The 10 Best PS1 Fighting Games of All Time

1 million hit combo!

Milan Zagorac
Milan Zagorac
9 Min Read

The PS1 was genre-defining when it came to fighting games. We had iconic titles such as Street Fighter and Tekken pave their way onto the console, marking the way we would play these games for many years to come.

From the fluid animations to the groundbreaking mechanics, each game on this list represents a cornerstone in the fighting genre. So, we’ve done our research, and compiled a list of the best PS1 fighting games of all time taking user reviews and feedback from critics into account.


Rival Schools: United by Fate

Rival Schools is a great fighting game for the PS1.

Release: 1997/1998
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom/Virgin Interactive

Rival Schools is a fighting game that takes after Marvel Vs Capcom in the team-up angle, and the classic two kicks, two punches controls from SNK titles. You fight one-on-one battles, with the second character helping when you have enough vigor.

After one character loses, the partner is up in the next round. You win by defeating both the opposing characters. The game has counters and cancels, as well as super moves. Team ups are also an option, where the partner hops in to help with a special move/heal.


Street Fighter EX2 Plus

Street Fighter EX2 Plus is a solid spin off from the main Street Fighter franchise.

Release: 1998/1999
Developer: Arika
Publisher: Capcom/Virgin Interactive

EX2 Plus is the expanded version of EX2, adding more characters, new and returning. The game adds guard cancels, and unblockable moves. You can also cancel a super move now, and continue into your own super move.

EX2 Plus adds meteor moves, which are super moves that require all three bars to be full. Each character has at least one meteor move. They tend to be ridiculous, such as Zangief prepping his signature piledriver, but jumping to outer space. 


Tekken 3

Tekken 3 is one of the best PS1 fighting games, and in general, a great game.

Release: 1997
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco

Arguably one of the best PS1 games and fighting games, Tekken 3 is a masterpiece that every fighting fan should try at least once. Following up on Tekken 2, characters are redesigned and there are a couple of returning characters.

The new characters include many legends, which is why for most people, Tekken starts with Tekken 3. There are fun game modes such as Tekken Ball which is a beach volleyball game, as well as Tekken Force Mode, a beat ’em up style mode.


Bushido Blade 2

Bushido Blade 2 is a great fighting game.

Release: 1998
Developer: Light Weight
Publisher: Square/Square Electronic Arts

Bushido Blade 2 is the successor to the first game, following up on its sword and spear combat between the two opposing schools. The goal of the game is either to destroy the opposing school or reacquire a legendary sword.

Some of the enemies are exempt from the typical weapons and carry firearms. They can be blocked, so you have a fighting chance. Set in the 13th century, this title takes us back in time, as opposed to most fighting games which were looking to the future. 


The King of Fighters ‘98

Kyo fighting Mary in King of Fighters '98

Release: 1998/1999
Developer: SNK//TUG/Yumekobo
Publisher: SNK

The King of Fighters series by SNK was polarizing for most people. The game changed from year to year and not everyone could be pleased. The ‘98 version didn’t bring many gameplay changes except a handicap for when a fighter loses a round.

As with most KoF games, you have tons of fighters to choose from, some overpowered, some regular. If you like to fight, this is the right game for you, but don’t go looking for a rich story with plot twists and deep lore.


Soul Edge

Soul Edge, is the precursor to Soulcalibur, one of the best PS1 fighting games.

Release: 1996
Developer: Project Soul
Publisher: Namco

This is the first Soulcalibur title, also known as Soul Blade. You can double tap a button and move upwards or down on the screen, thus dodging some attacks. Characters have slow and unblockable attacks, as well as Critical Edge attacks, which are combos with a strong last hit.

Unlike most fighting games, Soul Edge has a story. A group of warriors with different goals is seeking the mysterious sword, Soul Edge. They believe a lot of things about the sword, but know nothing for certain, except that it is dangerous.


Street Fighter Alpha 3

Ken executing a super move in Street Fighter Alpha 3, a great fighting game across multiple platforms.

Release: 1998
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom/Virgin Interactive

Street Fighter Alpha 3 is the third game in the Alpha series, arguably the best of the three. It features the most characters and three fighting styles, called isms, the X, A, and V. Each plays differently and allows for special moves or combos.

Every character has a story of their own, that ends up with them fighting M. Bison, though a truly overpowered version of the base character. The stories are fine, but the mechanics and fighting are what make Street Fighter Alpha 3 a great game.


Psychic Force

In Psychic Force, you can take flight and combat in a large arena.

Release: 1996
Developer: Taito
Publisher: Taito/Acclaim Entertainment

Psychic Force tries something new in the fighting genre. All the fights take place in an arena surrounded by a force field. The field plays a strategic role as it deals damage to those that come into contact with it, or rather, are pushed into it.

The story is set in 2010 in a world where we get psychic powers. Psychiccers are disliked by normal people because of their abilities. A pro-psychiceers organization, NOA, appears with ideas that are rather dystopian, which prompts an anti-NOA movement. 


Star Gladiator – Episode 1: Final Crusade

Star Gladiator is a great fighting game, innovating where others stayed similar.

Release: 1996
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom

This Capcom title plays a lot like Soulcalibur titles with two weapon buttons, a kick button and a defensive button. Fights can be won by depleting an enemy’s health bar or by pushing them off a floating arena. The special system is called the Plasma system.

Plasma Reflects stun the enemy, while Plasma Revenge allows for a fast counterattack. Plasma Strikes deal more damage if they connect. The game is set in a distant future where people seek out new planets to settle, but there is darkness yet within us, as you will come to see.


Guilty Gear

Guilty Gear is one of the best PS1 fighting games, the start of an amazing franchise.

Release: 1998
Developer: Arc System Works
Publisher: Arc System Works/Altus/Studio 3

Guilty Gear is a very successful franchise that has many titles, and this, the first one, even has a modern remake. Guilty Gear has two special buttons, as well as a punch, kick, and two weapon buttons. It also introduces instant kill moves which end the match immediately.

The game has ten playable characters, though some are more overpowered than others, which is normal for a first release of any game, especially a franchise. The story requires some getting into, which is why it’s best for you to explore it in detail.

These are the best PS1 fighting games. They can be played as remasters, or with an emulator, or on the original console if you can buy the discs. 

There are a plethora more fighting games, more in each of the franchises, so start with this, or chronologically, as long as you experience them.

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With over 1650 hours of Apex Legends, and 2100 of League of Legends, Milan is an avid gamer. When he's not indoors, he climbs mountains or does urban acrobatics. Add a passion for writing to the mix and you get a hopefully interesting broth.
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