The Top 200 Fighting Game Endings: Part One

May 16th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

For the past twenty-plus years, my favorite genre of video game has always been the one-on-one fighter. Ever since seeing Street Fighter II: The World Warrior in an arcade, I was hooked. Throughout the years, I always paid attention to its many spinoffs and sequels, as well as the countless games that jumped onto its success. The Mortal Kombats and Tekkens and Fatal Furies and, hell, even the Clay Fighters.

Naturally, the emphasis on these games is the multiplayer, especially now with the increasing popularity of online play and the tournament scene. While I enjoy checking out the competitive stuff from time to time, I’ve never been good enough to be part of that, nor have I felt the drive to reach that level. Really, for me, I’ve always had a strange obsession with the single-player experience.

Growing up, that was always the ritual with these games. When there was nobody to play against, you had to complete the game with every single character, which was like the programmer’s way of making sure you took advantage of every piece of effort they put in every character. It was a rewards system that gave you an excuse to play as the characters you weren’t even much of a fan of. Getting that thirty seconds of text and 16-bit cutscene made spending an hour on that super cheap final boss worth it.

Not to mention, it’s fun for the character study aspects, silly as it sounds. Fighting games universally have a B-movie landscape to them that are extremely fun, filled with characters who are half-realized. Since the days of Street Fighter II, someone like Blanka was represented by some animated gestures, attacks, a handful of quotes and maybe a paragraph of backstory. But despite not being the hero of the game, he was just as viable a winner of the game’s tournament as Ryu and Chun-Li. By beating Bison, you get to see his existence sketched out more by seeing him reconnect with his long-lost mother.

Even when there’s a clear-cut main character, all the supporting characters still get to be important enough that we’re able to see them come out on top, whether they’re on the hunt for justice, power, money, fame, revenge, a challenge, adventure, answers or love. With so many competitors in each game, there are so many alternate paths on where things can go. Sometimes they’re funny. Sometimes they’re badass. Sometimes they’re genuinely compelling. Sometimes they simply act as a strong ending to a character arc.

I decided to do a lot of research, going through hundreds of games to look at thousands of endings. Everything from Soul Calibur to Brutal: Paws of Fury to Marvel Superheroes to Avengers in Galactic Storm. What was meant to be a list of the best 100 has turned into a list of the best 150, expanding even more into this list of 200 because as much as the typing is going to kill me, I can’t stop myself from shutting up about a lot of these and you’ll have to pay the price. You and my carpel tunnel.

Thanks to the long-dormant VG Museum for making the research process much easier.

So here we go. Heaven or Hell? Duel one. Let’s rock.

200) Street Fighter X Tekken – HEIHACHI MISHIMA AND KUMA

The story of Street Fighter X Tekken is that a magical box from space labeled Pandora has crashed into Antarctica. With so many interested in what kind of power is inside it, various Street Fighter and Tekken characters pair up and it becomes a martial arts version of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. As for what’s really in the box? That maguffin changes from ending to ending.

Elderly, ousted crime lord Heihachi Mishima makes a go for Pandora with his somewhat loyal, karate-fighting bear Kuma. After defeating Akuma, Heihachi nears the box. Afraid for him, Kuma frantically claws at Heihachi’s back, growling in his understandable bear language that it might be dangerous. Heihachi is cool about it and explains that Kuma will get 10% of what’s in there. Kuma’s smacks become angrier due to Heihachi’s cheapness and he says that if there’s poison gas in there, Heihachi can have his 10%.

The box opens up and a white light shoots out. Heihachi ducks out of the way and Kuma accidentally looks right down into the light. Once it dies out, Heihachi laughs off what a close call that was. He turns to Kuma only to find this adorable bear cub.

Heihachi suddenly notices that one side of his head of hair – the one part of him hit by the light – is black. Realizing that he missed out on regaining his precious youth, Heihachi screams to the heavens, “IT’S NOT FAIR!”

