6 Games Like Street Fighter [Recommendations]

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Since 1987, Street Fighter has been the face of the fighting game genre. However, the series wouldn’t take off around the world upon the release of its sequel in 1991. Shortly after Street Fighter II became a hit, many companies in Japan and the US entered the fight game and brought their own distinct qualities to their games. In fact, Takashi Nishiyama, the original co-creator of Street Fighter would leave Capcom for SNK and would then make the Fatal Fury series. And in fact, Ryu’s namesake happens to come from Takashi since the kanji in Takashi’s name 隆 can be read as Ryu. Like Street Fighter, many other popular fighting games would have numerous sequels, spin-offs, and some have gone on to become multi-media hits.

While some predecessors of Street Fighter such as Karate Tournament take influence from point karate, Street Fighter was one of the first to adopt a fight to the life bar is gone and go as far as introducing gimmicks such as shooting fireballs, which would later become a staple of the genre. In addition, Street Fighter II would also become one of the first fighting games that would allow players to have a selection of characters as opposed to having a default player 1 or as a player 2 character, which is now also a requirement for today’s fighting games. So for today’s top 6, we are going to explore what games are best for Street Fighter fans.

Similar Anime to Street Fighter

1. Virtua Fighter

  • Platform: Multi-platform
  • Publisher: SEGA
  • Developer: SEGA AM2
  • Debut Date: Oct 1993

Just like how Street Fighter helped paved way for 2D fighters, it was inevitable that fighting games would eventually have 3D releases. Though Street Fighter would have a 3D spin off with its EX series, the first ever 3D fighter would be Yu Suzuki’s Virtua Fighter, which would debut a couple of years after Street Fighter II. Just like how Street Fighter continues to this very day, so does Virtua Fighter and has tremendous success in Japan and South Korea’s arcade scenes. While Street Fighter (and the other fighting games listed) is more gimmicky with the fireballs and other special techniques, Suzuki’s aim with Virtua Fighter was to make more of a fight simulator meaning more realism.

So instead of fireballs, characters of the VF series more accurately represent their fighting styles. Some fighting styles would be various forms of Kung Fu, Aikido, Judo, Sumo, Pro Wrestling, Lucha Libre, Vale Tudo, Hakkyoku Ken and Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do. The Kung Fu fighters such as Pai and Lau would be more speed oriented, while the counter grapples of Aikido are also accurately portrayed. In addition to knockouts or timeouts, Virtua Fighter is another game that allows the player to win by forcing their opponent out of the ring, which is in use this day in the fifth edition. But if there were any artistic influences of Street Fighter present in Virtua Fighter, it would certainly be with the designs of Akira, Jacky, and Pai. Akira shares some numerous qualities with Ryu by wearing a traditional martial arts gi with a bandana, Jacky wears red and has long blonde hair like Ken, and Pai wears a traditional Chinese dress and has her hair in buns like Chun Li.

Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown Trailer

2. BlazBlue

  • Platform: Multi-platform
  • Publisher: Arc System Works (Japan), Aksys Games (US)
  • Developer: Arc System Works
  • Debut Date: June 25, 2009 (JP), July 30, 2009 (US)

BlazBlue is the spiritual sequel to Arc’s breakout hit, Guilty Gear. While Street Fighter is a bit more grounded, BlazBlue (and Guilty Gear) shares more qualities with Capcom’s Versus titles. They are oriented by stringing together combos and has the same sense of range by jumping high into the air and even continuing those combos in mid-air. For those of you who prefer sprite models as opposed to 3D rendering (such as what Street Fighter has evolved to after 4), the sprite models are rendered very smoothly and it makes players feel like they are controlling an actual anime. The designs very much appeal to hardcore fans of anime and its darker backgrounds feel like a horror visual novel. Some characters look like classic samurai, ninja, Lolita, and there are some who look more cybernetic or demonic.

While Street Fighter can give players more range with the attacks, many of the special moves in BlazBlue are close range oriented and make players rely less on special attacks. So if you want something fun, distinctly artistic, and insane, BlazBlue might be the game you’re looking for.

BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger trailer

3. Guilty Gear X

  • Platform: Multi-platform
  • Publisher: Arc System Works
  • Developer: Arc System Works
  • Debut Date: July 2000

Now that we have mentioned BlazBlue, time to get into Guilty Gear. Guilty Gear is probably the ultimate anime experience for players. In some newer installments such as Xrd, the super combos are presented like an anime by having the characters from a close up as they execute them, and it smoothly pans into the game. Just like BlazBlue, Guilty Gear gives you an experience that is creative and artistic. While this is a 2D fighter, like BlazBlue, Guilty Gear’s biggest difference from Street Fighter is it has a much closer sense of range.

So in order to master this game, you must master your character’s distance and pull off some wicked combos. Thankfully, some of its newest versions have a very useful tutorial mode in both using and fighting against the character. So if you’re a player who can’t learn as they play along, we strongly recommend using the tutorial mode. If you’re a player who prefers to play as they go along, then we are positive you will still have fun as you try to master this game.

Guilty Gear Xrd trailer

Any Anime Like Street Fighter ?

