EA Sports UFC can’t come out soon enough. When the game was announced last May, speculation ran wild as to how developers will translate the dexterity of a real fight to a next-generation console. As details and screenshots trickle online, the anticipation grows. After all, the last MMA related game produced was UFC Undisputed 3 in Feb. 2012.
Numerous fighting-related video games released over the last twenty years have made an impact on gamers. While franchises like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat left an indelible mark on our childhood, they are not on this list for the simple fact that they aren’t realistic. They didn’t have the superstars we grew up watching or moves we tested on our siblings. The best fighting games leave us dreaming about becoming part of the game.
Here are the top ten combat sports video games of all time:
10. Punch Out!! (Wii)
The Wii console was made for this game. Bob and weave to avoid your opponent’s punches while getting a workout. For those who don’t have the stamina to stand and fight, one can use a Wii control to play it the traditional way.
9. EA MMA (PS3 and Xbox 360)
Jumping on the growing popularity of MMA, EA Sports developed EA MMA. This 2010 release lacks most of the big name we know because of an agreement between THQ and the UFC. Nevertheless, if this is a glimpse of what we can expect from EA Sports UFC, there is a lot to look forward to.
8. Knockout Kings 2001 (PS2)
With over 40 fighters to choose from, this has everything one could ask for in a boxing game. Legends like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier are available, each with their own signature style. The comprehensive career mode takes you from the slums of a local gym to prominent venues like Caesars Palace and the Roman Coliseum.
7. UFC: Tapout (Xbox)
While the gameplay isn’t revolutionary, some of the features are. This is the first MMA game to include female fighters and a celebrity (Ice-T). One also has the option of fighting as legends Dan Severn and Frank Shamrock.
6. Pride FC (PS2)
This is one of those games that doesn’t need big names to be entertaining. The authenticity of winning the Grand Prix translates very well through a fulfilling career mode and amazing detail. Few PS2 titles gave as much though into a fight’s grappling, striking and style elements.
5. UFC Undisputed 2009 (PS3 and Xbox 360)
When THQ and UFC announced their partnership, there was little doubt they would create a memorable game. It improves upon the boxing-like feel of EA MMA and gives fans a vivid gaming experience. Going through basic submission and grappling training is frustrating, but it makes gameplay that much more realistic.
4. Fight Night Round 4 (PS3)
The graphics and physics are stunning. From physical appearance to fighting techniques, a boxer’s mannerism have never been so detailed. For those who want to play online, there isn’t a better boxing option out there.
3. WWF Superstars (Arcade)
This was the first video game to feature household names. Fans finally had the chance to control the outcome of a fight between Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior. The graphics are primitive but they revolutionized fighting games for decades to come.
2. UFC Undisputed 3 (PS3 and Xbox 360)
The live event experience has never felt more realistic. Stand-up and submission techniques are specific to each fighter and striking is superior to other MMA games. Aside from UFC veterans, there is a roster of PRIDE fighters that can be used in career mode.
1. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! (NES)
It is the Super Mario Bros. of fighting games. Sure, it was released over twenty years ago but it is one of few Nintendo games to stand the test of time. If this release proves anything, it’s that a game doesn’t need stellar graphics and countless gameplay options; just simple controls and a good storyline.