Greetings, Shackers. It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another Shack Chat, our weekly community question where the Shacknews staff members weigh in, and then you, the community, give us your thoughts. This week, we’ve got Evo on the brain with our very own TJ Denzer, Dennis White, and Ozzie Mejia on location, which brings us to our question.
Shack Chat: Who is your favorite fighting game guest character of all time?
Sora (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate) - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Guest Star
This was a tough question for me to answer, because fighting games have welcomed some incredible guest fighters in the past. I'm thinking about the glut of DLC cameos from the last three Mortal Kombat games. I'm thinking about The Walking Dead's Negan and Fatal Fury's Geese Howard from Tekken 7. I'm thinking about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the DC Comics hero fighter Injustice 2. I'm remembering Battletoads' Rash and Halo's Arbiter making it into Killer Instinct. I'm even going back farther and remembering The Legend of Zelda's Link and Star Wars' Yoda in the early SoulCalibur games.
But if I have to narrow this choice to one, it has to be the choice that gave me pure joy. Sora from Kingdom Hearts somehow making it into a Nintendo fighter was one of the ultimate white whales. It was an impossibility. So many things had to come together in terms of licensing across multiple parties. Fortunately, the team at Disney Games wanted this as badly as everybody else and made it happen. I'll never forget the reaction streams from fans, the expressions of disbelief followed by total happiness.
It's just one of so many reasons why we'll never see a crossover like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate again.
Terry Bogard in Smash Bros - TJ Denzer IS OKAY?! BUSTAH WOLF!!!
I know Terry Bogard was already a fighting game character, but he’s still the most hype I've ever been for a Super Smash Bros. DLC reveal. It felt like Nintendo and SNK made that call just for me, a Sega kid who grew up playing Fatal Fury on the Genesis. Terry Bogard was a hero of my childhood in fighting games - this long-haired rough-knuckle dude who threw his ball cap every time he won. And then they sweetened the pot by making it so if you wanted to, you could use actual fighting game inputs to execute Terry’s best moves.
I think one of the funnest things about this was that, at the time, King of Fighters wasn’t doing so hot. KOF15 hadn’t come out yet, so I was a little starved for Terry Bogard and other SNK characters. And Sakurai did right by him in both looks and gameplay. There have been some awesome crossovers in fighting games, but few things ever made me as happy as being able to do the Buster Wolf in Smash Bros. and sending Jigglypuff flying off the screen for it.
Piranha Plant in Smash Ultimate - Asif Khan, Shacknews CEO/EIC/EIEIO
Sure, there are plenty of amazing cameos throughout the history of fighting games, but I have never been more surprised than when Nintendo announced Piranha Plant would be joining the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character roster. What an absolutely unhinged and ridiculous choice by Nintendo.
RoboCop in MK11 - Bill Lavoy, Rogue with a Criminal Background
I have to thank Donovan for reminding me about RoboCop in MK11. I’m not a big fighting game guy, but I am a big 80s movie guy who was a fan of RoboCop. If a fighting game has any chance of hooking me, it’s going to be with guest characters and cameos that I’m a fan of, which is the whole point of guest characters and cameos, right? Anyway, you have a decent chance of me playing any game if you’re putting RoboCop in it, so well done, MK11.
Spartan-485 (Dead or Alive 4) - Sam Chandler, Pretty Good at Halo
“You’re telling me I can play as a Spartan in a fighting game?” That’s likely what I said to the employee at EB Games who sold me Dead or Alive 4 back on the Xbox 360. I wanted every single launch game I could get my hands on, and sure, DoA4 is nice to look at, but what’s awesome is beating foes to a pulp using a Spartan. You can’t quite beat a guest appearance like that.
Link in Soul Calibur 2 - Dennis White Jr., Evo Bound
This is tough for me because there have been some good guest characters over the years. I loved seeing Spawn in MK11, Alien & Predator in MKX was also awesome. Akuma back in the X-Men Children of the Atom days and being a total beast in Tekken 7 decades later. At the end of the day I have to give the number one spot to the Hero of Time though. Link made the GameCube version of Soul Calibur 2 the version to own!
Also, when it comes down to a guest character that I could actually kick a decent amount of butt with in the actual game, Link is definitely in that number one spot for me. There’s been some awesome cameos but usually I suck with the majority of them. But Link was a real go-to for me in SC2 and I could put in serious work with all of his tools. You could play with several weapons like the Megaton Hammer and the Master Sword and it all felt so good! Also, Link’s battle theme in this game is one of the best renditions of a classic The Legend of Zelda tune ever! I linked it above, so give it a listen.
Hero (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate) - Donovan Erskine, Zenithian Legend
While the Dragon Quest franchise has had plenty of success over the years, it rarely gets to leave its own borders and be part of any crossover celebrations. It’s why Hero’s appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was so damn cool. While the base model is that of the DQ11 protagonist, the fact that his alternate skins let you play as the Hero from DQ1, DQ4, and DQ8 is such a fun celebration of the franchise’s rich history. HAL Labs also completely aced the mix of melee combat and magic, and while Hero’s random list of spells doesn’t always lead to wins, it’s a lot of fun.
Banjo-Kazooie in Smash Bros - Steve Tyminski, Bear and Bird!
There are a few directions I could take this. I remember getting Soul Calibur 2 on the Nintendo GameCube just so I could play with Link from the Legend of Zelda. Link fit into the game so well and was one of my favorite fighters. However, I think I have to go with Banjo-Kazooie getting into Smash Bros. Banjo-Kazooie took forever to get into Smash and Microsoft had to give it the green light, thus the guest fighter role. This addition added some of my favorite music into Super Smash Bros. and I’m not too bad when playing as the bear and bird. I can remember the buzz surrounding this rumor at E3. I was waiting in my hotel room, ready to watch the Nintendo Direct. There was a rumor swirling around the internet for Banjo-Kazooie but it wasn’t clear what. It could have been a new game in the series. The Nintendo Direct aired and there was nothing... until the end. It hit with a bang; Banjo-Kazooie were finally getting into Super Smash Bros.
Now that you know who our favorite fighting game guest characters are, who are yours? Let us know in the Chatty comments below.