In the latest issue of our magazine (#228), I wrote an article called “Building The Perfect Fighter” that was intended to highlight mechanics throughout the fighting genre that worked well. While I was writing it, I was reminded of gameplay elements in the past that wound up being a detriment to the experience. Read on to hear about some of the bigger missteps the genre has taken in the past.


Dial-A-Fatality - Mortal Kombat Armageddon

The final Mortal Kombat in the last generation of consoles was notable for featuring every Kombatant that ever graced a game in the series. However enticing this concept sounded, the game was ultimately criticized for taking away the creative fatalities the franchise was famous for. Instead, it introduced a new system that gave every character the same pool of available lethal moves. One button combination would tear off an arm, another would decapitate your opponent, another would break his/her legs, and so on. It may have been an interesting idea during development, but the end result is the worst fatality system in the long-running series.


Soul Gauge/Critical Finishes - Soulcalibur IV

In a series that focuses on free-flowing combat that's accessible to both casual and hardcore fans, a complex Street Fighter-esque ultra system seemed completely out of place. Making it worse was the way they were pulled off. In order to earn the ability to perform a critical finish, your opponent had to be blocking a ridiculous amount, enough to where their Soul Gauge meter would shatter. Once this happened (and it almost never did in actual play), you could activate the move and begin a canned attack animation that felt uncharacteristic for the series.


Cheap Bosses - Street Fighter IV, Dead Or Alive 4, Mortal Kombat 3

Fighting games were all the rage in arcades back in the 90s, and opponent A.I. was frequently cheap in an effort to gobble up quarters. For some reason, this frustration has still reared its head in modern fighters. Even grizzled fighting veterans find themselves resorting to cheap attacks when going up against foes like Seth and Alpha-152.