If any of you have been keeping up on my progress, then you'd all know that this particular article is the 25th one I've written. As such, I have prepared something special to accommodate this personal achievement of mine. You may recall that I've done a few top tens in the past. That will not be the case this time. For this special article, I will be doing twenty-five entrants for one of my favorite sub-genres: Crossovers. So without further ado, I present my top twenty-five crossovers and guest character appearances in video games in no particular order.
(Please keep in mind that my opinions may or may not reflect your own, this list is entirely biased)
Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
Let's start off small shall we? This game was an action platformer for the Sega Master System that starred Alex Kidd, Sega's main mascot during the late 80's. This game in particular had the titular hero save his beloved from an evil dark ninja from the world of Sega's Shinobi series. The Alex Kidd series was pretty average at best because of their fairly easy difficulty, but this one stood out for having action more akin to the Shinobi games which made this game much more fun despite the fact that it was still easy. An obscure gem in its own right and should probably be checked out at least once.
Mario Sports Mix
An unusual crossover of the Super Mario and Final Fantasy series, but not in the way most people would expect. Instead of it being an RPG like Super Mario RPG, this game was a compilation of the sports Basketball, Dodge Ball, Volley Ball, and Hockey. In each of the different sports, the rules change slightly depending on the field that is being used for play and your abilities differ depending on which character you choose to play as which include many characters from the Super Mario series and a small handful from some early Final Fantasy characters. Not a bad game to play when you have some friends over.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
Now this may seem like a bit of a stretch because it is technically based on the Justice League comic books from DC, but that in itself is also a crossover between many individual DC comics like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, but that's beside the point. Injustice is a very well made fighting game from the developers of the well known and infamous Mortal Kombat series of brutal and gory fighting games. The game's story plays out in chapters featuring various characters from DC's massive universe of characters. This game has also spawned a self contained story in the Justice League comics called Injustice which is based on the story of the game. And if that wasn't enough, Scorpion from Mortal Kombat is also in the game as DLC but his design has been revamped to better fit the style of the game. You should definitely check out this game even if you aren't a DC Universe fan.
Mortal Kombat Series
While we are on the subject of Mortal Kombat, I would be remiss in my duties if I were to forget the game Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe and the DLC in Mortal Kombat for the PS3 and XB360 and Mortal Kombat X. In the DC Universe crossover, ten characters from each franchise are fighting to stop the destruction of their respective universes when an unexpected event fuses Shao Kahn and Darkseid into a new creature known as the rather uncreatively named Dark Kahn. Whose sole existence cause their universes to merge and in turn alter the powers and strengths of all the characters making the stronger fighters weaker, and the weaker fighters able to stand toe to toe with Superman. Not exactly the best story-based reason, but it works considering half the casts' comic book origins. Now the DLC for the latter two Mortal Kombat games is where it's really at though. In the first of the two games that I mentioned, Freddy Krueger is one of the four fighters available and in Mortal Kombat X, Jason Voorhees is one of them with a few more on the way. I hear that The Predator is one of those planned fighters, so here's hoping!
Poker Night at the Inventory
Now I'm not really the kind of person that gambles very much and card games aren't really my forte, but that's not why this game stands out. The reason why this game is so appealing to me is the banter between the other players and the rewards you get when you win. I love listening to the conversations between Team Fortress 2's Heavy, Penny Arcade's Tycho, Homestarrunner.com's Strong Bad and Sam & Max's Max. Many of them are so funny and the character interaction between them feels organic and natural. You may even get to learn a few things about them that you probably didn't know. Plus the little rewards that you win when they bet big is very nice and they all can be used in Team Fortress 2 as customization options for your character's load out.
Literally just another game in the Bomberman series, but with the Super Mario series' Wario as the main focus of the game. It still has the same gameplay that made all of the previous Bomberman games in the series fun, but with some power ups being delegated to being permanent upgrades that you win from the bosses in the single player campaign. Also, here's a little tip for when you're playing that game mode. If at any time you want to play as the other playable character, enter any of the passwords that you receive backwards. You will continue where you left off as the opposite character that you were playing as from before. Would you believe that I figured that out as a kid by pure chance? Who knew?
Now this game was interesting. This is a crossover between the ever so popular Pokemon series and the tactical RPG series Nobunaga's Ambition. This caught me off guard solely by the fact that I didn't think a crossover like this could even happen, and because it's just so bizarre. Japanese warlords based on real historical figures using pokemon to battle each other, it just screams "Japan." It is well designed though, incorporating elements from both series quite well, but none of the warlords themselves do any of the fighting. All fights are conducted with pokemon only which in turn keeps the series tradition of trainer battles. If you like tactical games and pokemon, then this might be the game for you.
