YIE-AR KUNG FU / Konami / Arcade
Yie Ar Kung-Fu has aged pretty badly, but this ancient ancestor of Street Fighter actually isn't bad at all for an early 1980s fighting game, and is significantly more fun to play than just about every other one-on-one fighting effort that came between it and Street Fighter 2.
Colorful graphics and backgrounds, lots of digitized voices and a basically solid fighting engine help keep this one still seeming somewhat fresh and appealing over two decades later. You play as the goofily named Oolong, solo player only, and take on a series of computer opponents that have a good variety of appearances and fighting styles. There's a fat dood who likes to try to jump on you, a ninja lady, a guy with a chain whip, etc.
Hit detection is probably the biggest sticking point of the game, as it seems to be a lot smaller in range for you than it is for the foes. That said the foes do seem to have a distinct style they try to play against you, and you can come up with a pattern to counter them - at least up until the last couple of guys who are a brutal nightmare to fight.
It's hard to get much joy out of this one in 2009, especially after a life full of King of Fighters and Street Fighter and such, but when you consider the time in which it was released it still stands up relatively well and can make for a bit of retro fun. If you're interested try checking out the Gameboy Advance port instead of this one - it added some stuff and refined the gameplay a bit.
* Gameplay Video