4. Marvel Vs. Capcom

  • Platform: Multi-platform
  • Publisher: Capcom
  • Developer: Capcom
  • Debut Date: Jan 23, 1998 (US), Feb 1998 (JP)

Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel made its mark in video games by going up against Capcom’s line-up of icons. The very first in the franchise dates back to X-Men Vs. Street Fighter, which was essentially a mash-up of Street Fighter Alpha and X-Men: Children of the Atom. Then it was followed up with Marvel Super Heroes Vs. Street Fighter to eventually paving way for Marvel Vs. Capcom, which would then include characters from other Capcom games such as Mega Man, Darkstalkers, Resident Evil, and eventually Phoenix Wright! The series biggest breakout was Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, which debuted in the arcades and Dreamcast. While the second game’s predecessors’ tag features were 2 on 2, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 would be the first to have 3 vs 3 and would follow up in the third game.

While Street Fighter is more grounded, Marvel Vs. Capcom allows itself to go over the top with aerial combos and super combos that allow the Street Fighter characters be in tune with the super-powered Marvel roster. Ever wanted to make an epic battle consisting of Deadpool, Wolverine, and Cable against Ken, Ryu, and Akuma? Now you can with Marvel Vs. Capcom 3! Due to its faster pace style, the strategies that apply in regular Street Fighter games may not apply to the versus series due to its own unique set of mechanics. They go as far as having three time super combos for maximum damage!

Marvel Vs. Capcom trailer

5. Mortal Kombat

  • Platform: Multi-platform
  • Publisher: Midway
  • Developer: Midway
  • Debut Date: Oct 8, 1992

If any game rivaled Street Fighter in North American shores, it would have to be Mortal Kombat, a game so controversial for its time that it even had its own Senate hearing. While Street Fighter takes its artistic influences from anime and manga, Mortal Kombat takes more from martial arts cinema. In addition to its then revolutionary graphics, many of the designs of the characters take influence from martial arts superstars. In fact, Mortal Kombat was conceived as a fighting game starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Unable to get a final deal to feature the Muscles from Brussels, the developers at Midway then made the game into Mortal Kombat and made some changes to the design of Van Damme into Johnny Cage. In addition, Liu Kang’s first appearance and battle cries take influence from Bruce Lee, and Sonya Blade takes inspiration from Cynthia Rothrock, a B-movie martial arts actress from the 1990s.

But what makes Mortal Kombat distinct and iconic is its crazy violence. For every punch or kick landed, buckets of blood would spill. And in the event the victor gets the rounds necessary to win, the announcer will announce Finish Him/Her to allow the player to put in a certain button combination to pull off a Fatality (and would also evolve to Babalities, Animalities, and Friendships in the sequels), where the character can rip heads and hearts from their opponent. While this may be considered tame by today’s standards, for its time, it was something novel and played a huge part on whether video games cause violence. But as the saying goes, controversy creates cash and Mortal Kombat just became a big hit and not only was it the big talk in the Senate but also on the playground at school for bragging rights.

Mortal Kombat X trailer

6. King of Fighters

  • Platform: Multi-platform
  • Publisher: SNK Playmore
  • Developer: SNK Playmore
  • Debut Date: August 2, 1994

While Mortal Kombat was Street Fighter’s rival on a more international scale, SNK’s King of Fighters was going blow for blow with Capcom’s biggest knockout in the Land of the Rising Sun since 1994! In fact, the first game features Rugal, the final boss, having statues of some Street Fighter characters, most notably a statue resembling Guile showing he defeated him. When Capcom vs. SNK finally came out, this scene pays homage in Guile and Rugal’s intro before they duke it out. King of Fighters is essentially SNK’s crossover of a good number of their established titles such as Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Psycho Soldier, Ikari Warriors, and a few original characters for the game, most notably Kyo and Iori.

While Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 may be known to use the 3 vs. 3 formats, King of Fighters was one of the first to do it. But if there is one notable difference, MvC 3’s is a tag format where it’s a continuous fight until the last fighter standing and doesn’t use a round system, while King of Fighters is more of one fighter per round elimination style. King of Fighters was also one of the first to use a super combo system shortly before its implementation in Super Street Fighter II Turbo and has a very distinct defense system that allows for dodging by rolling and even has a running system. Last, we cannot deny that in the tradition of SNK, King of Fighters has the distinction of having the hardest bosses any player can ever face.

Like Street Fighter, King of Fighters has a great diverse range of characters with their own unique fighting styles both physical and elemental, but have their own unique differences to the point that fans can acknowledge it its own quality game as opposed to being a rip-off.

King of Fighters XIV trailers

Final Thoughts

Due to how difficult it was to make this list, we would like to make some shout outs to Cyberbots, Darkstalkers, X-Men Children of the Atom, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and Asuka 120%. All we can say is without Street Fighter II, 2D fighting games as a whole as we know it wouldn’t be possible. To think that some of these franchises would still carry on after over 20 years is something fans wouldn’t believe upon their debuts.

Some of these games have anime adaptations and live action movies. Maybe as long as these companies continue to exist and players are still playing, we will continue to have them. As stated, it was difficult making this list and we understand some of you have your own ideas of what should be recommended for Street Fighter fans and the reverse. So if you disagree with what we listed, it’s cool. Just feel free to write your ideas in the comments.

Street-Fighter-II-Special-Champion-Edition-game-1-300x411 6 Games Like Street Fighter [Recommendations]


Author: Justin "ParaParaJMo" Moriarty

Hello, I am originally from the states and have lived in Japan since 2009. Though I watched Robotech and Voltron as a child, I officially became an anime fan in 1994 through Dragon Ball Z during a trip to the Philippines. In addition to anime, I also love tokusatsu, video games, music, and martial arts. よろしくお願いします

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