VIRTUA FIGHTER / Sega / Arcade
The world's first polygonal 3D fighting game was a pretty great effort, better than a lot of stuff that would come out in the years following it. The creation of Yu Suzuki, Sega's arcade auteur, it was one of his usual boundary-pushing 3D efforts. There isn't a whole lot of plot, but eight martial artists using distinct styles brawl it out in a tournament to eventually face some silver female ninjer named Dural. Each of the characters is based on a real martial arts style with a range of mostly real moves, lending the game more of a realistic feel than the general over-the-top arcade brawler.
The somewhat sluggish pace and limited move set can be a little hard to go back to after getting used to modern fighters, and there's some iffyness in the collision detection, especially when characters go springing up in the air to do some WWF-style diving power move. Characters also do crazy floaty super jumps that are pretty odd, irritating and generally useless. And the "sidestep" feature found in later games had not been introduced yet. The game was far surpassed by its sequels and is pretty dated now, but still quite a bit of solid fun if you were stuck on a desert isle with it or something.
Unfortunately the game never got a port that totally did it justice - the 32x one is probably closest. And MAME at present still has imperfect emulation with a touch of lag and janking in the graphics here and there.
* Highly informative Wiki
* Gameplay Video
* Virtua Fighter anime