100) Marvel vs. Capcom 3 – MIKE HAGGAR
Zangief is great and all, but I never understood why Japan never played up Mike Haggar. Maybe it’s a cultural thing where Americans think Mike Haggar is the shit while the Japanese don’t find him all that impressive. Cody and Guy got to be incorporated into Street Fighter while Haggar’s only been allowed cameo roles (not counting being in Saturday Night Slam Masters). Seeing him included in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 had me stoked.
Beating up Galactus, Eater of Worlds, with nothing more than his bare hands and a pipe, Mike Haggar is visited in his office by Captain America and Chris Redfield. The two are just checking in, but are also a bit afraid that Haggar is burning the candle at both ends. His political career is taking off more than ever and that mixed with being the world’s foremost ass-kicker can’t be healthy. Haggar laughs it off and says he’s fine.
It’s spelled out that Haggar has been elected President of the United States with Tony Stark as his Vice President. I’m not sure how this works, considering they’re from two separate worlds. Is he President of both versions of the US? Did Stark just make the switch? Is this a separate Tony Stark from the Capcom world? Who knows? Either way, I fully support this ticket.
Haggar explains that as a professional wrestler, he’s driven by the roar of the crowd. Whether it’s in the ring, on the campaign trail, on the streets or even against galactic super gods, all Haggar needs is the fans cheering him and he’ll always have the strength to be the man. Captain America’s morale for democracy is pumped up for at least another 20 years.
99) Mortal Kombat 9 – LIU KANG/SHANG TSUNG
It took well over a decade before Midway/Netherrealm Studios could make Liu Kang in any way interesting. After years of being the bland never-loses hero of the Mortal Kombat series, they first killed him off, then turned him into a shambling zombie, then did that non-canon thing where Raiden turned him into Captain Marvel and then found a more permanent fix with the latest Mortal Kombat game. There, Raiden circa Mortal Kombat 1 gets visions of the future and a cryptic message that, “He must win!” At first he figures that means Liu Kang must win, but that doesn’t seem to be helping change the future.
Raiden’s attempts to alter the timeline lead to acts of buffoonery, desperation and massive death and as it goes on, Liu Kang goes from being mildly annoyed to violently disgusted. Especially when Kitana is killed off. In Liu’s ending, he decides that Raiden has to go. He stands up to the Elder Gods and requests that he takes Raiden’s place as Defender of Earthrealm. The status is decided via a duel and Liu Kang wins, presumably killing Raiden. He’s then empowered by the Elder Gods into being the God of Fire.
Shang Tsung’s ending coincides with these events. He kills Shao Kahn and takes all of the souls Kahn has devoured. Only it’s too much for him. Shang’s a good sorcerer, but he’s overwhelmed and nearly driven to madness. He’s about to kill himself when Bo’ Rai Cho, the master fighter who once trained Liu Kang, seeks him out at the last second. Master Cho can teach Shang to control his powers and master the souls that are currently tearing him apart. In return, he needs to take care of Liu Kang. Ever since becoming a god, Liu has become a total tyrant and needs stopping. Shang is seen as the lesser of two evils and goes through rigorous training to save Earthrealm via getting his revenge.
98) Art of Fighting – SNES ENDING
The ending for the original version of Art of Fighting is a gigantic letdown. Ryo or Robert beats up Mr. Karate and saves Yuri. Then Yuri runs out, begging for them to stop beating him up because he is her… And then it says, “To be continued!” Obviously, he’s the father of Ryo and Yuri. There’s no real need for the cliffhanger and considering there’s only one ending in a game with two playable characters, there really should be more pizzazz.
The SNES version of the game goes on far longer and gives us some details. Yes, Mr. Karate is Takuma Sakazaki and he is Ryo and Yuri’s father. He explains how his search for his wife’s killer led to him going to South Town, where he lost his way and racked up some major gambling debts. Then Geese Howard – main villain of the Fatal Fury series – came up to him and offered to pay those debts for some assistance. He wore the Mr. Karate mask out of shame and did a lot of dirty work for him, but with this confession came a sweet bombshell.
Takuma Sakazaki killed Jeff Bogard.
