First place was a no-brainer. Getting the jump on an opponent with a teleport is immensely satisfying, and “GET OVER HERE!” is second only to “FINISH HIM!” when it comes to fighting-game quotes. He’s also evolved his play style over the years without detracting from what makes him fighting games’ most iconic character.
Fireballs, Spinning Bird Kicks, wall jumps, air hops, lightning-fast kicks – Chun-Li’s got ‘em all. She also has one of the most enduring aesthetic designs in a fighter, showcasing Street Fighter’s multiculturalism without veering too far into anything too eye-rolling or offensive.
Ryu is comfort food. The go-to character for legions of fans, his trademark moves have molded the fighting genre for decades. His reliability means he hasn’t evolved as much as other characters over the years, but then, you wouldn’t want that from comfort food.
The Grandmaster of the Lin Kuei clan may not have the appeal of Scorpion, but his defensive play style has its own place. The ice ball is still a unique move in fighting games, as is his protective clone. Few fighters inspire as much fear on the approach.
Decades later, Dhalsim’s stretching limbs resonate as a brilliant, strange feat of fighting-game design. The range of his punches and kicks is offset by their wind-up times, and getting close (or better yet, countering his whip-like attacks with your own punches) offers an interesting challenge.
Every round against Yoshimitsu can turn into an absurd guessing game, as he bounces on his sword, sits down while pumping up his sword upward, then finishes the round by impaling both himself and his opponent. His look also varies wildly from game to game, making him a fun addition to any fighting-game cast.
In a game known for its airborne mobility, Jigglypuff are hard to beat. They get five airborne jumps, and Pound gives them a strong horizontal recovery while also creating an offense. Rest is also one of the biggest gambles you can take in fighting games, which means they’re always fun to watch.
Guile best personifi es the feel of the charge character, rewarding patience and a bit of foresight with powerful defensive tools. His Sonic Booms can go toe-to-toe with any fi reball, and his Flash Kick reminds everyone to never jump at him while he’s crouching. And the ‘do is timeless.
Though originally an F-Zero racer, Captain Falcon found his real calling as a fighter In Super Smash Bros. Good that he did, since the Falcon Punch is one of the best fighting-game moves of all time,
and his crushing airborne knee is one of the most satisfying moves to land.
Originally Darkstalkers’ take on the Ryu archetype, Morrigan has grown into a more complex character. Her most interesting iteration may be in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, in which she could create a barrage of high and low fireballs that required a high level of finesse to pull off.