Truly iconic video game characters are hard to shake. We grow up with them, earn our pixelated salt navigating them across myriad digital landscapes, and as we grow up, so too do they, through console-jumps and improved graphics.
So it brings us great pleasure to announce that Pac-Man is back, and, celebrating the forthcoming 7 March release of Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, the game’s makers, under the cover of darkness, projected a giant image onto the London headquarters of game giants Sega (images above): namely, the yellow hero alongside his old friend Sonic.
Well, you’re no doubt wondering, what about other famed video game characters to have swapped universes and met one another on-screen? Well, wonder no more, as we’ve assembled a list of the very best examples of when gaming titans collide.
Prepare for a nostalgia overdose…
Mario and Pac-Man
Never one to turn down the odd cameo, Pac-Man’s appetite for gaming cameos is only matched by that of his appetite for ghosts. One of the most memorable came in 2005’s Mario Kart Arcade GP, where Pac-Man and Ms Pac-Man raced Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Princess and other residents of Mario World, uniting two blocs of gaming greatness in a flurry of waywardly-aimed green shells.
Terminator and Robocop
Wait - before you get up in arms about the fact these two are film icons and not gaming ones, let us remind you that this 1993 platformer wasn’t just preceded by both Sega’s classic Terminator 2: Judgment Day and Data East’s critically-lauded yet tremendously difficult Robocop 2 - it was one of the most playable titles of its time. Though if nothing else, it certainly helped settle many a playground argument.
Darth Maul and Tony Hawk
While he might not have had many minutes in The Phantom Menace, Darth Maul has certainly racked up the screen-time in the gaming world, including a cheeky appearance in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, no less. Of all the guest characters to appear in the skating series, Maul is simply the best. Because let’s face it: nothing says ‘radical’ like wielding a fluorescent, double-ended lighsaber while trying to do an Ollie.
Solid Snake and Kirby
Nepotism abounded when Super Smash Bros thundered onto the N64 in 1999, squaring off Nintendo’s moustachioed plumbers, Captain Falcoln, Fox McCloud, Kirby, Pikachu as some of gaming’s best loved franchises did battle to the death, albeit in picturesque surroundings. As the multiplayer-friendly series grew, through Melee in 2001 and Brawl in 2008, and with it the rolling, imaginative landscapes, so too did the character selection, leading to the rather odd match-up of Solid Snake and Kirby - a contest as even as The New Jersey Devils vs The Mighty Ducks.
Doom-guy and Commander Keen
So revered was camp early nineties action hero Commander Keen, that the developers ID Software found inventive ways of nudging his comic features into its later, more grown-up fodder such as Wolfenstein 3D, Duke Nukem, and, our personal favourite, Doom II, which sees the commander unceremoniously hung left at the mercy of Doom’s nameless grunt.
Street Fighter and Tekken (and Pac-man)
Up there with weighty quandaries like ‘De Niro or Pacino’? and ‘Pele or Maradonna?’, the debate of whether Street Fighter usurps Tekken as the king of fighter games continues to rumble on today. The closest we’ve had to an answer was in Street Fighter X Tekken, finally giving players a chance to see how Yoshimitsu and Law would fare against the likes of Ryu and Guile. Though the real bonus was obviously Pac-Man (who else?) controlling a robot and going to town on combatants from both the franchises.
Mario and Sonic
Much like competitors in the hammer event must have been wary of an Italian plumber, drug testers must have been on high alert after watching the practice times of a lightning-quick blue hedgehog come in. We’re, of course, inferring to 2008’s Mario & Sonic at the Olympics, the likeable Wii title which saw two of the most important figures in video gaming trade blows through events which mirrored those of the Beijing Games.
Superman and Sub-Zero
One’s a blue-clad champ faster than a speeding bullet and capable of giving people hypothermia by merely breathing on them. The other? Superman. Well, if we’re going by 2008’s spin-off fighting simulator Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, it is. Already a true icon in the arena of fighting games, Sub-Zero was able to go toe-to-toe with Clark Kent’s unspectacled alter ego fresh from another underrated action game Justice League Heroes.
Solid Snake and the apes from Ape Escape
Solid Snake is not a real snake. This much you will know. What you may not be too clued up on, however, is that the international super solider is every bit as comfortable in in jungle surroundings as the scaly reptile after which he’s named. For proof, look no further than the mini-game on the PlayStation 2’s Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater, which tasks him with tracking down the cartoonish primates from Ape Escape, as you do.
PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures is out 7 March on Nintendo’s Wii U and 3DS platforms
(Images: Namco Bandai)