Remember, the Art of Fighting games take place in the 70’s, twenty years before Fatal Fury. Around this time, Geese killed his rival Jeff, causing Jeff’s sons Terry and Andy to spend their lives training for revenge. Takuma’s dialogue shows that while Geese was capable, he couldn’t do it due to his public image, so he had Mr. Karate do it for him.
That’s kind of heavy. The hero of Art of Fighting’s father killed the hero of Fatal Fury’s father. Unfortunately, nothing ever came of this. In fact, it was negated the following year when Art of Fighting 2 came out and it specifically showed that it took place before Jeff Bogard’s death. So Geese killed him after all.
The rest of the ending has Takuma begging for forgiveness and being granted it by his children. He bestows the title of master to Ryo and then goes off to start his own dojo. Ryo and Robert get ready for a sparring fight right before it ends, Rocky III style.
97) Street Fighter Alpha 2 – ADON
My favorite Street Fighter character is easily Adon, former prized pupil of Sagat who went on to break out on his own. For years, he saw Sagat as the unbeatable top dog and never acted out on his jealousy because how can you challenge a guy who you see as infallible? Then the first Street Fighter happened and while Adon lost to Ryu, so did Sagat. Granted, Ryu won because of a mix between Sagat’s ego and a brief moment of tapping into his dark inner power, but Ryu still won. From there, Adon did away with his hero worship and decided that it was time for him to become the true legend of Muay Thai.
Adon proves himself against Sagat and rubs in his superiority by smashing the face of the giant statue from Sagat’s stage. Adon continues to defend his title as #1 Muay Thai guy until one day when he’s preparing himself for a main event match, a horrified man busts into his room to tell him that his challenger has been murdered. Adon demands to know who did it.
Adon knows who the man speaks of. Akuma mastered the style that Ryu used to defeat Sagat. Since Adon’s already proven himself better than Sagat, he’s going to skip challenging Ryu and go straight to Akuma. Only then will the world see that he’s the ultimate champion.
96) Tekken Tag Tournament 2 – FOREST LAW
This one’s purely on the list for looking so goddamn amazing. I don’t even know how to describe the animation style used for this one. It’s like South Park stop-motion 2D in a 3D setting with photos of in-game characters. Kind of like JibJab’s videos. It looks beautiful.
Forest and Paul Phoenix ride off on a motorcycle towards Las Vegas with a check of $100,000,000,000 dollars. Forest’s father Marshall, probably steamed that his son isn’t including him, angrily chases the two off. We see a montage of the two riding through Las Vegas and all the different attractions.
They return home and Forest shows his father that his wallet is now empty. Marshall does not take this news well.
Flash back a week earlier, where we see why Forest came back empty-handed. Right before he and Paul could make it to Vegas, they saw a family whose house had burned down. They lost everything and the two martial artists have to decide: go to Vegas or help out this poor family? Forest convinces Paul to do the right thing and they give away all their money.
The hell kind of house needs a hundred billion to be fixed? Has the American dollar really fallen that far?
95) Soul Calibur IV – SOPHITIA
Despite being pure-hearted, Sophitia is out to destroy the holy Soul Calibur rather than the unholy Soul Edge. Her children are infected by the Soul Edge’s magic or something, I don’t know. Either way, Sophitia has to protect the Soul Edge by destroying its rival sword. She defeats Algol and gets ready to do the deed. She picks up Soul Edge and knows that if she destroys Soul Calibur with it, her family will be safe. She hesitates. The Soul Edge calls out to her, angry that she isn’t going through with it and threatening to devour her first.
The endings use in-game models for the cutscenes, so it says a lot for how expressively horrified Sophitia is when the sword she’s holding starts threatening her.
Algol sees this transpiring and despite being the game’s main villain, he sees a lot of himself in Sophitia and saves her by snatching the Soul Edge from her grasp. He tells her about how the love of a parent is stronger than any weapon, but if you’re misguided, you’ll destroy everything. A brief flashback shows that Algol’s very son was possessed by Soul Edge and Algol had to put him down. Sophitia realizes from his words that Algol is a father himself, but he dismisses her. “Time is cruel. Even with all this power, I cannot undo the past.”
Algol takes the two swords and disappears into the sky, telling Sophitia to go back to her children. She does so, living her days in happiness.
