10 Most Iconic Fighting Game Characters From The 90s

The 1990s were a big time for fighting games. In many ways, the decade helped propel the genre to the forefront of video gaming. The success of fighting games has focused heavily on the arcade game market, allowing players to lose quarters and compete for first place. In order to attract more players, good characters should take precedence over other gameplay elements.

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Fortunately, video game developers conceptualized a number of memorable fighting game brawlers during the 90s, many of which have survived intact to this day. Each franchise had a particular character that helped sell its respective property and paved the way for highly lucrative sequels and spinoffs.

ten Shadow (Eternal Champions)


Split image of Shadow in Eternal Champions

Eternal Champions was a Sega exclusive title first released for the Genesis console and later ported to the Sega CD with a much more gory update. He tried to capitalize on mortal combat the violence craze of the 90s while introducing characters like Shadow into the mix.

Shadow was a femme fatale ripped from the jaws of death to compete in the tournament, and her dominatrix-inspired outfit certainly helped her get noticed. As an elite assassin, Shadow blended all the best elements from characters like DC’s Catwoman and street fighters Chun-Li into an iconic brawler.

9 Kage Maru (Virtua Fighter 2)


Split image of Kage-Maru from Virtua Fighter 2

Ninjas have never been as popular again as they were in the 1990s, and fighting games have taken full advantage of that. Sega created its own ninja character for the groundbreaking Virtual Fighter, which helped propel fighting games into the realm of 3D with polygons as the graphics engine.

This ninja was fast, mysterious and deadly in a fight. He quickly became a fan favorite and franchise icon despite series protagonist Akira Yuki’s attempts to claim the throne. His moveset is spectacular, making him easy to pick up for beginners and a deadly choice for veterans.


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8 Mitsurugi (Soul Calibur)


Split image of Mitsurugi from Soul Calibur

SoulCalibur was a major breakthrough for fighting games in the 1990s, coming on the heels of other titles that helped break the mould, such as virtual fighter and Toshinden Battle Arena. The Dreamcast port of the arcade game helped make it a household name, and Mitsurugi was the character who led the charge.

This mighty samurai was brave, aggressive, and fierce in battle, making him an instant fan favorite. In many ways he is the Ryu of SoulCalibur franchise and a great starter character for new players. He also has one of the coolest katas in the entire game.


seven Galford (Samurai ShoDown)


Split image of Galford from Samurai ShoDown

Samurai ShoDown introduced a number of new gameplay mechanics into the 2D fighting game mold, but it was the characters that contributed to its success. Galford is arguably the face of this franchise, mostly due to his physical appearance, fighting style, and choice of mate.

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Galford fights with his dog Poppy in tow, which helps change the dynamic of the game. He’s also a charismatic and carefree character, which has made him a favorite of the series. He is also one of two ninja characters in the game, the other being Hanzo Hattori.


6 Morrigan (Darkstalkers)


Split image of Morrigan from the Darkstalkers series

Capcom’s Dark Stalkers the series may not be as popular as street fighter, but it’s a fighting game iconic enough to deserve its own spin-off movie. Morrigan’s character was a Ryu/Ken clone with some interesting twists that made her a fan favorite, in addition to her obvious physical beauty.

Morrigan is still the face of Dark Stalkers despite his evil inclinations. She’s a fast and agile fighter who can go on the offensive or zone opponents while chipping away at their health bars. As an introductory character, she is an ideal gateway for players to enter the Dark Stalkers series.


5 Fulgore (killer instinct)


Split image of Fulgore from Killer Instinct

the killer instinct The lineup of fighters remains one of the most imaginative in the history of fighting games, and Fulgore ranks among the best among them. In fact, the character was so popular that he became the face of the franchise on box art, most notably for the Super NES version of the game.

Fulgore is a cyborg with a frightening physical appearance, a fiery ponytail, and twin plasma blades mounted on his wrist gauntlets. He acted as an enemy of Jago’s character before an upgraded version appeared in Killer instinct 2.


4 Kasumi (dead or alive)


Split image of Kasumi from Dead or Alive

In the 1990s, Kasumi became the face of Dead or alive franchise for all the wrong reasons. She was very sexualized, with an outfit that could stun a dollar at a thousand paces. Eventually, she ditched the revealing outfit and the erotica for something a little more practical.

Apart from the flirtatious appearance of the character, Kasumi is actually a great fighter capable of taking down her enemies with ease. With her ninja skills at her disposal, Kasumi is both fast and brutal, making her more than just a pretty face.




3 Kazuya Mishima (Tekken)


Split image of Kazuya from Tekken

Kazuya started as one of the main protagonists of the tekken series before turning into a villainous character later. He remains the face of the franchise to this day due to his intimidating physical appearance, immense combat power, and backstory.

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The character is the son of Heihachi Mishima, head of the infamous Mishima Zaibatsu Company. His thirst for power and revenge caused him to transform into the monstrous devil Kazuya as the story progressed, which also put him at odds with his son, Jin.


2 Ryu (Street Fighter II)


Split image of Ryu from Street Fighter II

Ryu didn’t make much noise until Street Fighter II taken the arcades and the world by storm. Since that time, he has become a series regular, acting as the show’s main protagonist. Honorable, compassionate, and strong, Ryu embodied everything children sought to be at the time.

Over the years, her character would be written with more flaws and weaknesses, but her spirit remains the same. For many street fighter players, he was their first choice due to his mastery of Shotokan Karate, near-invincible Dragon Punch, and fireball Hadouken. There’s more to Ryu’s compelling character than meets the eye, making him one of the most popular of the decade.


1 Sub Zero (Mortal Kombat)


Split image of Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat

Arguably the most popular fighting game character of the 1990s, Sub-Zero embodied the ninja craze of the decade, built on a highly controversial video game that angered many parents and politicians. Since then, it has become a staple of pop culture in gaming and beyond.

Sub-Zero was a mysterious and frightening ninja with a special feature: the ability to freeze his opponents and launch crushing attacks. He was also infamous for having the original’s most grisly fatality. mortal combat game, which had 13-year-old video gamers squealing with delight at the time.

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