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    Hearthstone's Boomsday Project is shaping up to be the game's most powerful expansion yet. Here are the best and worst cards:

    Feature Matthew Byrd
    Aug 2, 2018

    As someone who has played Hearthstone since the game’s closed beta period, I feel confident saying that The Boomsday Project is possibly the most exciting Hearthstone expansion ever released.

    There are very few cards in this expansion which don’t do something that it at least theoretically interesting. Even better, there are a ton of cards that either utilize potentially revolutionary mechanics or are just clearly ready to change the game in an immediate way.

    However, as with all great expansions, there are always questions regarding which cards are the ones you should absolutely have and which cards are just pretenders. While it’s tough to answer that question with absolute certainty, there are some cards this expansion which seem to be obviously great and some that seem to be getting too much love.

    That being the case, here is a quick look at the absolute best cards in Hearthstone: The Boomsday Project(and some of the absolute worst).

    The Boomsday Project: Best Cards

    15. Dr. Boom, Mad Genius

    One of the most anticipated cards of the set barely makes the “best” cut, and it just snuck onto this list due to the potential of the concept.

    There’s another card coming up later on this list that makes Dr. Boom’s ability to give mechs Rush incredibly powerful. Even if that card didn’t exist, Boom’s rotating series of hero powers each feel strong enough to justify the randomness of the concept.

    Overall, you’re going to want to keep this card and possibly go out of your way to craft it.

    14. Reckless Experimenter

    My gut feeling says that Reckless Experimenter is even better than this, but it loses a few points because Deathrattle Priest isn’t really a thing at the moment.

    First off, this card has no downside if you play it correctly. Your Deathrattle minions dying at the end of the turn is irrelevant if said minions are super cheap cards with Deathrattle benefits that are more valuable than their presence.

    In other words, use this card to cheat some cheap card draw (Loot Hoarder) and minion removal (Voodoo Doll) cards on the board, and you’ll be laughing.

    13. Weapons Project

    Here’s another card that will probably prove to be even better than it looks but is sadly handicapped somewhat by the fact it doesn’t easily fit into a powerful, existing deck.

    Still, this card is outright good. Giving your opponent a weapon is actually a fantastic benefit. If they’re running a more powerful weapon, you just use this card and destroy it. If they don’t run weapons at all, you play this card and use special weapons destruction cards to destroy that weapon while gaining armor or drawing in the process.

    If slower Warrior decks are a thing, this card will be a key part of their lineups.

    12. Mecharoo

    Mecharoo doesn’t look like much (even if it is freaking cute), but it’s quietly one of the best cards of the set.

    If aggressive mech decks turn out to be viable (it looks like they will be viable) then Mecharoo will be an essential part of their strategy. The new Magnetic mechanic means that having a mech on the board at all times is incredibly valuable. Because Mecharoo is a mech within a mech, it will be very hard for an opponent to cleanly remove it from the board. 

    Don’t sleep on this card.

    11. Biology Project

    Biology Project is one of those cards that is either going to be completely broken or useless. At the moment, I’m leaning towards broken.

    Giving your opponent extra mana is one of the worst things you can do, but the fact is that this expansion is going to enable certain Druid decks that just don’t care how much mana their opponents have. Why? Well, it’s because they are going to use the extra mana to pull off some ridiculous win conditions. Meanwhile, their opponent is just playing cards.

    You have to be smart with how you use this, but it’s potentially very powerful.

    10. Dreampetal Florist

    Dreampetal Florist is one of the biggest reasons why people believe that Druid is about to become the strongest class in the game.

    The dream scenario for this card is to hit an expensive minion like Malygos and possibly win the game on the next turn with damage from hand. However, lowering the cost of just about any big minion means you are in a position to win the game in the near future.

    This is going to be a must-have card in any Druid deck that runs big minions.

    9. Giggling Inventor

    Recently, Hearthstonecards that cost five mana and offer some kind of defensive option have found their way into a lot of decks. So far as that goes, this is one of the best cards of that type that Blizzard has ever released.

    At the moment, most classes have very few clean ways to deal with the little defensive minions this card creates. There are cards that will deal with the board state generated by this one card, but they’re not very popular at the moment.

    Unless those counter cards become popular, you should be running Giggling Inventor in all but the most aggressive decks.

    8. Juicy Psychmelon

    Some people are already saying this is one of the most powerful cards in the history of Hearthstone. However, I’m not quite that sold on its power level in Hearthstone’s standard mode.

    Still, this card enables some incredible possibilities. First off, you don’t need to draw all four possible minions to get value out of this card. Drawing one or two cards that will contribute to you winning the game more than justifies playing this card.

    There’s a chance that this card will prove to be overkill, but it’s potential is just too great to ignore.

    7. Glow-Tron

    There’s nothing really exciting about this card, but there’s also no world in which this Glow-Tron doesn’t get played from now until further notice.

    This card’s stats are strong, its mech tag is incredibly relevant, and its ability to magnetize to other minions makes it useful in the late game. Any Paladin mech deck (which will probably prove to be quite strong) is going to run two of these and will probably win most of the games in which they draw it early.

    This is an absurdly powerful card disguised as a simple one.

    6. Electra Stormsurge

    Electra Stormsurge is another card that has a 0% chance of being anything less than good.

    This card’s stats are perfectly fine, and its effect can be utilized by any Shaman deck that runs spells (which is the vast majority of Shaman decks). Will it win you the game outright? Probably not, but that depends on how much you’re willing to build your deck around this card.

    Still, this effect is useful every single time you use it. Stormsurge is just an incredibly versatile card.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

    5. Omega Assembly

    We finally come to the card that makes so many Warrior decks better than they would otherwise be.

    As a one mana card, Omega Assembly is perfectly acceptable. However, if you manage to hold out until you have 10 mana crystals (which shouldn’t be hard to do), then you are going to be able to outlast most slower decks in the game.

    Combine this cards resource generation abilities with the new Warrior cards that let you cheat minions into play and give mechs additional abilities, and you’ve got a card that is going to contribute to a lot of warrior wins. 

    4. Kangor’s Endless Army

    Kangor’s Endless Army is an insane card that has a high probability of being nerfed at some point in the near future.

    First off, we’ve established that Paladins and mechs are generally strong in this expansion. That being the case, the ability to summon three mechs you’ve previously played that retain all of their buffs is, theoretically, absolutely nuts.

    In fact, it might be worth playing this card just to resummon one particularly strong minion. It will see a lot of play.

    3. Zilliax

    If you buy into the idea that mech decks are going to be very strong, then you have to believe that Zilliax is going to be one of the best cards of the upcoming set.

    Put this card on almost any mech in the game, and you will get immediate value out of it. Put this card on certain mechs, and you will possibly be able to close or stabilize any game. Re-summon the minion you buffed with Zilliax with the Paladin legendary, and you've probably put yourself in a position to win the game.

    It’s a great card that will be featured in every mech deck. 

    2. Flobbidinous Floop

    Flobbidinous Floop is one of those cards that has you looking for the downside. As it stands, though, it looks like Blizzard has decided to print a strictly great (possibly broken) card.

    The reason this card is so effective is that it eliminates the fear of putting a big minion on the board and having it get removed before you can get full value out of it. Now, either you are going to get full value out of that minion or you are going to essentially play it again at a reduced cost so that you can pull off insane combos.

    You will learn to hate this card.

    1. Myra’s Unstable Element

    This might prove to be a bit of a stretch given how obvious the downside of this card is. However, its upside is one of the best we’ve seen in the history of Hearthstone.

    Card draw is the most powerful ability in Hearthstone. This card draws all of your cards. Yes, you will burn the majority of your deck by overdrawing most of the time, but if you’re playing an aggressive deck, you probably don’t care about that. If you’re playing a combo deck, you’re just looking for your combo pieces. If you’re playing a deck that is designed to put cards into your deck, you don’t care if you have cards left or not.

    I have a feeling that this card will be nerfed rather quickly.

    The Boomsday Project: Worst Cards (Overrated Cards to Avoid)

    In this instance, the term "Worst Cards" is being used to classify cards that might look good on paper but are actually very weak. We’re ignoring the obviously bad cards in the game because...well, they’re obviously bad. Instead, here are a few that you shouldn’t bite on and craft right away.

    5. The Soularium

    Hearthstone fans are going to think I’ve lost my mind by picking this card as one of the most overrated, but I have serious doubts about what appears to be one of the strongest cards of the set.

    The problem with The Soularium is that there are very few optimal times to play it. You’re almost never going to play this card before turn five unless you’re trying to discard your cards (which you probably aren’t). That means it’s a late game card for aggressive decks, which is a shame when you consider that aggressive decks that have made it to the late game have probably already lost.

    Don’t dust this card, but don’t think it will single-handedly win you games.

    4. Myra Rotspring

    Many of the entries in this section are focusing on cards you might be tempted to craft, but this one is just strictly awful.

    First off, the card's health and attack are laughably bad. Even if that wasn’t the case, there are only a few Deathrattle effects which could possibly justify playing this card, and there’s a statistically slim chance you will consistently get them from this card’s effect.

    Deathrattle Rogue might prove to be somewhat playable, but this card will certainly not be a part of that deck.

    3. Zerek’s Cloning Gallery

    This card confuses me. It’s so expensive and so potentially awful that I’m almost convinced that it might secretly be good.