94) Soul Calibur III – ZASALAMEL
Zasalamel is cursed with eternal life. No matter how many times he dies, he’ll always be painfully resurrected and the pattern will continue. He seeks out both the Soul Edge and Soul Calibur, since the two super-powerful swords have to be able to end his suffering. In his bad ending, he uses the two weapons for a ritual, but finds that nothing has changed. He deliriously starts laughing in defeat and collapses, accepting that he will have to live out this pointless existence forever.
If you get the good ending, he does succeed in removing the curse. He wonders about what to do with the rest of his mortal life and decides to write his memoirs. He writes the HELL out of those memoirs!
Good God, he’s lived a long time. Once finished, he merely waits for time to take him to his eternal rest.
93) Mortal Kombat II – MILEENA
Of the 12 playable characters in Mortal Kombat II, five are ninjas. While all but Sub-Zero appear unmasked during their Fatalities, the endings also feature their true faces, bringing us revelations about the characters. We see that Sub-Zero is just an Asian dude. Kitana is human, though we also find out that she’s secretly royalty. Scorpion has a skull head and Reptile is a literal reptile. Then there’s Mileena, whose ending is certainly eye-opening for those who haven’t seen her cannibalism Fatality.
Mileena isn’t Kitana’s sister after all, but a terrifying clone created by Shang Tsung mixing Kitana’s biology with that of a creature from Baraka’s race. While Shao Kahn’s been focused on Kitana possibly betraying him, Mileena seizes the opportunity and assassinates her “father”.
What followed was 20 years of fellatio jokes from the gamer crowd.
92) Marvel vs. Capcom 3 – ZERO
Comic book continuity is a hard thing to explain. Lord knows I’ve tried. There are alternate timelines, reboots, retcons and all sorts of pitfalls. That said, it’s not like video games are immune to that either. Look no further than this epilogue to Marvel vs. Capcom 3 where the Silver Surfer tries to give Zero a lift home.
Standing on Surfer’s board, Zero thanks him for giving him a ride to Neo Arcadia, but then notices that something is off. Surfer points out that this is the world of Mega Man Zero, but Zero explains that that’s a totally different character. Surfer can’t keep the dozen different Mega Man continuities straight, but promises to get him to his real home… eventually. Zero continues to thank and apologize.
Zero’s just lucky Surfer doesn’t drop him off in the world of Captain N Mega Man.
91) Tekken Tag Tournament 2 – LARS ALEXANDERSSON
In a perplexing image, we see the entire in-game Mishima/Kazama family tree (except Jinpachi) sitting in a circle around a table. As Lars, Kazuya, Jin, Heihachi and Asuka wait, Jun comes over with their dinner. Once served, everyone eats the pot’s contents at lightning speed.
Everyone but Lars, who can’t keep up with this ridiculous family.
Kazuya is able to keep eating while taking a second to snicker at his foolish half-brother. Lars’ attempts to get even a morsel are constantly prevented by the speed of the others until all that’s left is a piece of seaweed. He’s about to dine on that when Heihachi pops his head into the frame and slurps it up.
Lars suddenly wakes up on a helicopter with his task force. He describes what just happened as a nightmare and after a beat, wonders if anyone has any food on them.
90) Mortal Kombat 9 – QUAN-CHI
Quan-Chi kills Shao Kahn, revealing that he was really playing Earthrealm and Outworld against each other so that his master Shinnok could take advantage of the chaos. Quan-Chi uses his powers of necromancy to build up their own army and has little trouble getting recruits due to how many strong warriors died during the course of the Outworld invasion.
Shinnok then falls into type and betrays Quan-Chi. Despite all that Quan-Chi did for him, Shinnok orders his execution so that nobody can challenge his rule. Quan-Chi is angered, but he expected this. That’s when we realize what an idiot Shinnok really is.
What does Quan-Chi do? Resurrects the dead via sorcery and make them his slaves. Who did he recently make dead? SHAO FUCKING KAHN!
Using the zombie Shao Kahn (referred to by the narrator as “the ultimate phantom warrior”), Quan-Chi has Shinnok crushed and takes over his operation.
