A cool forgotten gem, Asura Buster is a sequel to the also unknown Asura Blade. A weapons-based fighter with colorful sprites and quite unusual characters. It is better balanced than it's predecessor and doesn't have any bullshit cheap-ass boss.
The first 2D fighter by Arc System Works to feature 3D graphics, Battle Fantasia is, in essence, a fixed Third Strike. Parries in this game are performed by pressing the "Gachi" button (where the Fierce/HP button is, for you SF players) instead of by a forward tap, which eliminates the option selects that made parries in 3S sometimes more powerful than they should've been.
A small update to the early Neo Geo title Breakers, it adds a new character and changes some background colors.
Capcom vs. SNK 2: Millionaire Fighting 2001
THIS IS TRUE LOVE WE'RE MAKIN, THIS IS THE SCHOOL OF THE NAKED, THIS IS TUNA WITH BACON
Remember 2001? What a great year. And what better way to remember 2001 than to play what is probably the single best fighting game Capcom has ever produced!
Featuring a cast of characters that span Capcom's classic Street Fighter series as well as SNK's The King of Fighters, CVS2 will please even the most jaded fighting game players with it's unique Groove system- which allows you to choose a set of sub-systems for your team, Free Ratio system - which allows you to make any one character on your team stronger than the others, and advanced techniques such as Roll Cancel, Pop Super and Custom Combos.
Tired of SFIV and want to try a game that'll challenge you on everything you've already learned? Look no further than CVS2.
The Dreamcast version is arcade perfect, with the PS2 version running slightly faster than it should. The Xbox and Gamecube versions (EO) should be avoided at all costs.
Fatal Fury Special
A "Champion Edition" of Fatal Fury 2, which corrects everything that was wrong with 2 and ditches the storyline, bringing back veterans Duck King and Tung Fu Rue, as well as mothafucking GEEEEEEEEEEEEESE! By entering a code you can play as Ryo Sakazaki from Art of Fighting.
Garou: Mark of the Wolves
SNK's answer to SF3. A generation shift of the Fatal Fury/Garou Densetsu series; likewise, the only returning character from previous games is Terry Bogard. The sprites are among the best low res 2D ones there are, and the graphics are the best you'll see on the Neo Geo. Of particular note are Terry's stage (the train) and Gato's stage (the waterfall). MOTW introduces Just Defend (known in most games afterwards as Instant Block), which lowers the amount of time you're in blockstun when you block a move and is performed by tapping back as the move connects. Unique to MOTW, however, is the ability to Guard Cancel during a successful Just Defend. GC's are essentially reversals performed during blockstun. Best played on a Neo Geo emulator or MAME, but the 360 and PS2 ports are good, as well. The AES version goes for around $1000 USD at the time of this writing.
Guilty Gear XX: Accent Core
The final installment of the legendary GGXX series, Accent Core is arguably the best 2D fighter ever made. With a balanced roster of 23 unique characters, an overall faster pace than the previous games in the series and the signature heart and soul we've all come to expect from Arc System Works, there's a lot to love about Accent Core. Among other changes, Accent Core introduces Slashback - a risky albeit rewarding parry, Throwbreak,Force Break - essentially EX moves, and Ground Slide Attribute, which is now on many special moves. The PS2 port of the game is pretty good (it runs a few frames faster than the arcade version), but it can also be played in nullDC (with online play) and pretty much every other NAOMI emulator, as well.
Jackie Chan in Fists of Fire
I'm Jackie Chan, this is my game!
A Mortal Kombat rip-off (kind of) that doesn't suck! And it has Jackie Chan! This one is an update to The Kung-Fu Master, with better gameplay, the addition of a power bar for hypers and the three versions of Jackie Chan playable from the start. Oddly, some characters are weirdly colored in this version.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Heritage for the Future / JoJo no Kimyo na Bouken: Miraie no Isan
Based on the baddass manga, this one is an improvement over JoJo's Venture, adding on more characters, more stuff for the returning ones, a new gameplay mode and all that crazy shit from the manga!
Available on your home in 1995, only on Nintendo Ultra 64!
Yes, we didn't get the Ultra 64, instead we got a SNES port which, while a good game on it's own, looked like total shit when compared to the original. This game is fucking amazing, with crazy ass characters, baddass camera rotation, lots and lots of combos, and the most cheesy narrator in the history of gaming. It plays perfectly on Mame now, so there is no reason to play the SNES version anymore.