    However, I think this card will ultimately prove to be too expensive for what it’s trying to do. The core problem with this card is that you can’t play it before turn eight (if you have a coin), and that’s assuming that you have drawn Cloning Gallery card by that point. By the time you can play this card, there’s a strong possibility that the optimal cards you’re hoping to pull from this effect will be in your hand and thus useless.

    There’s a slight chance that flooding the board with this card will be good enough. However, it feels like a weak combo enabler.

    2. Luna’s Pocket Galaxy

    Much like Cloning Gallery, the biggest problem with Luna’s Pocket Galaxy is that it’s expensive/counter-intuitive to what the decks that will possibly include it are trying to accomplish.

    First off, forget about using this card to reduce the cost of combo piece cards. The odds that you hit all of your combo pieces with this effect are just too low. This would just be strictly good in minion-heavy Mage decks or Mage decks that run a lot of big minions, but neither of those decks are particularly effective at the moment.

    This card could eventually be good, but Mage doesn’t have the tools to make it work right now.

    1. Mecha’thun

    Mecha’thun is a clever card but don’t take that to mean that you should actually go out of your way to craft it.

    As it stands, there are three classes which have a semi-realistic chance of actually pulling this card’s win condition off in a somewhat practical way (Warlock, Druid, and maybe Rogue). All three of those classes have access to much better decks that rely on far more consistent win conditions.

    There’s a very slim chance someone finds a way to make this card consistently work. However, don’t be fooled by Mecha’thun’s promising card text.


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    Could the legendary Def Jam series be staging a comeback?

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 2, 2018

    The Def Jamgame series might be staging a comeback. 

    Speculation surrounding a new Def Jam game began in earnest when Def Jam's Twitter account sent out a tweet that "HYPOTHETICALLY" asked fans which star they'd like to see on the cover of a modern-day Def Jam Vendetta. Not long after, they sent out another tweet asking which city they'd like to see such a game take place in. 

    While it's entirely possible that these tweets are nothing more than the result of a particularly bored social media team who decided that the best way to kill some time would be to tease their followers with the return of a beloved franchise. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that gamers have gotten their hopes up by using a somewhat cryptic tweet as the basis for hope. 

    Still, this strikes us as a strange question to ask out of the blue. It's not like the label's Twitter account has been asking this question yearly. There's a strong possibility that someone is working on the first Def Jam fighting/wrestling game since the release of 2007's Def Jam Icon. It certainly wouldn't be the craziest thing we've ever heard. 

    Having said that, we do feel it's our professional obligation to throw a little cold water on this rumor. First off, even if a new Def Jam game is in development, it likely won't be developed by original franchise developer AKI Corporation who have gotten out of the wrestling/fighting genre and renamed their company. That means that the incredible game engine (which was borrowed from those amazing N64 wrestling games) that powered the first two Def Jam games probably won't be making a comeback. 

    As anyone who tried to play Def Jam: Icon will tell you, the Def Jam series just isn't the same when AKI isn't at the helm. 

    We'll remain optimistic regarding the chances that we get another Def Jam game, but that game will have a lot to prove even if it does eventually get released. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    A complete explanation of the ever-evolving Mortal Kombat timeline, featuring ninjas, gods, monks, monsters, and other martial arts weirdos.

    FeatureGavin Jasper
    Aug 3, 2018

    A fighting game kind of needs to have a storyline for the sake of identity. Not just for the characters, but for the world itself.

    Who are these characters and why are they fighting? Why are they fighting again? And again?

    Usually, these lead to fun B-movie plots that can carry a game or two. Sometimes the sequels just retread the same plot over and over (ie. the Soul Caliburgames and King of Fighters), but Mortal Kombathas been able to hold its own for over 20 years due to embracing its own wacky mythology and finding ways to be fresh. Even when they're literally redoing an earlier story!

    There’s a reason why they’ve been able to stretch it out across media. There have been nine fighting games plus upgrades that are part of its canon and two side games (Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Injustice: Gods Among Us, and the wonderful Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks are non-canon). As video games have advanced, so has the storytelling. It used to be that we’d just get some profile text, ending text, and a couple of neat images. Now we get full-on cinematic story modes.

    So here’s a look at the canon storyline of Mortal Kombat. Before I really get into it, let’s just talk about the makeup of this reality.

    THE KOMBAT MULTIVERSE

    Throughout reality, there are different dimensions, or realms. They’re kind of like alternate Earths, but without the parallel universe gimmick. They’re basically different planets completely. You have Earthrealm, which is us, or a world similar enough to ours.

    Edenia is kind of a happy fairytale world made of magic and beauty. Outworld is a barbarian world where violence and monsters run rampant. Netherrealm is Hell itself. Seido is the realm of order, though to an extreme, fascist degree. On the other side of the coin is Chaosrealm, where anarchy is a way of life. Then you got a bunch of random world like the world of repitle people, the world of vampires, the world of bug people, and so on.

    These realms are looked over by gods for the most part. You have your regular gods, who tend to meddle in man’s affairs in a limited sense, and Elder Gods, who are higher on the power scale and ultimately don’t do much. They rarely ever interfere, even when they really should.

    Realms are able to conquer and actually absorb each other, becoming kind of a jumbled landscape in the process. To keep things civil, the Elder Gods put together a rulebook. Conquering and merging can only be done by invoking Mortal Kombat. Every generation, there will be a fighting tournament held. Whoever wins loses the ability to age until the next one is held. If the invading realm can win ten tournaments in a row, they have the right to take over.

    Speaking of lack of aging, people in most of the other realms have incredibly long lifespans and live for thousands and thousands of years.

    MANY, MANY, MANY YEARS AGO...

    On Earthrealm, the Elder God Shinnok went mad with power. He opposed his brethren and decided that he wanted the inhabitants of Earthrealm to worship him and only him. Although lower on the godly totem pole, Raiden was able to defeat him and had him sealed away in the Netherrealm. Shinnok buddied up with the mysterious, wandering sorcerer Quan Chi and the two overthrew the damned realm and took over. Shinnok spent endless years biding his time so that he could return and get his revenge.

    Also, the battle of the gods was so severe that it tore apart the planet and caused rifts in reality. The Saurians, a race of people evolved from dinosaurs (ie. Reptile), escaped through portals to find a safer home in the world of Zaterra. You could probably figure that Shinnok’s tantrum is what killed the dinosaurs.

    In Edenia, the god and protector Argus got visions of a huge battle that would one day cause Armageddon throughout all of reality. He and his sorceress wife Delia came up with a cockamamie plan to put their sons Taven and Daegon in hibernation so that they could one day awaken, take part in a race to gather special weapons, kill a fire elemental named Blaze, and this would somehow magically nullify the abilities of all the warriors in said gigantic battle. The winning son would take Argus’ place as protector of Edenia.

    For quite a while, Outworld was ruled by a being known as Onaga the Dragon King. Not only was his power unmatched, but he commanded an unstoppable army of warriors. His trusted advisor Shao Kahn betrayed him via poisoning and took over. Onaga’s army had themselves mummified so that they could reunite with Onaga after his eventual resurrection.

    Shao Kahn went on a tear, conquering as many realms as he could (including Zaterra). Again and again, his champions won Mortal Kombat and countless realities were merged with his. This included Edenia. Kahn murdered its ruler King Jerrod and took his queen and infant daughter as his own. The queen Sindel took her own life rather than be with Kahn. Kahn decided to raise the child Kitana and trained her to be the ultimate assassin.

    MANY (BUT NOT AS MANY) YEARS AGO...

    Shao Kahn’s reign of terror took him to conquering the warrior people known as the Osh-Tekk. Although their king Kotal K’etz surrendered to Shao Kahn, he secretly sent his young son to do a walkabout through Earthrealm. It was there that Kotal’s son stumbled upon the Mayan civilization and became a god to them. They worshipped him as “Buluc” the god of war and sacrifice. Eventually, his people died out and he returned to Outworld.

    To help prevent Outworld from taking over Earthrealm, Raiden started a sect of Shaolin monks called the White Lotus Society, based specifically on training warriors to fight for Earthrealm in Mortal Kombat. The greatest warrior was the Great Kung Lao, who defeated Shao Kahn’s sorcerer underling Shang Tsung. His days as champion eventually came to an end at the hands of Goro, the four-armed half-dragon.

    Goro dominated the tournament for centuries. There was one warrior in the 1800s that Shang Tsung saw as a threat, so prior to the tournament, he hired Wild West gunslinger mercenary Erron Black to assassinate him. As payment, Black was given the secret to long life, making him virtually immortal.

    At some point over the years, Daegon awoke from his slumber prematurely. Between being in the wrong state of mind from the rude awakening as well as the trickery of Shinnok, Daegon attacked and killed his parents. He then started the criminal organization known as the Red Dragon. The Red Dragon later split into a rival offshoot called the Black Dragon.

    SHUJINKO’S QUEST (Konquest from Mortal Kombat: Deception)

    Shujinko was a young man who dreamed of protecting Earthrealm from the invaders. He was visited by a glowing ball of energy named Damashi, who put him on a quest in the name of the Elder Gods. He had to spend many decades of his life wandering from realm to realm, getting into adventures, learning more fighting abilities, and gathering the Kamidogu, a series of powerful artifacts. To aid him, Damashi gave Shujinko the power to absorb the abilities of other warriors and make them part of his repertoire.

    Shujinko never questioned his mission, which was foolish as “Damashi” was really just the spirit of Onaga, tricking Shujinko into causing his resurrection.

