Fighting game spin-offs: The good and the bad
The fighting game genre, while only recently jumping back into the mainstream, has produced some of gaming's most iconic heroes and villains. Street Fighter's Ryu is as recognizable a face as any fictional character, as are brawlers like Tekken's Heihachi and Mortal Kombat's Sub-Zero. As such, the fighting genre has helped inspire a variety of games outside of its own realm; Games that usually find the heroes doing their punching and kicking outside of the standard one-on-one format. Here are a few examples of notable fighting game spin-offs from the past few console generations:
Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero (1997 - PSX, N64): After three successful Mortal Kombat titles, Midway decided to try something new and toss their iconic blue ninja Sub-Zero into his own action adventure. The game had the same live action look as the first three MK titles, and even had fully acted cutscenes. And while Sub-Zero got mixed reviews, his quest against Quan Chi certainly helped lay the groundwork for the excellent story modes that MK developers NetherRealm Studios can create today.
Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight (1990, NES): It's funny to think that a game set in the "future" is still outdated by three years today, but Capcom thought they had something clever on their hands when they released this side-scroller starring Street Fighter's Ken. The game is only Street Fighter in name, as looking at any screen shot will only reveal a generic-looking space adventure with a cyborg cop that players are supposed to imagine as Ken. Those who are dying to experience Street Fighter characters in a single player environment are better off picking up Project X Zone later this month.
Death by Degrees (PS2, 2005): While the Tekken series has always included some form of beat-em-up side game since Tekken 3, Namco decided to take things a step further with Death by Degrees. The game is a stand alone adventure starting Tekken leading lady Nina Williams, as she is tasked with bringing down a dangerous criminal organization. The title earned generally mixed reviews, as the analog stick-based gameplay was a far cry from the four-button layout that Tekken fans have grown comfortable with.
Soul Calibur Legends (Wii, 2007): Another beloved Namco fighter turned into a single-player adventure, Soul Calibur Legends follows the story of franchise hero Seigfried. While a Soul Calibur game with the promise of actual fighting motions via the Wiimote held promise, the title simply didn't live up to its potential and turned out to be the lowest-selling of the bunch.
As you can see, fighting game spin offs aren't always a success. However, fighter devs deserve credit for stepping outside of their comfort zone every now and then, and we might not have single player-friendly fighters like Injustice as Mortal Kombat 9 if they didn't. What fighting game spin offs would you like to see?