Make It So: DC vs SJ Heroes by Jerry Whitworth
2D fighting games are big business. In a growing market of highly sophisticated video games with cutting edge graphics, many fans will still buy from traditional franchises like Super Smash Bros, Street Fighter, Tekken, and King of Fighters. Versus franchise games, be it inter-fighters like Tekken X Street Fighter and Capcom vs SNK or mingling external media like Marvel vs Capcom, Tatsunoko vs Capcom, and Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, look to dwarf their predecessors in popularity. While fighting games improve in graphics, they generally use the same engine meaning with some slight tweaks, you can just continuously update content. Pull in extra fans by adding the Versus franchise aspect and offer pay-for downloadable characters (DLC) and it’s like printing your own money. Imagine, now, mashing up two of some of the biggest media franchises on earth: Warner Bros’ DC Comics and Shueisha’s Shonen Jump. Home to some of the most popular characters in fiction, both companies have previously graced the fighting game genre. DC had Justice League Task Force and the aforementioned Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe while SJ has had Jump Super Stars, Jump Ultimate Stars, Battle Stadium D.O.N., and the wildly popular fighting game series of Dragon Ball and Naruto, a fighting game seeing these companies clash would be titanic (not to mention, imagine accompanying comic book, action figure, collectible card game, table top role-playing games, and cartoon series to exploit the monumental smack down). Lets take a look at some of the possibilities.
SUPERMAN VS DRAGON BALL
Walk into a comic shop, any comic shop, and innocently ask ‘who would win in a fight, Superman or Goku?’ and see what happens. Screaming, fist fights, rioting; perhaps I’m being overly-dramatic, but I’ve seen complete meltdowns, even among friends, over the answer. Now imagine this argument brought to the video game stage, be it fighting anonymous strangers on-line, friends sitting in the same room, or from an arcade game in a store and you wouldn’t have enough hours in the day for bragging rights. But that doesn’t even begin to touch on the possibilities of the surrounding cast becoming involved. Superman’s allies like Supergirl, Superboy, Steel, and Power Girl and his rogues like Luthor, Darkseid, Doomsday, Cyborg Superman, Bizarro, General Zod, and Brainiac against Dragon Ball’s Piccolo, Vegeta, Frieza, Perfect Cell, Dabura, Kid Buu, Gohan, Future Trunks, Uub, Tien Shinhan, and Krillin. These super-powered, intergalactic, world-shaking fighters can explode across the screen testing hand-eye coordination to its absolute limit for completely broken combos if you can just get the timing down and not shoot past someone’s character or throw an attack too early. Also, as Dragon Ball’s creator Akira Toriyama was a fan of Superman, elements of the Kryptonian’s backstory made it into the series which can be played up for laughs in a confrontation for a story mode. For example, Goku can mistake Superman for Toriyama’s parody character Suppaman or when Piccolo mentions he’s from Namek, Zod could think he’s related to the immortal, monstrous Phantom Zone villain Nam-Ek or Luthor and Dr. Gero can make a brand new Galactic Golem or raid Project Cadmus and make a Superman/Goku clone.
BATMAN VS NARUTO
At first, this seems like a rather one-sided fight. The world of Naruto is some complex amalgamation of martial arts, mysticism, and giant, super-powered animals so what chance would Batman’s cast have? Well, after playing Batman in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, I would argue the Dark Knight has enough tricks up his sleeve to make him a real dark horse in this game. Just think Link from Super Smash Bros. Give Batman his batarangs, grapple gun, explosive gel, smoke pellets, freeze grenades, and stun rifle, and he’ll go toe-to-toe with Chidori or Rasen Shuriken. Many of Batman’s tools are explored and paired with other tools in Arkham City with characters like Robin, Nightwing, and Catwoman as other characters the player can employ in the game. These heroes, plus the heroes and villains of Gotham City such as the Joker, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Clayface, Bane, Deathstroke, Killer Croc, Deadshot, Solomon Grundy, Batgirl, Batwoman, Black Bat, Red Hood, Plastic Man, Black Canary, and Huntress could be viable candidates for the game. Of the massive cast of Naruto from Konohagakure and beyond, you could have the titular character plus Sasuke, Sakura, Orochimaru, Jiraiya, Tsunade, Madara, Pain, Kisame, Zabuza, Itachi, Killer Bee, Gaara, Kakashi, Rock Lee, and Yamato throw down for the game.