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Crossover Celebration Part 4: Mortal Kombat vs. the DC Universe

November 11th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Ever since Marvel and Capcom released X-Men vs. Street Fighter, nearly everyone said that there needed to be a fighting game that pit Mortal Kombat against the DC characters. Many were joking, but a couple were dead serious. Some of the laughs were directed at how ill-fitting it would be, despite being the natural follow-up to the Marvel vs. Capcom stuff. Marvel and Capcom at least felt right together. Marvel feels more down-to-earth and many of its more popular characters are more street-level, making such matchups as Wolverine vs. Ryu seem natural. Mortal Kombat has a stigma of blood and guts while the public sees DC as the more squeaky-clean of the big comic companies.

The night prior to the 2008 New York Comic Con, this image was released to the public.

And I didn’t get any sleep because oh my God. They were really going to make this?! Really?!

The more I thought about it and the closer the game came to release, I started to come around to the idea of these two worlds mixing it up. DC has gotten far darker and bloodier over the years and Mortal Kombat – despite its many problems – is still home to a pretty strong sense of mythological identity. There have been bad games, bad movies, bad comics, bad TV shows and more, but there’s still an allure to the franchise outside of the blood and guts. When they make it work, it really goes the full mile. Like the latest game, for instance.

It’s noticeable how the two sides don’t exactly match up so well head-to-head. Sub-Zero and Batman aren’t really all that alike. There are only a few pairings that truly work in that aspect. Like even though Deathstroke and Baraka are rivals in the game, Deathstroke has more in common with Kano as a one-eyed, top-notch assassin. Then there’s the perfect pairing of Johnny Cage and Booster Gold, making it a huge shame that neither shows up in the game at all.

The other big pairing that works perfectly is Mortal Kombat’s Shao Kahn and DC’s Darkseid. As far as I’m concerned, the two share the same level of threat, badass and stature. They each hold onto their own realm as feared tyrants and wish to extend their grasp, blocked only by easily-twistable rules. Darkseid has his truce with the people of New Genesis while Shao Kahn must fulfill the rights of Mortal Kombat in order to move forward. It was only natural that they’d make these guys the main villains of the crossover.

Still, there were questions. How would these two sides clash? Why would they fight when the rosters are mostly good guys? How can you have Kano beat up Superman and act like it’s a thing that makes sense? Hell, forget about the Mortal Kombat guys! How is Joker vs. Superman supposed to make sense?!

Luckily, Midway put the how and why in some good hands with DC writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. The team known for breathing life into Jonah Hex and Power Girl would write the game’s Story Mode. Meanwhile, the collector’s edition of the game would feature a piece of cover art by big-time comic artist Alex Ross.

Seeing Scorpion and the gang in Alex Ross style is still so surreal.

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The Top 15 Best Fighting Game Storylines: Part 3 (5-1)

March 21st, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Part 1!
Part 2!

Before I finish off the list, I want to point out an honorary mention of sorts. When they came out with Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, they changed a lot of the endings. For some, the art was altered to feature different characters. For many, the dialogue was changed and made half as long as in the previous game. Still don’t understand that one. A couple guys from the first game got new endings because the previous ones were pointless. For instance, Ryu’s ending in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 features him facing off against Iron Fist in a Madripoor fighting tournament. Considering Iron Fist is in the upgraded game, there’s nothing special about his surprise reveal. So instead, Ryu’s ending has him discover a new role in the world.

Huge smile on my face when I saw that. Coincidentally, Iron Fist’s ending involves him starting up a new Heroes for Hire with Luke Cage, Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, Ryu, Chun-Li and Rival Schools’ Batsu. I’d easily pay the $3.99 every month for that comic.

5) Jinpache’s Emotional Deaths

Jinpachi Mishima was a good man who opposed his evil son Heihachi, but due to some convoluted storytelling, he became imprisoned underground for decades, infected by a gene that’s driving him to destroy everything. He becomes released during the conclusion of Tekken 4 and sets up the tournament for Tekken 5. Part of Jinpachi wants to get all the great fighters out of the way so he can lay waste to the planet. Part of him wants someone to stop him before he goes too far.