89) Street Fighter x Tekken – ABEL and GUILE
I’ve always thought Abel from Street Fighter IV was the most boring character. Not just boring, but redundant. Storywise, he is exactly the same as Cammy, just without the male gaze. A blond-haired, scar-faced clone of M. Bison with memory issues who was taken in by a military group. It’s a wonder they never played up the two of them basically being brother and sister.
Abel wins me over a bit in his Street Fighter x Tekken storyline with Guile. The two team up to trek to Antarctica for Pandora’s Box and through their post-fight dialogue, we see that Abel lacks Guile’s sense of military professionalism. Such as when Abel speculates what the box is all about, Guile tries to silence him by saying that it’s not important to their mission. Still, Abel goes on and wonders if it’s related to aliens.
Then there’s the rival fight cutscene where they confront Heihachi and Kuma. Abel demands that if they win, they get Kuma. Heihachi and Kuma think it’s a food-related request, but when Guile asks Abel to explain himself, he shyly points out how adorable the big bear is and how he really just wants to pet him. Guile is not amused.
Also, there’s one conversation where the two of them make fun of Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li and Chris Klein’s portrayal of Charlie Nash. Much respect for that.
Then you get to the ending. Pandora is glowing and Abel gets closer, not heeding Guile’s warnings that it might be a trap. It opens up and a huge light shines straight up… into a UFO. The UFO opens up to reveal…
Guile is shocked while Abel ecstatically says, “They’re so cute!” Guile kind of just wanders off, practically saying, “Yeah, I’m done with this.” The text epilogue shows that Guile became a worldwide celebrity for being part of the world’s first official contact with extraterrestrial life. He and his family get accustomed to their new life in the spotlight and while Guile is okay with that, he insists that he will never work with another person on a mission as long as he lives.
88) Killer Instinct 2 – BLACK ORCHID
Endings and Fatalities are both aesthetics that have no true effect on gameplay, but do add to the style and replay value. Rare had a cool idea of mixing the two together. What if killing your opponent – or not killing your opponent – had repercussions? That’s what Killer Instinct 2 had going for it. Everyone had 2-4 endings based on the pulse of certain opponents. The best use of this was Orchid, whose fate is tied with Jago and Sabrewulf.
Gargos dies telling Orchid that Jago is her long-lost twin brother and that he’ll get his revenge. His soul jumps into Sabrewulf as a last-ditch attack and goes for Orchid. Luckily, her brother is there to slay the beast.
If you were to have killed Jago and not Sabrewulf, Orchid would end up being torn to ribbons. Kill them both and Orchid returns home, depressed over the death of the brother she never knew. Kill just Sabrewulf and it emphasizes that she and Jago are reunited and an unbeatable fighting team has been formed. I wish we could have seen this gimmick used more often.
On the subject of Killer Instinct 2 endings, someone had hacked into the game to find out that there were even more endings made that were never made available, all based on interacting with the backgrounds. This is why some characters like Spinal and Maya only have two endings.
87) Rival Schools: United by Fate – HYO IMAWANO
Hyo is one of the better “main villain wins his own game” endings. Usually these endings are about how the end boss has beaten everyone, has nobody to stop them from ruling/destroying the world and bwa ha ha ha. Hyo’s is a bit different. In his brother Kyosuke’s ending, Kyosuke is able to reach out to his brother and show him the error of his ways. Here, Hyo isn’t given that luxury.
He brags about how his plot has succeeded and soon he’ll be able to take over Japan with his brainwashed legion. Then he thinks about the look he sees in their eyes. It’s loyalty in a sense, but it’s not really trust. It’s fake and hollow. He hasn’t known the real look of trust since he was a boy and was closer to his brother. Hyo collapses, complaining about a headache. Some kind of emotional screaming from within.
Hyo is broken over the idea that Kyosuke not only refused to join him, but outright rose against him. Hyo may rule the country, but in the end, he has nothing.
86) Mortal Kombat 9 – ERMAC
Ermac is an interesting bloke in the Mortal Kombat mythos. Originally, he was just a rumored red version of Sub-Zero and Scorpion from the days of the first game. Finally, he became an actual character in Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 where his ending was literally a statement that he won the tournament to prove his existence. In Mortal Kombat Trilogy, they give him an actual story where he’s a soldier of Shao Kahn’s made entirely out of warrior souls he’s devoured, controlled by Kahn. After these games, Ermac becomes less evil and finds himself replacing Raiden as the series’ resident overpowered mentor character.