Killer Instinct 2
Not as good as it's predecessor, but still a very cool game nonetheless.
The King of Fighters 95
While KOF94 was cool and all, the fact that you were limited to pre-edited teams was limiting. So when 95 came out it immediately made 94 obsolete. It improves on everything, from more fluid animations to better controls, plus ditching that ridiculous Sports Team in favor of the new Rivals Team.
The King of Fighters 98
"Nothing's gonna stop it's 1998"
The first Dream Match in the KOF series, KOF98 is regarded by many to be the best game in the series, thanks to it's balanced roster, unique mechanics and depth. If you have yet to play a KOF game, this would probably be the best one to start with.
If you come away with a bitter taste in your mouth from the "clunkiness" of the game (don't worry, it's all perceived), give KOF2002 a try instead.
The King of Fighters 2000
The swan song of the old SNK, it vastly improves the strikers system from KOF99, making them way more useful and also adding alternate strikers from various other SNK games as extra fanservice.
The King of Fighters 2002
The second Dream Match, KOF2002 is a crazier, weirder game than KOF98. However, it also has more characters, and some prefer the crazy system direction over the cut-and-dry KOF98.
The King of Fighters XIII
Street Fighter Bore? BlazWho? Step aside son, the new hotness is in town and it's name is XIII!Featuring beautiful hand drawn, high-res sprites, KOFXIII is a surprising effort from SNK Playmore to make a KOF game that looks as good as it plays. And does it play well. XIII features custom combos in the form of HD Activation, as well as EX moves in the form of HD cancels. Also, the roster is rather balanced, despite what you might hear elsewhere.
The Last Blade
One of the most beautiful fighting games out there, this game oozes style. It is a weapons-based fighter, with a well balanced amazing roster and two modes of gameplay to plase both beginners and advanced players.
The Last Blade 2
Amazing sequel to an already amazing game, it adds new characters as well as some twists here and there.
Last Bronx ~Tokyo Bangaichi~
A badass 3D weapons fighter from Sega AM3, Last Bronx is somewhat like VF2, just more badass. Fully playable on the Nebula Model 2 Emulator.
A beautiful fightan by IGS where each character is named after their fighting style. Some amazing graphics, on par with Street Fighter III!
Marvel Super Heroes
A huge improvement over Children of the Atom, this time featuring various Mahvel characters beating the crap of each other. Loosely based on the Infinity Saga, you can collect the Infinity Gems during the fights, each one granting a special power-up when used.
Marvel Vs. Capcom: Clash of Superheroes
Marvel and Capcom heroes duke it out in the ultimate crossover! This time it features various characters not from Street Fighter, such as Mega Man, Strider and Captain Commando, and completely new backgrounds. You can also choose a third character that acts as a helper during the fights.
While there are sequels around, this one still haven't lost it's charm!
Mortal Kombat II
FINISH HIM. The almost comedically gory fighting game that everyone played as a kid. It's lost a bit of luster, but it's still worth a nostalgia trip every now and then.
Neo Geo Battle Coliseum
A crossover between various SNK franchises, NGBC is a crazy fun tag team fighter with a large, balanced roster. Plays more like a Capcom game than most SNK titles, so if you're new to SNK games, this may be a good one to start with.
Ported to the Xbox 360 (via XBLA) and the PS2, although the PS2 port exhibits slowdown on some stages.
Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers
The last Fatal Fury game before Garou, it brings back all series favorites and adds two completely new characters (hence the title).
The Rumble Fish 2
An EXTREMELY RARE original fighting game by Dimps. It feels like the love child between KOF and Guilty Gear. Power bars are divided in Offensive and Defensive which are used for special techniques or super arts. Features beautiful player sprites with smooth animations and a catchy albeit repetitive soundtrack. Runs on the Atomiswave system, which is very rare but you can emulate it with Demul 0.5.7. You can also unlock certain characters by inputting some passwords in the operator menu.
The original weapons-based fighter, it is still a blast to play. Choose from various characters and slice and dice your way to victory. It features the rage gauge, which increases as you take damage, making your strikes more powerful.
Samurai Shodown 2
Even better sequel, it is still considered the best game in the series, as it improves on everything that made the original good, and since the sequels added on many unnecessary gimmicks and changed the gameplay a lot, to the point they barely felt like sequels. The rage gauge can now be used for hyper moves, which temporarily makes the opponent lose his weapon.
