The Nintendo Experience: Pantendo Fighting Masterpieces

Though it’s E3 weekend, and so much is happening, I would like to turn focus to just one of Nintendo’s events: The ARMS Open Invitational. The Big N is getting into the spirit of the season by throwing a tournament for their upcoming title¬†ARMS. Summer fighting game tournaments are nothing new, and since we’re about a month away from EVO 2017 (the biggest, grandest fighting game tournament of the year), I found it appropriate to celebrate all of the riot time festivities by inducting some of the best Pantendo (appearing on Nintendo consoles, including first, second, and third party) fighting games into the Nintendo Experience.

We’ll kick off with an old classic: Soul Calibur II for GameCube. Soul Calibur is a series of 3D fighting games that center around weapons-based combat as opposed to hand-to-hand. If you are familiar with the franchise, you know that they’re usually multi-platform and each platform has its own exclusive character(s). For the second offering, the Playstation 2 version contained Heihachi from the Tekken series, and the Xbox version had the Spawn comic book character. Fortunately, Nintendo fans got the best deal, and Link from the Legend of Zelda series was playable. For that appearance alone this game is worth playing.

The game was a solid fighter and was an arcade classic; perfect for both friendly and serious play. With the exception of Soul Calibur Legends for Wii (of which I had not heard until researching this blog, and is not even a fighting game), this was the only one of the series that made it to a Nintendo console. I suggest you hunt down this old gem and give it a shot.

Next up is a game that should not be foreign to anyone reading this blog: Super Smash Bros. Melee. Whether you prefer this specific version or not (it is not my personal favorite), you cannot deny its impact on Nintendo and Fighting Game Community (FGC) culture.

Official box art

Melee was released in 2001, and has remained relevant since, having what is possibly the longest, most-permeating tournament longevity of any fighting game ever. People continue to play competitively to this day, and it has found its way into the EVO tournament lineup six times (counting this year’s upcoming tournament) and has churned out record-breaking turnouts. Melee is the fighting powerhouse you cannot ignore.

Lastly, I would like to discuss a pushed-aside Wii gem known as Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars.

The saga of TvC is an interesting, but sad tale. The original version of the game, Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Cross Generation of Heroes, saw some of Capcom’s best-known brawlers facing off against characters from popular Japanese anime studio Tatsunoko (probably best-known in the states for Karas and Samurai Pizza Cats). Since many of Tatsunoko’s characters were unfamiliar to the rest of the world, the game was only released in Japan and the Wii featured region lock, the rest of the world was missing out on a fighting game produced by the community’s best developer. The outcry was so great that Capcom not only decided to relent and release world-wide a year later, but to polish the game up and add new characters. Fighters who owned a Wii were overjoyed, but therein lie the crux. Many people who were serious about fighting games (especially Capcom fighters) had already found satisfaction in one of the other consoles (PS3 or Xbox 360) with Street Fighter IV, and with the announcement of Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 (for which TvC seemed a test run) for those consoles, there was little incentive to invest in this game. It soon faded into obscurity after reaching the EVO stage once in 2010.

All of this is a shame, because the game is not only technically challenging, but also one of the most balanced fighters ever made. If you scour the internet for TvC tier lists, you will find a few opinions. Almost all of them will rank the giants (Gold Lightan and PTX-40A) as dead last, or at least bottom tier. They’re a huge target, slow, and you do not get a partner to help you out. But if you look at the top eight¬†finishers in the EVO tournament, you will see three of them used giants in their run to the top. In fact, you will see a lot of variety, which is not common in a lot of fighting games. You usually see a few characters over and over again because those characters have a natural advantage over the rest of the cast. TvC was one balanced mamma-jamma, and I love returning to it whenever I can.

… Can I get a chant? (Sequel! Sequel! Sequel! Sequel…)

That is all for this special fighting game edition of the Nintendo Experience. Pick these classics up and go the distance.

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Simeon has been a Nintendo fan since he can remember, growing up with an NES in the house. Now he loves to play, talk, and write about all things Nintendo. He can usually be found playing fighting, platform, and adventure games.