The 10 Most Legendary Fighting Game Characters Ever

The 10 Most Legendary Fighting Game Characters Ever
The 10 Most Legendary Fighting Game Characters Ever

10: Sub Zero

Game: Mortal Kombat series

Sub Zero: Just relaxing and chilling

Digitised. Ice cool. Not a cold sandwich. 

Ah ‘Subbie,' my old friend. I wish I could put you higher on the list but you always seem to die to this yellow clone of yours in every canonical release of Mortal Kombat. But still it makes you lethal enough to get on the list.

Sub-Zero, to the best of my knowledge is the only guy to appear in every Mortal Kombat game since his debut in the original in 1992. Back then, digitised fighting game characters were like ‘so next gen,’ and cool.  An interesting thing about Sub is that fact that he is actually two people. After apparently dying in the first game at the hands of Scorpion, his younger brother, Kuai Liang takes his place, and the original Sub reappears as some bloke called Noob Saibot. I can’t pretend to understand either. Whatever. Sub Zero’s ability to control ice, freeze opponents, and rip out their spine after winning, is pretty hard-core.

9: Wolverine

Game: Several X-Men titles, including Marvel vs Capcom: Fate of Two Worlds

Wolverine: A wild animal covered in Spandex

Claws. Adamantine body. Mutant.

Despite it being the 21st Century, Wolverine proves that yellow and blue skin tight spandex never goes out of fashion. Logan, or ‘Wolvie,’ as I like to call him, is without doubt the most popular X-Man going and it’s not hard to see why with claws like that and possession of a backstory most characters can only dream of having, and despite being on the go since the 1800’s, he shows no sign of slowing down. I’m sure he’s a rewarding character to play with, but I always get my ass handed to me when I use him. That said, whenever a Marvel fighting game is released, you an be sure that Wolverine will be in there near the top.

Trivia: According to comic myth, Logan actually acquired his nickname not because of his claws, but for the way he laboured at a lumber mill, almost a century before being injected with adamantine.

8. Kazuya Mishima

Game: Tekken series


Good, Bad, who cares, it’s just a game.

 Hero. Villain. Anti-hero. Demonic. Like Ryu, but with the powers of a demon.

Kazuya has issues. Perhaps the ‘main’ story arc character in the original Tekken, Kazuya sets out to get at his corrupt heartless father which while initially seems rather noble it actually turns out, (lolz), that he made a deal with the devil and consequently then becomes the bad guy to beat in subsequent games. Oh the irony!

7. Scorpion

Game: Mortal Kombat

“If anything, S.Zero looks like me…”

Secret Boss. "Get over here." Nuff said.

Scorpion has for my money, the best finishing move of any fighting game character going. The first time I saw his flaming skull fatality, I genuinely took two steps back from the arcade machine. I was awestruck. But back then, we didn’t have internet, so you know, it was easier to achieve. Scorp. is best known for using his Kunai, shouting ‘Get over here,’ and also for his intense rivalry with Sub-Zero. 

6. Akuma

Game: Street Fighter series

Akuma Matata, it means no worries, for the rest of our days.                                       (image from Wallpapers

Hidden Boss. Powerful. Cold. (Emotionally.)

With those sharp teeth, pointy red hair, and references to himself as a ‘denizen of Hell,’ it’s hard to believe he’s actually Ryu’s adoptive uncle. I guess it takes all sorts to make a family. Akuma however, is the very definition of the warrior despite his love affair with darkness and evil stuff. He fights with honour and will duel only other fighters he deems worthy, or his equal. Awwwhhhh. Personally, I’d stab him in the back when he wasn’t looking. You don’t get second chances with guys like this.

5.) Jin Kazama

Game: Tekken series

Jin: The greatest trick the devil ever played….was convincing him his hair looked good like this.

It’s complicated. Devil power issues. Fatal Lightning.

