3D Dot Game Heroes' hero roster is packed with cameos


Assuming you’ve ever played a Tenchu game in your life, Rikimaru – the white-haired protagonist of the series – shouldn’t need an introduction. Along with his partner Ayame, Rikimaru defined PSOne-era stealth action months before Solid Snake got around to it, and since then he's ninja'd his way through over a dozen games. Not too bad, considering the first game's ending made it look like he died in a cave-in.


Like Rikimaru, Ayame's been synonymous with ninjitsu since the Tenchu series' inception in 1998. Faster and overall just a little bit cooler than Rikimaru, she was a cool, relatively realistic-looking heroine in an era when polygonal  female protagonists were largely defined by the enormity of the crude pyramids that passed for their tits. She also wields a mean pair of daggers, which serve no purpose whatsoever in 3D Dot.


A young kunoichi who first appeared in 2005's Tenchu: Fatal Shadows, Rin essentially became Ayame's sidekick after her village was destroyed, leaving her with a thirst for vengeance. Also, while the other Tenchu characters are described as if they simply belong in the game, Rin is the only one to be acknowledged as having "managed to wander into Dotnia, somehow."


A doctor who moonlights as a nigh-indestructible mercenary, Tesshu first appeared as a not-so-secret character in Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven. In the Tenchu games, he fights bare-handed, kills foes with acupuncture needles and bone-snapping martial arts, and can soak up damage like a lethal sponge. Here, however, he looks cute and swings a giant sword, just like everyone else.


Like the rest of these cameos, Shippu looks too interesting to not be from somewhere. Turns out he's from Onore no Shinzuru Michi o Yuke, a ninja-themed PSP puzzle game that came out in Japan last year and whose title roughly translates to "Conquer the Road of Your Beliefs." It looks kind of awesome, so we're holding out hope that this dot-ified version is the harbinger of an impending US release.

More tenuous “cameos”

The following aren’t as clear as the previous, considering that they’re not direct references to From’s own games, but it’s hard not to think of them as intentional callouts to other franchises.


The only difference between SantaFunk and the regular Santa avatar (Santavatar?) is a slightly more animated walk, making him marginally more funky than his non-funkified twin. But it’s hard not to notice that, despite his plain-old-Santa appearance, SantaFunk shares his name with a certain jetpack-wearing Santa variant who was the most enigmatic and sought-after figure from Sega’s ToeJam & Earl games.


We could be completely wrong about this one, but the Heroine's (possibly) skimpy red-and-purple armor and winged helmet are very evocative of an iconic character who's even more iconic in Japan: the valkyrie-like Soldier from the Dragon Quest/Dragon Warrior series, specifically the one introduced in Dragon Quest III.

Above: With our luck, it's probably actually someone from King's Field or something


There's no sly callout and the color palette isn't quite right, but this is just too obvious: how many videogame succubi have you seen that have little bat wings growing out of their heads? We've only seen two, so if this nameless sex-demon wasn't at least inspired by Darkstalkers' Morrigan and/or Lilith, we'd be very surprised.

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  • Tenfey - May 14, 2010 12:35 p.m.

    Going to obtain this game today, looks to be good times.
  • SausageLozenge - May 14, 2010 11:26 a.m.

    I can't wait to make my favorite Nintendo characters.
  • Modroneman - May 14, 2010 11:19 a.m.

    I really am bummed that this is only available for the PS3. Still am unable to convince the wife that its a good purchase.
  • philipshaw - May 14, 2010 10:04 a.m.

    Always love Mikel's articles and this is another fantastic one. Metal Wolf Chaos looks like a great bad game, hope they bring it out here
  • Hexar - May 14, 2010 4:53 a.m.

    When I loaded up the game I browsed through the heroes and about the only ones I recognized were the Tenchu ones (and the Tesshu model looks awful, shame as I loved his stealth kills). I thought that the President was just some really odd off the wall thing. Never would I have guessed that he was an exclusive American Patriotic character. Interesting read. FYI: I blew off all these pre-made ones and crafted an Ignignokt who translates really well into this game :D
  • CrashmanX - May 14, 2010 2:52 a.m.

    FRUM = From Software SONYA = Sony ATLUS = Atlus Software and many many more.
  • mgkyo666 - May 14, 2010 2:37 a.m.

    The soldier from Dragon Quest looked alot smexier in that one doujin I read. And no, I'm not ashamed of admitting I read a doujin! T~T
  • OneToBoner - May 14, 2010 2:24 a.m.

    Metal Wolf Chaos seems to have one of the best stories ever written. Awesome article, I was wonder what some of those characters were references to. I'll be changing my character to President right now.
  • NeoKef - May 14, 2010 2:03 a.m.

  • Cyberninja - May 14, 2010 12:02 a.m.

    wow that stuff was obsurce kudos for finding out the stuff

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