It's one of the few Hyper Neo Geo 64 games, and boy is it good. Same ole' Samurai Showdown gameplay but in some very nice 3D.
Sonic The Fighters/Sonic Championship
A Virtua Fighter-ish type of game that looks pretty good for 1996 arcade fighters. The gameplay is pretty neat but not as in-depth as other fighting games made. The character selection is decent, but some of them you probably never even fucking remember. Some weird shit is incorporated into this one such as a barrier system. Also on PlayStation 2 and GameCube as part of the Sonic Gems Collection in 2005. It later got a better HD re-release on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade with online multiplayer and a few extra playable characters not used in the arcade version.
Street Fighter Alpha 3
The Alpha series is a black sheep to some (not as much as EX), however it's still damn good. You have more options of Super Combos, and now you can choose your "style". This let's you determine the kind of fighting you'll be doing (Balanced, speed, or power). Features some Final Fight characters, some from SF1, and DAN HIBIKI.
Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike
LET'S GET IT ON NOW. A masterful entry in the SF series. Choose your character then choose your Super Combo, which determines how quickly you can use it. Features different characters from 2, but they mostly resemble their counterparts to an extent, just better.
Super Street Fighter II: Turbo
If you can get past the fact that the announcer sounds like Big Bird, you'll find that Super Turbo is still one of the most enjoyable fighting games there is, all these years later. A surprisingly well balanced roster (barring some very bad match-ups, I'm looking at you E. Honda) and an insanely fast pace set this game apart from the other entries in the series.
Super Street Fighter IV
Now considered to be the best Street Fighter (of this gen), as it's not really a Ken Fighter any more. Also, Korean babe Juri is in it nao. If you aren't too keen on SF3, then IV is more of a return to 2's roots. Followed by Ultra Street Fighter IV, which adds 5 more characters.
I <3 JUGGLAN. Seriously though, it's one of the prettiest fighters around, and it's still going too. Getting a bit unrealistic with a cyborg-chick who can throw her HEAD at opponents and an illegitimate son of the Mishima bloodline who has dragon ball-styled hair. Regardless of all this, it's a really great fighting game.
Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
An update to Mortal Kombat 3, which brings back the ninjas and even adds some more, meaning loads of characters to choose! Other than that, it's the same deal as MK3, rushing combos, fast action, lots of finishers and that bullshit AI we love to hate!
One of the most revered 2D fighters of all time, Vampire Savior is among the most difficult and rewarding fighting games there is. With a slew of firsts for the genre, VSAV is truly one of the classics. Daigo Umehara once said that it was his favorite fighting game, and seeing how good he is at it, it's not hard to believe. Can be played in any CPS2 emulator or MAME, and the Saturn port is arcade perfect (though it requires a 4MB RAM cartridge).
Virtua Fighter 2
The game that practically started the Japanese arcade scene as we know it, VF2 is a classic in every sense of the word, albeit a bit of an acquired taste. You see, VF2 is one of the last 3D fighters that didn't allow for on-the-fly Z-axis movement, so you're not playing Virtua Fighter as much as you are Samurai Shodown with ringouts. Still, I'd recommend anyone interested in 3D fighters plays this game at least once. The game is fully playable in the Nebula Model 2 Emulator, and the Saturn port is acceptably good (in spite of the graphics taking a hit).
Virtua Fighter 4: Final Tuned
The last Virtua Fighter produced by Yu Suzuki, Final Tuned is considered by some to be the best game in the series, and even the best fighting game ever made. It is definitely one of the more "pure" VF's, in that moral play is rewarded more than the abare style that is rewarded in VF5. The game is fully playable in Demul, and practically every NAOMI 2 emulator. The system requirements are quite high, however.
World Heroes 2
One of those old ass Neo Geo games, WH2 is a damn silly game. Especially if you play Death Match mode, which is practically the only reason to play this game over the revised WH2: Jet.
Death Match mode is rather simple; you and the other player fight on a stage, usually littered with environmental hazards, and you play tug of war with a shared life bar.
X-Men Vs. Street Fighter
The game that started the Capcom crossover craze, it features a refined engine from Marvel Super Heroes, and all Street Fighter characters have their fighting styles adapted to the Mahvel gameplay. Fuck yeah Ryu shooting Death Star beams from his hands!