FLASH VS ONE PIECE
The Flash is use to dealing with a motley crew of powerful, motivated individuals that work well as a team which means the Straw Hat Pirates and their rival bands on the Grand Line would make a prime opponent for the Scarlet Speedster. In another life, Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Weather Wizard, Trickster, Captain Boomerang, Pied Piper, Mirror Master, and Abra Kadabra could have been a pirate crew to match the likes of Baroque Works, Arlong Pirates, Galley-La Company, Thriller Bark, CP9, Blackbeard Pirates, Whitebeard Pirates, or the Shichibukai. Sharing a similar issue as the Superman/Dragon Ball fighters, the Flashes would require paramount hand-eye coordination and timing but without the benefit of flight, instead running along the borders of the screen. Representing Central City, you have the Flashes, Kid Flash, Impulse, Elongated Man, Gorilla Grodd, Dr. Alchemy, Professor Zoom, and the aforementioned Rogues. For One Piece, you obviously have the show’s protagonists in the Straw Hat crew in Luffy, Zoro, Nami, Sanji, Usopp, Chopper, Nico Robin, Franky, and Brook as well as the Grand Line’s Marine Elites and a bevvy of candidates from the aforementioned pirate crews.
GREEN LANTERN VS BLEACH
The Power Ring versus the Zanpakuto. The Green Lantern Corps vs the Shinigami (Soul Reapers). When someone joins the Green Lanterns, they earn a power ring, one of the mightiest weapons in the universe. The Zanpakuto, on the other hand, are unique to each Shinigami, forged from their very soul generally taking the form of a katana. Both peacekeepers and agents of order, the Shinigami walk between the worlds of the living and dead to maintain balance as Green Lanterns fight evil and oppression across the universe. The greatest test to the Green Lanterns came in the so-called Blackest Night when the dead rose to turn the universe into a graveyard. With Nekron, lord of the dead, the door can be open for an alliance with the Arrancar to generate conflict. With Green Lanterns like Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, Arisia, Sodam Yat, Soranik Natu, Boodikka, and Sinestro and other franchise characters such as Atrocitus, Bleez, Larfleeze, Atrocitus, Saint Walker, Indigo-1, Black Hand, Carol Ferris, Fatality, and Krona, the cast provides a lot of possibilities. With Bleach, characters like Ichigo, Rukia, Chad, Uryu, Renji, Yoruichi, Toshiro, Kenpachi, Rangiku, Hiyori, Ikkaku, Byakuya, Aizen, Nel Tu, Kaname, Gin, Grimmjow, Harribel, and Ulquiorra would be popular and capable fighters.
WONDER WOMAN VS CLAYMORE
A powerful female hero known around the world, Wonder Woman has been identified with female empowerment itself. The series Claymore stars an organization of powerful women that defend the weak against monsters. Wonder Woman, hailing from a warrior island of women as their princess, is an obvious opponent to Clare, protagonist for the manga series. The two casts mirror each other with powerful female characters. Wonder Woman’s friends and foes include Hippolyta, Donna Troy, Wonder Girl, Artemis, Phillipus, Ares, Circe, Cheetah, and Giganta. Some of Claymore‘s primary characters include, in addition to Clare, Priscilla, Miria, Deneve, Helen, Cassandra, Roxanne, Hysteria, and Galatea. Both franchises have mythological elements where Wonder Woman has battled monsters like Medusa and the Minotaur while the Claymore battle shape-shifting, flesh-seeking Yoma and monsters born from mixing Yoma and human blood.
And this just scrapes the surface. There are many popular Shonen Jump series to pull playable and cameo characters from: Cobra, Kinnikuman (M.U.S.C.L.E.), Dr. Slump, Fist of the North Star, Sakigake!! Otokojuku (Be a Man! Samurai School), Saint Seiya (Knights of the Zodiac), JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Bastard!!, Yu Yu Hakusho, Ninku, Hell Teacher Nube, Rurouni Kenshin, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Hunter x Hunter, Shaman King, Black Cat, Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Buso Renkin, Gin Tama, D.Gray-man, Hitman Reborn!, Nurarihyon no Mago (Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan), Toriko, Beelzebub, Medaka Box, and Rosario + Vampire. Likewise, DC Comics has many teams to cull characters from including the Justice League, Justice Society of America, Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes, Birds of Prey, New Gods, Outsiders, S.H.A.D.E., Secret Six, Zoo Crew, Secret Society of Super-Villains, Injustice Gang, Brotherhood of Evil, Legion of Super-Villains, Watchmen, Stormwatch, WildC.A.T.s, Gen¹³, Shadow Cabinet, and the Blood Syndicate. The possibilities are endless. Imagine the Justice League vs the Noah Clan, Teen Titans taking on the Vongola Famiglia, the Legion of Super-Heroes against the Night Parade of a Hundred Demons, the Authority trading blows with Dark Schneider and the Riders of Havoc, or the Secret Society of Super-Villains going toe-to-toe with Behemoth’s 34 Pillar Division. Heck, a mini-series where Rorschach matches wits with Kira and his Death Note wouldn’t have to be connected to anything to get me to read it.