Tekken 3 (1998, Arcade, PlayStation)
The PlayStation's finest fighting game, Tekken 3 was a startlingly accurate port from the arcade game, considering the limitations of the console's hardware. With a massive roster of fighters and special moves, fluid combos and the Tekken Force and Tekken Ball modes gave it oodles of replay value. And, of course, there was Gon.
Killer Instinct (1994, Arcade, Super NES)
Rare's arcade fighting game looked gorgeous for the time, with the cabinet's onboard HDD allowing for much more detailed graphics. The gameplay was innovative too, doing away with rounds in favour of dual energy bars, and featuring a back-and-forth duel of combos and combo breakers. The icing on the cake was the lunatic cast of characters, including a cyborg, an animated skeleton, a velociraptor and the improbably-proportioned Orchid.
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Marvel vs Capcom 2 (2000, Arcade)
Gathering 56 characters from across the universes of Marvel Comics and Capcom together in the service of an improbable plot, this battle royale played out like something scribbled in the back of an eight-year-old's schoolbook, and was none the worse for it.
The graphics were an unusual combination of 3D backgrounds and 2D sprites, while the stripped-back control system made things accessible to newcomers – who came in droves, drawn in by the franchise's characteristically insane aerial combos and tag-team battles.
Virtua Fighter (1993, Arcade)
Back in the days when fighting games were all based around 2D sprites, Virtua Fighter was a revelation. Even though its blocky combatants looked about as realistic as the workmen in Dire Straits' Money For Nothing video, watching the camera move around them was like seeing the Matrix for the first time.
Super Smash Bros Melee (2001, Gamecube)
Chucking Nintendo's roster of characters into the blender for a cartoon combat game, this was the perfect intro to fighting games for young 'uns, while its 4-player mode made it ideal post-pub fodder for more mature gamers. And after years of hearing that "Our Princess is in another castle," it was profoundly satisfying to fling her from a moving spaceship with a well-timed Falcon Punch.