55 awesome character cameos

First Gears of War's Marcus and Dom showed up alongside Resident Evil's Albert Wesker in a trailer for Lost Planet 2. Then came the revelation that we'd see Monster Hunter creatures in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Videogames are an incestuous industry and all, but it seems like we're seeing more crossovers and familiar cameos than ever these days. It's not like any of us should be surprised by this stuff, though; after all, seeing characters pop up in series where they don't really belong has been a favorite pastime of gamers for decades now.

To celebrate the industry's rekindled love of crossovers and inter-company bromance, we've put together a list of some of the greatest instances of characters from one game showing up in another game. It's by no means complete, and we've purposely left out nearly all of the deliberate crossover-themed games, like the Capcom Vs. series; it'd take us ages to identify them all individually. Instead, let's start with an Easter egg that caught our attention just last week:

1. Left 4 Dead 2: The Passing

Lost Planet 2 and Peace Walker aren’t the only games to make a recent splash with surprise cameos; even the Left 4 Dead 2 DLC expansion The Passing got in on the act, with a quick “appearance” by Frank West of Dead Rising fame.

He’s covered wars, you know.

2. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

In 2003, Devil May Cry’s Dante was the PS2 generation’s hottest property, so it’s no surprise that publishers other than Capcom would want to get their hands on him. What’s surprising is that one did. Apparently, one of the Japanese Atlus staffers was a huge fan of the red-coated devil hunter, and correctly guessed that including him would be a huge draw (especially for American fans).

As the story goes, Capcom allowed Dante to show up on one condition: that Shin Megami Tensei artist Kazuma Kaneko would design Dante and Vergil’s Devil Trigger forms in Devil May Cry 3.

3. Viewtiful Joe

Capcom apparently liked Dante’s guest appearance so much, they decided to try it themselves. So when the former GameCube exclusive Viewtiful Joe hit the PS2 in 2004, Joe had a new friend to play with – and players had a new character to play as.

4. Under the Skin

Dante was probably the most successful Capcom character to be whored out to other franchises, but he was by no means the only one (and we’re not counting the Capcom Vs. series in that equation). Resident Evil’s Raccoon City appeared as a level in the oddball alien body-snatcher sim Under The Skin, bringing with it superdeformed, cel-shaded versions of Jill Valentine and the Nemesis.

Above: Also, bad karaoke was an actual attack move

5. Trick ‘N’ Snowboard

Less impressively, 1999’s Trick’N Snowboarder also featured a few appearances from Resident Evil characters, including grainy-looking versions of Claire and Leon (as well as a zombie cop we couldn’t find images of in time).

6. Breath of Fire

Meanwhile, not even Capcom’s RPGs were safe from less-than-serious cameos. At one point in the first Breath of Fire on SNES, a magician in the town of Bleak will give you an opportunity to catch a glimpse of Chun-Li executing a wind kick.

Sadly, she can’t be recruited, but it’s cool to see her just the same.

7. X-Men: Children of the Atom

Finally, we have this little harbinger of the whole Capcom Vs. phenomenon. In 1994, two years before X-Men vs Street Fighter, it was possible to unlock Street Fighter’s iconic Akuma to tangle with the likes of Cyclops, Wolverine and even a (decidedly undersized) Sentinel.

8. Duke Nukem 3D

This next cameo isne’t the most cheery, nor is it in any way “official.” It’s not new, either. It is, however, one of the all-time best.

There’s paying your respects to those who came before you, and then there’s “paying your respects” by depicting them as dead and making a bad pun about their fate. Both are classy, but in distinctly different ways.

9. Shadow Warrior

Man, those 3D Realms guys sure did love coming up with nasty fates for their contemporaries. Here, the walking racist pun Lo Wang comes upon a helpless, struggling Lara Croft, and jokes that she’s raided her last tomb.

As a special bonus, the game also had four dead Ninja Turtles lying around for you to discover.

Above: Despite how this looks, he was like that when we found him

10. Blood

Duke Nukem finally found himself on the receiving end of a cruel cameo joke when he turned up as a dangling, mutilated corpse in the 1997 shooter Blood.

In case there’s any doubt to his identity, a quick jab will send him swaying, accompanied by his favorite catchphrase: “Shake it, baby!”

11. Ehrgeiz

In 1999, Square and Namco’s bizarre (some would argue awful) fighter Ehrgeiz might have passed quietly into obscurity, except for two things: it wasn’t quite like any other fighting game out at the time, and it featured Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud Strife as an unlockable character. His inclusion proved so popular, that for the PSOne release Square widened the roster to include not only Cloud, but also Sephiroth.

Above: Probably the only two characters you played, if you played this at all

Not content to stop there, though, they also threw in Tifa…

… the hyper-annoying Yuffie Kisaragi…

… and, what the hell, Zack.

12. Final Fantasy Tactics

Ehrgeiz wouldn’t be the last time Final Fantasy VII's characters stepped beyond the confines of their original game, and it wasn’t the first, either. A year before Ehrgeiz, Final Fantasy Tactics featured a guest appearance by the amnesiac swordsman, along with his would-be girlfriend, Aerith.

13. Xenogears

Not to be left out, Cloud and Aerith’s friend Tifa also made her own crossover appearance in 1998. It wasn’t quite as cool, but it still qualifies as a cameo.