In Mortal Kombat 9, after Kahn’s defeat, Ermac goes chaotic. There are countless souls making him up and without Kahn to keep them under control, they all turn on each other. After a lengthy internal battle, one soul is able to come out on top and unite all the other souls into a cohesive unit. It’s the soul of King Jerrod.
Jerrod is a fairly obscure name in the Mortal Kombat storyline, but one that makes perfect sense for this reveal. First mentioned back in Mortal Kombat 3, Jerrod was the husband of Sindel, father of Kitana and ruler of Edenia before Shao Kahn showed up and took over. Since then, he’s been brought up once or twice, but has never been really incorporated as anything more than a name to be dropped. Him being a piece of Ermac fits and makes for a nice twist. While in his red, telepathic ninja form, Jerrod reunites with his family and proceeds to once again lead Edenia into prosperity.
85) Street Fighter x Tekken – STEVE FOX and HWOARANG
Steve and Hwoarang are working together for the sake of revenge. The two were in the finals of a fighting tournament when a battle between Shadaloo and the Tekken Zaibatsu ruined everything. Now they’re out to spoil both organizations’ plans. That said, they’re still rivals and lack humility and teamwork.
Once Akuma is dealt with, Hwoarang takes the credit for defeating Shadaloo’s forces. When Steve brings up how it was a team effort, Hwoarang downplays it and compares Steve to a cheerleader. Steve says that Hwoarang can take on the next opponent himself and Hwoarang’s ego goes into overdrive. Fighting one opponent on his own? Hell, he can take on a hundred! Steve smirks and says he’d like to see that.
Unfortunately for them both, Pandora was listening. It opens up and the bright light gives them their wish.
One hundred Akumas. Wait, no. Hold on. They’re wearing purple. That means it’s one hundred Shin Akumas. Steve best sums it up with, “Oh, hell…”
DIE ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DEATHS!
Strangely, this is the only ending in the entire game that actually plays up the crossover concept.
84) King of Fighters 2003 – SACRED TREASURES TEAM
A rule of sci-fi/fantasy fiction is that when a new version of an old threat shows itself, you have to take the old solution off the table. Like, say, if the Ghostbusters fought a new Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man with spikes and laser eyes, then there needs to be a reason why crossing the streams won’t work. Either they simply can’t do it at the moment or they can do it and it doesn’t work.
King of Fighters 2003 is the beginning of the third story arc in the series and brings us two major characters. One is the effeminate Ash Crimson, heavily advertised as the new hero of the series. Then there’s one of the bosses, Adelheid Bernstein, son of the series’ original villain Rugal Bernstein. When you defeat him, he strangely shows none of his father’s deviousness and is instead respectful and accepts his defeat honorably. How surprising.
The main threat of this story is the serpent god Orochi, which was previously sealed away by the teaming of Kyo Kusanagi, Iori Yagami and Chizuru Kagura. Once again, they team up for the greater good and take on the evil cultists. At the end of the game, Chizura talks about how these guys they’re up against are trying to unseal Orochi, but everything’s going to be okay because of her powers.
Then the shit hits the fan.
Ash Crimson, the “hero” of the game, attacks Chizuru and steals away her power. Turns out the guy is actually kind of evil. His plan is to steal the powers of the Sacred Treasures one by one. Next time, he’ll go after Iori. Iori is more offended about that than the mistreatment of his teammate and takes a swing at Ash. He misses by a mile and Ash smirks, escaping. Kyo holds Chizuru in his arms and doesn’t understand what’s going on with this plot, but he knows that it’s pissing him off.
Then his fist bursts into flames, which is always pretty rad.
83) King of Fighters ’95 – RIVAL TEAM
Speaking of bad guys debuting in King of Fighters, the second installment gave us our first look at Iori Yagami, hated nemesis of the game’s hero Kyo. They certainly didn’t half-ass the idea that he wasn’t to be fucked with. First off, he’s inexplicably teamed up with Billy Kane and Eiji Kisaragi. Billy is from Fatal Fury, where he’s Terry Bogard’s resident pain in the ass while Eiji is from Art of Fighting, where he regularly goes after Ryo Sakazaki. Therefore, the team is essentially made up of rivals of the SNK games’ resident heroes. Iori’s status is known through association with these two.
