Crossovers are all the rage nowadays. Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doritos and Mountain Dew, the public can’t get enough of two things they know from separate places, somehow magically coming together. Nintendo games had crossovers since well before Super Smash Bros as well, with the company having a long history with the idea, so that’s why we’ve put together a list of the weirdest Nintendo guest characters, so we can all have a good chuckle at the time Mario Kart had actual Mercedes cars in it.
Even as far back as the Game Boy, videogame crossovers were a hot topic, and a thrill for any young gamer studiously scouring the back of game boxes in their local shop. I was one of those young gamers, and you might not believe it now, but seeing Bomberman in a Wario game was a genuine thrill that blew my tiny mind. The history of the weirdest Nintendo guest characters is truly a rollercoaster and one I’ve paid sharp attention to over the years.
While we could fill this list with just Nintendo games and their weird crossovers, we’re opening it up to any game that has appeared on a Nintendo system. The world of corporate crossovers is truly a wild one, and from actual cars to movie stars, you won’t believe some of the things videogames have gotten away with. We’ve dived deep into the archives for this one, so enjoy a look through the history of Nintendo crossovers.
Alright gamers, let’s dive through some of the weirdest and wackiest Nintendo crossovers!
Wario Blast: Featuring Bomberman – Game Boy
It’s hard to imagine it now, but Bomberman was all the rage in the 90s and considered a staple in the pantheon of gaming mascots. The loveable arsonist was setting off explosions on every platform he could and Hudson Soft released a title called Bomberman GB in Japan for the Gameboy in 1994.
When it came time to bring it to the West, however, it teamed up with Nintendo to include the new antagonist Wario, after his appearance in Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins, and his own puzzle game Wario’s Woods earlier that year in 1994. It’s a fun game that sees Bomberman and Wario going head to head in explosive gameplay, and was a meeting of two super-sized franchises at the time, though it feels much more pedestrian in hindsight.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 x Darth Maul and Wolverine – GameCube
There was a time when Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games were the hottest titles on the planet. Every skater was clamouring to make an appearance, so Neversoft had its pick of professional skaters to choose from, artists hoping for a spot on the soundtrack, as well as other properties knocking on their door hoping to get an appearance.
Well, the year was 2001, and if you weren’t playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 on your GameCube, you were probably watching Star Wars: The Phantom Menace or X-Men, well that was my experience anyway. Possibly the nearest thing to Fortnite we’d have for years, Neversoft teamed up with both franchises to offer players the unlockable characters of Darth Maul and Wolverine, in a crossover that would blow tiny minds across the world. Maul was even wielding his signature double-ended lightsaber with appropriate “nyyyyyuuummmm” noises as he moved. What a time to be twelve years old.
Mario Sports Mix x Square Enix characters – Wii
In the pantheon of Mario sports titles, if you pick up the back of the box, nine times out of ten you’re going to see a little log for a developer called Camelot. The sporting stalwart has been by Mario’s side for years, except for a couple of occasions, and two such titles are Mario Hoops 3-on-3 (or Mario Slam Basketball in Europe) for Nintendo DS, and Mario Sports Mix for Wii, which were curiously developed by Square Enix. So far, so innocuous. Mario Hoops 3-on-3 is (predictably) the first basketball-focused Mario Sports game that focused on two teams of three, with the fun inclusion of several Mario mechanics to liven things up.
It also features a bunch of unlockable characters, including mages from Final Fantasy, as well as a Cactuar and a Moogle. Seeing a Cactuar dunk a three-pointer over Donkey Kong’s head before using his signature move ‘1,000 needles’ is incredible stuff, and Mario Sports Mix takes it even further. Featuring more sports, and more characters. Sports Mix even features the inclusion of Slimes from Dragon Quest, making it one of the best games ever by default.
Jimmy Johnson’s Anything with an Engine x Jimmy Fallon – Wii
Look, there was a lot of crap on the Wii. When a console sells 100 million units, everyone and their mums are going to try and release a game on the platform, quality be damned. Jimmy Johnson’s Anything With an Engine is one such game, capitalising on the popularity of the titular Nascar driver Jimmy, to produce a sup-par racing title that would probably have been forgotten in history if it wasn’t for one particularly weird crossover.
The title features a guest appearance from American talk show host (and deeply unfunny man) Jimmy Fallon, appearing as a 007-inspired Agent Fallon, complete with finger guns and a car resembling a classic Rolls Royce. The game was even featured on The Tonight Show by Jimmy Fallon with Jimmy Johnson as a guest, and this Jimmy Jimmy double whammy is just as dull as you’d expect. Still, it makes for one of the weirdest crossovers we’ve ever seen, so at least there’s that.
