Fighting games are rife with fashion faux-pas, be they the work of eccentric developers, experimental players, or oddball DLC additions. In the mood for something weird? Suit up as we enter the arena of odd in search of the most ridiculous alternate costumes.
Alex the Peachosaurus (and others)
As seen in: Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition
Where better to start our expos of fighting costume tomfoolery than with Wii U's version of Tekken Tag Tournament 2--the inspiration for this feature and one of the more extreme examples of Nintendo branding gone wind. Like other franchises that wash ashore on a Big N console, Tekken Tag Tournament 2's roster was Nintendo-fied for its Wii U appearance; only instead of including the odd Nintendo character or reference, the game has a number of Nintendo themed costumes and objects for its already ridiculous cast. If you ever wanted to see a panda dressed as Toad or what Mario would look like on steroids, this is your chance. It's tough choosing just one alternative costume that demonstrates this cross-branding madness, but in the end it's Alex the dinosaur/lizard dressed as Princess Peach that makes us wonder what Namco Bandai was smoking.
As seen in: Dead or Alive 5
We could have easily populated this entire slideshow with mind-boggling costumes from Dead or Alive 5. From the umpteen million swimsuits, bunny outfits, safari shirts, and clown costumes, it's one of the easiest targets in the genre. So why zero in on Zack's metallic jumpsuit? Just look at that thing--it's crazy even by DoA standards (which is a feat onto itself). Besides looking like the offspring of a three-way between Iron Man, the Silver Surfer, and a Telletubby, it's as if Team Ninja had an internal bet on who could haunt players' dreams the most. Zack has sported some "out-there" looks before, but we're sure even he wouldn't want to be caught dead and/or alive in this outfit outside the arena.
Sexy Panda Chun-Li
Street Fighter X Tekken became a cosplaying bonanza when DLC made it possible to dress up characters as their opponents and allies. One of the strangest combinations to come out of this wardrobe swap was Chun-Li's busty Panda suit. Furry connections aside, seeing Street Fighter's iconic leading lady reduced to a skanky WWE mascot had us wondering if Chun-Li's agent read her full contract before booking her in this fighting crossover. The DLC pack describes this alternative costume as adorable, but we think creepy and sexually confusing are more appropriate descriptors.
Leopard Skin Snake
We were hoping for a way to sneak a Super Smash Bros. reference in here, and thankfully Solid Snake's alternate wardrobe for Wii's Super Smash Bros. Brawl gave us more than a few ideas. Thing is, while we're willing to buy that Snake may have to sneak through the grass, snow, some digital matrix world, and maybe even a marble statue exhibit, we're not sure why he'd need his Leopard Skin camo. It's certainly not a flattering look, for one; and last we checked it was a generally horrible idea to blend in with leopards in the first place. Granted, we could be confusing leopard prints for cheetah prints, but our doubts still apply.
Flesh Pits Mileena
There's no shortage of near-naked costumes in fighting games, but there's something about Mileena's Flesh Pits outfit from Mortal Kombat that overclocks our absurb-o-meter. Never mind that it makes her look like the offspring of the Crypt Keeper and a Barbie doll, but this clone-gone-wild's alternate look is one Teleport Kick away from a universe-shattering wardrobe malfunction. We can only imagine that the players who went through the trouble of scaling Mortal Kombat's Challenge Tower to unlock this costume must have wondered what happened to the rest of it when Mileena stepped into the arena.
Cowboy Ken Masters
Meet Ken Masters: Martial arts enthusiast, loving husband, doting father and... hold up... low rent male dancer? Judging by Mr. Master's alternate garb in Super Street Fighter IV, we're guessing the extent of Capcom's research into cowboys started and ended at the nearest airport strip club. Whatever the inspiration behind Ken's dollar-shop cowboy costume was, with that tight fitting t-shirt, trendy vest, and frilly tassels, we wouldn't be surprised to see some dollars bills sticking out of that leather groin... thing... or whatever it is. We know there's a ton of strange costumes for Super Street Fighter IV, but the fact Stetson actually made a real-life hat based on this design gives Ken Masters' cowboy alternate the ridiculous edge.
Proof that being ridiculous isn't necessarily a bad thing comes this alternate costume for Deadpool in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. Based on Deadpool's tongue-in-cheek homage to his superhero frenemy Cable, its over-the-top design fits right in with the assassin's deranged M.O. Our only complaint is it could use a few more pouches.
Cable-Pool is just one of the many Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 DLC costumes that bring a little humor to the mashup's roster. Runners-up include Frank West's Mega Man Armor, She Hulk's courtroom robe, and Sir Arthur's zombie makeover. See more in Marvel vs Capcom 3's Alternate Costume Showcase.
The Rumble Roses series is ground zero for impractical costumes. Developers Yuki Future Media Creators and Konami even made the chore of collecting titillating outfits a core element of each game, awarding each victory or accomplishment with another barely-there outfit. In our extensive research (we do it all for you), we poured through hundreds of Rumble Roses images to select the one that best exemplifies Rumble Roses' levels of lunacy. In the end, Dixie Clemets' Sgt. Clemets attire won out for its ability to make such a wtf? impression with so little. The studded suspenders, the hat, the leather braces... it's almost like Rumble Roses is a parody of porn parodies.
