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Capcom's 30 greatest contributions to gaming history

I now pronounce you man and arm

After having faded into obscurity for years, Bionic Commando finally returned to the spotlight in 2009 with a modern-day sequel to the beloved NES classic. Unfortunately, this darker, edgier, more-realistic(?) take on the property lacked the fun and charm of its predecessor, and the convoluted story was burdened by one of the silliest plot twists in recent memory. After spending much of the game trying to figure out what happened to his wife who had disappeared many years prior, protagonist Nathan Rad Spencer learns that - spoiler alert! - his wife was actually somehow transformed into his bionic arm. Yes, you read that correctly: the arm is his wife! It makes the crazy ending of the original Bionic Commando seem pretty sensible by comparison.

Metal Blade

The Mega Man series is known for the variety of cool weapons that the Blue Bomber can acquire by defeating enemy Robot Masters, but one weapon stands above the rest: the Metal Blade. Obtained from Metal Man in Mega Man 2, this powerful tool uses very little energy (so you have a virtually limitless supply), plus it can be hurled in eight directions and can finish off multiple bosses with minimal effort. In fact, it's so strong that if you use it on Metal Man when you fight him a second time, he can go down in just a single hit. Talk about useful! Now that Mega Man is joining the Super Smash Bros. crew with Metal Blade in hand, we wonder how anybody's gonna stop him.

Dinosaurs... in space!

First there was Resident Evil. Then there was Dino Crisis, a survival panic game that applied the RE formula to a Jurassic Park-like scenario. So where do you go from there? Outer space. After two regular installments and a light-gin spin-off, Dino Crisis 3 took the series into a sci-fi future where a team of space commandos squared off against genetically mutated dinosaurs. The actual game was underwhelming and plagued by a problematic camera system (which may have ultimately resulted in the series not being continued), but cmon! Were talking about freaking space dinosaurs! It's almost too bad that the game was rated M, because probably every 7-year-old kid would agree that space dinosaurs are the coolest thing ever.

Countless Mega Man spin-offs

You've gotta hand it to Capcom - they know how to make a franchise work. Case in point: Mega Man, which has been spun off into so many different sub-series over the year that were not even sure how to count em all up. In addition to regular old classic Mega Man, theres the Game Boy series that combined aspects of the NES Mega Man games, the edgier Mega Man X, the 3D adventures of Mega Man Legends, the role-playing sagas of Mega Man Battle Network and Mega Man Star Force, the super-challenging action of Mega Man Zero, and the biometal-infused Mega Man ZX games. On top of that, there are spin-offs of spin-offs (such as Mega Man X Command Mission) and one-offs like Mega Mans Soccer and Mega Man Battle & Chase. Some might call it overkill, but weve got respect for any company that can get so much mileage out of one property and still have fans begging and pleading for more.

What!? A paramecium?

You cannot stop me with paramecium alone! yells the muscular, unnamed, sunglasses-wearing, jetpack-equipped soldier from Forgotten Worlds. Thats, uh, fine, dude. I dont think anyone was planning to stop you with paramecium alone. Or with paramecium at all, really. Why are we discussing paramecia when you're supposed to be on a mission to save the world? According to the dictionary, a paramecium is an aquatic, microscopic, single-celled organism, and it shouldn't pose much of a threat to a guy that can fly through the air while unleashing lasers, flamethrowers, missiles, and other assorted weaponry. Who knows? Maybe the Unknown Soldier was having a weird flashback to seventh-grade biology class or something.

Ken Masters in 2010

One of the great things about video games is that they can take you to places limited only by their creators imaginations, and in 1990, Capcom's Street Fighter 2010: The Final Fight transported gamers to - you guessed it - the far-flung future of 2010. In case you dont remember that groundbreaking period of history, it was the year that bionic implants were all the rage, when mutant monsters were rampantly stealing Cyboplasm, and when teleportation devices allowed people to visit alien worlds in a flash. Let that sink in for a minute, then marvel at the fact that the game starred Ken of Street Fighter fame, who (at least in the North American version) had left martial arts behind to become a genius scientist/cybernetically enhanced super warrior.

Sissel's hair

It's been said that the key to making memorable characters is to give them distinctive silhouettes, and Capcom's designers certainly seemed to have that rule in mind when they were creating the cast of Ghost Trick. I mean, just look at that hair! Seriously. Look at it. Protagonist Sissel either stuck all his fingers into electrical sockets or spent about a bazillion dollars on hair gel to come up with that crazy, pointy do. Sissels hair becomes even more impressive when you consider the fact that the dude is dead. We can barely get our hair to cooperate on any average day, yet Sissel manages to look like a rock star even in the afterlife. Wonder if Guile is jealous.

Monster Hunters Felynes

If you take a brief look at Capcom's multiplayer battle-fest Monster Hunter, you'd probably think that the game is all about dangerous-looking weapons and big, scary, dinosauric beasts. And, well, sure, there is all that, but the insanely popular (in Japan) series is also responsible for some of the cutest things we've ever seen in video games. Were talking, of course, about the Felynes and the Melynx, the two races of walking, talking, and undeniably adorable cat-people. These furry fellows can take on all kinds of useful jobs, including cooks and shopkeepers, but they can also be enemies as well. It's kind of strange - we figured they'd just spend all day long taking videos of themselves and posting them to YouTube.

Hitlers head asplodes!

Bionic Commando on the NES was primarily known as an innovative action-platformer with unique grappling-hook-based play mechanics and lots of cool combat. But if you persevered and made it to the end of the challenging game, instead of shouting, Awesome! you were more likely to ask, WTF? Following a well-placed shot into an enemy emplacement, players got to witness Adolf Hitlers head quickly but brutally explode into messy chunks. When you consider the game's Japanese title of Hitler's Return: Top Secret, the scene actually made a lot of sense, but since all other references to Hitler and Nazism were removed from the North American version, the scene seemed completely out of left field. (The Hitler character was even renamed Master-D for North America, despite the unmistakable likeness.) On top of that, the scene was pretty darn violent compared to other games of its era.

The ending to Mighty Final Fight

Never let anyone tell you that Capcom doesn't have a sense of humor. Back in the early 90s, Capcom released Mighty Final Fight, a goofy parody of the company's somewhat more serious series of Final Fight beat-em-ups. The game was packed with laughter-inducing touches (such a boss fight in which you could make the enemy's health go down by insulting him), but the best part was the ending. If you beat the game as street tough Cody or ninjitsu master Guy, mayor Mike Haggar would spin onto the scene, knock the hero out of the way, then claim the victory for himself. While Haggar basked in the glory of someone else's hard work, Cody and Guy were left to sulk by themselves. Politicians, eh? The scene is easily one of the most amusing endings on the NES.

Former senior editor of Nintendo Power, current editor at Mac|Life. Fan of RPGs, Mega Man, The Legend of Zelda, Ace Attorney, and Japanese gaming in general. The last survivor of Lithone.