    JAX VS. THE BLACK DRAGON (Mortal Kombat: Special Forces)

    Black Dragon leader Kano freed his subordinates from prison and went off to steal an artifact called the Eye of Chitian. Special Forces soldier Jackson “Jax” Briggs went after them. Jax brought them all back to justice in an adventure that ended with him briefly stepping into Outworld.

    SUB-ZERO’S REDEMPTION (Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero)

    Quan Chi had a plot to release Shinnok from the Netherrealm by tracking down his magical amulet. He hired two ninja assassin groups – the Lin Kuei and the Shirai Ryu – to hunt down a map. Representatives Sub-Zero (real name Bi-Han) and Scorpion (Hanzo Hasashi) ended up fighting over the map and Sub-Zero both won the fight and chose to unnecessarily kill his rival. Quan Chi repaid the Lin Kuei by having Scorpion’s family and clan killed. Sub-Zero was then tasked with tracking down the amulet. He did so and Quan Chi took it to the Netherrealm.

    Raiden appeared to him and warned him what was going to happen. With Earthrealm’s fate in the balance, Sub-Zero entered the Netherrealm and fought through Shinnok’s forces. This included various monsters, a demonic reincarnation of Scorpion, Quan Chi’s trio of female assassins (one of which, Sareena, sided with Sub-Zero), and Quan Chi himself. Sub-Zero stole the amulet back from Shinnok and escaped back into Earthrealm before Shinnok could take his revenge.

    Sub-Zero came to realize that he was allowed to enter the Netherrealm because he was evil. Raiden told him that he could still change his ways and save his soul, but Sub-Zero chose loyalty above all else. In his very next mission, Sub-Zero was sent to go take part in Mortal Kombat...

    SHANG TSUNG’S ISLAND TOURNAMENT (Mortal Kombat)

    Earthrealm’s last chance was held on Shang Tsung’s mysterious island. Fighters came from all over. Liu Kang from the White Lotus Society. Johnny Cage, the actor who wanted to prove to the world that his skills were not just special effects and good editing. Sonya Blade, a Special Forces member searching for Kano. Sub-Zero, sent on a mission to assassinate Shang Tsung. Scorpion, back from the grave, under the guidance of Quan Chi, out to get revenge on Sub-Zero. The 2011 reboot retconned the events a bunch and added characters who weren’t in the game itself, like Nightwolf, Sektor, Cyrax, Baraka, and so on.

    Raiden was more of a guide to the Earthrealm defenders and was not allowed to compete.

    During the tournament, Scorpion got his revenge on Sub-Zero and killed him. Sub-Zero was reborn in the Netherrealm as a being much like Scorpion, only more sinister, named Noob Saibot. He became Quan Chi’s soldier without Scorpion knowing.

    Cyrax decided that the Lin Kuei was no longer for him, mainly because of their plans to turn all the ninjas into cyborgs. He fought off Sektor and escaped. His freedom would be short-lived as the Lin Kuei would track him down and force him to go under the transformation.

    Liu Kang was attacked by Kitana, but rather effortlessly fought her off. Taking a shine to her, he promised not to tell anyone about her failure. As far as he was concerned, she never tracked him down to begin with.

    Meanwhile, Kung Lao, the descendant of the former Mortal Kombat champion, tried to sneak into the tournament under the guise of a guard. He believed that he was the one meant to save the world.

    Regardless, Liu Kang rose through the ranks and defeated both Goro and Shang Tsung. Outworld’s forces were sent packing and the good guys won.

    THE OUTWORLD TOURNAMENT (Mortal Kombat II)

    Shao Kahn was pretty pissed at Shang Tsung for failing him on such a monumental level, but Shang had an ace up his sleeve. He suggested that maybe they just invade Earthrealm, cause some devastation, and offer them a double-or-nothing deal. They’ll have a mulligan tournament in Outworld. If Outworld wins, it counts as the tenth win in a row. If Earthrealm wins, Outworld won’t do anymore tournaments against them. Pleased with this idea, Kahn made Shang more powerful and gifted him with a more youthful body.

    Baraka led his army into slaughtering much of the Shaolin to rile up Earthrealm's defenders. The heroes accepted the challenge.

    Sub-Zero’s younger brother Kuai Lang took up the Sub-Zero name and, alongside his Lin Kuei BFF Smoke, investigated the death of his brother. On one hand, Smoke got captured by the Lin Kuei and was turned into a robot. On the other hand, Scorpion realized that this new Sub-Zero wasn’t the one he was angry at and chose to become his protector out of honor.

    Jax ran afoul of Ermac (a telekinetic warrior made out of thousands of souls) and got his arms blown off. They were later replaced with cybernetic attachments.

    Kitana discovered the truth about her identity and that her “sister” Mileena was some kind of grotesque hybrid clone created by Shang Tsung. She ended up siding with the heroes.

    Once again, Liu Kang won the tournament for Earthrealm by defeating Shang Tsung, Kintaro, and Shao Kahn. He ended it by punching a hole through Shao Kahn’s chest.

    THE OUTWORLD INVASION (Mortal Kombat 3, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, Mortal Kombat Trilogy)

    Through some kind of magic loophole, Quan Chi was able to help Shao Kahn invade Earthrealm by resurrecting Queen Sindel on Earthrealm and brainwashing her for good measure. Kahn’s forces began rampaging through Earthrealm with Raiden finding a select collection of heroes to help him. This included police officer Kurtis Stryker and his partner Kabal. Kabal was a former Black Dragon member who went straight. During the chaos, Kintaro mutilated Kabal and he just barely survived, able to live on thanks to some respirators.

    Another victim of the invasion was Johnny Cage, murdered by the centaur Motaro. The unpredictable magic of the realms merging allowed Johnny to return to life, though only temporarily.

    Sub-Zero discarded his ninja appearance out of his disgust with the Lin Kuei’s practices. While helping the other heroes, he was pursued by robotic versions of Sektor, Cyrax, and Smoke. Sub-Zero was able to get through to Smoke, who helped him fight off the other cyborgs.

    Speaking of getting through to their friends, Kitana was able to bring Sindel back to her senses and onto her side. Similarly, Kitana’s longtime friend and fellow assassin Jade was tasked with tracking down and killing Kitana alongside Reptile, but chose to defend her instead.

    Although Kung Lao was able to cut Baraka in half (Baraka survived by being stapled together somehow), he was seemingly killed by Shao Kahn. This gave Liu Kang the extra edge needed to defeat Kahn and send him back where he came from. Earthrealm was saved once again.

    THE NETHERREALM INVASION (Mortal Kombat 4, Mortal Kombat Gold)

    Thanks to the help of the Edenian traitor Tanya, Shinnok was able to finagle his way out of the Netherrealm. He attacked the Heavens and Earthrealm with Quan Chi, Tanya, Reiko, Reptile, Baraka, Noob Saibot, Mileena, and Scorpion in his thrall. Unbeknownst to him, Quan Chi secretly held onto the real version of Shinnok’s powerful amulet while Shinnok held a fake. Quan Chi was really the one in control.

    Ultimately, Shinnok’s plan involved the Jinsei, which is like Earthrealm’s life force. Shinnok wanted to poison it with his own evil magic, corrupting the entire planet and making it his domain. Or something.

    Raiden put together a group to stop him, which included his fellow god Fujin, Liu Kang, a resurrected Johnny Cage, Sonya Blade, Jax, Kung Lao (who had faked his death for reasons), Kitana, and White Lotus member Kai. Because of Shinnok’s threat, even Cyrax, Goro, and Black Dragon member Jarek joined their cause out of necessity.

    Once again, Liu Kang came out the winner and Shinnok was sent back to the Netherrealm. Kitana offered him a spot at her side as ruler of Edenia, but he decided against it. His place was Earthrealm. On the upside, Kitana became close allies with Goro and Kung Lao appeared before him to end their family beef.

    Also, the adventure helped Cyrax get back in touch with his humanity. Jax and Sonya helped him break out of his programming and used some machinery to put his mind back to its original form. He was still a cyborg, but he had the mind of the man he used to be.

    Quan Chi convinced Scorpion that the younger Sub-Zero was bad news and was behind the death of his family. Scorpion beat down Sub-Zero. With everything wrapped up, Quan Chi appeared and admitted the truth. Now Sub-Zero was his for the killing and Scorpion was no longer of use. He began a spell to banish Scorpion to the Netherrealm, but at the last moment, Scorpion lunged over and grabbed Quan Chi. If he was going to Hell, Quan Chi was going with him.

    THE DEADLY ALLIANCE (Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Mortal Kombat: Tournament Edition)

    Quan Chi finally escaped his endless beatings via the help of two oni creatures named Moloch and Drahmin. During his escape, he found out about Onaga’s unbeatable, mummified army and hatched a plan. He went off to Outworld and sought out fellow sorcerer Shang Tsung. Together, they could find worthy warriors, steal their souls, shove the souls into the mummified army, and then conquer all of reality. But first, they would need to take out the two biggest threats.

    First, they visited Shao Kahn and went after him as one. The numbers game was too much and Kahn was killed. Afterwards, they went to Earthrealm to team up on Liu Kang. Shang Tsung snapped his neck and killed him on the spot.

    Elsewhere, in a war between Edenian and Outworld forces, Goro was slain in battle. Secretly, he was stolen away and revived by Shao Kahn. It turns out that the guy Shang and Quan took out was a double. Kahn and Goro decided to sit on the sidelines and see how it played out.