The elderly Wang Jinrei has been in the Tekken cast since the beginning, but he’s also been boring as hell while adding nothing of interest. One thing established is that he and Jinpachi were good friends back in the day and that’s one of the reasons Wang is out to stop Heihachi. Throughout the fifth tournament, he gets this strong feeling that something unbearably terrible will happen at the end. When he faces Jinpachi, seeing him in his demonic form, he outright refuses to fight his best friend. Jinpachi begs him, saying that his human consciousness is weakening by the moment and he needs to die soon or else. Wishing there was another way, Wang reluctantly goes to town.

What follows is one of the saddest video game moments, thanks to some fine voice acting (even though one guy is speaking Chinese and the other Japanese) and captivatingly realistic CGI work. Jinpachi lay on the ground, back in his human form. Wang tries to comfort him, saying he shouldn’t have to apologize for what he’s done. Weakly, Jinpachi wishes that they could have one last drink, but then he dies and instantly melts into sand.

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Mortal Marathon Part 9: Unholy Alliance

April 29th, 2011 Posted by guest article

Guest article series by Gabriel “TheJoker138″ Coleman, who apologizes for having to deal with a million papers and finals when he should be writing up more of these. Stupid priorities.

This episode starts out in the cobalt mines, with Shang Tsung summoning Quan Chi, who appears with Siann (the redhead from the previous episode), while Not Jade watches from the shadows. Quan is a bit pissed about being summoned, but his curiosity about why Shang has summoned him won out, so he came. Not Jade tries to attack Siann, but she blocks it and grabs her by the neck before she’s able to actually do anything. Shang says that she’s of no importance and to ignore her, but his offer of an alliance is important. One could say this is a… Deadly Alliance? But no, they don’t say that, they call it the unholy alliance, stop being silly.

At the training post, Kung Lao is meditating. His visions start as memories of Jen, but quickly turn into nightmares of her murder by Scorpion and his own death at the hands of Goro. Speaking of Goro, we go back to Outworld now and get a brief shot of either him, or another Shokan, watching over the mines.

Goro looks really short here

Shang and Quan are sitting quietly as Not Jade and Siann have a shouting match with each other. Shang says if they don’t shut up he’ll kill them both and Quan sends Siann away to avoid further incident. Quan really doesn’t care about Kung Lao dying, as all he wanted from him was his soul, which is out of his reach and asks what Shang could possibly have to offer him. Shang says he’ll teach him the secret of taking souls by force, as he can do and this is enough to grab Quan’s interest. He still doesn’t understand what Shang needs of him though. Shang is vague about his plan, but says that it needs both of their power and it still might be dangerous. The temptation is great enough that Quan accepts, on the condition that he gets Kung Lao’s soul when it’s all over. Shang agrees.

At the training post, there’s some actual training going on, which is the first of this we’ve seen. It is just between Siro and Taja though, so the whole “find new warriors to help in Mortal Kombat” seems to still be in the planning stages. They make a bet that if one can defeat the other in a single move, the loser has to be the other’s slave for 24 hours. Siro wins of course, because Taja is useless. Kung tells them that they need to stop messing around and take things more seriously. He’s in a pretty bad mood, what with the visions and all, an storms off. Raiden confronts him in the marketplace and Kung lets him know that the visions are back. Raiden tells him that as long as he’s afraid, the visions will never leave. They have a conversation about how Kung doesn’t want to accept the responsibility of being Mortal Kombat champion and Raiden tells him that quitting is the best idea he’s ever heard. Kung will quit, he’ll quit, they’ll all quit and it’ll be great. Raiden is a dick and I love it. Raiden then tells him that maybe he should actually find some new fighters to train, so that he doesn’t have to shoulder the responsibility all by himself, but Kung says he hasn’t because no one else could ever be as good as he is. Raiden laughs in his face and disappears.

