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Top 50 Most Iconic Fighting Game Characters - Part 10

Elizbar Ramazashvili
6 min

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Top 50 Most Iconic Fighting Game Characters - Part 10
The most iconic of them all!

Fighting games are very old in terms of video game age, and through these decades, we've seen hundreds of games with thousands of characters come and go. Some of these characters become fan-favorites, while the others are forgotten. But there also are those whose legacy will remain etched in the history of the FGC forever. This is the final part of the new project that celebrates the Top 50 Most Iconic Fighting Game Characters.

However, it's essential to note that while this list aims to highlight some of the most iconic characters within fighting games, the inherent subjectivity of such rankings means that many other characters may not find themselves among these fifty names. Fighting games are as diverse as the amount of existing opinions, so pardon us if one your favorite isn't on the list eventually!

In today's edition, we have the most iconic fighting game characters of all time! The ultimate five!


Street Fighter

Ryu is one of the most recognizable video game characters of all time, and possibly the most recognizable in the fighting games genre. He’s iconic from top to bottom.

At first glance, he’s just a guy in traditional attire that does punchy and kicky things. But he’s THE guy in that attire, one of the first to be dressed like that, and with a reason. Since then, lots and lots of fighters have tried to copy him with various degrees of success, but he also evolved, he matured while remaining true to his visual style and design language.

His gameplay is also beyond iconic. A traditional shoto, he’s a poster child for the archetype. Also, ask anyone to name a single move out of any fighting game, and chances are, the answer will be “Hadouken.” Ryu is the personification of the fighting games.


Mortal Kombat

Scorpion is the definitive fighting game antihero, an undead warrior hell-bent on revenge whose tragic story is deeply intertwined with his eternal rival, Sub-Zero. None of them are good people but the majority of the Mortal Kombat players still found themselves invested in these characters.

Scorpion looks like a traditional MK ninja while not necessarily being that. He’s much more deliberate and visceral, with his signature move rivaling that of Ryu’s Hadouken in terms of popularity – a hook with an iconic “Get over here” voice line.

His status as an MK icon led to several appearances outside the major games. Most importantly and noticeably, various live-action and animated adaptations of Mortal Kombat, where he inevitably plays a major role in the story.


Street Fighter

With Chun-Li, the creators of Street Fighters created a shining star, a true icon in and out of the game. Being the first female character of the series, she was there at the very beginning of the trend of strong and beautiful women in the fighting games.

Chun-Li has it all – she’s incredibly strong, a Kung-Fu master that can kick the life out of any bad guy, she’s just, working at Interpol to bring M.Bison and his henchmen to answer for their deeds, and she’s incredibly beautiful and striking – just look at the amount of cosplay and fan art that exists.

She’s one of the rare examples of incredible design – her outfits change quite often, from qipao to training vests to evening dresses, but they all look very fitting and quintessentially “Chun-Li.”


Mortal Kombat

Sub-Zero is the second part of the “Scorpion vs. Sub-Zero” yin-yang. A frost ninja, he’s an unapologetic villain and perpetual antagonist in the series, both in games and outside of them.

His initial “blue ninja” design evolved in time to be themed but very sensible for someone of his occupation. But what’s most iconic about him is how visceral his ice-based powers are. Freezing people solid to then shatter them into smithereens is pure 90’s horror cinema – it’s horrifying, yet you can’t stop watching.

Sub-Zero’s Ice versus Scorpion’s Fire, merciless killer versus avenging vigilante. The rivalry of these two characters is the most iconic across any fighting game.

Terry Bogard

King of Fighters, Fatal Fury

Terry Bogard is a character we could have known as the protagonist of Street Fighter, but the developers went ahead with Ryu, and Terry ended up being the main character of SNK’s Fatal Fury.

Sporting the fighting games’ most iconic ponytail, he’s a stereotypical macho American viewed from the Japanese perspective. However, with his popularity came the need to develop him further, and Terry’s progression arc throughout all the Fatal Fury and King of Fighters games is nothing if not compelling.

His designs also underwent several changes, but his most iconic one is probably the original – long blond ponytail, red cap, red jacket, and blue jeans.

Terry is unique in the sense that he doesn’t have a set martial art that he practices, he’s just a street fighter (heh) that uses kick boxing, karate, boxing, and even kung fu moves. That said, like most characters on today’s list, he has his signature move – Buster Wolf.

And that's the end of our Top 50 Most Iconic Fighting Game Characters! Did we miss anyone? Would you include someone else?

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