    Sub-Zero wanted to set things right and take over the Lin Kuei. He defeated Sektor and took over as the new Grandmaster. As leader, he obtained an enchanted medallion that increased his power. He restarted the clan, which included taking a protégé in Frost, an egotistical young woman with similar ice powers.

    Scorpion went after Quan Chi on his own. He broke into his stronghold, only to be attacked by Moloch and Drahmin. They overwhelmed him and threw his body into Shang Tsung’s Soulnado (a tornado of souls that reaches into the Heavens). Scorpion’s body was torn apart and he vanished, presumably destroyed for good.

    Cyrax was sent on a mission to Outworld, but was stranded. Nitara, a vampire lady, was able to trick both Cyrax and Reptile into helping her liberate her realm from being merged with Outworld. In the end, this subplot caused Reptile to find his way into an incubation chamber where a cult worshipped a big dragon egg. It hatched and a beam of energy blasted out of it and into Reptile, mutating him and making him a host to the reborn Onaga.

    Kenshi, a telekinetic, blind swordsman with a serious hate-on for Shang Tsung, was sent by the Special Forces to rescue Cyrax. During his excavation, he came across Ermac and was able to break him away from Shao Kahn’s control, turning them into psychic buddies. Instead of finding Cyrax, Kenshi was ambushed by Mavado, a high-ranking member of the Red Dragon. Coincidentally, Mavado was sporting a couple hook swords that he got from Kabal after tracking him down and beating him within an inch of his life.

    But back to the main plot....

    Raiden put together a team to fight the sorcerers, save the world, and get revenge for Liu Kang’s death: Kung Lao, Johnny Cage, Sonya, Jax, Kitana, Sub-Zero, and Frost. Sub-Zero and Frost got separated from all of this. Frost stole Sub-Zero’s medallion for herself, couldn’t control it, and became frozen in a block of ice. Whoops. On his own, Sub-Zero ended up stumbling upon a half-dead Kenshi and aided him.

    As for the other heroes? Well, they died. Sucks to be them.

    THE RISE OF THE DRAGON KING (Mortal Kombat: Deception, Mortal Kombat: Unchained)

    Even though it was six-on-two, Shang Tsung and Quan Chi wiped the floor with the heroes and killed all five mortals, leaving only Raiden. They kicked his ass and once he was down for the count, they turned on each other. Quan Chi won the battle of the sorcerers, only for Onaga to show up to reclaim his kingdom. Raiden, Shang, and Quan put their differences aside and triple-teamed Onaga to little-to-no effect. Raiden went desperate and blew himself up. It took out all three of them and the mummified army, but Onaga still stood tall. Onaga had the Kamidogu relics and he resurrected the slain heroes to be his brainwashed goons. He intended to merge everything together and bring order like nobody had ever seen before.

    Raiden respawned elsewhere, but something went wrong and he came back red-eyed and vicious. He still wanted to protect Earthrealm, but now at any cost, no matter how merciless. He started by resurrecting Liu Kang’s soulless corpse into a shambling zombie. Meanwhile, Liu Kang’s actual soul got in contact with Ermac and convinced him to help save his mind-controlled buddies.

    Speaking of resurrection, the Elder Gods saved Scorpion from the Soulnado and gave him a new mission: save reality from Onaga as the Champion of the Elder Gods and in return they would resurrect his clan.

    Seido and Chaosrealm also got involved in the plot. Most importantly, Hotaru of Seido joined forces with Onaga due to Onaga’s vision of bringing a dark sense of order to all the realms. Hotaru was sent to eliminate Sub-Zero and Kenshi, which he failed to do. From Chaosrealm, the Cleric of Chaos Havik found a near-dead Kabal and nursed him back to health. He convinced Kabal to go back to his evil ways and rebuild the Black Dragon. Kabal did so, finding new members in Kobra and Kira.

    Ermac and the ghost of Liu Kang were able to bring the brainwashed heroes back to their senses. As for Onaga, his downfall didn’t come from the hands of Scorpion, but a guilt-ridden Shujinko. The gullible warrior used his power to absorb fighting abilities and summoned the skills of all the fighters involved in the story. He shattered every Kamidogu piece and then killed the hell out of Onaga.

    Afterwards, the fire elemental Blaze appeared before Kitana and told her that she needed to gather every hero together to take on the banded forces of evil. Kitana collapsed in frustration over how she’ll never see an end to war, but Blaze promised that if her side won, it could very well bring everlasting peace.

    THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON (Mortal Kombat: Armageddon)

    One way or another, every hero and villain of the series had returned. The villains, from Onaga to Shao Kahn to the Deadly Alliance, agreed on a temporary team-up to wipe out the do-gooders of the realms. Scorpion rejoined their ranks after the Elder Gods paid him back by resurrecting the Shirai Ryu as mindless ghouls.

    Man, the Elder Gods are dicks.

    Taven finally awoke from his slumber, only to discover that his intended contest against Daegon had gone completely wrong and that Daegon was a megalomaniac mass-murderer. He traveled around to various locations, getting into fights with various characters until getting a front row seat in the Battle of Armageddon.

    As the forces of good and evil fought it out in a desert wasteland, a massive pyramid appeared before them with Blaze standing on top. Everyone was entranced with his energies and then started fighting each other as they raced to the top. It was a massive battle royal between every existing Mortal Kombat character and it was Taven’s to win. After all, he was the hero of the story.

    But Taven failed. Instead, the last man standing was Shao Kahn. After the smoke cleared, bodies littered the scene and Kahn stood over Blaze’s slain body, more powerful than ever. Before him was Raiden, defeated and moments from death. As Kahn laughed about how worthless and cowardly the Elder Gods were, Raiden reached for a special amulet he always carried with him. It was shattered into pieces, but he held it together in his hands, spoke an enchantment, and yelled out, “HE MUST WIN!”

    THE WOULD-BE FOLLOW-UP (as shown in Mortal Kombat X)

    Victorious and overflowing with power, Shao Kahn went insane from having nothing left to conquer. He ended up destroying Earthrealm completely. Unbeknownst to him, Kitana survived the Battle of Armageddon, recovered, and worked on a counterattack. She created an alliance between all the surviving realms and together they were able to defeat Kahn. Kitana chopped him in half and killed him for good.

    Kitana then became the Queen of Edenia and brought everlasting peace, just like Blaze told her.

    But this outcome was undone by Raiden’s meddling with the timestream...

    SHANG TSUNG’S ISLAND TOURNAMENT REDUX (Mortal Kombat 9)

    Back to the events of Mortal Kombat 1, the younger Raiden suddenly became overwhelmed with random visions of the future and the directions that, “HE MUST WIN!” He saw various events, such as his acts as a corrupted god, Sub-Zero being reborn as Noob Saibot, Motaro killing Johnny Cage, Smoke being turned into a cyborg, etc.

    He figured that, “HE MUST WIN!” meant Liu Kang beating Shang Tsung. Therefore, the events mostly transpired exactly as before.

    Raiden did try to convince Scorpion not to kill Sub-Zero, as that would bring forth an even greater evil. If Scorpion showed mercy, Raiden suggested that he could maybe convince the Elder Gods to bring back to the Shirai Ryu (um...baaaad idea, Raiden), and Scorpion agreed to his terms. Yet in the end, Quan Chi egged him on too much and Scorpion murdered Sub-Zero regardless. Scorpion lost his only hope of reconnecting with his past.

    Liu Kang defeated Shang Tsung, but Raiden was disturbed to see that his own amulet was beginning to crack on its own. It seems that he didn’t prevent the terrible future after all.

    THE OUTWORLD TOURNAMENT REDUX (Mortal Kombat 9)

    Shao Kahn’s tournament started to show more differences this second go-through. First, Raiden prevented the Lin Kuei from capturing Smoke. That proceeded to bite him in the ass, as they instead got their hands on the younger Sub-Zero. In this scenario, the Lin Kuei offered their services to Shao Kahn rather than see him as an enemy.

    Raiden figured that perhaps, “HE MUST WIN!” meant Kung Lao, who was just as skilled as Liu Kang. The suggestion rubbed Liu the wrong way, but he didn’t question it. Kung Lao took down Shang Tsung, Quan Chi, and Kintaro, but then Shao Kahn cheaply attacked him from behind and snapped his neck.

    Furious over his friend’s death, Liu Kang fought Kahn and, as it was before, took him down with a fist impaling his chest. Even then, Raiden’s amulet continued to crack. This wasn’t the right way either.

    THE OUTWORLD INVASION REDUX (Mortal Kombat 9)

    As Kahn’s forces invaded Earthrealm, Raiden intervened before Johnny Cage could die and killed Motaro. Kabal fought Cyber Sub-Zero and defeated him. The Earthrealm heroes removed Sub-Zero’s programming, bringing back his free will. He was haunted by all the innocent lives he took and agreed to their plan to act as a spy against Kahn.

    Quan Chi opened up a Soulnado in a city cemetery to enhance Shao Kahn’s power. Cyber Sub-Zero fought his brother Noob Saibot while Nightwolf defeated Quan Chi. Noob’s body was thrown into the Soulnado, destroying Noob and causing the Soulnado to dissipate. Raiden was pleased, but upon seeing that his amulet was still cracking, he second-guessed what the next action should be. Liu Kang continued to lose his patience.

