8 times when M-rated characters invaded kiddy games

Not in front of the kids...

If you were like me as a kid, you imagined toys from disparate franchises meeting up in these massive battles. He-Man and Donatello waged epic wars against Starscream and Doctor Doom, but things could get awkward when characters like Predator and RoboCop joined in. Theyd seen horrors Ninja Turtles could never fathom, so their team-ups left me feeling a little weird and that feeling returns whenever I play family friendly games featuring character meant for ages 17 and up.

Seeing the likes of Mario and Frogger shake hands with trained killers is certainly an unexpected situation, but one that pops up more than youd expect. When publishers want to make bloody games for older players but also create fanservice-rich crossovers for everyone, it can lead to some unpredictable moments of corporate synergy. What follows are the eight oddest instances of assassins, sexy wrestlers, and gods of war taking breaks from bloody massacres to engage in some good clean fun with their more adorable colleagues...

Kratos in Hots Shots Golf: Out of Bounds

His normal behavior: Kratos is basically the most angry person in gaming history. Thanks to his boundless rage, he has killed gods and monsters in basically every way that can be conceived, and part of the fun of each sequel is seeing the new techniques developers introduce for tearing apart a would-be immortal. Also, Kratos has never been one to pass up the occasional threeway.

Why is he in this? Sony has a mixed up history with mascots, with bloodsoaked killers and adorable animals published in equal measure. Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds tries to embrace both those aspects via the series crowd-pleasing approach adding a dose of Kratos via DLC. The mad Spartan plays nice in a game that has Mild Suggestive Themes as its only content warning, but you have to think he spends each match this close to beating his opponent to death with a 9-iron, then engaging in a massive orgy with the caddies.

Jill Valentine in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2

Her normal behavior: Jill isnt as guilty as most of the people on this list, mainly because most of her enemies died long before she shoots them in the head. That being said, this top level agent can kill Bio Organic Weapons with the best of them, be it with a knife or a rocket launcher. And she always manages to keep a cool head amid the zombie outbreaks--so long as she isnt under Weskers mind control.

Why is she in this? The Marvel Vs. Capcom games arent as cutesy as some of the entries on here, but fighting titles are way more colorful than any Resident Evil game. The MVC franchise is about celebrating all of Capcom, zombies included, so MVC2 gives Jill a bright, cartoony makeover. She fits in well, mainly because Capcom found entertaining ways to incorporate the darker aspects of RE into the combat. You havent lived until youve seen Mega Man or Wolverine fend off a zombie dog summoned by Ms. Valentine. Wait, why can she summon zombie dogs, anyway?

EA's top killers in MySims SkyHeroes

Their normal behavior: Dead Space forces Isaac Clarke into deadly situations, while Army of Twos Salem and Rios jump into danger with gusto. Whatever the reasoning, all these guys have killed thousands in the line of duty, finding a wide variety of ways to dismember and behead humanoids. Mass Effects Shepard is no slouch when it comes to dealing death, and the Commander also finds time for the kind of outer space hookups that makes Fox News freak out. Clearly, EA has all its M-rated bases covered.

Why are they in this? MySims is what happens when you try to make Sims even more kid-friendly, with Lego-style adventures that star dopey, character created secret agents. Perhaps in a bid to get older siblings to play the kiddie game in co-op, EA leveraged its most popular franchises to spice up the game with cameos by Dead Space, Army of Two, and Mass Effect characters. Their MySims reimaginings are cute and all, but without the ability to chop off limbs or sleep with aliens, their appearances feel a tad incomplete.

Evil Rose and Pyramid Head in New International Track & Field

Their normal behavior: This duo represents Konamis combo of sex and violence. Hailing from Silent Hill 2, Pyramid Head might be one of the most terrifying creations in gaming history; an unstoppable, unforgiving, creepy-as-hell killing machine. Evil Rose is the main baddie of Rumble Roses, a wrestling game thats far more interested in putting ladies in revealing costumes than having them fight.

Why are they in this? Konami has been around a long time, but it doesnt have as deep a mascot roster as Sega or Nintendo. So when Konami decided to reboot its Olympic-style Track & Field series on DS, it basically stacked the roster with anyone recognizable, no matter what horrors theyd committed previously. In an ill advised move, Pyramid Head gets a chibi redesign that might irreparably damage the once-scary monster, while Evil Roses revealing costume goes basically unchanged. Im not sure how this DS game only got an E10+ rating from the ESRB, but congratulations for getting it past the censors.

