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Fantasy Cross-Overs for the Fighting Genre

January 30, 2010

Fantasy Cross-Overs for the Fighting Genre
By Brian Rowe

A fanboy can dream, can’t he?

The 1990’s will forever be known as the era that gave rise to the fighting genre, but as the surviving veterans remember, the revolution was far from a peaceful one. Beyond the welcoming glow of neon signs, the cavernous arcades were tense with territorial boundaries and fierce allegiances. Only the most foolish proprietors dared to place Street Fighter side-by-side with Mortal Kombat, or Virtua Fighter within the grasp of Tekken.

Marvel vs. Capcom was not the first fighter to enlist an ensemble cast, but its power to unite disparate loyalists under the same banner of fan-fueled mayhem cannot be ignored. Since then, 12 years have passed and Capcom is returning to reclaim its crown with the release of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars. To celebrate, we’re looking at the greatest fighting mash-ups that never were, and regrettably, never will be.

Marvel vs. Shonen Jump
It’s a battle of east vs. west and otaku vs. nerd as the greatest heroes of Japan and the U.S. clash in this comic-inspired mash-up. Backed by 2,000 entrants, Marvel’s only concern is deciding who gets nixed from the roster. Do they go with pure fan-favorites like Wolverine, Captain America, and Deadpool, or do they mix in B-listers like Stilt-man and Alpha Flight (sorry, Canada)? Shonen Jump isn’t taking this battle lying down though. They have the demon-slayers of YuYu Hakusho and Bleach to back them up, a psychotic genius who can kill with penmanship, and don’t forget the Super Saiyans of Dragon Ball Z. Now, if only we could find a use for poor little Yugi and his deck of cards.

Highlight: Spider-man vs. Naruto
Two of the most popular heroes ever created also happen to be the wisecracking loudmouths capable of running up walls. While I am tempted to give the edge to Spider-man, things might get dicey if the hot-headed Naruto loses control and unleashes the Nine-tailed Fox – and that’s definitely not a Pokemon character.

Tolkien vs. Lucas
The grandfather of medieval fantasy meets the master of sci-fi. Obviously, we’ll need a hefty dose of ret-con to make this work. Even with invisibility, Frodo is no match for Luke Skywalker and the psychic powers of the force (midichlorians… *pfft*). Likewise, not even Anduril, the legendary sword of Aragorn’s ancestors, can withstand the metal-melting power of a lightsaber. With that bit of nerdy fact-checking out of the way, battles between orcs and wookies, Nazgul and the Fetts, and Samwise and Leia (slave attire only) are prime material for a mash-up. We can even toss in a robot from THX-1138, and Indiana Jones as an unlockable character.

Highlight: Gandalf vs. Yoda
Comical differences in height aside, the battle between elderly mentors would be one for the ages. Yoda, circa Episodes 1-3, has the edge in agility, but I’m giving this one to Gandalf. The wizard fought a Balrog for two days straight, died, and came back for more. Yoda, on the other hand, fled to become a hermit and died of old age in a swamp.

Konami vs. Square Enix
Capcom is a little busy these days, so we’ll pit Konami against the next best thing. Widely known for featuring soft-skinned boys with big swords in a never-ending fantasy, Square Enix also had a string of solid fighters back in the late-‘90s; Tobal No. 1, Ehrgeiz, and Bushido Blade. Even without Final Fantasy, Square Enix has more than enough ammo with the likes of Chrono Trigger, Vagrant Story, and Dragon Quest. There is no second-guessing when it comes to the opposition. Konami’s roster is practically a who’s-who of gaming history; Alucard, the Belmonts, Snake, Raiden, Bill and Lance (Contra), Cybernator, Pyramid Head. If the Goonies make an appearance, my money is on Sloth.

Highlight: Pyramid Head vs. Cloud
I have a confession to make. Konami and Square Enix have little cause to go head-to-head. In fact, both companies have plenty of characters for mash-ups of their own. I want this fight to happen so that I can see the angel-faced poster-boy of JRPGs impaled on Pyramid Head’s massive slab of rusted steel. Who has the bigger sword now? 

Namco Bandai vs. SEGA
Tekken vs. Virtua Fighter would have been the obvious choice. Kazuya, Nina, Jacky, and Akira are obligatory contestants, but we shouldn’t limit ourselves with predictability. For example: did you know that SEGA made a Baywatch pinball game? This past year has been especially good for the talent pool with the arrivals of Jack from MadWorld and the lusciously dangerous curves of Bayonetta. Those two alone tip the scales heavily in SEGA’s favor, but don’t forget that Namco Bandai has a fleet of Gundam and Afro Samurai at its side. A tag-team match like that would be a strobe-lit screen of blood, booty, and explosions. In other words, orgasmic. 

Highlight: Ecco vs. The Prince, sans katamari
Dumbest. Fight. Ever.

No Mortal Kombat vs. Street Fighter?
First off, I’m pretty sure that the universe would implode and regurgitate itself if this mash-up ever happened. Secondly, the two control schemes are completely incompatible and no rightful fan of either series will tolerate a compromise. Besides, we all know that Scorpion would stab Ryu in the throat and incinerate the corpse.

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