The three defeat Omega Rugal, which is Rugal powered by the forbidden Orochi power. Rugal oversteps his boundaries and his body starts to reject the power. Iori chews him out, as only someone of the bloodline can control the Orochi power. In other words, he’s telling the main villain of the series so far, “I’m better at controlling power than you are.” Rugal dies in the best way. He explodes into a skull.
That’s how I want to go.
Iori figures that with that done with, he’ll just beat up Billy and Eiji because that’s how he rolls. He singlehandedly beats the two down. This gives us one of the weirder mistranslations as Billy looks up at Iori and says, “Hey! You’re… You’re Geese!” What he actually meant by that, I have no idea. Maybe he meant to say that Iori is as powerful as Geese? I guess?
Iori mugs for the camera and says that Kyo is going to be his next victim. Then he laughs his awesome laugh.
In later games, whenever Iori and Billy would face off in a round, Eiji would briefly appear behind Billy as Billy screams, “I wish I could tear him apart!”
82) Mortal Kombat Trilogy – JOHNNY CAGE
Despite being everyone’s favorite part of the first movie, Johnny Cage was put on a rather lengthy hiatus in the Mortal Kombat franchise. There’s a good reason for this. A couple actors from the first two games got in a dispute with Midway over their pay, which is why a lot of kombatants were recast for Mortal Kombat 3. The most notable spark that came from this disagreement was Daniel Pesina, the guy known for playing all the ninjas and Johnny Cage, appeared as Johnny Cage in an ad for the failure of an arcade game BloodStorm.
That’s right! Daniel Pesina, recently voted World’s Most 90’s Man in White Guy Weekly, has switched from Mortal Kombat to BloodStorm!
This site has been around for, what, seven years now? And this is the first time I’ve used this image? Where has my head been?
Strangely, “shirtless white dude” took the longest for Midway to recast and it wasn’t until the third version of Mortal Kombat 3, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, that they got him with Chris Alexander. To make up for how he doesn’t look much like Pesina, they FINALLY decided to have Johnny fight with his sunglasses on at all times. As it should have been on day one.
For the past couple games, Johnny’s story has been the same. He ventures into the tournament and once he’s done, he goes back to making movies, usually based on his in-game adventures. Here, they go with a more serious approach. During the initial Outworld invasion, Johnny is killed by Motaro. As his soul is traveling to the afterlife, Earthrealm and Outworld merge together and it knocks him back into his body.
Johnny’s ending talks about how he came to the realization that win or lose, he’s going to die. He goes full-on gung-ho after Kahn’s forces and all the other good guys are inspired by his determined bravado. He kills Kahn, sets Earthrealm back the way it was supposed to be and then says his goodbyes before ascending into Heaven.
No word on whether or not he exploded into a skull.
81) Street Fighter Alpha – ADON
As I mentioned before, Adon is my favorite Street Fighter character. One of the things I love about him is that despite all of his issues, Adon isn’t really evil. He’s not good, either. He’s just an asshole. That’s something you never really see in fighting games. A guy who isn’t a hero or a villain, but just kind of a jerk. Adon doesn’t want to murder for the sake of murder or steal money or rule the world. He just wants to prove that he’s the best at his fighting style and then yell about it to everyone in earshot.
Adon is essentially a pro-wrestling heel.
In his ending in the first Alpha game, he stands victorious over Sagat and brags about how he’ll crush anyone who opposes him. M. Bison sees this and offers him a spot in Shadaloo. Adon can help him rule the world and if he says no, he’ll be killed on the spot. Now, usually, someone in Adon’s shoes would say something like, “How dare you threaten me!” and fight him. Instead, Adon goes for something rather unexpected.
Yeah, Adon basically tells Bison, “I’m an asshole, but I’m not a monster!” He then calls Bison “drug lord” as an insult and tells him to get out of his way. Bison is angry at this insult and we have a showdown with the two spewing threats.
The indication at the time was that Bison won and killed Adon, simply because this was a prequel to Street Fighter II. Then it became a moot point because it wasn’t canon and Adon has been in plenty of games since.
Still, it’s notable that at one time, even Adon had more backbone than Sagat.