Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings isn’t just one of the best origin stories in the MCU and the movie that made everyone change their expectations for how well it would do at the box office. It’s also a great martial arts story set in a fantasy world that will probably leave you wanting more.
Even though there are plenty of movies and TV shows that do this, there’s always been something amazing about pairing a hit new movie with a game that lets you live out your favourite on-screen moments as closely as possible. Even though there haven’t been many truly great martial arts video games over the years, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few true classics and a few more hidden gems that you have to play.
Here are of the best martial arts video games to play when you need to come down from your Shang-Chi high.
Max Payne (Kung Fu Mod)
Max Payne’s Kung Fu mod isn’t the most realistic martial arts game, but if you like action scenes with a mix of martial arts and gunplay, you have to check out this legendary fan creation.
Even though Max Payne is already a great game, this mod makes it even better by adding a lot of melee combat options. However, the most surprising thing about this impressive mod may be the variety of bullet-dodging animations it adds to your defences. It’s pretty much the best Matrix game that has ever been made.
Dead or Alive 6
Like most of the fighting games we’ll talk about on this list, I can’t really tell you that the Dead or Alive series gives you the most realistic martial arts experience in the world. In fact, one of the reasons this series is so easy to recommend is that it sometimes trades realism and complexity for bone-breaking, hard-hitting, over-the-top action sequences.
This one is for people who love to believe that their favourite martial arts movie fighters can throw their opponents across the room with every hit. It’s a great chance for people to live out their craziest martial arts fantasies.
Overgrowth is a strange and uneven game that, to be honest, might rely a little too much on content made by the community. But it’s still true that there aren’t many fantasy martial arts games that come close to what this one does.
This is a classic “mystical kung-fu adventure” with rabbits as the main characters. Some people won’t like the style, but it’s hard to argue that this game has a good heart and gets some of its biggest ideas right.
It’s almost as hard to find a way to play God Hand in 2021 as it is to beat this very hard game, but if you want to see some of the best martial arts fights in the history of video games, you should definitely look for this gem.
God Hand is about as weird as video games get, but this action game’s wonderfully complex and ultimately fun martial arts combat system is more than enough to get you past its rough spots and “WTF?” moments. It’s a real gem that needs to be remade the right way.
9 Monkeys of Shaolin
In a better world, more people would have played 9 Monkeys of Shaolin, which is a great old-school martial arts beat-em-up with modern mechanics and RPG elements. If you’ve never played this underrated action game before, now is always the best time to do so.
This isn’t the deepest game in the world, but it’s a great mix of martial arts style and arcade beat-em-up action that will make you wonder why more developers haven’t tried something like this before.
Shaolin Vs Wutang
Shaolin vs Wutang is described as a “love letter to Martial Arts and classic Kung Fu films,” and I honestly can’t think of a better way to sell someone on the things this game does so well.
Shaolin vs. Wutang is not a hard-core fighting game by any means, but it is one of the best ways to live out your dreams of kung-fu movies from the golden age. This whole thing is a warm blanket of good genre stuff.
Redeemer isn’t a true martial arts game, but it makes up for that by being one of the most fun and crazy top-down action games to come out in recent years.
This story is about a monk with a dark past who is out for revenge. The action scenes are hilariously silly and keep you on your toes, but don’t forget that the whole point is to have as much fun as the law allows. If you like this type of game at all, you should really make an effort to play this one.
I’m not ready to say that Tekken is the best martial arts fighting game series, but I will say that Tekken has always done a great job of highlighting its different styles of martial arts and turning them into consistently fun fighting games.
Top-tier fighting game players love how complicated Tekken 7’s mechanics are, but the core combat is fun enough that even new players will be able to enjoy a lot of what makes this series so great. You could also go back and play Tekken 3, which is always great.
Kung Fu Strike – The Warrior’s Rise
Imagine a kung fu version of a Devil May Cry-style action game, and you’ll have a good idea of what makes Kung Fu Strike – The Warrior’s Rise such a compelling action experience.
I can’t say that this indie gem is one of the best games in its genre, but it does satisfy a very specific need, which makes up for its general jankiness and sometimes ridiculous difficulty.
Def Jam: Fight for New York
In Def Jam: Fight for New York, the player takes control of a customised character who is trying to move up in the New York underground fighting scene. You can use the money you win to buy new clothes and tattoos as you fight characters that become playable once you beat them. The better items you wear, the faster you can build up speed in a fight to get a Blazin’ Taunt, which then makes your Blazin’ Move, a super-powered special attack, happen.
A lot of the fighting is based on your surroundings. If you throw an opponent out of the arena, the crowd will usually push them back in or even hold them so you can beat them up for free. Like most fighting games, you can also hit your opponent with things you find around you. It’s an old game that a lot of people say is one of the best fighting games ever.