Above: Can you find the Tifa in this image?

14. Mario Hoops 3 on 3

Of course, Final Fantasy cameos aren’t just an oddity left over from the ‘90s; as recently as 2006, Mario-sports fans could challenge Nintendo’s characters to a game of hoops as three characters from the original Final Fantasy, as well as a Cactuar and a Moogle.

15. Chocobo Racing

All right, I know I said no crossover-centric games, but 1999’s Chocobo Racing – which is mainly a “crossover” of Final Fantasy creatures, with only a handful of actual franchise characters appearing – goes above and beyond the norm where cameos are concerned. Not only does it feature semi-hidden appearances by Squall and Cloud…

Above: Meh

… but you can pilot a 16-bit airship sprite around the track….

… as well as a perfectly flat, 8-bit chocobo.

Characters from other Square franchises showed up as well, including that little guy from Square’s seldom-remembered 1987 NES classic, 3-D WorldRunner...

... and even Parasite Eve’s Aya Brea!

Above: She was hidden inside her police cruiser the whole time, but still 

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  • DarkTone - May 1, 2010 2:26 a.m.

    DAMN! Didn't realize there was this many. Great job once again Mikel
  • Tenfey - May 1, 2010 2:32 a.m.

    I'm ashamed to admit that I bought Ehrgeiz due to the FFVII characters, since me and my friends were kinda obsessed with the game at the time. I ended up liking the adventure mode though.
  • mEgAzD - May 1, 2010 2:36 a.m.

    Damn! This is too deep bro. Nice job.
  • Darkhawk - May 1, 2010 2:43 a.m.

    One of my favourites not mentioned here: Donkey Kong Country 2's DK Coin Status Screen, which features Mario, Link, and Yoshi as previous "players" of the game:
  • Hexateuch - May 1, 2010 2:48 a.m.

    3-D World Runner was the freaking best
  • rybell - May 1, 2010 3:29 a.m.

    once i heard that cloud was in final fantasy tactics, i played the psp version for hours trying to unlock him. sadly, i was never very good at the game so i never reached far enough into the game to unlock him. also, i liked the cameos in soulcaliber 4 but they wanted me to pay 5 whole dollars just to unlock yoda on the ps3!
  • Hobojedi - May 1, 2010 3:52 a.m.

    Oh man, the poor Doom Marine..
  • KnightDehumidifier - May 1, 2010 4:53 a.m.

    Don't forget about Kirby's Dream Land and Lolo and Lala as bosses demonstrating their devastating attack of pushing blocks across the ground. Banjo-Kazooie has Gnawty the Beaver from Donkey Kong Country, and Tiptup from Diddy Kong Racing. Speaking of that, Nuts and Bolts have small references from a question block, an alien from Banjo-Tooie, and a Jetpac rocket.
  • TrIp13G - May 1, 2010 5:24 a.m.

    Just a quick note about the Castlevania theme. The name of that track is "Vampire Killer", which is also the name of the whip that the Belmont clan wields. Fun fact!
  • Nin10DOH - May 1, 2010 5:29 a.m.

    Hmm there were alot of metal gear cameos. Still very awesome
  • NanoElite666 - May 1, 2010 6:01 a.m.

    Ratchet and Jak also apparently like crossing over into each others' worlds to partake in various deathsports (Dreadzone and combat racing, respectively). I wonder how long it'll be before Nathan Hale goes treasure hunting and Nathan Drake finds himself fending off the Chimeran hordes? Oh wait... Uncharted 2 skin pack. With Helghast for extra awesome.
  • Samael - May 1, 2010 7:18 a.m.

    Wow, awesome article Mikel! You could've done just like 10 or 20 cameos, but you must've decided "What the hell, I'll do 55 and include a blurb for each one, because I'm Wikiparez and that's how I roll!" or something like that.
  • philipshaw - May 1, 2010 10:26 a.m.

    Great article Mikel and I knew a lot of these
  • helix92 - May 1, 2010 10:52 a.m.

    Theres also a portal cameo in Wolverine. But great article anyways!
  • Wolverine08 - May 1, 2010 11 a.m.

    @helix92 That portal cameo ruled, plus I thought it was very generous of the Wolverine devs to give a trophy for every easter egg found in the game (you found the cake, yummy..)
  • darkdispatch523 - May 1, 2010 11:04 a.m.

    For the TRUTH go to::
  • Redeater - May 1, 2010 11:16 a.m.

    I always prefered the Duke Nukem 3rd person perspective game on the ps1 He sees Lara Crofts outfit and says..... "Ewwwwww skanky outfit"
  • dante1924 - May 1, 2010 11:43 a.m.

    Couldn't you also play as Alien Hominid in Castle Crashers if you downloaded Alien Hominid HD? Whatever happened to that Sephiroth outfit in LBP anyway? All we have is this image. So did they cancel it or something?
  • WAY2DOPE - May 1, 2010 12:15 p.m.

    What About Urban Reign With Paul And Law
  • loonyman978 - May 1, 2010 2:21 p.m.

    I dont know about any of you, but when i glanced at the pic in No.3, i swear it said "...Re-pa-raz"

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