Back in the early '90s, the fighting game was king and arcades were consumed by a three-way battle between Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and the games created by SNK for its Neo-Geo system. Samurai Shodown was one of the latter, and its combination of samurai-movie tropes, gratuitous bloodshed, and weapons-based fighting immediately made it a fan favorite. Out of its numerous sequels, Samurai Shodown II has long been regarded to be one of the best 2D fighters of all time — and now, for better or worse, it's fully playable on iOS.
To the uninitiated, Metal Slug 2 looks like any one of a number of old side-scrolling action games where you run around shooting guns in every direction – think Contra, but more cartoony. There's a reason it's kept its cult following (while remaining more or less unchanged) for 17 years, though; where other side-scrolling platformers are content to run players through repetitive encounters with a handful of interchangeable enemies, Metal Slug keeps up a manic pace while staying wildly imaginative throughout.
Last year's iOS release of The King of Fighters-i mirrored its console counterparts, bringing the franchise’s popular 3-on-3 action to your pocket. The King of Fighters-i 2012 is essentially the deluxe version of that game, including a dozen more characters, a time attack mode, and online multiplayer battles. But truly successful fighting games require rock-solid mechanics and controls, and sadly, it's in these facets that Fighters-i 2012 stumbles, though it tries rather hard to stand tall.