With the advent of DLC and the growth of the fighting game community, hidden characters in fighting games have become rarer and rarer. It's a good thing too, considering that most of the fighting game fan base looks at a locked roster as a negative thing. Then again, some of the most iconic fighting game characters of all time were once locked behind a hidden character space. So, with the caveat that we are only choosing one character per franchise, these are the top ten hidden characters ever found in fighting games.
Giant two-headed ogre beast that smacks you over the head with clubs? Yes please! Killer Instinct was a revolutionary fighting game that taught us comboing was fun. It also featured Eyedol, a one-of-a-kind boss that made players wish they could play as him. Well, it turned out there was a cheat code to unlock him as a playable character. Was it balanced? Not really. But we didn't care.
Algol, the ancient king who controlled both the Soul Edge and the SoulCalibur at the same time, changed the face of the SoulCalibur franchise. In SoulCalibur IV, it was called for him to be banned almost universally due to how extremely powerful he was. Not only could he fire projectiles in a game that, until now, had been about close-quarters weapon fighting, he could also kill you in one shot with a chair. A chair! Regardless of how much the community loathed this character, he managed to make his way back to SoulCalibur V, and, now that the damage and speed of the game has increased, he pretty much feels right at home. He can still kill you in one hit with a chair though.
Ayane may have been a secret character in the first Dead or Alive, but just about everyone knew she existed. Why? Because she was an integral part of the plot. She has shown up in every Dead or Alive game since, and she's even made some appearances in Ninja Gaiden. She is now one of the poster characters for both series, and it seems she becomes more popular by the day. Oh yeah, and she was also in Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball. We can't forget that.
Zero, from the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero series, is easily one of the coolest fighting game characters of all time. When he was unlocked in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, he was one of the most powerful characters in the game. Now, in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, he is still one of the most powerful characters in the game. However, before he was in either of these games, he was unlockable in SVC Chaos where he was, again, one of the most powerful characters in the game. It just goes to show you that you can't get much cooler than a robot with a laser sword.
Zero was one of the best characters in two separate vs. titles, but in the grand scheme of the Marvel vs. Capcom series, Sentinel easily takes the cake. He was the best assist character in the original Marvel vs. Capcom, and you couldn't even get him normally. He was originally made just to be an assist for a boss, but once the gaming populace discovered the code to unlock him in vs. play, everyone wanted to use him. Then, in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, he was one of the most powerful characters on the roster and was easily one of the first unlocks any serious player went for. However, you could go all the way back to the original X-Men: Children of the Atom, and even there Sentinel was a powerhouse that everyone wanted to play as.