KING OF FIGHTERS '94 / SNK / Neo Geo
First of a very, very good series of fighting games. Maybe the best series ever.
Yeah, this is one of the weaker entries in the overall series, but it's still no slouch. It was a huge step up from the early stiff SNK fighting games like Fatal Fury and Art of Fighting.
The real question with this one is money, and patience. It's a very good game on it's own and probably won't disappoint you. However, it's likely they'll eventually release most of (if not all) the rest of the KOF series on the Virtual Console. The games pretty much progressively got better until peaking in '98, then started to slide a little from there (but still stayed better than most other fighting games).
'98 is the one to wait for, and '96 is pretty good too. If you have the free cash, though, I recommend scooping up this one since it's fairly unique. It has some backgrounds not used in the others, great music, and I think it was the only one where you can blow Yuri and King's clothes off if you finish them with special moves.
I wonder if they'll leave that in. You could also enable blood and Mai's bounciness with a code in this one, hopefully they'll keep that intact too. Really, the only major downsides to this one is that the fighting engine wasn't yet as balanced and fluid as it would be in a couple years (though it's still pretty great even in this early form), and I think this was the only one where you can't mix and match your own teams.
Also had the least amount of overall characters. But it did have the crazy U.S.A. Sports Team that wouldn't make a comeback until years later.
King of Fighters '94 Original Soundtrack (mp3)
King of Fighters '94 Arrange Soundtrack (mp3)