I almost forgot him, can you believe that? A list of the best fighting game characters with no Jin? Jin… How can you forget someone whose lineage has inherent devil powers in it? As a character, Jin always has to keep his inner devil under control. He is the very essence of the tragic antihero whose purpose is so much nobler than the world he finds himself in. It’s hard not to feel an emotional connection to a guy whose plan is to wipe out his own blood, and himself for the betterment of the world. Heavy.

4. Ken

Game: Street Fighter series

 “Hi I’m Ken, could you be my Barbie?”

He was my favourite character from the original Street Fighter II arcade game. I wanted to be him, not Ryu. I only became able to appreciate Ryu in later life, so here’s Ken at no. 4 for my own nostalgic vanity. He’s bigger than life, easy-going, good looking, but always up for the fight, and I hated it when someone else nabbed him before I got a chance to in the arcade.


3. Iori Yagami

Game: The King of Fighters series

 “Need water…”

Cursed. Neo Geo. Slashing hands.

I only know about KOF because in 2003, my friend from college, who was from Japan, wouldn’t stop banging on about it until I played it. 23 hours later, I emerged from his apartment a different man. (Because of KOF, nothing else. Get your mind out of the sewer.) I don’t even remember what version of KOF it was, but it has stayed with me ever since. Up until that point I had no idea games like this could exist.

Iori is as sadistic and insanely violent as almost any character ever created. Iori is an eternal icon in the pantheon of fighting game characters. His powers, from what I can recall, come mainly from the different curses that have befallen his family. It is theses curses that give him his slightly blueish tint, and also make him so fast and powerful.

Tragically it also means everyone in the family seems to die young. Stung. Iori is wild, undisciplined and prone to attacking everyone around him. Definitely not buddy material, but great to play with in a game.

2. Ryu

Game: Take a guess…

“Not number 1? Call my agent!”

Focussed. Disciplined. The Original Street Fighter.

It’s hard to believe that Ryu has been with us since 1987, that he was the only playable character in the original arcade game, or the needless travesty that was Ryu’s comedy outing in 1994 in the Street Fighter movie. 

How times have changed. And yet they haven’t at all. Ryu was the original Street Fighter and every game since, has in some way revolved around him. You’ve got to admire anyone who is this disciplined trying to be the best fighter in the world. Nobody is this noble, or good. But don’t panic because Ryu isn’t, for he has evil an doppelganger named, wait for it…. Evil Ryu.

What makes him legendary is the fact that in almost 30 years of being on the scene, his appearance has hardly changed. You can spot Ryu a mile off in any game. And that’s not a bad thing; that’s testament to how popular old Ryu really is.


1: Son Goku

Game: Dragon Ball Z series

Kicking Superman's ass is all in a day's work for this guy

Son Goku would win against anyone. That’s all there is to it. Son Goku is the driving protagonist amongst most of the Dragon Ball Z universe, and has been consistently internationally popular for almost all of his time on Earth. 

First appearing in 1986 on Super Cassette, in Japan, as just ‘Goku,’ it also makes him the oldest character here in this list, just beating Ryu by a few months. But that in itself is not enough to put him top. Goku isn’t actually human, but a Saiyan, an alien race of stupendously good fighters. As such, as G grows up he becomes a legendary fighter himself. There's very little he doesn’t have going on. He’s super-fast, super strong, and a legend at the old fighting thing.  And also he’s got this whole blue energy wave thing going on when he focuses his chi….hard-core!

Goku is without doubt one of the most recognisable and iconic fighting video game characters ever, and is enduringly internationally popular.


But of course, that’s just like, my opinion, man…

Did I get it right? And if not, what order would you rank them in?

Who’s your pick for the most legendary fighting video game characters?



Chilled, Calm, writer, lover, fighter
Gamer Since: 1994
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: World Of Tanks, Skyrim, GTA5, Dying Light
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Borderlands 2, Grand Theft Auto V

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MJuarbe's picture

MJuarbe 7 years 3 months ago

Ryu has the easiest combos in the world. thank you ryu for making me look like the boss in street fighter

Shrapneljones's picture

Shrapneljones 7 years 3 months ago

LOLZ: No worries man. :)