If you've picked up 3D Dot Game Heroes this week (or just read our review), you already know that it's a love letter to the 8- and 16-bit eras of gaming, jam-packed with references to old-school games and game culture. It also features more than a few sly references to developer From Software's earlier efforts, like Demon's Souls. What a lot of people might not have realized, however, is that From "hid" a bunch of self-referential character cameos right in its character-select screen.
Above: Seriously, there's a ton of them in here
Nearly all of the selectable characters were originally released as DLC for the Japanese market, but since US gamers get them all by default, for free, their significance may be lost on all but the most die-hard fans. That's why we've pulled together all the ones we recognized and revealed their origins in the following list:
Described as “the X7th President of the United States,” this big blue-black robot is a clear reference to Metal Wolf Chaos, also known as the most badass concept for a mecha game ever. A 2004 Xbox exclusive that was never released outside of Japan (odd, considering its US-flavored patriotic theme and all-English dialogue), it told the story of Michael Wilson, the 47th President of a future United States and victim of a coup by his own vice president. Branded a terrorist and marked for death, he does the only thing a videogame President possibly could: he steals a giant robot called the Metal Wolf and uses it to free America, one city at a time.
Above: Why this stayed in Japan, we’ll never know
To get the fullest sense of why all this is so cool, however, you really need to watch the trailer:
Above: Any excuse to show this again is an excuse we’ll take
Japan’s answer to Solomon Kane, Raikoh is a stoic, pitiless executioner out to find redemption by purging medieval Japan of a plague of demons. Identified by 3D Dot Game Heroes’ as a “mysterious warrior of Otogi,” Raikoh (unsurprisingly) comes from Otogi, another obscure Xbox exclusive that earned mountains of critical praise and did just well enough to merit a sequel (that died at retail). Cursed, eerie and possibly undead, his chief personality trait was a cool hat that covered his eyes. But his near-total lack of expression or emotion was offset by his extreme destructiveness; not only could he carve a wide swath through demons, but he could level most of the scenery they were hiding behind.
Diehard Armored Core fans will immediately recognize the bizarre-looking W.Glint as the White Glint, a rather infamous mech that first appeared in Armored Core 4. It wasn’t until its appearance in Armored Core: For Answer that it really made its mark, though, as an enigmatic boss (or ally, depending on the player’s decisions) that’s eventually revealed to be piloted (spoiler!) by the protagonist from Armored Core 4.
Unlike the rest of the characters on this list, Okita Souji is a real-life historical figure who was a captain of the Shinsengumi, a 19th-century Japanese special police force. He’s here, however, because he stars in Fu-un Shinsengumi, a Japan-only game about the Shinsengumi that From Software ported to PSP in 2009.
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