games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Character Cameos in Video Games

August 1, 2017 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Claude in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball. With last week focusing on guest characters in fighting games, I thought it might be good to have a companion column detailing cameos in non-fighting games. Ranging from action adventure, skateboarding, rhythm games, etc. Let’s begin:

#8: Scorpion (Psi Ops)

What’s better than a spear-chucking, fire-breathing, teleporting, wrath that usually lives in hell? Easy, one that also has psychic powers. While Scorpion in Psi-Ops was just a reskin of Nick, he had no custom moves or anything, it was still a cool bit of Midway synergy that got him into the game. You unlock the skin just by using a password in the extra content menu. Nothing beats seeing Scorpion riding a box telekinetically as you mow down enemies with a machine gun.

#7: Solid Snake (Evolution Skateboarding)

Solid Snake would honestly be higher on this list if the core game, Evolution Skateboarding, was actually any good. Alas, it is not, hence the ranking here. It’s a tired rehash of the Tony Hawk franchise and really, the only reason people remember it is the Solid Snake stuff. There are some other MGS 2 characters to unlock also, but Snake is the obvious draw here. In a bit of reversal, Konami then made a special Big Shell skating level just for the PS2 version of Metal Gear Solid 2 Substance. It’s still a bad skateboarding engine, but skating around the Big Shell was cool.

#6: Claude (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas)

This was one of the funniest moments in San Andreas, and that is saying something. Catalina shows up with Claude for a race against CJ, spurned on by the end of their relationship. It’s such a throwaway cameo that I can’t help but be impressed by the audacity of it. While Rosenberg became kind of a lovable goof in Vice City and SA, Claude had almost no character going for him, he literally doesn’t talk, which kind of makes CJ’s reactions to him even better. It’s not the deepest appearance in a game but it was a nice way of Rockstar showing its evolution with the series.

#5: Michael Jackson (Space Channel 5)

ALL HAIL SPACE MICHAEL! In Space Channel 5, the dastardly aliens have kidnapped Space Michael and force him to dance. Once you free him, he joins your entourage for a bit before getting rescued. Space Michael becomes a much bigger character in Space Channel 5 Part 2 where he owns the Space Channel 5 station. Even though his part was bigger, I think I prefer Space Channel 5’s role more, just because it is so random and happens late in the game that you could miss if it you’re not paying attention.

#4: Akuma/Evil Ryu (Asura’s Wrath)

This would be higher if these two characters weren’t part of the DLC. In the game you can fight against Akuma or Evil Ryu in a battle that almost obliterates the planet. Between the two, I much prefer the Akuma fight just because it goes in some way crazier moments. After the initial fight (set akin to Street Fighter 4’s fighting system), Akuma becomes Oni and Asura becomes Mantra Asura and they decide to have such an epic fight they end up destroying the moon in the process. They then land on Earth, become statues over 500 years and still end up fighting some more. In a game full of crazy moments, it’s one of the most insane, and the fact Asura hasn’t been announced for Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite is an injustice.

#3: Dante (Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne)

Dante is a guest character in Nocturne but actually kind of an important one. Throughout the game, Dante generally misses the main character (the Demi-Fiend) as he explores around a post-apocalypse Tokyo. You do encounter him a few times where he makes mention that someone hired him to take you out. Once you unlock and complete some of the Labyrinth of Amala, an optional dungeon, you have to avoid Dante for a level (which is hard), then face him a final time near the end. Assuming you survive, you’re given the choice of hiring Dante for your party and battling with him. Dante is a wholly unique character, while many of his attacks are similar to other demons methods, he adds his own spin on it.

#2: Secret Characters (Tony Hawk Series)

Frankly there are too many to singularly point out. Spider-Man, Iron Man, Darth Maul, Wolverine, and the Doom Guy just to name a few. Most of the characters were just different skins, it’s not like you could suddenly fly around as Iron Man or anything, but it was still cool. Most of the secret characters had their own special moves like Spidey’s “Spider Flip”, or Maul’s “Force Grab” trick. They kept adding secret characters, up until Tony Hawk 5 with Lil Wayne and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but the lest said about both these things, the better.

#1: Dante (Viewtiful Joe)

Once again, Dante makes the list, and at the top, but for a good reason. The titular Joe in Viewtiful Joe, is a brawler character who punches and kicks his way through the movie world. Dante, on the other hand, shoots and slices his way through, which is infinitely more enjoyable. For all of his powers, Joe doesn’t really have a good ranged attack, but Dante does and it is game-breaking. Once you realize the bullets can be slowed down and zoomed in, which increases their size and damage output, you can practically blow through that game with ease. Also, the unique art style for the game really fits well with Dante’s look.

For comments, list which character cameos you like in games, and why.

Next Issue
Top 8 Worlds I Want in Kingdom Hearts 3

article topics :

The 8 Ball (Games), Marc Morrison