With the recent announcement of Street Fighter 3 making a comeback on current gen systems, and the indifference some of my  Street Fighter 4 playing friends have towards that announcement, I decided it was time I make this list and tell the world once and for all where I stand (and where they should) on the topic of the best Capcom fighting games ever!

I narrowed it down to the best 10 fighting games and limited myself to one title per series just so Street Fighter 3 doesn’t dominate the chart on its own. Buckle your seat-belts:

10. Street Fighter 4
Just barely squeezing into the top ten list, SF4 makes it for 1 reason and one reason only. It’s a pretty big and important reason though. Thanks to SF4, there is a sudden second wind at Capcom to produce more fighting games. Otherwise, Street Fighter 4 is pretty much one of the worst Street Fighters ever.

It’s a de-evolution in every conceivable way when compared to other Street Fighter games. The models depicting the characters are ugly in the most part, the story seems to be penned by a 4 year old, the controls and combos are more needlessly complex and difficult to execute than any other street fighter out there (input leniency makes it worse), and I can go on and on. But hey, thanks to this piece of turd, we’re going to get some good fighting games from Capcom for the first time in almost 10 years.

9. X-Men: Children of the Atom
A very balanced fighter using my favorite comic book super heroes, the X-Men! X-Men: Children of the Atom also delivers on over-the-top super moves worthy of their source!

The biggest complaint I have about COTA is it’s aesthetic. The sprites are great and well animated enough, but the choice of colors leaves something to be desired. This is hard to explain but the game was a bit too blue, pink and, purple for my taste. Also, it’s missing some key characters, but with the X-Men’s sizable roster it’s impossible to please all of the fans. This game beat out Marvel Super Heroes for the best Marvel-only Capcom fighter.

8. Street Fighter Alpha 3
Though technically Street Fighter Alpha 2 is the true Alpha game with it’s more self-containing story and non-fodder characters, I’ve never been a fan of the Alpha characters personally (with the exceptions of Dan and Adon). That’s why Street Fighter Alpha 3 is my pick for best Alpha game. It has the beautiful anime-inspired Alpha sprites but with the characters I came to love from Street Fighter 2.

The gameplay is also solid, but not really my cup of tea to be honest. I do appreciate the choice of “ism” that allows each character to be played in 3 very different ways. All in all, a solid effort from Capcom.

7. Street Fighter EX
Say what you will of the EX series, but there is plenty of fun to be had with it and my friends and I did just that. It may be broken and ugly, but the lenient combo system made for some really fun combos allowing a character to string 3 super moves together.

Also, EX introduced awesome characters like Skullomania, Crackerjack, and Allen Snider to the Street Fighter mythology that might sadly never make a re-appearance in another street fighter game ever again. The dated 3d graphics might make this game hard to pick up and play today, but if you can put that aside then you owe it to yourself to try it if you’re not already a fan.

6. Tatsunoko vs Capcom
Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Cross Generation of Heroes is the only reason I picked up a Japanese Wii and it was well worth it …. until the US Tatsunoko vs Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars came out and proved to be the superior version in nearly every way. It got rid of a character I couldn’t stand and added 5 more I was very happy with!

The game is very intuitive and rewarding with screen-filling supers (and even characters) and is just pure fun in every way. True, I don’t really know the Tatsunoko characters, but they were all unique and interesting regardless! A great game every Capcom fighting game fan should have in their collections (provided they own a Wii).

5. Street Fighter 2: World Warriors
Street Fighter 2: World Warriors was the classic that started it all. I’m not forgetting the original Street Fighter, it deserves respect for being the first, but SF2 is where fighting games were truly born. I can’t even begin to guess how many quarters I spent on this game and I can still remember my first round ever losing with Guile to my 5 year old brother’s Dhalsim. Ah… the memories.

It’s true that Championship Edition, Super Street Fighter 2, SSF2 Turbo and all the other sub-versions I’m probably forgetting all improved on the original formula, but the first game in the series is the one I fell in love with and so that’s the one that makes this list.

4. Project Justice
I pity the fighting game fan who has never played Rival Schools. The game is set in Japan with the main characters being school kids and their teachers picking school yard fights and looking fabulous while doing it! Rival Schools had great character designs and a beautiful art style. Any one of its characters could have easily made the transition to a Street Fighter and felt right at home.

Project Justice was effectively the sequel to Rival Schools and it’s superior in every way. Sadly, factors such as the name change and its launch on the then dying Dreamcast meant that it slipped nearly unnoticed in fighting game obscurity. Its only consolation is that it”s fans still love it (and play it) and are clamoring for a worthy sequel! Come on Capcom, make it happen!

3. Capcom vs SNK 2
To be honest, I was never an SNK fighting game fan up until about 2 years ago, but since then I’ve really come to appreciate the company and it’s many fighting games. Even before I re-visited the King of Fighters and Fatal Fury series, I still played and loved Capcom vs SNK 2. In fact, that game was my gateway to KOF and SNK.

Pick your favorite fighter from any of the Capcom or SNK franchises you cherish, then play that character with the ‘groove’ of your favorite game as well! Alpha’s A-ism, SF3’s parry, Samurai Showdown’s, King of Fighter’s super-bar charger, take your pick! Your character will have all of the inherent attributes (air-blocking, dodging, super jumps etc..) that come with that groove as well! Such variety in gameplay is not seen in any other fighter on the market.

2. X-Men vs Street Fighter
When my friend Hytham told me back in College about X-Men vs Street Fighter, I didn’t believe him. To say I didn’t believe him was an understatement, I was CONVINCED he was pulling my leg. Not only was Street Fighter 2 my favorite game at the time, and it’s characters my most beloved, but I’m also a long-time HUGE X-Men fan (owning every X-Men comic from 1991 – 2001). This wasn’t the game of my dreams because I never even could have dreamed that it was a possibility.

But it was and here I am almost 15 years later not able to come up with 2 franchises I love more. When Capcom teased a new VS game (which was later revealed to be Marvel vs Capcom 3), I honesly only wanted an X-Men vs Street Fighter 2. I’m a big Marvel vs Capcom 2 fan as well but sometimes more is not better. X-Men vs Street Fighter didn’t have the silly Capcom guys or useless Avengers characters that it’s big brother had. No, it was a trimmer, more elegant game that will forever be cherished.

1. Street Fighter 3: Third Strike
Last, and certainly the best, we come to Street Fighter 3: Third Strike. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the peak of excellence. The closest fighting game to perfection that ever was and will probably ever be. If I got to choose just one game of any genre that I could play for the rest of my life, without an iota of hesitation, I would choose SF3: TS.

Why? Because SF3: TS has exciting, fast-paced, aggressive gameplay. Staying in a corner and waiting for your opponent (turtling) is not a viable strategy as in Street Fighter 4. There is an answer to every move with the parry (unlike the focus attack). You are not rewarded for being beaten up with an Ultra attack. Not all combos are annoyingly difficult to execute link combos that only the pros can do fairly consistently. This game is fun where others are annoying.

So there you have it. I’m sure most of you don’t agree but too many people out there inexplicably like Street Fighter 4 and that renders the mass opinion (brainwashing) moot. Some of my friends thought I was crazy for not liking SF4 until I pointed out that Daigo himself said that he doesn’t like it. Street Fighter 3 might have less fans, but they’re die-hard and have been playing it non-stop for 10 years. Lets see how long SF4 stays in the limelight.

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