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Mortal Marathon Part 8: Quan Chi

April 22nd, 2011 Posted by guest article

Guest article series by Gabriel “TheJoker138″ Coleman.

Holy shit, there’s an on-screen title that’s actually accurate. I’m seriously amazed. Anyway, we open up this week’s episode at a restaurant in the marketplace, where our trio of heroes are having dinner. Taja is still dressed like a golfer/tennis player in her pink polo shirt, Siro is hitting on the waitress and Kung is getting ready to leave, as he needs to rest up before going to the monastery the next morning. After he leaves, Taja and Siro have a brief discussion about why Siro is always so polite. He says the ladies love it. By the way, the waitress he’s hitting on is actually pretty conservatively dressed for this series:

What, are you a member of the Young Earthrealm Republicans or something? Prude.

Outside, Kung is on his way home when a woman runs up to him begging him for help, because another woman is being killed in an alley. They get there and two women are indeed attacking another one. These two are dressed more in line with the norm of this series:

Hey! It’s Jaime Pressly!

The woman who brought Kung to the alley ends up snapping the neck of the woman who was being attacked and reveals herself to be the third in this little group. The three of them all attack Kung, one of them even doing the Liu Kang flying kick attack from the games. Also, there’s kind of a creepy amount of upskirt shots in this fight, to the point where it kind of feels like I’m watching some creepy anime. Kung takes out two of them easily, but the third gets the upper hand on him. As she’s about to go in for the kill, Taja runs up and punches her square in the face. It’s nice to see Taja not being totally useless for once. Siro is with her and they scare the trio of women off. They ask Kung what happened and why they attacked him and he has no clue. Siro goes off to tell the guards about the murder, while Kung and Taja head home to deal with his wounds.

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Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins: The iRiff!

April 19th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Some of you longtime readers might remember that a couple years ago, me and some guys experimented with iRiffs, a part of the Rifftrax site where any idiot with time and a microphone can record his own Mystery Science Theater 3000 garbage and put it online. Our first couple attempts were plagued with sound issues, mostly on my part, but we moved onto a project I practically begged the others for: Mortal Kombat: The Journey Begins. Journey Begins was an animated movie released to hype up the theatrical release of Mortal Kombat. Anyone who has ever seen it can tell you that it’s ripe with ridiculousness and begs to be made fun of. So we did just that.

We recorded our lines and everything, but things fell to the wayside and a lot of it was forgotten about. Considering Nick Zachariasen, also known as ManiacClown, had little to do after Ultimate Edit finished up and the new Mortal Kombat game was on the horizon, it made sense to get back to work on it. He worked his ass off on it and here it is. It’s me, Nick and James Howard, who rules the roost with his delivery. My quality has gone from outright terrible to plain crappy, so that’s a slight step up.

Rather than show you a preview and ask you to purchase it, I thought it would be better to just give you the whole shebang, synced up and ready to go. So here you go. The entire iRiff of Journey Begins for free. Enjoy.

There is an iRiff page for the mp3 file, so if you feel the need to pay a dollar for it, I won’t hold it against you.

(The last couple seconds repeat a few times. No idea what that’s about)

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Mortal Marathon Part 6: Debt of the Dragon

April 9th, 2011 Posted by guest article

Guest article series by Gabriel “TheJoker138″ Coleman.

First off, I’d like to apologize that I’ve only done one of these this week so far, when I’ve been trying to crank out at least two. I’ve been busy with both class and work and also… Well, I read a brief synopsis of this episode before watching it and it sounded like the most boring thing ever. For the most part, it was, but near the end it changed to being pretty inadvertently hilarious. But regardless, putting it off wasn’t really fair to anyone actually following these and I’ll try not to let it happen again. From the synopsis I’ve been reading, I’m about one episode away from it actually starting to consistently feature characters from the games for the most part, so that should help. One more thing before we get to it, I would like to mention I have this staring me in the face, right next to one of the bus stops on the way to the college I attend:

It’s like they’re taunting me…

Oh, and another thing before we get into the actual episode. I’ve already said that this series is a bootleg I got a few years back and the quality isn’t consistent, but the one thing that has been weirding me out is the on screen titles. They’ve all been wrong and none of them have even had anything to do with what actually goes on in the episode. This one has one of these that fits both those criteria, but is also in a totally different format than the previous titles. Before, they would be on the bottom of the screen, as a single line of text that would be almost lost in the on screen credits if you weren’t paying attention. This episode has… well… see for yourself:

Taja is in this episode for all of 5 minutes

Anyways, this episode starts out at the training post, which Taja and Siro are now running the trading section of, while Kung will seemingly be handling the training parts. I somehow doubt we’re ever actually going to see anyone getting trained here though. Siro is haggling with a monk, who is an old friend of Kung’s from the monastery. Kung convinces Siro to back off a bit on his price, but after the monk leaves Siro reveals that Taja has him using a business strategy where even after giving the monk this “deal” they’ve still made a 200% profit. Kung is, of course, disapproving of this, but he promised to let them handle this end of it for a while and see if it works, so there’s not much he can do.

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Mortal Marathon Part 5: Noob Saibot

April 1st, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Guest article series by Gabriel “TheJoker138″ Coleman.

We start off this week in Zhu Zin, with Kung and Siro in the marketplace, browsing around. Siro stops a pickpocket, but lets him go, saying if he tries anything like that again he’s likely to lose a hand. He and Kung look at some knives for a while, but Kung isn’t interested in them and goes to browse other vendors while Siro stays. The pickpocket comes back, with three of his friends and we get our first fight scene of the episode. By the way, there’s another onscreen title on this episode. It’s “Queen,” which, much like the last time I noticed the title, has nothing at all to do with anything that actually happens in the episode.

In the other episodes, when they have our heroes fight some nameless adversaries, at least they’re usually henchmen or something. This time it’s just a group of completely unimportant street rats. I can forgive it this one time though, as this fight is actually a fairly major plot point to this episode. Siro beats them all pretty badly, but one of them gets a lucky hit in that sends him careening through a tent and then they overpower him via sheer numbers. Kung makes a timely return, the pickpocket recognizes him as the victor of Mortal Kombat and they all run away. Siro seems off-put by Kung coming in to “save” him and stays to look at that knife while Kung goes home.

It was at this point I had the realization that there were no half-naked women hanging around in the marketplace like usual, but luckily one showed up. Instead of just an extra though, this one is an actual character, named Ankha. She tells Siro that he should visit her and her friend, Kiri, at the House of the Falcon. Kiri is a seer and Ankha says that it seems like Siro could use her guidance and she gives him a falcon talisman. Siro is skeptical, but keeps the talisman and heads home.

Oh yeah, that’s more like it

When he arrives, Taja has already heard about the fight and gives him some crap over it, saying that at least he got hit in his thick skull instead of somewhere more easily breakable. It seems she’s finally started to lighten up, but now Siro is a humorless jerk. He’s really acting out of character so far in this episode. I’m actually kind of amazed that he has a character to act out of, as I wasn’t expecting anything more from this show than ridiculous freak-of-the-week monsters and kung fu fighting.

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Mortal Marathon Part 4: The Essence

March 27th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Guest article series by Gabriel “TheJoker138″ Coleman who wants to apologize for the iffy VHS quality in the images.

We start today’s adventure in Outworld, where a girl with her shirt half ripped off is being tortured by a Shadow Priest. Now that’s kind of a weird character to choose for your MK series. I hope Mokap shows up next. Anyway, this is easily the most violent thing (save for fantasy stuff like Sub-Zero freezing people) that this show has done yet, but it’s still not the ridiculous somewhat light-hearted violence of the games. He is straight up burning this woman with a red hot branding iron. He’s trying to get information from her about something called the Essence, which Shao Kahn believes his step-daughter, Princess Kitana, has hidden somewhere in Earthrealm.

