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Video Game Mashups We Want To Play

by Jeff Cork on Sep 27, 2010 at 01:43 PM

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Whenever gamers get together, it’s inevitable that the conversation will steer itself toward speculation and what-if scenarios. Even our favorite games could benefit from elements from other titles and genres.

It’s clearly a thought exercise that designers enjoy playing, too. Games like Darksiders blend recognizable portions of God of War, the Legend of Zelda, Portal, and more to create its own hybrid experience.

With that in mind, the Game Informer editors have compiled a list of gaming mashups we’d love to see. Some are silly, some are a little insane, and some would work out perfectly. When you’re done reading our suggestions, hit the comments section and tell us what games you’d like to blend.

[Photoshop credit/blame goes to Dan Ryckert]

Mega Man X + Metroid (Adam Biessener)

There are a lot of reasons to recommend Mega Man X: The fabulous controls, excellent fast-placed action gameplay, and X’s diverse arsenal. There are as many if not more elements of the game (and the series it spawned) that are...less awesome. Nobody, not even Tim, cares about the “story.” The level design is often needlessly punishing. Instant death (spikes, I’m looking at you) hasn’t been fun since a Medusa head knocked us onto a rotating platform in level two of Castlevania. However! Give Samus the *** weaponry, darting mobility, and action chops of X and we could have a 2D Metroid that would make Fusion look like Other M. The marriage of old-school Metroid’s sense of isolation, exploration, and tension with Mega Man X’s dash-jumps and multi-purpose arm cannon would be brilliant.

Plus, the inevitable unlockable Zero mode would blow our minds.

Twisted Metal + Split Second (Jeff Cork)

Split Second is an exhilarating racing game with great environments and an excellent sense of speed, but there’s one thing it desperately needs—personality. I’d love to see the cars from Twisted Metal crash the party and see how they fare amid Split Second’s exploding planes, falling cranes, and collapsing tracks. Sure, Sweet Tooth can battle with the best of ‘em, but how would he cope when his path is blocked by an errant ocean liner? Twisted Metal’s bizarre and broken world has always been a part of the series (rampaging Ferris wheels, anyone?), but it would really benefit from Split Second’s more precise way of activating hazards. It seems like a perfect mix; Split Second scores some variety in its vehicle selection (and guns), and Twisted Metal gets a little more structure in its gameplay beyond “Be the last one driving.”

Red Faction/Borderlands (Jeff Marchiafava)

Gearbox and Volition both made exceptional open-world games this generation, for different reasons. For Borderlands it was the 16 million weapons that had you continually plunging into the next shootout to see what kind of crazy loot you would pick up. Red Faction Guerrilla had a much more standard arsenal, but featured some of the best destructible environments ever seen in a video game -- every structure on the surface of Mars could be smashed, shot, or exploded into tiny pieces. We'd love to see these two unique takes on open-world gaming combined -- give Borderlands an even more explosive arsenal and then give us a variety of destructible locations to wreak havoc on. What better way to test the new gun you picked up than by bringing down a building with it?

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance + Halo (Ben Reeves)

Every kid who’s ever worn a cape for Halloween understands the appeal of being a superhero. Video games provide the best opportunity to live out those fantasies, but to truly feel like a superhuman, you should slip behind the eyes of a caped avenger. BioShock is a good example an FPS that gave players extraordinary powers, but we want to see those powers amplified to celestial levels. We’re imagining a first person shooter where players use their cosmic abilities like the standard assault riffle in most shooters. That may sound like an FPS with a comic book skin (and that wouldn’t be bad), but being able to teleport through walls, steal key codes from enemies telepathically, and throw skyscrapers at villains will really set this game apart. Think Mirror’s Edge meets Infamous meets Marvel Ultimate Alliance. 

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare + Doom (Tim Turi)

How would the arsenal of the today’s military stand up to a demonic invasion? I think we’ve all struggled with this answer for a long time, and a cross over between the Call of Duty franchise and Doom could give us an answer. Of course standard zombie soldiers could be taken down with a well-placed AK-47 round, but how many frags would you need to snuff a Pinky? Would a predator missile be enough to take out a Cyber Demon? Conversely, how messy would the gibbed remains of an Modern Warfare 2 online match be after you acquire the BFG 9000? We’re tired of melee’ing dudes with knives in CoD. Give us a chainsaw, *** it.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater + Dead Rising (Matt Helgeson)

Even though I’m loathe to further contribute to the continuing zombification of video games, I think this mash-up would provide a ton of ridiculous fun. Just imagine: an open urban environment filled with sweet ramps, grind lines, and undead meat just waiting to be destroyed. First big change would be your board, instead of wood, it’s sharpened metal, making it easy to make zombie tartar with the simpliest kickflip. And, just because, I’m going to arm you with your choice of weapons — machine guns, axes, the works. Imagine hitting a huge 720 Christ Air dual-weilding Uzis, spraying bullets in all directions. Ground tricks like the kick flip would be augmented to include huge zombie gutting slashes and stabs. Of course, just like manuals and reverts, every zombie you kill will work to continue your combo string. You could also do lip tricks like plants on a zombie’s head. Okay, maybe this is the stupidest idea I’ve ever had, but it couldn’t be worse than Tony Hawk: Ride!

God of War + Zork (Joe Juba)
You are standing in an open field west of a white temple, with a boarded front door.
The legions of Hades are here.
>Swing blades
Limbs fly everywhere!

>Swing blades
Limbs fly everywhere!

>Swing blades
A cyclops appears!

