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The great thing about a rich and vibrant IP is that the universe is bigger than just the main character. Look at the Episodes from Liberty City expansions or Pokemon... heck, even Dragon Quest has got its Rocket Slime. We sat up. We took notice. But what about the failed off-shoots? The ones that we look back on and laugh at cruelly. Ladies and gentlemen: Here, for your viewing (dis)pleasure, are the spin-off games you've probably never heard of. Yes, you may throw things.
Were you ever good at trigonometry? Not really? Pity - you could have used it as a lethal weapon. That's what Nina Williams from Tekken did. Armed only with a protractor (probably) and a selection of ridiculously skimpy outfits, she went around kicking people in the face with stilletos on PS2. It was the start of a massive, one game long series that set the world alight like a box of wet matches. In a vacuum.
Above: That's the last of the 'degrees' gags, promise. But seriously, this girl needs a jacket
So what did it bring to the table that regular Tekken couldn't? Firstly, a fighting system based on use of the analogue sticks. One to move, one to direct attacks, all augmented with the shoulder buttons. Doesn't sound extremely exciting, does it? Wrong! Nah, not really, it wasn't very exciting. That said, there were also some impressive X-ray focus attacks which let you smash individual bones in your foe's body. Sounds great, yeah? Shame it was pointless. After the first few, they stop even being finishing moves and everyone carries on fighting just as before, despite shattered skulls, ribs and kneecaps. D'oh.
It's a shame, really. Perhaps if a little more time had been spent on making the game great instead of finding the smallest clothing-to-flesh ratio allowed by the censorship ratings board, this might have been really something. As it is, it just left us with this:
Above: Nina, maybe you should learn to use your new sword properly, eh? It's costing a fortune in latex
Tingle is surely one of the strangest things ever to emerge from the mind of a human being. He's weird in every Zelda game he apperas in (although the 'Tingle Tuner' GBA link-up in Wind Waker was pretty damn neat). So, in a move even more unlikely than Family Guy's Cleveland getting his own show, Tingle got his own game. Oh my. Even more surprisingly, unlike said Cleveland Show, Freshly-Picked: Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland is actually pretty good.
I speak not from my own experience, but I have it on good authority from GamesRadar's UK editor, Matt Cundy, who says of the game: "It was 'OK'. Tingle had fairy women who used to help him and they had massive... norkulars. Tingle's known for being a little on the camp side so that was quite ironic. The game was a bit rough around the edges, but you did get to play as Tingle". Can't say fairer than that.
Sadly, Tingle's first DS game never made it to US shores. Wait... what? First game?
Yes, Tingle's actually had a few DS games in Japan. The second was a version of Balloon Fight (with added green leotards, natch), which was only available to Japanese Club Nintendo members. Then there was the also Japan-only 'Colour-changing Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love' which was a direct sequel to Rosy Rupeeland. Sounds amazing.
It's apparantly based on The Wizard of Oz, as Tingle is accompanied by a scarecrow, a tin robot woman, and a lion called 'Lion' (congratulations to whomever came up with that) as he fights to escape from a fantasy world.
Logically, that makes him Dorothy.
Moving on, then...