The 8 Best PS2 Fighting Games to Buy in 2018

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best for Epic Fights: War of the Monsters

War of the Monsters

Courtesy of Amazon

War of the Monsters brings to life the fantasy of Godzilla and King Kong as you play as a giant monster fighting another giant monster in destructible cities. The game’s presentation shines with its scale of environmental details and a fitting exciting orchestra that gives your epic monster fights a larger-than-life feeling.

People are flooding the streets, cars are speeding away, and you’ve just thrown a giant lizard into a skyscraper that is now crumbling and fuming the air with smoke. This is just the normal gameplay of War of the Monsters, where you can jump, climb buildings, block, throw radio towers, and perform combos and super moves with its 10 monsters that range from a giant old war robot to a Tiki god made of lava and stone.

The game’s single-player offers multiple modes including an adventure where you fight through all the other monsters in the game, as well as a free-for-all and endurance option that puts your monster fighting skills to the test. Multiplayer versus mode offers a split-screen view on each side of your screen but conveniently morphs into a single view when you bring the action up close.

Best Weapons-Based: Soul Calibur II

Soul Calibur II switches up the fighting genre with its attention to detail and unique emphasis on a weapons-based combat system and stylized presentation. One of the most beloved fighting series of all time roared in on the PS2 and has a fun and fast-paced, action-style gameplay.

Every swipe you take and punch you make can be a moment of victory or failure, as both the fluidness and complexity of fighting in Soul Calibur II opens up for an opportunity. Despite this, the game is very easy to pick up and play and features 23 different uniquely designed characters that offer a ton of variety and weapons that give them each their own personality. The game features seven different modes likes versus and arcade along with a single player weapons master mode where you earn money to buy new weapons and costumes for your characters.

Best for Technicality: Tekken 4

The technicality of Tekken 4 is shown through its different ways of combat, whether you’re aiming to juggle opponents, yank them, side-step away, or utilize one of the many different fighting styles of each character. Tekken 4 carries with it a lot of depth, from its combat mechanics to its detailed interactive levels.

It can take some time to get in the groove and master one of the 23 different characters in Tekken 4; each one has their own moves, including karate and boxing. Tekken 4 emphasizes strategic maneuvering (dodging, side-stepping, and anticipating opponent’s moves), and the game’s graphics pop out with intricately designed character models, lighting effects, and dynamic physics.

Best for Wrestling: WWE SmackDown! Here Comes The Pain

For fans of the wrestling world, nothing gets better than WWE SmackDown! Here Comes The Pain on the PlayStation 2. It combines the perfect balance of arcade-style gameplay with simulation. The wrestling fighting game features a jam-packed roster of over 50 wrestlers, including John Cena, The Rock, and more.

Don’t judge the title, WWE SmackDown! Here Comes The Pain was one of the first of its kind to introduce a refined grappling system into its gameplay, with body damage displays, submission meters, and outweighing character attributes all taken into account. Wrestler entrances still flare up with all the pizzaz of fireworks, real life TV monitor footage, and a whole ton of personality in the way the character models move and interact. The control scheme is one of the easiest to learn and memorize among wrestling games, so virtually anyone can jump right in and start playing.

Best for Originality: Def Jam: Fight for NY

Def Jam: Fight for NY

Courtesy of Amazon

The most original pick on the list goes to Def Jam: Fight for NY, a hip-hop influenced, 3D fighting game that includes all your favorite rappers such as Flavor Flav, Lil’ Kim, Xzibit, and even celebrities like Danny Trejo. You’ll create a character, win fighting matches in New York, gear up with Air Jordans, Sean Combs clothing, and train in a gym run by Henry Rollins to increase your skills.

The short learning curve of Def Jam: Fight for NY makes it easy to pick up and play. Here the fighting is more about timing and observation than building up combos. The game keeps itself fresh with fluid animation sequences combined with interactive environments, weapons, “blazin'” super moves, and five different fighting styles, from kickboxing to wrestling. The robust story mode is filled with animated CGI sequences and voice acting involving your own fully customized character who partakes in underground fights and eventually takes down the main antagonist played by Snoop Dogg.

Best Arcade-Style: Street Fighter Alpha Anthology

Street Fighter Alpha Anthology brings together a compilation of all of the arcade classic Alpha titles from the Street Fighter collection. The Street Fighter Alpha series changed up the gameplay mechanics of the original popular Street Fighter II by introducing air blocking, counters, and chain combos with faster action-packed stylized gameplay.

Street Fighter Alpha Anthology includes the ported original arcade cabinet titles of Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Street Fighter Alpha 2: Gold, Street Fighter Alpha 3, and the cute and stylized Super Gem Fighter Mini Mix. All of the games include modes like the classic arcade, a versus mode where you can play with friends, and a training mode to practice your moves and combos. The game includes unlockable secret features like Hyper Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper, which provide extended character rosters and other gameplay balanced tweaks.

Best Western-Style: Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon sticks to the traditional westernized style fighting game that the series introduced to answer to the ever-popular Street Fighter II. The game includes almost every character (over 60) from the previous titles, with added fighting styles, weapons, character creation, and various modes.

Each character in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon uses two different fighting styles: one that uses hand-to-hand martial arts and another with a stylized weapon. Despite this, the game retains many of the classic move sets and fatalities that you’d find in the past series, so controls are familiar. The rough and brutal fighter has a main story Konquest mode, a “Motor Kombat” minigame in the style of Mario Kart, and a character creation option where you can make your own fighter and customize everything from their appearance to their own special moves.

Best Cult Classic: Shrek SuperSlam

Upon its release, Shrek SuperSlam wasn’t taken as a serious competitive fighting game (instead, as a Super Smash Brothers clone for children), but thanks to the Internet’s meme brewing process, the game took on a life of its own. This game is still being played actively today and includes a subreddit community with over 1,000 users, YouTube videos teaching advanced “Shrek Tech” moves, real-life multiplayer tournaments, and much more.

Shrek SuperSlam is a 3D fighting game that takes place in the Shrek universe with 20 different characters who each have their own unique combat moves (Humpty Dumpty does yolk vomit projectiles or Donkey has a donkey copter gliding attack).

Multiplayer modes with up to four players include a King of the Hill mode where players see who can stay atop a hill the longest, a Melee mode where it's possible to earn slam points by unleashing “Slam Attacks”, and “Slammageddon” where every attack counts as a point.