>Rip out eye
A button-press minigame appears!

Resident Evil + Shadow of the Colossus (Joe Juba)

The Resident Evil franchise puts players up against swarms of bizarre creatures, which is certainly a key component of the zombie tradition. Still, one of the most popular enemies from the series is Nemesis, who relentlessly pursues players and is practically invincible. This unique relationship with a recurring foe could be recaptured if Capcom took some lessons from the dynamics in Shadow of the Colossus. That game didn't overload on the enemies; it just effectively used the ones it had. By the time you killed a colossus, you felt like you knew something about it by studying its personality and combat tactics. That tactic could easily be applied to Resident Evil. Instead of fighting hordes of monsters, trim the field down to about 15 zombies. Instead of mowing them down, each encounter would be like a boss fight; like Nemesis, you may have to run or fight them just long enough to escape danger. Each of the enemies would be distinct; they would look and behave differently, and when you finally kill them, it would be a much more triumphant and compelling experience than just landing a couple of headshots. Between the major encounters, Capcom could focus on establishing dread and atmosphere through exploration without players have to worry about whether a zombie is going to jump out from behind a door. It might not be the kind of Resident Evil fans expect, but it would have the potential to be an awesome survival horror game.

Kirby + Marble Madness (Dan Ryckert)
Kirby games have been traditionally been side-scrolling platformers, but we’ve seen a few variations on the tried and true. Canvas Curse on the DS had us influencing the roll of the pink puffball by drawing lines on the screen. Air Ride took familiar franchise characters and pitted them against each other in races. Another great direction Nintendo could take Kirby in is mixing it with the tricky courses of Marble madness. Considering you’d be controlling Kirby, you’d have far more options than with the standard marble. Imagine you’re approaching a huge river you need to cross. Just inhale a bird and fly over it, or suck in an ice enemy and freeze the water as you roll across its surface. It would feature all the fun of the NES Marble Madness, but you’d have far more abilities to save you from its frustration. [Editor's Note: Dan is an idiot. This game exists. It's called Kirby's Dream Course and it was released for the SNES in 1995.]

Bayonetta + Devil May Cry (Annette Gonzalez)

Bayonetta and Dante are the brainchild of Hideki Kamiya so bringing together their flair for sleek, stylized combat and overall badassness would be a natural fit. The plot can feature parallel storylines (each character gets a separate playthrough) that eventually culminates into one epic encounter between the two. Demon-slaying plot intricacies aside, this duel would easily result in the most over-the-top fight sequence of all time with guns blazing, hair tangling, and combo stringing. Throw in witty one-liners for good measure.

Castlevania + Elder Scrolls (Matt Bertz)

I love hunting vampires. I love exploring open worlds. So why not combine the whip-based combat of the series Simon Belmont made famous with the expansive role-playing core of a game like Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion? Instead of spinning its wheels creating side-scrolling remakes and Devil May Cry rip-offs, Konami should take the seeds that were planted in Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest – a day/night cycle, a collection of towns, an inventory system, and creepy Transylvanian setting – and blow it up into an epic RPG. I’ve already pre-ordered this game, now Konami just has to make it.

Jedi Knight + Metroid Prime (Matt Miller)

There are plenty of games that let gamers become a Jedi in the sprawling Star Wars universe, but no title has yet captured the excitement of both a Jedi’s skills and the potential for exploration and discovery they represent. The Force Unleashed gave us an insanely powerful force-wielder, but remained an action game with little in the way of true growth or learning. Knights of the Old Republic let us train a Jedi, but it was only a small part of the experience. We want a new installment in the Jedi Knight series, potentially set in the conflict-ridden days after the end of Return of the Jedi. Under the tutelage of Luke Skywalker, a young Jedi sets out on a dangerous mission, where he must uncover a mystery and complete his training to become a true Jedi knight. Along the way, the Jedi explores lost Sith ruins and hidden mysteries left behind from force-wielders in the past. He begins with a padawan’s ability to manipulate objects and little else. Along the way, he or she must build their lightsaber, perfect their force powers, and unravel the mystery through a sequence of hidden rooms, dangerous foes, and ever-increasing intrigue. By mixing the rich Star Wars mythology with the tight exploration and upgrades of Metroid Prime, players would find hours of fun on their path to Jedi knighthood.

God of War + Mario Kart (Bryan Vore)

After Mario Kart sold like gangbusters, everyone came out of the woodwork with their own lame take on the genre. When none of them made any money, the phenomenon tapered off. What better way to bring it back than with God of War? Think about it. You've got Kratos swinging his chain blades Road Rash-style at rival racers. Poseidon could have tridents sticking out of his hubcaps. Maps could include hell itself (it's chock full of traps!) or driving around on a titan's belly while it swats at you. It would be tough to implement the series' trademark sex scene, though not impossible.

Assassin’s Creed 2 + Vagrant Story (Matt Kato)

I think you could combine elements of Assassin’s Creed II and Square’s dungeon crawler Vagrant Story to great effect. The weapon building (including breakable weapons), limb-specific attacks, timed offensive and defensive chain commands, art style, and writing of found in Vagrant Story could infuse the Assassin’s Creed world (particularly a near-medieval setting) with some great gameplay concepts. Although Vagrant Story’s affinity and magic–based attacks are too fantastic for AC, if your weapons did better or worse against  the armor your foes were wearing could also tie back to the weapon building. This would, in turn, add more findable objects to have to earn and search out in the AC world. On the other hand, Vagrant Story itself would certainly benefit from an open world setting and more free flowing combat like Assassin’s Creed.