Crossover fighting games are sort of like the video game equivalent of What If… comics: over the top, a little bit silly, and featuring all your favorite characters in the same place, no matter how implausible. We’ve assembled a list of five of our favorites here, so prepare for a battle beyond your imagination!
No crossover fighting game list would be complete without M.U.G.E.N. A fan made 2D fighting game engine, M.U.G.E.N supports custom characters who can then be plugged into the game. The game’s freeware nature allows for some fairly dubious skirting of copyright law, which is why you can create battles like the Homer Simpson vs. Spongebob Squarepants above.
The game may be rough around the edges, and there’s no shortage of completely broken, overpowered characters, but there’s really nothing else like it. And as long as copyright law still exists, there never will be.
4. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom
The cards were stacked against Tatsunoko vs. Capcom from the start with its obscure Japanese tokusatsu characters, but did they have to make it even worse by making it a Wii exclusive? TvC pits characters from Street Fighter, Onimusha, Darkstalkers, and more against the colorful creations of Tatsunoko, a prestigious Japanese animation studio.
TvC uses a 2v2 combat system, with the interesting addition of two huge characters, Gold Lightan and PTX-40A, who count as two characters on their own. Watching Mega Man’s pal Roll attack a 20-foot-tall robot with a mop and bucket is always good for a laugh.
The game ultimately served as something of a tech demo for Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which was then still in its infant stages, but it’s a fun game in its own right and deserves a second look.
3. Capcom vs. SNK 2
In addition to the novelty of the two largest fighting rivals in gaming uniting, Capcom vs. SNK 2 is one of the most successful and long-lived games on this list, primarily because of its massive roster and choice of six different play styles. CvS2 let players select from different grooves, each based on a different Capcom or SNK game, which gave players a lot of room to be creative with their combos and character choice.
2. Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
The most recent game on this list, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 dug deep into both the Marvel and Capcom rosters, and perfected the franchise’s frenetic tag team style.
Featuring deep cuts such as Dormammu and M.O.D.O.K., the game even predated Guardians of the Galaxy’s meteoric rise to popularity by including Rocket Raccoon! While some people initially balked at the furry fury, he fit right in with the rest of the cast.
The game’s dazzling style, wild cast, and seemingly endless combos stayed true to its roots while improving on a lot of its predecessors’ faults, easily making it the best in the series.
1. Super Smash Brothers (Wii U/3DS)
When Super Smash Brothers launched on N64, it perfectly blended the competition of other crossover fighting games with the accessibility and multiplayer friendliness of party games. Each new edition of the game featured an increasingly more fantastic roster of characters, bringing the schoolyard debates of “Could Pikachu beat Mario?” to their logical conclusion.
Its follow up on GameCube was even better though, with more characters, faster gameplay and better graphics. SSB Brawl on the Wii was a big visual upgrade and added Metal Gear’s Snake, but was largely derided by purists for its inclusion of tripping, a mechanic that would make your character randomly fall down — fine for casual players, but a huge hang-up for competitive players.
Fortunately, that mechanic was scrapped for the recent WiiU/3DS version. The sprawling roster now includes Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII, Ryu, and Pac-Man. Chucking a controller at your friend’s head after getting perfected has never been more fun!
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