Friday, August 8, 2008

Nintendo crossovers we'll never see

No, I don't really think any of the below crossovers are a particularly good idea. Well, except for maybe Chibi-Robo... Otherwise, it's all bull crap.

Marvel vs. Capcom, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, and Drawn to Life: Spongebob Squarepants Edition. These are just three of the many video games crossovers so far released or conceived. So many of these "worlds collide" video games are so insanely out-there that it's amazing they were ever even thought up. Sometimes they seem to just pick two random franchises and see if they can be slapped together. Well, whether or not that's how these games come about, that's exactly the approach I took here. So, without further ado, I present three insanely out-there game crossovers featuring Nintendo franchises, complete with phony synopses. Enjoy.

Chibi-Robo is back from the park and heading home once more in Chibi-Robo: Katamari for the Nintendo Wii. Strange happenings are now taking place in the Hoshino household, and little Chibi-Robo is sent straight to Japan for his next adventure. All over the country, for no apparent reason, anything resembling a cleaning tool is disappearing. There isn't even anything left for the little robot to use as a tiny broom! With this catastrophe taking place, Chibi-Robo is placed in the Hoshino family household to clean up as well as he can, while simultaneously keeping a robotic eye out for any bizarre happenings.

Poor little Chibi-Robo does his best to clean up, but sadly, he simply cannot work all that efficiently without a proper tool to clean with. Noticing the little robots troubles, Mutsuo Hoshino cries up to the heavens in an appeal to the King of All Cosmos. However, the royal family is on vacation in Prague at the moment, and can't be bothered to help. The King feels bad, though, and sends down one tiny Katamari to the Hoshino household, only this time the Prince doesn't come with it. A tiny little note is attached to the Katamari, far too small for any of the Hoshino family to read, so Telly Vision reads it out loud to the household. It says that Chibi-Robo can use this Katamari, but with a catch: Each ball of trash he collects must be sent to the King to be properly disposed of. The little robot thinks this is a fair deal, and sets off to use his new tool.

In Chibi-Robo: Katamari, the objective is to clean the Hoshino household as thoroughly as possible. Problem is, the Hoshino family is a very sloppy one, with food, garbage and various other litter constantly being dropped onto the floor. This is no match for the Katamari, though! As the ball grows, so does its gathering ability. Soon enough, it's big enough to pick up animals, people, and even entire buildings. Nothing is safe from the cleaning power of the Katamari!

Chibi-Robo: Katamari features a huge cast of lovable characters, as well as several returning personalities from the two franchises. What could happen when Funky Phil meets the Origami Kid? Play to find out!

Chibi-Robo: Katamari is being cooperatively developed by Namco Limited and Nintendo, and is expected to be released between next Tuesday and January 27th, 2063.

Bullet Bills meet .45 caliber Magnum rounds in Grand Theft Kart. A joint production between Nintendo and Rockstar Games, Grand Theft Kart looks to bring together two of the most well-known franchises in the industry together in a true battle royale on the Nintendo Wii.

Niko Bellic has grown tired of Liberty City. He's seen everything there is to see, stolen every car worth stealing, and killed all who deserved to die. Riding his motorcycle to wherever the road takes him, he winds up in the Mushroom Kingdom, land of superhero plumbers and fungal townsfolk. It should go without saying that Niko doesn't exactly fit in with the local crowd, and noting a lack of strict law enforcement, he decides to do whatever he pleases. This doesn't sit too well with a certain Italian plumber, and things soon turn sour. The pudgy tradesman challenges Niko to a series of races to determine who gets to stay and who must leave. And so begins the next installment in two of the largest franchises in all of gaming, a clash of culture, ESRB ratings and art styles, in the biggest game of 2008 2009 2012 whenever Nintendo decides to finally release it.