    He and Liu Kang went off to talk to the Elder Gods, who didn’t do jack shit other than say that technically, Kahn hadn’t done anything wrong...yet. While that was going on, the Earthrealm warriors fought off the Lin Kuei. That was easy enough, but prior to the attack, Kahn decided to kill Shang Tsung and use his energies to enhance Sindel. Singlehandedly, this stronger version of Sindel killed Jade, Stryker, Sub-Zero, Kabal, Jax, Smoke, and Kitana. Nightwolf sacrificed himself to finally stop her. Raiden and Liu returned to find Kitana dying. Liu had finally had enough of Raiden’s dumbass decisions and called him out on it.

    Desperate, Raiden went to the Netherrealm to suggest a deal with Quan Chi. Quan Chi had no need as he already had a deal going with Shao Kahn: in exchange for his services, he got to keep the souls of the warriors who fell during the war between Earthrealm and Outworld. He then had the undead versions of everyone from Sindel to Kung Lao attack Raiden. Raiden left empty-handed, but Quan Chi did make sure to give him some inspiration to figure out how to stop Kahn.

    “HE MUST WIN!” meant Shao Kahn. If Liu Kang fought him, Kahn would be warded off, but he’d survive to fight another day and eventually kill them all. If Kahn simply merged the realms like the egomaniac he was, the Elder Gods would finally have reason to act on it. Liu thought the plan was nonsense and went after Kahn anyway. Raiden got in Liu's way and accidentally killed him. Begging for forgiveness, Raiden was horrified when Liu cursed his name before dying from the wounds.

    Kahn merged the realms and became stronger. The Elder Gods powered up Raiden and helped him defeat Kahn. They then tore his soul to pieces. Shao Kahn was dead. Finally. In response, Raiden’s amulet fixed itself.

    It came at a terrible cost. Of the good guys, only Raiden, Johnny, and Sonya survived. As they left, Quan Chi appeared to admire Kahn’s destroyed helmet. Everything was going according to plan. Shinnok would escape the Netherrealm soon and there would be barely anyone to oppose them this time.

    THE NETHERREALM INVASION REDUX (Mortal Kombat X)

    The odds were worse than the original timeline’s war against Shinnok. Not only were the good guys reduced to just Raiden, Fujin, Johnny, Sonya, and Kenshi, but the bad guys had a bunch of resurrected and corrupted heroes on their side. Despite all that, Johnny Cage still defeated Shinnok. It turned out that Johnny was part of a special bloodline of forgotten warriors bred by the gods to be awesome fighters. When Sonya was in peril, Johnny’s genetic powers kicked in and he was able to overpower Shinnok and imprison him into his own magical amulet.

    Quan Chi mortally wounded Johnny and tried to recreate him as one of his revenant soldiers. Raiden used his own magic to combat it and not only did it save Johnny’s life, but it returned all the other revenant warriors in the room to regular human form. This included Jax, Scorpion, and Sub-Zero (Kuai Lang, as a human being). Raiden finally had a way of saving their fallen friends from damnation. Unfortunately, Quan Chi escaped, so nuts to that.

    After the war, Johnny and Sonya got married and had a daughter. The union was short-lived and they got divorced, mainly due to Sonya’s Special Forces duties. Jax was too haunted by his memories as a demon soldier and settled down with a civilian. They also had a daughter. Sub-Zero killed Sektor and rebuilt the Lin Kuei from the ground up.

    Scorpion didn’t know what to do with himself, but Kenshi reached out to him and helped him reconnect with his humanity. A man once again, Scorpion decided to rebuild the Shirai Ryu, recruiting those who also lost loved ones.

    Raiden hid Shinnok’s amulet away from reality by use of the Kamidogu pieces, now in the form of daggers. He gave them to different people to protect against evil.

    Elsewhere, with Shao Kahn gone, his daughter-of-sorts Mileena took the throne in Outworld. Kotal (Buluc), who had worked as Shao Kahn’s underling over the years, convinced others to follow him and forced Mileena into hiding through a sudden uprising. Baraka was one of the victims of this little episode, killed by D’Vorah, a creepy bug lady. Now named Kotal Kahn, the new emperor’s inner circle included D’Vorah, the mercenary Erron Black, Ermac, Reptile, and the bloodthirsty savage duo of Ferra and Torr.

    THE REIKO ACCORDS (Mortal Kombat Xcomic series)

    Kenshi was undercover as a member of the Red Dragon, but his cover was blown. The Red Dragon knew more about him than he did, including how he had an illegitimate son with an old flame of his name Suchin. Kenshi was too late to save Suchin, but was able to protect their son Takeda. Kenshi handed Takeda to Scorpion to protect and raise while Kenshi went off to destroy the Red Dragon himself.

    Havik orchestrated a plot that cursed the Kamidogu daggers and possessed certain warriors. Using Reiko and others as pawns, Havik worked to summon Shinnok’s amulet and use it for himself as a way to spread chaos through the realms. His machinations caused the deaths of Mavado, Kintaro, Reiko, Goro’s father, Kotal Kahn’s father, and the entire Shirai Ryu (barring Scorpion and Takeda).

    While Havik’s threat was great enough that even Kotal Kahn and Mileena decided to work together against him, he was done in by Takeda and Scorpion. Scorpion decapitated Havik – who remained alive – teleported into the Netherrealm, and handed the head over to Moloch and Drahmin for the sake of torture.

    After the adventure, Kotal Kahn and Sonya agreed on a pact known as the Reiko Accords that made them uneasy allies.

    THE NEW GENERATION (Mortal Kombat X)

    20 years had passed since the Netherrealm War. During that time, Sub-Zero made amends with Scorpion and proved to him that their entire rivalry was based on the manipulations of Quan Chi. To atone, Scorpion dedicated himself to making Quan Chi suffer.

    Johnny Cage put together a task force of youngsters to train so that they could take over for the old guard. This included Takeda, Johnny and Sonya’s daughter Cassie Cage, Jax’s daughter Jacqui Briggs, and Kung Lao’s cousin Kung Jin. At some point, Kano had gotten his hands on Shinnok’s amulet and sold it to Mileena to help her regain her spot as empress of Outworld.

    Cassie’s team went to Outworld to get aid from Kotal Kahn. Kotal got the wrong idea and tried to have them killed, but cooler heads prevailed and the two parties worked together to apprehend Mileena. D’Vorah executed her. Afterwards, Kotal Kahn refused to return Shinnok’s amulet as Raiden had failed to keep it safe twice over. Little did Kotal realize that D’Vorah had been working for Quan Chi and Shinnok all along and this was part of her plan.

    Thanks to Jax coming back from retirement, the Special Forces were able to apprehend Quan Chi. Scorpion then appeared and forced everyone to watch him beat and torture the sorcerer, not caring about the fate of others. D’Vorah appeared and handed Quan Chi the amulet. His final words were a spell that would resurrect Shinnok...just before Scorpion chopped Quan Chi’s head off. Not only was Shinnok back, but the fallen heroes could never be turned human again. Only then did Scorpion realize his folly.

    Shinnok took over the Jinsei Chamber and poisoned the energies with his evil, all while keeping Johnny Cage for the sake of torture. Cassie’s crew, alongside the Lin Kuei, fought through Kotal Kahn’s forces and Shinnok’s revenant warriors. Jacqui even avenged her father by defeating Ermac.

    Cassie faced Shinnok’s true form. Seeing her father in peril caused her powers to kick in and she was able to win just like Johnny did 20 years earlier. To purify the Jinsei, Raiden had himself placed within its energies. Shinnok was defeated, the world was saved, and Johnny and Sonya reconnected.

    But it wasn’t all a happy ending. Raiden’s sacrifice caused him to become corrupted. He became like his darker self from the original timeline, ready to wipe out anything he considered a possible threat to Earthrealm. To show he meant business, he appeared in the Netherrealm and warned the new rulers – the revenant versions of Liu Kang and Kitana – by throwing the living and suffering head of Shinnok at their feet.

    THE POSSIBLE FUTURE (Mortal Kombat X)

    Several of the endings of Mortal Kombat X appear to hint at where the series goes from here. These aren’t 100% confirmed, but appear to be the direction so far.

    As mentioned, Liu Kang took over the Netherrealm with Kitana at his side. Kitana started to see visions of what reality would’ve been like had Raiden not gone back in time after the Battle of Armageddon. This only caused her hatred for Raiden to grow. As for Kung Lao, his cousin Kung Jin sought him out and helped him regain himself. Still a revenant, Kung Lao had at least reclaimed his humanity and dedicated himself to fighting evil.

    Johnny Cage was prepared to retire, but a journey to Shang Tsung’s old island led him to discover the mystical secrets to living for thousands of years. Jax took over as the commander of the next generation Secret Forces team temporarily, but was mortally wounded when protecting his daughter and her friends from Erron Black. Kano found his never-before-mentioned son and brutally trained him to one day take his place.

    Kenshi and Takeda’s war against the Red Dragon would cause them to team up with Taven. Together, they found Daegon and made him pay for his crimes.

    The Elder Gods, not happy with Raiden’s new attitude, resurrected Quan Chi. They removed his free will and made him their agent dedicated to killing Raiden. Similarly, Shang Tsung would also make his return, feeding on Ermac’s multiple souls to bring himself back to full strength.

    Feeling guilty for his actions in almost destroying the world, Scorpion became loyal to Raiden. Scorpion was powered by the Jinsei and became immortal with his Shirai Ryu serving Raiden’s will. This included invading and conquering Outworld. Desperate, Kotal Kahn went the classic route to protect his realm.