Ryu Hayabusa in Super Swing Golf Season 2

His normal behavior: Owner of the legendary Dragon Sword, Ryu Hayabusa has been carving up his fellow ninjas since the late 80s. Ryu took bloody dismemberment to new heights when the Ninja Gaiden series was rebooted on the original Xbox, continually finding new weapons and combos for tearing apart his enemies. Ryu is also surprisingly chaste given the number of scantily clad women that normally hang around him.

Why is he in this? Yes, its another game of golf starring colorful mascots, and Super Swing gets extra family-friendly cred by being a Wii exclusive. Despite its adorable appearance, publisher Tecmo didnt hold back on using its mascots, even if that meant having a serious ninja like Ryu tee off of the course. He and underdressed costar Ayane appear in the game, though technically theyre just costumes that make the main characters look exactly like them. Even with that excuse, its still very strange to see his black shinobi garb on the green.

Scorpion vs. Sub-Zero in MLB Slugfest: Loaded

Their normal behavior: These two palette swaps have been at war since before gamers saw their first Fatality. Scorpion and Sub-Zero are from opposing ninja clans, each using their respective elemental powers to beat one another to a bloody pulp for more than 20 years. Mortal Kombat fans have seen this duo murder one another countless times, but they still can't get enough of their endless, spine-ripping conflict.

Why are they in this? Few would accuse Mortal Kombat of taking itself seriously, so the fighters fit right in. Back in the mid-2000s, publisher Midway was on a roll with eccentric sports games like Slugfest, giving Major League Baseball fans something different than the more serious sims out there. In that spirit, unlockable teams made up of Scorpions and Sub-Zeros seem downright logical compared to other entries on the list. Slugfest reskins any team as either of the ninjas, right down to them batting with swords or massive chunks of ice. These simple thrills makes me miss the days of sillier official sports titles like these.

Solid Snake in Super Smash Bros. Brawl

His normal behavior: Snakes tactical espionage missions demand hiding in the dark, shooting people in the back, blowing them up with whatever munitions he can find, then hiding the corpses--unless youre going for a no-kill playthrough. When Snake isnt offing guards, his grown-up pursuits include dense conversations on the nature of war, sexing up female spies, and (gasp!) smoking.

Why is he in this? Nintendo is usually very careful not to have violent characters interact with mascots like Mario and Pikachu, making Snakes rare exception stand out even more. Solid Snake entered the cheery world of Smash Bros. more or less intact, shooting Kirby in the face with the same gusto that killed Psycho Mantis. He even had lengthy dialogue scenes that used his standard voice acting cast, all in the spirit of crossover fun. Smash fans should savor this killer cameo, because its looking like Nintendo will make this a one-off, as Snake seems less and less likely to appear in the Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS rosters.

Helghast in Hot Shots Tennis

His normal behavior: More fascist than not. The Helghast are the main antagonists in the Killzone series, often starting wars and trying to conquer humanity whenever they can. Outfitted to survive on the harsh planet Helghan, the Helghast are known for a brutal military that places duty, obedience, and loyalty above everything else. These are not nice people.

Why is he in this? Much like Kratos, the Helghast can soften considerably if its all in the spirit of Sony studio synergy. Hot Shots Tennis: Get A Grip takes the standard trooper unit and places a racket in his hand, where he can play a few matches with his chirpy new friends. Despite the Helghasts new interest in friendly tennis competition, the character keeps on his trademark mask and ammo vest during competition. I have to think hed play better without all that junk, but my backhand is terrible, so what do I know?

A bloody good time

Those are the cutest appearances by confirmed killers in gaming history, but if I missed any bloodsoaked stars that had fun with their more colorful buddies, let me know in the comments!

And if you're looking for more crossovers of cute and creepy, check out GamesRadar's lists of the the creepiest enemies in otherwise cute games and the the 11 cutest animals we've hunted in games.

Henry Gilbert

Henry Gilbert is a former GamesRadar+ Editor, having spent seven years at the site helping to navigate our readers through the PS3 and Xbox 360 generation. Henry is now following another passion of his besides video games, working as the producer and podcast cohost of the popular Talking Simpsons and What a Cartoon podcasts.