Battletoads & Double Dragon
Now before you go and call Gold & Silver Pawn and ask them if they have a copy of Battletoads, may I direct you to a much lesser known game in that series. This game is literally a combination of the two games that make up its title. The story basically takes place after the first Battletoads game. The Dark Queen, after her defeat in the last game, swings by Earth and teams up with the villains from Double Dragon and proceed to wreak havoc once again. So Rash, Pimple and Zitz team up with Billy and Jimmy Lee to take on the new alliance between the Dark Queen and her new allies. Now like most Battletoads games, I haven't gotten very far in this one. The difficulty is quite unforgiving, but while it is hard, it is also a lot of fun. Maybe this game will see a re-release on the the XBox One sometime in the future due to the toads appearing in the XBox one version of Shovel Knight? Only time will tell.
Okay, I'm going to be completely blunt with you. I have not played this game or any upgraded version of it at all. But I guarantee you that if I had the money I would, and I'd buy all the accessories for it as well. Disney Infinity is one of those games from the toys-to-life subgenre that (as of version 3.0) combines the franchises of Disney TV shows and movies, Pixar films, Marvel Comics and Star Wars. Each character figure available is associated with a story that it can be played in, along with one or more other figures so co-op can also be played. Another thing I like about it from the footage that I've seen is the Toybox mode where you can build your own environment to play on. As someone who used to play Sim City and Legos, this appeals to me very much.
Project X Zone
Pronounced as "Project Cross Zone," this game is an unusual crossover featuring characters from various franchises created by Namco, Capcom and Sega. Like Pokemon Conquest, this game is a turn based tactical RPG that takes place on a grid-like battle field, but that's where the similarities end. Unlike Pokemon Conquest, the player is completely involved in the battles and they are played out like a fighting game. To deal the most damage as possible in each turn, you need to learn combos that link together well and can be used to juggle the enemy in the air. I am not in any way good at tactical games and fighting games aren't much easier for me, but when the two are combined in this way, it becomes surprisingly playable for me. Great for those that like a large cast of characters and suck at fighting games.
Samurai Warriors 3 (Wii)
Now you may think this doesn't really count because there is only one crossover character in the form of Takamaru from The Mysterious Murasame Castle, but because of the extra game mode included in it, it officially reaches crossover status. This extra game mode which is only available in the Wii version of the game is actually a complete remake of the game that the character Takamaru hails from. This game mode alone is the reason why I bought this game. While not the best game in the Samurai Warriors series, this game mode made me dive into the series for the first time in my life, and I'll never forget that.
Mario Kart Arcade GP Series
Now this one was a bit tricky for me to find as 1: I don't get out much and 2: arcades are a dying breed where I live. Literally the only arcade near where I live that is still in business is a Chuck E. Cheese almost twenty miles away. But I digress. One day I managed to get there so we could celebrate the birthday of a younger cousin of mine and lo and behold, there it stood. A massive arcade machine of Mario Kart Arcade Grand Prix 2 in all of its glory. This game is surprisingly enough a crossover over between the Mario series and three franchises by Namco-Bandai: Pac-Man, Tamagotchi and Taiko Drum Master. Now I only got to play this for like twenty minutes, but I got the hang of the controls EXTREMELY quickly. If you ever find it yourself, play it. As arcades frequently rotate the games they have on the floor, chances are what's there, might not stay for long.
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate
Now when this game is first started up, it technically doesn't count as a crossover game, but when you download the DLC for it, it suddenly becomes one of the most crossover heavy games out on the 3DS to date. Some of the DLC includes weapons, armor and accessories from The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Mega Man, Super Mario Bros, Sonic the Hedgehog, and there is STILL more to come! This is also one of the more accessible Monster Hunter games to date so if you want to get into the series, this would be a good place to start.
Like board game style video games but don't like Mario Party? Try this one. It is a crossover between Super Mario Bros and Dragon Quest with boards and gameplay very similar to the game Monopoly. You buy properties in districts, upgrade your shops by investing money into them, and can buy stock in your own or rival shops so you can receive a bigger profit from you own sales, or so you can receive a return from the stock you have bought from districts that house rival stores. There is quite a bit of strategy and this is a ton of fun with friends especially if you like the series that the game pieces and boards are based on.
Street Fighter X Mega Man
This actually was originally a fan project that got support from Capcom themselves and was released on their official fan site. It plays just like how a Mega Man game should, but all of the bosses are various fighters from throughout the Street Fighter series. For a fan game, this is extremely well made and it is free to boot. Plus if you're good enough, there is a secret boss at the end of the game that you can fight. Definitely worth checking out at least once.
Dissidia: Final Fantasy
If you thought Final Fantasy was confusing before, you ain't see nothing yet. This game is an open field fighting game that features one hero and one villain from each of the first ten numbered games in the Final Fantasy series. The story is rather confusing though, focusing around a war between the goddess of harmony, Cosmos, and the god of discord, Chaos, and their chosen warriors to end the war once and for all. In actuality, Dissidia: Final Fantasy is actually the thirteenth cycle in the war and the cycle in the previous war is explained in the prequel Dissidia 012 Duodecim which has six more characters from various other Final Fantasy games like Lightning, Vaan, Laguna, and Tifa. If you're gonna pick up one of them, get Duodecim as it includes the story of the first game as an unlockable bonus.