Frilly Gold Ivy
On the topic of impractical costumes for female fighters, here's Ivy's racy number for SoulCalibur V. We've made peace with Namco's obsession with Ivy's assets some time ago, but the sexy Christmas tree look leaves us more confused than arouser, intrigued. This alternative get-up was virtually stitched by Bayonetta designer Mari Shimazaki as part of a development crossover, and version of this gold and frilly get-up even appeared Namco's teaser ad, but you'd be forgiven for being distracted by the image's massive... release date. We could have picked a handful of other Ivy costumes to list in a feature on ridiculous outfits, but in the spirit of the holidays we thought this would do the trick. Happy holidays... we guess?
Safari Guide Blanka
Alas, poor Blanka. As if being separated from his mother at birth, crash landing in the jungle, and transforming into a B-grade Hulk wasn't enough to drive this brute to therapy, Capcom had to go and cram him into an ill-fitting safari guide costume to boot. Aside from looking downright silly, the whole concept of dressing Blanka in a constant reminder of his tortured upbringing seems a bit cruel. After all, we're sure the last thing poor Jimmy wants to think about in a fight is how he ate mutated eels and took mud baths as a kid. All in all, we may dig the tour-guide-gone-postal look, but it's still worthy of an eye-roll.
Big Daddie Plushy
Big Daddy's Plushy look for PlayStation All-Stars is as ridiculous as dressing a pitbull in a princess dress (that one's free, Tekken). It just messes with our heads. After all, BioShock's lumbering bodyguards are meant to be feared, not invited to tea parties. In a game with manly men, gods of war, and satanic clowns, Big Daddy's squishy appearance stands out like a sore thumb. But then, there's also a fat princess, a cartoon rapper, and that kid from Ape Escape, so it's not like he's the only one that looks like he'd want a group hug after the match.
To be clear, while we may find the treatment of Big Daddy ludicrous, the look is fairly cool--especially when you consider SuperBot Entertainment drew its inspiration from the Big Daddy doll in the haunting BioShock 2: Sea of Dreams teaser trailer.
Everyone in Bloody Roar
When you think about it, the Bloody Roar series is a game designed solely around the concept of alternate costumes. Each character has the ability to transform into their half-man half-animal Zoanthrope, adding new strengths and abilities to their smackdown repertoires. These optional costumes are more than just show, but are an integral element to success. From chameleons to chimeras, tigers to moles, and bats to elephants, 2002's Bloody Roar Extreme sports a culmination of the series imaginative rostersome of which are unintentionally silly to watch.
We know what you're thinking. Did we just shoehorn in Bloody Rage so we could post an image of a wolf beating on an insect? Yes, yes we did. You're welcome.
It took Sega four versions of its Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown entry to perfect the art of costume absurdity. It came close with a slew of costume DLC for its not-so-final original version and the ton of character customization options which followed, but it wasn't until Japanese version D that the devs rolled out these fine examples of odd. Seriously, Sega, what's your beef with Kage? We know the anorexic stormtrooper outfit on the right was intended to make this ninja even more badass, but all it really does is makes us want to force-feed him a sandwich. As for the busty cyborg on the left, that just looks uncomfortable.
Deku's Formal Wear
Long before Nintendo popularized the kitchen sink approach to mascot fighting games in Super Smash Bros., Sega experimented with its own all-star title in Fighters Megamix for the Sega Saturn. In it, players could unlock Deku, a scrappy Mexican green bean who fought with a bird underneath his sombrero. His (it is a he, right?) alternate costume included a logo'd hat which vibrated upon defeat. Granted, this alternative costume isn't crazy by itself, but the fact there existed multiple versions of a killer Mexican legume in any game makes Mr. Deku worthy of an entry. Mind you, other secret characters included developer AM2's Palm Tree, the Hornet Car from Daytona USA, a polar bear, and a dude named Mr. Meat... so you can understand why we had a hard time deciding which of the Fighters Megamix cast to pick on.
Sexy Squid Anna
Thanks to this sexy squid design for Tekken's Anna Williams, we're never going to be able to look at seafood the same way. And you know what? We're ok with that. This alluring calamari-themed outfit was created by manga illustrator Ito Oogure (aka Oh! great of Air Gear and Tenjho Tenge fame) as part of collaboration between the Project Tekken team and its manga industry friends to dream up stylish bonus costumes for the original Tekken Tag Tournament 2. As far as hyper-sexualized squid costumes go, Ito's design is actual quite striking and one of the most unique extra costumes in the entire game. That said, we shudder to think of all the tentacle-themed fan art and fiction it's inspired since its release. NSFW possibilities notwithstanding, Anna's sexy squid outfit is one of the most bizarrely intriguing looks we've encountered yet. Meaning: We're baffled, but we're not about to throw it back.
Someone call wardrobe!
Not ridiculous enough for you? Think you can top our list? We narrowed our selections to one character per game, leaving the ring open for you to climb in and add your suggestions to the comments below. Go on, give us your best shot...