Best Portable Fighting Games
Break some virtual bones playing these handheld brawlers.
Handheld fighting games used to blow, big time. Systems like the Game Boy and Game Gear lacked the processing muscle (and buttons, for that matter) to handle arcade hits like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II, yet publishers insisted on shoehorning these games onto every available platform, regardless of quality.
As a result, players like us had to deal with simplified controls, less animation and gutted rosters. Suffice to say, most of these portable brawlers were mere shadows of their former selves.
Times, thankfully, have changed. Now you can buy portable fighters that almost mirror their console counterparts while packing a variety of features like online play and high definition graphics.
On that note, we present the best portable beat-em-ups of all time.
Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition (3DS)
Capcom kicked off the Nintendo 3DS launch with a near perfect port of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 smash hit, complete with a whopping 35 characters, online/local multiplayer and exclusive StreetPass and 3D modes that only serve to enhance an already phenomenal experience. Sacrifices were made to put Super Street Fighter IV on the system (backgrounds sport less animation and detail), but this is arguably the best handheld fighter on the market.
Jump Superstars (DS)
Jump Superstars and its sequel, Jump Ultimate Stars, is the closest you'll get to having a Super Smash Bros. experience on the DS. The games support two to four player matches, and star characters from a variety of franchises, like Bleach, One Piece and Naruto. Too bad these beloved titles never left Japan.
Tekken Advance (Game Boy Advance)
The GBA will go down in history as one of the greatest systems because of its diverse library of games, some of which pushed the handheld to the max. Case in point, Tekken Advance. While not as feature packed as its console brethren, this pint-sized beat-em-up holds its own, with ten characters (Nina Williams, Paul Phoenix, Jin Kazama) and some neat 3D tricks, courtesy of the unit's impressive tech. The best part? It's quite enjoyable, once you come to grips with the hardware's limitations.
Tekken: Dark Resurrection (PSP)
Of course, Tekken Advance cannot compete with Dark Resurrection on PSP, which is essentially a port of Tekken 5. The game has fluid 60 frames per second fights, along with the option to download and battle online ghosts and compete for in game cash through Gold Rush mode.
Tekken 6 (PSP)
If you want the best portable Tekken, go with part six. It comes with 40 characters, the ability to create your own, online play and destructible environments. Ah yes, and it's without question one of the finest looking PSP titles to date.
Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny (PSP)
The soul still burns in this terrific companion to the outstanding console series. Most of our favorite characters- Ivy, Taki, Mitsurugi- returned, and Namco Bandai inked a deal with Sony to include Kratos from the God of War franchise; judging by his recent appearance in the new Mortal Kombat, this guy gets around.
Broken Destiny is a bit short on modes, but the developers managed to retain the fast-paced and brutal weapons based play, making this a great title to have on the go.
Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max (PSP)
The Sony PSP also received some Street Fighter love in the form of this near perfect arcade translation, complete with sweet looking 2D visuals, 33 characters, head to head wireless multiplayer and some of fastest load times you'll see on the system.
Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower (PSP)
We also can't forget about this gorgeous PSP launch title, which delivered the over the top Darkstalkers experience the palm of your hand. The big hook, as the title implies, is the Chaos Tower, an exclusive mode that challenges gamers to select three characters and see how far they can climb while dealing with various challenges. We also have a thing for the sexy Felicia.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat (DS)
After a couple atrocious GBA games, we finally received a quality Mortal Kombat handheld experience, this time on DS. Currently available for $19.99 at most locations, Ultimate Mortal Kombat offers a faithful arcade port of Ultimate MK3 with over 20 fighters, 15 plus arenas and single cart multiplayer. As an added bonus, the developers threw in the entertaining Puzzle Kombat.
Bleach: Dark Souls (DS)
Sega kicked off the Bleach series on DS with the impressive The Blade of Fate. Dark Souls, however, upped the ante with 44 playable warriors, enhanced Wi-Fi features, new modes, team based online play and 30 new Spirit Cards.
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger (PSP)
If you need a break from Street Fighter, get your 2D brawling fix with BlazBlue, a beautiful beat-em-up starring 12 over the top characters like Arakune and Iron Tager. Arcade and Score Attack will keep you busy, and there's also Legion mode, where you assemble a group of warriors and head out to conquer the game world, with up to 20 members in a single party.