Speak of the devil, here come Shao Kahn himself, and with him is another woman, named Qali, who he accuses of being loyal to Kitana, who she has been friends with since childhood. There’s also the small fact that when he staged his coup to take over Outworld, he had her father beheaded in front of his entire army, which is a decent enough reason to hold a grudge. She insists that no, she is loyal to no one but Kahn, but he’s not convinced. The Shadow Priest on the other hand is convinced that the woman he had been torturing really doesn’t know who took the Essence, or where it is, so Kahn has him slit her throat, as a message to Qali. In the shadows, another cloaked figure has been watching this whole thing.

We’re only through the pre-credits teaser this week and there’s already two things I need to talk about. Let’s start with the good. Shao Kahn is awesome. He looks, and acts, like a complete evil bad ass. Meek has toned down his performance since the first episode, but now instead of over-the-top he has a more hateful, rage-filled, burning to every line he says. His voice is completely different as it is in his dual role of Raiden, as is his posture, and just the way he carries himself. In what has so far been a series that has ranged from mediocre to painful as far as acting goes, Meek is the one truly stand-out performance. Every scene he’s in drips with energy, and he’s fun to watch, regardless of whether he’s playing Raiden or Shao Kahn.

He also looks great too. The Raiden costume hides his physique, but the guy is huge. And despite the fact that instead of going full monster face like in the games he is just wearing a skull mask at all times, it’s still miles ahead of the “incompetent bald guy” portrayal of the character from Annihilation.

He makes this look work.

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The Primal Rage Comic: It’s On Like Blizzard!

March 27th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

To go with the upcoming Mortal Kombat game, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the more popular clones. There were a lot of derivatives of the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat games throughout the 90’s, back when they were cheaper and easier to do than now. Many are long forgotten, whether they deserve to be or not (you’re still awesome, Kizuna Encounter!). Yet with the blood-based fighters, there were some who didn’t fall into obscurity without a fight.

Killer Instinct, Primal Rage and Eternal Champions are all interesting in how they almost became big deals. People remember them, but they’re all series that tried to last longer and collapsed before they could for various reasons. You don’t see any modern-day incarnations of those three non-Kombat games despite the way someone my age might light up and say, “Fulgore was the shit!” when the game is namedropped. They all had just enough play in the 90’s to receive their own comic books.

I’ve covered the Killer Instinct comic series before and Eternal Champions will be covered in due time. Today, I’m going to discuss Sirius Comics’ Primal Rage.

Primal Rage is based on the vicious Atari-released fighter from the mid-90’s. The basic premise of the game is King Kong vs. Godzilla as a fighting game. Giant dinosaurs and gorillas created with stop-motion animation duel over their domains. I’ve never been a big fan of the game and despite the excellent animation, you can see why it never truly took off. The game only had seven characters (using five character models and changing the palette on two of them) and no end boss. It seemed a bit barebones.

The story, I’ve discovered, is incredibly metal. A giant meteor crashed into earth, causing a major cataclysm. Tidal waves washed over the Earth. Cities were destroyed. Continents shifted back into one major mass of land. The people who survived lived on in caves, allowing civilization to degrade and turn itself into a series of violent tribes. The cataclysm also caused dormant beasts to awaken and battle, with humans worshipping them. Each one is considered a god of some sort. The God of Good, the God of Evil, the God of Life, the God of Decay, the God of Hunger, the God of Survival and the Goddess of Madness. They would all battle for supremacy until one was left standing.

The miniseries goes for four issues and is written by Christopher Knowles. The first issue, released in 1996, has art by Kevin Rasel. It’s a good-looking comic that’s refreshing in how straightforward it is. Unlike all the other fighting game comics, it actually holds itself down as a fighting game story without losing track of what it’s supposed to be. It starts off in an icy mountain where the side resembles that of a gorilla’s skull. Inside, we see Blizzard, a blue gorilla and God of Good, sitting on a throne in front of his gathered followers and a couple gorillas.

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