    As agreed upon by the Elder Gods, if Raiden wants to truly conquer Outworld, he’ll have to do it the old fashioned way: Mortal Kombat.

    Gavin Jasper doesn’t even know how to pump his own gas, yet he knows all this crap. Oh well. Follow him on Twitter.

    Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!


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    Let's take a look back at 13 forgotten fighting games that should make a comeback!

    Fighting Games
    FeatureGavin Jasper
    Aug 3, 2018

    The fighting game genre has never been more popular, with modern takes on many of the big names from yesteryear. We're constantly graced with new installments of Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, King of Fighters, Smash Bros, Killer Instinct, Marvel vs. Capcom, Guilty Gear, and so on.

    Then I get to thinking about the fighting games that haven't been so lucky. The ones that have fallen into the sands of time. When's the last time we got an Art of Fighting game? Aren't we due for a Wu-Tang Shaolin Style sequel about now? Do you think somebody could make a Tattoo Assassins game that isn't garbage just for the challenge of it? There are so many possibilities.

    Here's a list of thirteen fighting games I'd like to see make a modern-day comeback.

    13. FIGHTING MASTERS

    1991 | Almanic | Genesis

    When an idea like Street Fighter II hits it big, you're going to get something like Fighting Masters. Its heart was in the right place and it had some cool ideas (and especially cool soundtrack), but couldn't pull off a lasting impression. It takes place in a galaxy where the sun is about to go nova and a race of hyper-competent aliens stop by to say that they can save only one planet. So...fighting tournament among the best of each planet because these aliens have a strange sense of perspective. That means we get a couple humans and a lot of ridiculous alien designs, including a boxing horse man.

    Too bad the gameplay was undercooked. Rather than feeling very Street Fighter, it came off as more of a series of Double Dragon boss fights. That's unfortunate, as they almost seemed to have something.

    12. TIME KILLERS 

    1993 | Incredible Technologies | Genesis, Arcade

    Time Killerswas one of the earlier fighting games exist thanks to Street Fighter II's success. It went the Mortal Kombat route of playing up the gore factor. While Mortal Kombat only used gore for stylistic reasons and shock value, at least the blood in Time Killers affected gameplay. Not only could you get your arms chopped off mid-fight and continue the battle with a handicap, but decapitations could happen at any time, immediately ending the match.

    The game is like the Pete Best of early fighting games, but maybe it's about time we gave these blade-swinging time-travelers a second chance. After all, Rancid from the year 2024 is a chainsaw-wielding punk with sunglasses, earrings, an X carved into his forehead, and a green Mohawk mullet with ponytail. That's the most overkill design ever and deserves a trophy.

    11. CLAYFIGHTER

    1993 | Visual Concepts | Genesis, SNES

    The ClayFightergames were never very good, but I enjoyed them for the cartoony nonsense. The character designs were pretty great, outside of the cast of ClayFighter 2: Judgment Clay and the racist caricatures in ClayFighter 63 1/3. On paper, the concept of the game has tons of promise. It's a parody of fighting game tropes featuring a man made of taffy, an Elvis impersonator, Santa Claus as a sumo wrestler, a mopey clown, and a pumpkin-headed ghost.

    The series pretty much died when ClayFighter 63 1/3 got delayed into oblivion and finally came out as a crap game that felt unfinished because it totally was. A somewhat more polished version called ClayFighter: Sculptor's Cut came out as a Blockbuster exclusive rental, but that didn't exactly set the world on fire. It was going to be updated for the WiiWare a few years ago, but that fell through.

    Just get some CGI that looks clay-like and we don't have to worry about all that choppy animation that plagued the old games. I'm just saying, I need my Bad Mr. Frosty fix. It's been too long.

    10. MACE: THE DARK AGE 

    1997 | Atari Games & Midway Games | N64, Arcade

    If you're a fighting game fan who owned a Nintendo 64 but not a Playstation, then there's a 95% chance you've played Mace: The Dark Age. Developed by Atari, the fighter played like the Soul Edge games with a Mortal Kombat atmosphere. The story was incredibly similar to Soul Edge in that it was also about medieval warriors fighting over an evil weapon of ultimate power, only it was definitely more metal. Even when you remove the Fatalities (called "Executions" here), you had an executioner, a knight from the bowels of Hell, a zombie crusader, a dwarf riding a steam-powered mech, and an impressive-looking demon boss who was so massive that only his top half appears out of a portal in the ground.

    It also had a giant chicken as a hidden character, which somehow led to it having a hidden character appearance in Gauntlet Legends. Go figure.

    The game never really caught on, which is a shame, since it had a good foundation for a sequel to build on. I'm kind of tired of SoulCalibur feeling like more of the same every time, so maybe it's time we give Mordos Kull another chance.

    9. LAST BLADE 

    1997 | SNK | Neo Geo

    There were only two installments of Last Blade?! Really?! Like, I realize the three games I've already mentioned are sub-par at best (and Time Killers at worst), but Last Blade was so good. After years of doing Samurai Shodown sequels, SNK let loose with a different kind of sword-slashing historical Japanese fighting game that had a more impressive look than Shodownand simply felt grander. It played great, it looked great, and was only held back by some vanilla character designs.

    The character Hibiki got to show up in Capcom vs. SNK 2, but that's not enough. It's been 16 years since the last game. Why aren't we being overwhelmed by Last Blade sequels?

    8. KING OF THE MONSTERS 

    1991 | SNK | Neo Geo, SNES, Genesis

    Okay, SNK, what the hell?! How did something as brilliant as King of the Monsters fall into obscurity so quick?! The game was about giant monsters (blatant copies of Godzilla, King Kong, and Ultraman) fighting through giant cities. That would be cool on its own, only their fighting takes the form of a giant hardcore professional wrestling match where you can use buildings as weapons! The cities have electric borders to box them in, acting like ring ropes. The creatures perform suplexes and bodyslams. You have to actually pin your opponent.

    There have been other giant monster fighters like Primal Rage, the Godzillagames, and War of the Monsters (which is the closest thing we've ever had to a King of the Monsters reboot, even if it's made by a different company), the very concept of giant monsters wrestling is a very deep well to take from. There's a reason why Kaiju Big Battel has lasted so long. Actually, while we're at it, can we get Kaiju Big Battel its own video game? I'd be good with that, too.

    Strangely, SNK did make a sequel to King of the Monsters shortly after, but the game was a side-scrolling beat 'em up instead. It just wasn't the same, man.

    7. STREET FIGHTER: THE MOVIE 

    1995 | Capcom & Incredible Technologies | PS, Saturn, Arcade

    All right, all right, all right. Before you jump down to the comments to flame me, let me explain. Everything involved with Street Fighter: The Movie is laughable, including the fact that they made a mediocre fighting game based on a movie based on a legendary fighting game. But here's the thing. Recently, DC Comics released a series called Batman '66that expands the world of the old Adam West show to not only show new adventures, but show what characters like Killer Croc and Harley Quinn would be like had they appeared on that old show. There's also a webcomic sequel to the terrible Super Mario Bros. movie from twenty years ago that retells Super Mario Bros. 2 in the first movie's setting.

    The Street Fighter: The Movie ports had that going on too, to a lesser extent. Not only did they introduce the live-action Akuma into the story, but they claimed that Gunloc from Saturday Night Slam Masters was secretly undercover as M. Bison's henchman, Blade. Also, he was Guile's brother. That's completely bonkers and I kind of want more. Bring back that goofball universe for another go. I want to see what Gill would be like. How off-base could they make Dudley? Or even Rufus? Holy hell, the possibilities are endless.

    6. ETERNAL CHAMPIONS 

    1993 | Sega Interactive | Genesis

    Eternal Champions is next to Killer Instinct in terms of games that were kind of a huge deal for a short burst after they came out, but then vanished for years, never to be heard from again. Ergo, if Killer Instinct can make a comeback, where's Eternal Champions? The game had a pretty kickass story where the Eternal Champion picked victims from across history who would have been great forces for good had they not been tragically killed. In order to help bring balance to the timeline, one of them would get the right to relive their final moments and change the course of history. How would that be decided? A horrible bloodsport tournament. Naturally.

    The game had a sequel in Challenge from the Dark Side and two completely unplayable spinoffs (Chicago Syndicate starring Larcen Tyler and X-Perts starring Shadow Yamato). They were going to have a final game to bring the story to an end, but Sega decided to axe it because they felt it hindered Virtua Fighter's popularity. God forbid two completely different games exist under the same company.

    5. KIZUNA ENCOUNTER 

    1996 | SNK | Neo Geo, Arcade

    To be fair, the first game in the series is Savage Reign, but that's a pretty forgettable one-on-one fighter that isn't really worth revisiting. It didn't really kick in until the sequel, Kizuna Encounter: Super Tag Battle, SNK's first attempt at a tag team game. In fact, it came out just weeks after Capcom's popular X-Men vs. Street Fighter, one of the many reasons it's fallen into the sands of time. Despite that, it felt different than Capcom's tag fighters. The characters felt bigger and more grounded. It felt more like a 2D version of Tekken Tag in a way. The game was super fun.

    Also neat was that it took place in the same timeline as the Fatal Fury games, only about a hundred or so years into the future (featuring an old man wearing Terry Bogard's discarded hat and Kim Kaphwan's descendant). I love the designs because instead of making everything all futuristic, characters are mostly just either dystopian or extra gaudy. It gives us supervillain King Lion, who has the triple threat of body armor, boxing gloves, and a giant sword. We're supposed to take him seriously. Why not? It's the future! Maybe in the future looking like a cross between Dr. Doom and Strong Bad is considered threatening. The guy showed up again in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum, but nobody played that either.

