4. Sonic the Fighters (Arcade)

sonic the fighters

 

It has to be difficult for young gamers to imagine just how thoroughly SEGA was killing it in the 90s. With arcade blockbusters like Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA and the Genesis coming within striking distance of the once-untouchable Nintendo Entertainment System, it really was a gilded age. In this champagne haze someone actually greenlit this clusterfuck of a button-basher. Fighting games were hot, Sonic was cool, so why would things like "playability" or "visual coherence" POSSIBLY get in the way of a million-dollar idea like that? 

 

snipe

 

Aw yeah, this is where gamers first got introduced to such memorable characters as "Bean the Dynamite" and "Bark the Polarbear", in a game that's twitchy, short, and hard to look at. Thank god Nintendo didn't do something equally stupid, like having a game where Mario fought Samus and Pikachu.

 

 

5. Tounge of the Fat Man / Slaughter Sport (PC and Genesis)

tounge of the fatman

 

Considered one of the worst games ever made, this fighter comes from the dark ages that was  the pre-Street Fighter II years. The premise involves an intergalactic fighting league run by Mondu The Fat Man, a nefarious ringmaster whose reputation is preceded only by his prominent man bosoms. As you go up against all sorts of weird aliens and warriors, you earn money and stat boosts and weapons that will help you defeat more opponents. First released for DOS and later the Mega Drive, the game has been remembered only for its bizarre and nightmarish alien imagery that would even make the writers at Rick and Morty puke their pants.

 

fat man tounge

 

This leaves nothing to be said about the gameplay, which has been described as clunky, unresponsive, frustrating, and repetitive. See for yourself here:

 

 

6. Super Cosplay Wars Ultra Infinity (PC)

totoro

 

It in what other game (besides a derelict build of M.U.G.E.N that you downloaded in 2004) could Pac-Man, Totoro, a Zaku, and Omega Rugal all throw down in the same tournament? This love letter to Japanese otaku culture is absolutely soaked with references as each stage and attack animation is crammed with callbacks to anime and videogame franchises. Basically it's everything you love about anime conventions, but without the drunk teenagers wearing ill-fitting raver outfits.

 

totoro

 

I mean, just LOOK at how many Final Fantasy references are packed into the moveset for "Aya" (and just TRY to ignore the laughable amount of boob jiggles):

 

With cute graphics and a varied roster, this freeware game has been a cult favorite for less-economically-advantaged fighting game fans. You can download it here.