The game had it's other plus points in that there were no OTT special moves like fireballs, nuclear moon farts or any such nonsense, it was pure martial arts action and consequently made for an extremely refreshing and realistic play. It had it's issues though, the moves were a little limited and the jumps were overly floaty (a problem present even in today's games) but as a step forward it was a monumentally massive one, especially for the era.
The 3D fighting format hasn't changed much since then bar some borderline nonsense concepts but Virtua Fighter and Tekken still hold the crown for the one's who brought the genre into the public eye. More modern 3D titles like the Soulcalibur series and a sea of 'something' vs 'something' games in which franchises square off against one another have become increasingly popular.......and increasingly ridiculous as players combat with swords the size of their own bodies and clothes come off female fighters in what is ultimately a target at the male teen spawn of today's gaming world.
In my day we had a jiggle of Cammy's bitmapped tits and that's it!
So what of the 2D fighter? Evolution suggests that the older stage will die out when the newer one comes along but this was not the case to be.
2D fighters and scrolling beat 'em ups are still incredibly popular because the change to 3D didn't simply update the genre, it created a whole new one completely separate from it's 2D brothers and as such has a different feel of play which can still appeal to a wide variety of people. Scrolling Beat 'em ups like Final Fight or Double Dragon aren't just the dominion of ageing nostalgia buffs (like yours truly) but millennium teens and twenty-somethings regularly count these games as favourites even though they were not around when they were storming the gaming scene the first (or even the second) time around.
Of course this difference in genre hasn't gone unnoticed and some updates were attempted to try and fuse the two. The ill fated projects of Streets Of Rage 3D and Final Fight Streetwise tried to blend a 3D environment with the traditional scrolling fighter format but promptly fell flat on its arse, perhaps not for it's attempt at the style marriage but for missing the point and feel of the original games almost entirely.
Ladies and gentlemen, challengers and cheaters it's been an honour, a privilege and a lot of fun trawling through the years of beat 'em ups in this series and while I fully admit that I probably haven't even covered a fraction of what's out there (as well as having a slightly retro bias) I hope that this series has been informative, nostalgic and makes you head straight for a good ol' game of Streetfighter II or Mortal Kombat.
Striding forth from his lair at Castle Stareskull one morning, Prototron decided to not reign down terror on the villagers, but instead go back inside, crack open a beer and load up Streets Of Rage 2. One hundred years later, he's still there. A avid music maker (of TERROR!) and retro gamer, he can be found whooping any and all heroes at all manner of SNK-based challenges.