    4. DARKSTALKERS 

    1994 | Capcom | PS, Arcade

    It's hard to accept that Darkstalkershas fallen to the wayside as much as it has. While it was never going to be as big as Street Fighter, it did feel popular enough to be a staple in Capcom's library. Then again, look at everything that's happened with Mega Man... Anyway, Darkstalkerswas a brilliant fighting game with monsters, and it was cartoony as all get-out. There were follow-ups and while they did change up the gameplay here and there, they were still using the same sprites again and again, making the games look less like sequels and more like upgrades. It didn't help that lead heroine Morrigan showed up in a bunch of crossover fighters (ie. Marvel vs. Capcom and Capcom vs. SNK) and they chose never to update her graphics at all, making her stick out like a sore thumb.

    Capcom's bigwig Yoshinori Ono has wanted a new Darkstalkersgame for forever, but decided that it could only happen if people purchased Darkstalkers Resurrection, the HD re-release of the previous Darkstalkers games. I hated that. But hey, good to see that Capcom was still trying to get as much play out of those 20-year-old sprites as they could.

    We wrote much more about Darkstalkers right here.

    3. POWER STONE

    1999 | Capcom | Dreamcast, Arcade

    Man. Power Stone. What happened? Second to Smash Bros., Power Stone was such a fun party game fighter, based purely on running around the environment and beating your opponent with anything and everything you could get your hands on. This was especially chaotic in the sequel -- it was four players and the stages were increasingly ridiculous and elaborate. While on the surface, the characters mostly played the same outside of speed and strength, the real fun was being the first to grab three Power Stones and go full ham in your unstoppable, overly-cheap, super-powered identity. That's where the real variety came in. Good times.

    While the second game was a nice step up, it got a little too repetitive and could have used more stages and outlandish ways of hurting your enemies. Save up all those ideas for a third installment – maybe even toss in some iconic Capcom characters for flavor – and you could have an instant classic.

    2. FATAL FURY/GAROU: MARK OF THE WOLVES 

    1991 | SNK & Takara | Neo Geo, Genesis, SNES

    1999 | SNK | Neo Geo, Dreamcast, Arcade

    In the early days, Fatal Fury was one of SNK's answers to Street Fighter's popularity and, much like Art of Fighting, it fell into the background once King of Fighters hit the scene. They still made Fatal Fury games, but they never felt big enough to unseat King of Fighters as SNK's flagship fighting series. At first glance, it made sense that they simply stopped making the games.

    EXCEPT. Their last game was Garou: Mark of the Wolves, a practically new fighter that took place ten years later. Only one character (Terry Bogard) returned and his look was completely changed. The animation and play style were updated.

    It was wonderful. You could play as a man named Butt! Jeff Hardy was there for some reason! It's easily one of the best games SNK's ever produced and looked like an amazing first step in this new direction!

    So of course nothing ever happened to follow up on it. Several characters – especially main hero Rock Howard – got to show up in some other games, including a Mark of the Wolves-based trio in King of Fighters XI, but the most we ever got was talk years ago that they were totally in the middle of making the sequel. Unfortunately, there hasn't been word on it since 2008. Lame.

    1. SATURDAY NIGHT SLAM MASTERS 

    1993 | Capcom | SNES, Genesis, Arcade

    A handful of Capcom games are part of the same continuity, which is kind of cool. Sakura from Street Fighter pops up in Rival Schools, while major cast members of Final Fightshow up in Street Fighter Alpha.

    At one point, someone figured, "Hey, we've established that Mike Haggar from Final Fight used to be a wrestler. Why don't we do a wrestling game with him in it?" And so we got Saturday Night Slam Masters.

    The game was a total blast. A game where characters could do over-the-top moves a la Street Fighter, but in the context of a wrestling match with wrestling rules. For instance, King Rasta Mon (a hybrid of Blanka and Bruiser Brody) would grab you, jump straight up about 15 feet while backflipping a dozen times, then throw you straight down to the mat. Much of the cast was really Capcom recreations of classic wrestlers like Big Van Vader, Tinieblas, and The Great Muta.

    They did make a sequel called Ring of Destruction, but they changed the gameplay so that it was more of a Street Fighter clone with pinning. It got rid of one of the most entertaining parts of the game where you could do tag team tornado matches and the whole thing just felt a lot less special.

    I'd love to see Slam Masters brought back in some form. Considering the shared universe, they could even toss in the likes of Zangief, Hugo, Poison, El Fuerte, and just about anyone else who would fit in a wrestling ring.

    What other fighters would you like to see dug up and brought back? Sound off in the comments.

    Gavin Jasper wants to remind you that the end credits theme to the Darkstalkers animated series is top notch. Follow him on Twitter!


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    BioWare hints at "secret stuff" related to Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and more.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 3, 2018

    BioWare knows you want more entries in some of their classic RPG franchises, and they promise they are working on them alongside the development of Anthem

    "We hear loud and clear the interest in BioWare doing more Dragon Age and Mass Effect," said BioWare GM Casey Hudson as part of the company's mid-summer update. "...rest assured that we have some teams hidden away working on some secret stuff that I think you'll really like - we're just not ready to talk about any of it for a little while."

    In so many words, that statement seems to address the growing speculation that Anthem is not a "BioWare game" and rather a directive from EA (whom we assume are twirling their brandy in front of a fireplace and bearskin rug as we speak). Despite comments from current and former BioWare employees who insist that Anthem is very much a game the studio is interested in making right now, there is no shortage of BioWare fans who would rather see a more traditional RPGs from the studio. 

    Fortunately, it does sound like BioWare is working on those projects. While we're a little surprised to hear Mass Effect cited with as one of the studio's projects. After all, the mess surrounding the development and release of Andromeda would usually be enough to dissuade any studio from continuing one of their franchises. 

    Unfortunately, Hudson did not share any further details regarding what, exactly, BioWare has planned for some of their famous franchises. We'd be especially fascinated to learn what Dragon Age game the studio is working on considering that some of the key members of that franchise have left the company. We imagine it will be a straight continuation of the ideas of the previous Dragon Age games, but we wouldn't rule out some kind of reboot/reimagining of the series. 

    In that same report, Hudson stated that BioWare is working hard to ensure that Anthem features a substantial narrative and a world that is shaped by the ongoing story as well as the actions of the players. He even alluded to player choices having direct consequences. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    Resident Evil 2 isn't the only game Cpacom wants to revisit.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 3, 2018

    It seems that the amazing Resident Evil 2 remake that captured everyone's attention at E3 2018 may just be the start of more Capcom remakes to come. 

    During an investor's call, a Capcom representative stated that the company anticipates that Resident Evil 2 Remake will break the million sales mark. They believe that it will be one of their biggest releases of the current fiscal year as well as the game that will open the door for future remakes of classic Capcom games. 

    "Further, regarding remakes and re-releases of titles in our back catalog, we expect to explore these further with a variety of properties as a part of our strategy to utilize our library of IP," reads a transcript from the call. Nobody from Capcom elaborated on which titles the company may consider remaking or remastering. 

    This isn't the first time that Capcom has hinted that they are interested in remaking/remastering games in their back catalog. Way back in 2016 (how innocent we were...) the studio stated that Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite was just one of the former properties that they were interested in re-visiting in some fashion. Since then, the studio has confirmed projects such as Resident Evil 2 Remake, Mega Man 11, and Devil May Cry 5

    Of course, there's no shortage of Capcom games that the studio could remake/remaster/reboot if they choose to do so. We'd love to see remakes/remasters of Dino Crisis, Viewtiful Joe, Onimusha, Strider, Phoenix Wright, and Rival Schools, but there has been no indication how deep Capcom is willing to dig into their library in order to find properties worth reviving. 

    What we can tell you is that such remakes may possibly be afforded the budget and attention of modern releases. During that same call, Capcom noted that they budgeted the Resident Evil 2 Remake as if it was "a Resident Eviltitle targeting the global market."

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    Destiny 2 is apparently just "Shaders: The Game."

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 3, 2018

    Recently, Bungie released a series of stats that reveal exactly how players have been spending their time in Destiny 2 since the game launched last year. Apparently, quite a few of them have been obsessing over which shader to use for their characters. 

    In case you don't know, a shader in Destiny 2 is an item that lets you re-color your armor and weapons. They are purely cosmetic items that serve almost no practical purpose. However, they became the star of one of Destiny's biggest controversies when Bungie revealed that shaders in Destiny 2 were going to function as one-time only use items that only affected a single piece of armor or a weapon. This was a big change from the original Destiny which let players use a shader for their entire character and keep it after they were done. 

    While many fans revolted against the change, that apparently hasn't stopped Destiny 2 players from spending a lot of time picking the perfect shaders for their characters. So far, over 807,635,124 shaders have been deleted in Destiny 2. Essentially, that total represents the number of times that Destiny 2 players have decided to change the look of their character (not counting initial applications that were not changed). 

    That's a huge number that becomes all the more impressive when you read this Reddit breakdown of what that figure actually means. According to Reddit user SlickeryV, players have spent just over 25 years deleting shaders within Destiny 2. That number assumes that the average deletion takes only one second per shader. 

