graphics quickly turned to outrage by reviewers who realized that while it was pretty, Rise of the Robots handled like a turd swimming in a tar pit. Strangely enough, a sequel was released, and it was worse (graphically and gameplay wise) than the original.
King Of Fighters XII was supposed to be the current gen introduction to SNK's grand flagship fighting game series. Fans of fighting games wanted it to be as good as KOF 98, which many considered one the fighting game genre's best moments, but alas, we were left with a stripped down, no AI having mess that was so laggy over Xbox Live and PSN that it went straight to the bargain bin. It probably didn't help that much like the in the 90s, SNK was playing catch up to Capcom and it's critically acclaimed Street Fighter 4 among other heavy hitters in the fighting game genre that released between 2008-2009.
In addition to the two I mentioned, there were a few mentioned by some of my twitter followers. A few I honestly forgot about:
Ballz: good idea, but that's where the good ends. the first attempt at a 3D fighter on consoles was choppy, controlled horribly, and the characters lacked personality.
Way of the Warrior: There have been some bad Mortal Kombat ripoffs, but Way Of The Warrior has to be one of the worst. The only good thing about it is the soundtrack, which was done by White Zombie.
Clayfighter: a fighting game featuring stop motion clay figures. An original idea to say the least, but horrible controls really messed with Clayfighter, which is sad, because part of my teenage self wanted to like that game.
Shaq Fu: What many considered the worst fighting game ever made, even though Rise of the Robots was far worse, Shaq Fu was probably number two on the list though. Bad controls, a nonsensical story mode on a game that was touted as having a deep story, graphics that were amazingly average at best, and a cast of characters that was as unimaginative a canned biscuit. Shaq Fu was an epic turd.
Like I said, Fighting games and Shoot Em Ups have the distinction of not really having a gray area. Either the game is good or bad, and no amount of gloss is going to change anyone's mind.