You’ll find endless debates within every genre over which franchise deserves more praise than the competition, with the fighting genre being among those where debates are the fiercest. Here, several franchises are well-known, so there’s always the big question in mind.
Where there are games such as Tekken relevant toward a worldwide audience, Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat are also mentioned in the same breath. It’s the latter two we’ll be looking into here, and here is an analysis over which series deserves better praise after the many years they’ve been in this industry. For this list, we’re giving more importance to the presentation, style, and perception of each series than just the fighting mechanics as that is something that varies too much from one game to another.
10 Graphics: Street Fighter
Both series have very distinct graphic features in that Street Fighter has stayed true to the classic days of gaming and retained the 2D model which has now become the series’ trademark, while Mortal Kombat has flirted with the idea of upgrading itself toward full HD graphics.
Still, the seamless way with which the graphics are presented even with the 3D format makes Street Fighter have its own identity, and Mortal Kombat’s earlier practice of having chopped up graphics was too bizarre to forget; the newer games don’t have nearly as great graphics as other games out there.
9 Story: Mortal Kombat
Neither of these two franchises has a story that people other than absolutely diehard fans can sink their teeth into, but Mortal Kombat has bettered its opponent here by handing out more engaging individual storylines to characters.
On occasion, when games seem to deviate from the overall arc, Mortal Kombat has put more effort at introducing new character stories while Street Fighter has relied on the tried-and-tested model of focusing mainly on a small set of characters.
8 Longevity: Street Fighter
There have been more Mortal Kombat games than we can count by now, and a lot of these have gotten lost in the mix over the years due to a feeling of saturation; Street Fighter has managed to avert this by handing out fewer entries.
Street Fighter also debuted first between the two series, but has remained relevant despite having very large gaps between sequels, meaning its longevity has been present more than Mortal Kombat’s since it hasn’t needed to rely on many installments to stay fresh in fans’ minds.
7 Character Models: Mortal Kombat
There’s a difference between graphics and the way the characters have been presented, which is why Mortal Kombat comes away with this point due to how cool most of the playable characters look.
Street Fighter hasn’t been able to match the “badass” appearances that Mortal Kombat has managed to achieve, and most novices tend to gravitate toward the latter simply because guys like Sub Zero and Scorpion look like awesome characters to play as. With the advantage of 3D models, Mortal Kombat has also been able to further carve out better looks for these characters.
6 Critical Acclaim: Street Fighter
Street Fighter is quite hilariously ahead of the competition in this regard and has frequently been ranked among the best fighting games ever made. Mortal Kombat’s liking toward churning out too many entries has resulted in diminishing returns.
The few games that have been released in the Street Fighter series over the last three decades have all been touted as being well worth the wait by critics, and there’s no denying that the series has managed to create the right kind of variety in style and application for these games to have a lasting legacy.
5 Special Moves: Mortal Kombat
Fans of Street Fighter might be outraged to see us handing the win over to Mortal Kombat for this one, but you have to understand the satisfaction one gets by having that decisive “Finish Him!” prompt onscreen.
Taking out an opponent in a wonderfully brutal maneuver is extremely hard to top, and Mortal Kombat has excelled in this by having dozens of ways for players to finish off the competition. Street Fighter has a lot of flash in this regard, but it lacks that simple pleasure even novices can enjoy here.
4 Crossover Potential: Street Fighter
Harmonizing fighting styles is paramount for the fighting genre, as most of the time gamers of this genre are fans of multiple fighting games rather than limiting themselves to just the one franchise. It’s here that Street Fighter has the advantage as perfecting yourself in this series means you can also excel in other fighting games.
There have also been many crossovers for the series over the years, with recent times seeing characters from Tekken appearing on Street Fighter and vice versa. Mortal Kombat’s violence-heavy presentation hasn’t allowed it to blend in as well with other games as one might hope. Or does one need a reminder of Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe?
3 Diverse Experience: Mortal Kombat
Within its own realm, Mortal Kombat has managed to have more creative freedom than Street Fighter, as evidenced by the backdrops where characters fight and the aforementioned brutality that is available.
For Street Fighter, what you see is what you get, meaning the general formula has been retained across most of the games and, while that has led to the quality being carried forward, it has limited the series in the creative department. With Mortal Kombat, one can have diversity in the form of execution of story and style among different games.
2 Honing Player Expertise: Street Fighter
Sure, having the option to violently take out your opponents is fun, but Mortal Kombat hasn’t come across as that genuine fighting experience that would make it seem more authentic compared to its competitors - the bloody style has led it to be stereotyped with violence.
Street Fighter, on the other hand, has been able to shine with its fighting styles due to a mix between power moves and true combat moves. As mentioned before, excelling in Street Fighter will enable you to be a leading gamer in the fighting genre, as the combos presented here require a certain level of smarts.
1 Winner: Street Fighter
Both the series have enduring legacies and solid fanbases, but Street Fighter inches ahead with the victory because of the level of quality it has sustained over the last thirty years without the need to deviate too much or weaken its credibility with too many sequels.
Having a solid fighting style, characters that have become entrenched in pop culture, and graphical qualities that have stood the test of time has ensured Street Fighter will go down as among the very best fighting franchises there are. Mortal Kombat deserves a place up there as well, but it does feel a notch lower than Street Fighter when all is said and done.
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