Top 10 Fighting Games for NES


Gaming on the classic 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console can be a load of fun even in 2022. Even though you may be a world champion when it comes to more modern games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or Cyberpunk 2077, running NES games can also be a wonderful adventure.

NES games usually had one big advantage over most of the games nowadays. They were a lot more difficult to finish. Game developers nowadays have made it possible for anyone to finish a game with extreme ease, especially if the person lowers the difficulty level. Back in the ’90s or early ’00s when NES games were ruling the market, the possibility of choosing the difficulty level existed on very few games.

We’ve made a top 10 list of what we believe to be the best fighting games that were available for the NES console. This is entirely our opinion, so please don’t throw tomatoes at us if you have a totally different top 10. Here it goes:

10. Dragon Ball Z – Super Butoden 2

The Dragon Ball franchise had some amazing games released across pretty much all consoles. One of them is Dragon Ball Z – Super Butoden 2 for NES. While it wasn’t necessarily a bad game, our opinion is that it could have been a lot more exciting.

Many more Dragon Ball-related elements could have been added to this NES game. It reaches only 10th place in our tanking, with no right for contestation.

9. Karate Champ

Karate Champ is one of the classic one-on-one fighting games available for NES, and it might have been influential for a lot of other titles.

It wasn’t the best fighting game for the legendary 8-bit console, that’s for sure. But it can still be fun to play for those who are nostalgic about the console.

8. Tekken 2

This is where things really get interesting. Tekken 2 had some decent graphics for its time, and it surely made a lot of NES gamers addicted to fighting games and willing to find more of such titles.

Tekken 2 had a fairly decent roster of fighters to choose from. When you’re done punching and kicking your opponent, the character you control in this game also has some special moves. The player can activate them easily by applying a very simple combination of controls.

7. Batman

Batman for NES is one exciting adventure, and we must say right from the start that some folks may say that it wasn’t actually a fighting game. Well, it wasn’t a fighting game in the sense of one-on-one. It was more like a beat ’em up game, although Batman doesn’t use any other fighting techniques here rather than his fists. We added the game to this list and we don’t regret it, as we’re talking about one of the best NES games ever made.

The Dark Knight also has some interesting tricks up his sleeve here, and he won’t hesitate to use them. He even has a pistol with missiles and some kind of energy waves. There are many opponents to beat and some strong and merciless bosses. The Joker will be the final boss, as you probably already have guessed. Last but not least, the soundtracks of this game were absolutely amazing!

Batman for NES reaches a fairly number 7 in our list.

6. Street Fighter

We’re back to the ‘one-on-one’ style of fighting gaming with Street Fighter for NES, one title that kept many fans glued to their joysticks for hours. The roster of fighters in this game is very diverse. Regardless if you choose to fight using Guile, Ken, Ryu, or any other fighter, they have a lot of interesting moves and special techniques.

If you want to see fighters throwing energy waves at one another, rotating with their feet in mid-air, or even generating electric shocks, it means that playing Street Fighter for NES is definitely for you!

5. Mighty Final Fight

Mighty Final Fight was another exciting beat ’em up game where controlling a character can lead him into a lot of trouble. Hordes of enemies come at you almost simultaneously, and you must use your character’s fighting moves to take them down.

You could complain about some stuff in this game, but not about getting bored.

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Tournament Fighters

Here you have another great one-on-one game where the roster has a lot to offer. Each character has his own special moves, and one great aspect of this game is that the way the characters fight doesn’t feel clunky and ‘robotic’ as in most NES games.

You can even raise the difficulty level if you’re done with the normal mode. You can even lower your ‘power level’ and raise the one of your opponents in order to have an even greater challenge.

3. Battle Toads

Back to the beat ’em up games we are now, and for number 2 on our list we have Battle Toads! This was an insanely addicting game where you get to control a fighting toad that has some insane techniques. Hit your opponent hard enough, and the toad’s fist or foot will instantly transform. The graphics were amazing for an NES game, and you can get convinced for yourself by watching the gameplay video below:

The gameplay in Battle Toads was very diverse, as you could also use different objects to beat your opponents with them. There are also moments in the game where you have to engage in racing using some sort of gravity car, lay down using a rope and avoid enemies, and a lot more.

2. Double Dragon II

In Double Dragon II for NES, you get another classic game where you get to test your vigilance and attention against so many foes that try to take you down. The bosses are memorable in this game, and so is the gameplay.

Tired of fighting in an old-fashioned way with punches and kicks? Don’t worry! In Double Dragon 2, you also get to use different objects to throw at your enemies.

1. Battle Toads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team

Number 1 on our list is by far Battle Toads & Double Dragon: The Ultimate Team. The two powerful clans join forces in this game to take down all sorts of powerful foes: monsters, zombies, aliens, and even robots. The gameplay doesn’t disappoint one bit, as you can constantly find something exciting happening.

You can also do some nice gimmicks such as throwing some of the in-game opponents through the window or punching them through the ceiling and let gravity do the rest. This game never gets old, and it’s amazing that it brings such extraordinary diversity to an NES console.

Battle Toads & Double Dragon becomes even more exciting to play if you bring a friend over and play together. Each of you can get to control a character, whether it’s a toad or a Double Dragon member. You two can join forces to tackle the opponents at once. But you need to be careful to not hit each other in the game by accident!

The NES console had some amazing games, and not only when it comes to those focused on fighting. We would like to learn about your own top 10 of the best fighting games for NES! Feel free to leave us a comment below with your own selections!


Cristian Antonescu
Cristian is in love with technology as many of us. He has a vast experience as a content writer in the field. He's involved especially in the gaming area, where he covers the latest news in open-world, role-playing, and first-person shooter titles.