Tatsunoko vs Capcom x Tatsunoko characters – Wii
I’m pretty sure that Capcom cannot make a bad fighting game. Sure, a couple of them might not reach the heights of Street Fighter 2 or Marvel Vs Capcom, but there’s always something there. Back in the days of the Wii, Capcom produced one of its weirdest crossover titles, and a game that most people assumed would never release outside of Japan. Oh boy, am I glad this game got a Western release.
I would buy any half-decent game for the Wii, and I knew of several Capcom characters featured in Tatsunoko vs Capcom (Ryu, Chun-Li, Morrigan, Frank West, Viewtiful Joe my beloved), but the other side of the coin was completely alien to me, the work of Japanese anime creators Tatsunoko Productions.
Featuring characters from popular Japanese anime like Yatterman, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, and Casshan, the eclectic mix is still so impressive to think of the international licensing behind the scenes that made it happen, and it helped that there was a cracking fighting game at its core. We can only dream of a Switch port, because good luck finding a copy of this for Wii that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Project X Zone 1 & 2 x … so many characters – 3DS
There were plenty of great RPGs and tactical RPGs on the 3DS, with titles like Fire Emblem Awakening leading the charge. Well, you might be forgiven for forgetting that Monolith Soft created their own, a crossover tactical RPG, published by Bandai Namco, and featuring more characters that you can shake a stick at. Honestly, it’s absolutely baffling how so many characters were included, and the games were still really fun at their core.
It’s easier if I just list a bunch, so between Project X Zone 1 and 2, the following characters are just some of the many featured in playable or non-playable ways: Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Leon S Kennedy, Ryu, Chun-Li, Morrigan from Darkstalkers, Dante and Virgil from Devil May Cry, Kazuma from Yakuza, KOS-MOS and Fiora from the Xeno series of games, and even Chrom and Lucina from Fire Emblem. And that’s nowhere near all of them! Licensing issues might mean we never see these games ported, and the second-hand prices are… not cheap, but we can hold out hope that one day this wild series makes a return in some way.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 x Nintendo characters… sort of – Wii U
Long before Kazuya was in Super Smash Bros, and even before Pokken, one of the first fighting games to release for the Wii U was a fantastic port of Tekken Tag Tournament 2. In what I can only assume was a very particular bit of licensing creativity, the title features some appearances from classic Nintendo characters, in a way, without actually having Mario getting decked by Heihachi.
Presumably, Nintendo was keen for a crossover but not their characters enacting violence, because instead Tekken Tag Tournament 2 features a bunch of fun costumes for existing characters, letting King dress up as Ganondorf, Jin dress up as Link, Bob dress up as Mario, and even a costume based on Samus. Several characters could wear each of the outfits, making for a really fun and silly Nintendo-ified version of a fighting game classic. Pick it up for your Wii U if you’re one of the twelve people who still own theirs!
Mario Kart Arcade GP x Tamagotchi characters and more – Arcade
Alright, Mario Kart is a bit looser with the guest characters. Growing up we had to settle for the occasional wild pick like R.O.B the robot, or the Queen Bee from Super Mario Galaxy (bring her back though please, we need another heavy female character so we can boot Pink Gold Peach into the sun), but before Link and Animal Crossing characters, Mario Kart’s character roster was borderline vanilla. Well, that’s on consoles anyway, because the arcades were telling a wildly different story.
The Mario Kart Arcade GP series is co-produced by Nintendo and Bandai Namco exclusively for arcades, and presumably, because of its niche audience, Nintendo decided to tighten the licensing leash when it came to guest appearances. Mario Kart Arcade GP got the ball rolling, with the appearance of Pac-Man, Ms Pac-Man, and Blinky from the Pac-Man series, inclusions I desperately want in the mainline Mario Kart games, and ones that feel more possible and the Pac’s appearance in Super Smash Bros.
Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 kicks things up a notch, introducing characters from the Tamagotchi franchise of all things. That’s right, little Mametchi is on the tracks, taking a break from being hungry or pooping to burn some rubber alongside Mario and chums. But wait, there’s more. The third entry Mario Kart Arcade GP DX features an appearance of everyone’s anthropomorphic drum Don-Chan from the Taiko No Tatsujin series. That’s right, the adorable little drum takes a break from the beat, to beat Mario and his pals at their own game. What a bizarre series and one I would love to see a collection ported to consoles one day.
We hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane, and a look at some of the more fun, or at least interesting, crossovers in Nintendo history. After Super Smash Bros and similar games have opened the gamut, we surely won’t be waiting long before the next wild crossover comes along. If all this has got you in the mood for more gaming, be sure to check out our list of the best Switch games, with a few great inclusions from 2022 earning their places in the rankings.