The gameplay is simple, yet addictive. Players get to choose from dozens of vehicles, from Mario's trademark go-kart to a cement truck Niko carjacked on the freeway. Mario Kart's signature item system makes a full return, with brand new items such as exploding Yoshi eggs, descent-slowing umbrellas and rocket launchers joining the fray. While using items effectively does lead to a better standing in the end, it doesn't sit too well with the newly-established Toad police force. While the use of items such as Koopa shells, banana peels and Bullet Bills is A-OK by their "For the Sake of Comedy" by-law, more violent weapons such as Desert Eagles, steel baseball bats and rocket launchers leads to an increase in the player's heat level. If things get too hot, you've got two choices: Try to avoid the police in a fast-paced, mid-race chase, or dash over to Monty Mole's Auto Shop and get a new coat of paint to fool the cops.

Another key feature in Grand Theft Kart is free-roaming gameplay between races. Drive and walk about the Mushroom Kingdom, stealing karts, shooting Koopas and robbing Item Shops as you please. Beneath this cheery layer of happiness, though, lies the true evil of the Mushroom Kingdom. Niko slowly becomes privy to information regarding Kingpin Bowser's secret underground mushroom ring, and hears of plans to overthrow the Toadstool family's rule. Players can choose to take either side in this turf war, working for or against the evil Bowser and his many, one-hit-to-kill henchmen.

Grand Theft Kart is a huge step forward for both of these franchises, and it's thanks to the brilliantly messed-up minds at both Rockstar Games and Nintendo that this game will one day become a reality. Just don't expect it any time before the apocalypse.

RED and BLU meet GREEN in this Wii-exclusive version of Valve's critically-acclaimed Team Fortress 2. A simple farm hand, Link finds himself thrust into a bizarre new universe, full of modern weaponry and a mercifully low amount of high-pitched fairy yammering. He has no idea how he got here, his mind totally devoid of any memory regarding this inter-universe detour. Stumbling around in a confused state, Link finds a pair of teams killing each other. Apparently, the two teams are workers from two different companies: One team is from a construction firm (Builders League United, or BLU), while another is from a demolition contractor (Reliable Excavation and Demolition or RED). This paper-thin cover slowly gives away to the truth: Both companies are secret organizations bent on eliminating the other. They've been at this for years, when, shortly after Link's arrival, another company appears: GREEN. This company seems to be interested only in absorbing other organizations into its mega-corporation, and the truth explains all: The name GREEN stands for Ganondorf's Relentless Evildoing Enhancement Network. He plans on taking over the world in a whole new way this time: Corporate domination.

What can Link do in this situation? It's quite simple: He must fight alongside either RED or BLU, battling against both the opposing company and GREEN's evil plans. He takes the role of a class exclusive to the Wii adaption of Team Fortress 2: Handheld weapons expert. His assortment of weaponry features many Zelda mainstays, such as the bow and arrow, the Hookshot, and, of course, the Master Sword. His method of fighting requires getting up close and personal with his targets to be truly effective, which sets him apart from most other classes in the game. Playing well as Link won't be an easy task for Team Fortress 2 veterans, but once players figure him out, it's sure to be a blast.

Zelda Fortress 2 is unique in a way, in that it only has that basic premise to hold it together. There never really is any official face-off with Ganondorf's forces. Instead, Zelda Fortress 2 is a huge online first-person shooter, with crazy over-the-top animations and a bizarre sense of humour. Each player has their own unique set of taunts, from the spy's butterfly taunt ("I'm going to gut you like a Cornish game hen") to Link's Hookshot taunt ("Well excuuuuuuse me, princess!"). While the story element may be entirely disposable in the Zelda timeline, it's sure to still be one heck of a fun departure. Hey, you wanted something new with your next Zelda, didn't you? Here ya go, then.

If the development process of both Team Fortress 2 (Announced in 1998, released in 2007) and Nintendo's notorious delays are any indications, we should expect to see Zelda Fortress 2 hit store shelves sometime after the next couple billion years, with at least one dramatic graphical overhaul in the interim. Quality takes time, people!

I hope you all enjoyed this journey into the flaming pit of my overactive imagination. If any of these titles were to be released, I'd surely explode with surprise. That being said, I think I'll be avoiding the next few Nintendo conferences, just to be safe...

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