Frenzied fighters comprise a good portion of any retro gramer's library, and for good reason: they're ridiculously fun. From Pocket Fighter to Darkstalkers, these colorful, frenetic brawlers incorporate hilariously varied and random combos, loud artwork, and fluid animations to back it all up. Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is a blast from the past that follows in the footsteps of these fantastic games -- a Dreamcast/PlayStation release that followed the events of the popular manga. The cult classic is celebrating its 25th anniversary and to commemorate the event Capcom has released an HD version via PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. Nostalgia can be a powerful factor when influencing our feelings one way or another toward particular releases, but is that enough to propel this bizarre adventure into greatness?


Who hasn't fantasized about less-than-likely Sony character crossovers? Who hasn't envisioned a knock-down, drag-out battle to the death between iconic PlayStation mainstays at a time? Those might sound like bizarre gaming fantasies, but at least a few of us have sat and pondered how such a game might pan out.


In true celebrity fashion, the "surprise guest" for the Tekken Tag Tournament 2 display was growing late to the party by the minute. The sparsely dressed, gleaming eyed booth babe's plastered smiles wavered as they grew fatigued. Some guy with a big rim around his neck continued to waddle around, his purpose not exactly clear. The amassed crowd began to shift in their seats just as a commotion stirred in the back of the stage. Poof! Smoke hissed to cloud the entrance (in a very appropriate manner) of the Doggfather himself: Snoop Dogg. 



It’s been nearly 12 years since we’ve seen Tekken Tag Tournament, Namco’s off-shoot in its fighting franchise, where you could tag team between two characters when facing off against enemies, switching them out with tactics and engaging in some rather creative melees as a result.  We’re supposing that the company preferred the “one vs. one” option for so long, as they demonstrated in Tekken 4, Tekken 5 and Tekken 6.  But finally, we’re getting a return of team fighting madness with Tekken Tag Tournament 2, which is set to hit Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this September, with a Wii U release to follow later in the year.


Early this year, Bioware’s Mass Effect saga came to five year run. Rest aside the ending; the series is one of the most complete trilogies in video game history. There are two aspects that Mass Effect nails perfectly. The series was first to interweave choices all the way through the third and final installment captivating fans from start to finish. However, you can’t tell a great story if you forget to create the atmosphere for your game to breath in. The music in the game really doses shape Commander Shepard with it having one of the best scores in gaming, but do people notice? Do people look at soundtracks as a whole or as background noise?


When Virtua Fighter 5 initially released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 a few years back, it entertained long-time fans of Sega AM2’s brawling series, though some missing features – namely online play on the PS3 – left them being somewhat uneven.  But the company finally resolved those differences this past week with the release of Final Showdown, a long-awaited follow-up that fixes some (but not all) of the mistakes, thus making it a smoother fighting experience.  And cheaper, too.


For the longest time, we’d like to think that the Ultimate Fighting Championship league, or the UFC, have had a great relationship, even when things got a little rough with the publisher and EA Sports producing the competitive EA Sports MMA, which caused White to have some harsh words for the company.  But today, he took part in a new powerhouse relationship that will take the UFC games to the next level.


The last time that the DC Comics characters made a respectable appearance in a fighting game, it was in the crossover title Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, which wasn't half bad but ended up being somewhat mixed reviews due to its Teen-rated nature.  However, since Mortal Kombat has gone on to bloody success returning to its roots, why can't DC Comics get its own fighting love?  It's doing just that, as Ed Boon and his team at Netherrealm Studios have announced Injustice: Gods Among Us, a new fighting game with plenty of comic book love.


After making a huge splash on consoles last year (and we mean in bright red bloody colors), Mortal Kombat is just about ready to make its portable debut on the PlayStation Vita.  The game includes all the content from the original console game, along with online play, a number of exclusive Klassik Skins and a Challenge Tower that includes various touch screen games, including Test Your Slice (a Fruit Ninja variation) and Test Your Balance.


With Nintendo announcing that development has just begun on the next iteration of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting the game this year, as the team makes time to really have everything balanced.  So what’s a hardcore player to do while they wait for that brawlathon?  Well, how about engage in another?  Today, Sony announced that it is bringing its much-rumored PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale out for the holiday season, with a slew of fighters from the 15-plus year Sony gaming legacy and a smorgasbord of levels.  The company recently invited us to an event to go hands-on.


Sega’s downloadable game slate is looking incredible.  We certainly won’t lie.  Along with a revamped version of Jet Set Radio, the recently released House of the Dead 4, the upcoming original game Hell Yeah (more on that shortly) and the return of Sonic the Hedgehog (part four, episode two), Sega has a lot of genres covered.  You can count fighting in there as well, as the company is bringing Virtua Fighter 5 back to market with the upcoming expansion Final Showdown, set for release on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.


The fighting game market is still thriving quite well these days, with thousands of players stepping up for tournaments and proving their worth in games like Mortal Kombat, King of Fighters XIII and Street Fighter x Tekken, among others.  But by no means should you ignore the “little guys”, the teams that are still making less-than-popular fighting games that are just as good as the “big boys”.  Case in point – Skullgirls, the latest from Revenge Labs and their respective publishers at Autumn Games and Konami, has finally arrived on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network after what seems like years in development.  And now that it’s here, you shouldn’t dare miss it.


I just have something to share with Namco right now.  If you really want your anime franchises to stand out as a fighting game, call in Capcom and have them do Dragon Ball Z vs. Naruto.  It’d easily be the best crossover game since the old Jump Superstars games on DS.  Sigh…it’ll probably be a while before something like that is even considered, so for the time being, we’ll manage with the 3D fighters Namco has to offer.  Its latest, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations, continues to buck the trend, and, when it comes to its key audience, is quite effective.


I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Capcom’s Street Fighter x Tekken, not only because I wanted to make sure to test out the online play and the additional PS3-exclusive fighters (y’know, “fat” Mega Man” and Cole McGrath from Infamous), but also because it’s not just another typical crossover fighter.  Yes, it combines characters from both Capcom and Namco’s respective fighting universes, but its controls are set up a little differently, rather than relying on the mechanics that worked so well in the Marvel vs. Capcom games.  That’s not a complaint by any means.  In fact, I can’t think of a hardcore fighting fan that wouldn’t dig into this thing like a treasure chest.  Casual fans, too.