Speaking of confusing stories, Kingdom Hearts is also guilty of that. This crossover between various Disney movies and franchises with Final Fantasy just ends up leaving more questions than answers for me, but that doesn't diminish this series fantastic gameplay. I often don't have the time to invest into a long turn-based RPG, but action RPG's are a whole different story. Plus Disney has always had good fantasy and fairy tale themed stories that would lend themselves to a good role playing game but they hadn't really been implemented very well until the release of this game. Definitely deserves your attention should you get the chance.
Capcom's "VS" Series
Now this has become a franchise all on its own when it first started with X-Men VS Street Fighter way back when and then it evolved into something so much bigger and better. The IP's that have been the victims in Capcom's VS series so far have be Marvel Comics, Tatsunoko Productions, SNK and even Tekken, and I'm sure there will be more some time in the future. This series is too good for it to die this early.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
When I first heard about this series, I legitimately freaked out. In my eyes, this was as scandalous as hearing about when Rare was bought out by Microsoft. But I gave the game a chance and it honestly isn't that bad. So far, four games have been released for this series each in two year gaps to coincide with the alternating summer and winter Olympics. Each one also has special dream events that are like the normal events but follow special rules or are in special areas that mix things up significantly. I personally like this series a lot and if Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games doesn't happen, I would be genuinely disappointed.
PlayStation All-Stars battle Royale
You all may recall that I have already reviewed this game in a previous article, so let's just have a quick recap. The game has characters from various first party PlayStation games and many third party characters also appear in it to round out the roster. The selection if characters is actually pretty good, but I feel that it could've used some more memorable characters like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Lara Croft and Abe from Oddworld. I feel like that this was a missed opportunity for it to be something truly good.
Soul Calibur Series
This weapon based fighting game was one of my favorites growing up and I was glad that I started with the reportedly best one, Soul Calibur 2 as I was (and still am) a huge fan of The Legend of Zelda series and I was ecstatic to see that Link was in the game as a guest star. But I was also surprised to see that the series has kept the guest star trends over the years as not only has Heihachi and Spawn appeared in the second game but on the other consoles, three Star Wars characters and a character from Sgt. Frog appear in the fourth game and Ezio from Assassin's Creed 2 appear in the fifth. There was also a guest character in Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny that has appeared in MANY games on PlayStation systems and that character is...
Kratos from God of War
Yup. This Greek barbarian known as the Ghost of Sparta has appeared in so many games in PlayStation's line up. Ever since he first appeared in his flagship game God of War, he has been a guest in the PS3 and Vita versions of Mortal Kombat, Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds, PlayStation All-Stars, Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny, the PS4 and Vita versions of Shovel Knight, and Little Big Planet as a costume for your sackboy. I tell ya, the guy certainly knows how to get around.
Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright
Both of these series are fantastic. On one side you have a long story heavy game with mysteries and puzzles to solve and on the other you have a long story heavy game with mysteries...and puzzles...to solve...Wait a minute, let me start over. While they are both story heavy mystery games that focus around puzzle solving, there is a significant difference between the two of them. Professor Layton is more like Sherlock Holmes as the puzzles are much more logic based and can often be quite the brain teasers, whereas Phoenix Wright is more focused around the story itself and the puzzles are trying to find discrepancies in witness testimonies. Combine the two and you get logic puzzles that have contradictions and witch trials that may or may not be logical. Quite the impressive fusion if you ask me.
Sega Superstars Series
Think Nintendo was the only company that made mass franchise crossover games? WELL THINK AGAIN! Sega also tried to do the same thing with their Sega Superstars games. It all started with Sega Superstars on the PS2 and used the Eye-Toy. Ultimately forgettable, but it was followed up with Sega Superstars Tennis which was much better but not quite there. Then game the Sonic & Sega racing games. This is where they hit the nail on the head for me. I love racing games like this and I love playing as characters from entirely different games and franchises. They apparently knew that this game was the right way to go as a sequel was made a couple years later that I thought was a ton of fun because of your car's ability to change into a speedboat or a flying machine when it is needed. Now if only Nintendo would make a racing game like this.
Super Smash Bros. Series
Obviously I would say that I've saved the best for last, but if you remember what I wrote at the top of this behemoth of an article, I wrote that these were in "no particular order." To be completely honest though, I did save my personal favorite for last, but can you really blame me? The Super Smash Bros. series is by far the most well known video game crossover series in the world solely because of its brand recognition alone. I guarantee you most kids would only want this game because it has Mario, Pikachu, Kirby or Link on the front of the box, not that I would blame them. I have bought games because of what characters may or may not have been in it. This game however backs up the brand recognition with fantastic gameplay though so it's all good. At least the kids are getting a game with some real quality and not some poorly made shovelware game like My Little Pony or Sesame Street.
Well, that's my list folks. It has been a long road to get this far and I really appreciate you reading the entirety of this article up to this point. Thank you for your continued support, and until next time, I'll be seeing you.