    That number probably helps explain why Bungie is finally implementing an option in Destiny 2 that will let players mass delete their shaders rather than have to individually delete them each time they want to give their characters a makeover. It also shows just how easy it is to lose time in video games obsessing over cosmetics. 

    Other notable Destiny 2 stats include the apparent incredible popularity of the game's Hunter class, the fact that Leviathan appears to have been the most dangerous raid boss so far, and a shocking stat that reveals only 8,750 players have access to Redrix's Claymore, the apparent rarest weapon in the game. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    Apparently, EA didn't mean to censor a Madden NFL 19 reference to the controversial quarterback.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 3, 2018

    Colin Kaepernick's name was censored in Madden NFL 19, and EA is insisting it was an honest mistake. 

    This controversy started when Twitter user Mr. Changing Lives noticed that the song Big Bank by YG featured a strange piece of censorship. Whereas the original version of the song featured the lyrics "You boys all cap, I'm more Colin Kaepernick," the initial Madden 19 version of the song simply said, "You boys all cap, I'm more." As you can see, the name of former NFL player Colin Kaepernick was removed from the lyrics. 

    Why is that significant? Well, Colin Kaepernick became the source of a great debate in 2016 when he started kneeling during the national anthem at NFL games in protest of police violence and racial issues in the United States. Since then, Kaepernick opted to leave the San Francisco 49ers and has not yet been signed by another NFL team. Some, including Kaepernick, believe that the reason that he has seemingly been unofficially kicked out of the NFL is that he elected to protest. 

    Since the omission was first spotted, EA has reached out to ESPN to let everyone know that the bleeping of Kaepernick's name was a mistake related to confusion over player's rights agreements. They state that they intend to replace the current version of the song with the original version of the track starting on August 6th. 

    There are reasons to believe that this whole thing was indeed an honest mistake. First off, Kaepernick has appeared in previous Maddengames since the controversy surrounding him began. He was even referenced in-game by the announcers in Madden NFL 17. As such, it's clear that the Madden team hasn't been trying to scrub Kaepernick from their games right from the start. 

    Still, with increased political pressure on the NFL related to the growing trend of players protesting the national anthem, you do have to wonder if there was perhaps someone somewhere who hoped to quietly squash the reference without anyone noticing. 


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    The great NES debate has, hopefully, been resolved by Nintendo.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 3, 2018

    Have you ever wondered what the proper way to pronounce NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) is? If not, we bet you're thinking about it now. Is it "N-E-S", do you just roll the letters into the cleanly pronounced "NES" (said like "Ness), or do you go with the increasingly popular pronunciation of "Nez?" Well, Nintendo has finally stepped in to end the debate once and for all. 

    In the recently released Nintendo 3DS game Wario Ware Gold, you'll find a museum section that showcases various pieces of Nintendo history. As some Twitter users, including Kyle McLain, have pointed out, the Japanese version of the game features a slide that shows the NES. The description underneath the picture notes that the correct way to pronounce the name of the console is "Ness."

    The good folks at Eurogamer asked one of their resident Japanese speakers to translate the text of the game to ensure the accuracy of the preferred pronunciation. They confirmed that the exact wording of the console references that the preferred way to pronounce NES is to say it just like the name "Ness."

    That actually makes a lot of sense. The "Nez" pronunciation is more of a user-generated evolution of the original name/pronunciation more than it is a piece of grammar discerned from any official Nintendo materials. Speaking of official materials, many people have long speculated that Nintendo clued the world into the correct pronunciation of the NES when Earthboundfeatured a protagonist named Ness. 

    Not everyone is accepting Nintendo's statements as the final word on the subject, though. Fans are already pointing out the fact that the creator of the GIF image formate pronounces it as "Jiff" (like a charlatan) as proof that not every creator should be the definitive source of pronunciation information. 

    As such, we bet this debate will wage on regardless of this revelation. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    The first season of The Witcher might be shorter than anticipated, but the show's writer claims that's not a bad thing.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 3, 2018

    Netflix has begun production of a series based on author Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher books. The upcoming Netflix series is not directly related to the CD Projekt Red video game franchise aside from the similarities that the two will naturally share. 

    That fact adds a slightly humorous twist to this announcement when you consider that Sapkowski recently spoke out against the artistic merit of the Witcher game saga by calling into question the medium's ability to properly tell such a grand story. Before that, Sapkowski also admitted that he chose not to take a percentage for the adaptation rights, which he later came to regret when the series went on to gross over a billion dollars. 

    Apparently, the author has worked out a much better deal for the Netflix series, as he spoke quite fondly about the upcoming adaptation in the official press release

    "I'm thrilled that Netflix will be doing an adaptation of my stories," said Sapkowski. "...staying true to the source material and themes that I have spent over 30 years writing. I'm excited about our efforts together as well as the team assembled to shepherd these characters to life."

    While The Witcher games do take some liberties with the source material, this series should feature quite a few familiar faces and storylines. We should know much more once the cast is in place.

    Here's everything we know about The Witcher TV series thus far:

    The Witcher Release Date

    The WitcherTV series could hit the air as early as 2020, according to showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich:

    The Witcher Story

    Here's the synopsis from Netflix:

    "The witcher, Geralt, a mutated monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world where people often prove more wicked than beasts."

    The Witcher Episodes

    Netflix's adaptation of The Witcher will reportedly start with an eight-episode first season. Lauren S. Hissrich, a writer working on the adaptation, confirmed the eight-episode first season on Twitter while addressing concerns that eight episodes aren't enough. Hissrich states that the smaller season allows the team to produce "tight, action-packed" episodes that are free of lagging story moments. She also states that the decision is not representative of any lack of faith in the series or any other financial concerns. 

    The episodes will each be about an hour long - though Hissrich claims there might be a little variation in each episode's runtime - and that the show is being filmed in Eastern Europe. However, it seems that most of the episodes haven't been formally written as of yet and exist only as ideas. 

    The Witcher Crew

    To run the series, Netflix has brought on Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, writer and executive producer for other successful Netflix properties Daredevil and The Defenders. Hissrich joins the previously announced producing team of Sean Daniel (The Mummy) and Jason Brown (The Expanse).

    Tomek Baginski, the man who directed the cinematics for the Witcher games, will also be involved with the project.


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    It's a namesake that transcends time. A series of noble, if offbeat, warriors who have taken on Darth Vader, Pac-Man, and Anna Kournikova.

    FeatureGavin Jasper
    Aug 4, 2018

    When a video game company makes enough fighting games, usually we start seeing some connections. Capcom’s Street Fighter introduces a Japanese schoolgirl and she later shows up when Capcom makes a fighting game about Japanese high schools. SNK’s Art of Fighting takes place a few decades before Fatal Fury, several centuries after Last Blade, and about a century before Savage Reign. NetherRealm can’t make a game about DC Comics characters without Mortal Kombat dudes showing up. Arc System Works has a big crossover game that just came out of some of their properties mashed together.

    For Bandai-Namco, their staple fighting game series Tekken– the modern civil war within the Mishima bloodline – and SoulCalibur– the ancient war between two mystical swords – are bridged together mainly by one name: Yoshimitsu, the Cyborg Robin Hood.

    Yoshimitsu was at the ground floor, appearing in 1994’s Tekken. Even in a game featuring a robot and a man with a jaguar mask, Yoshimitsu was the token freak. He was to Tekkenwhat Blanka was to Street Fighter, Baraka was to Mortal Kombat, and Gen-An was to Samurai Shodown. It wasn’t just that he wielded a sword in a hand-to-hand combat tournament. It wasn’t just the demon mask he wore. It was his bizarre fighting style that felt like a kabuki actor, a samurai, and a disco dancer joined together and got really drunk.

    While the first Tekkenis Yoshimitsu’s first real showing, we’d later get to see the origins of his legacy in 1998 with the release of SoulCalibur. The sequel to Soul Blade (or Soul Edge, depending on which version you’re playing), the game took place in the late 1500s and revolved around lots of post-medieval warring over a giant, evil sword covered in gross eyeballs called the Soul Edge. With all that sword-fighting going on, why not throw in Yoshimitsu?

    Or, to be more specific, a Yoshimitsu?

    Real-life Japanese leader Oda Nobunaga wanted the mysterious Manji Clan to join his side. Yoshimitsu went and politely declined for the umpteenth time, but upon returning home, he found that Nobunaga’s forces had wiped out the entire clan for the “insult.” Yoshimitsu went after Nobunaga himself, but was overwhelmed by his army and got his arm chopped off in battle. Replacing his arm with a steampunk prosthetic, Yoshimitsu went on a one-man mission to find the most badass sword ever and get his revenge.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Since there was news of an azure knight going around killing everything with a bigass eyeball sword, Yoshimitsu followed the bloodshed. At some point during his adventure, he decided that maybe vengeance wasn’t the best course of action because he didn’t want to become a figurative monster like Nobunaga or a literal monster like Nightmare. Yoshimitsu never did come across the villainous knight, but he got close enough that his own sword became possessed by traces of the Soul Edge’s evil, giving it an otherworldly glow.

    Yoshimitsu decided that he would not allow the katana’s evil to overwhelm him and set out to conquer it. From there, he became a heroic bandit who looked out for the poor and the weak. He made enough of a name for himself that others sought him out to join his side. From there, the Manji Clan was reborn as the Manjitou with Yoshimitsu the First at its helm.

    He would return in SoulCalibur 2, alongside another Soul/Tekkenconnection where Heihachi Mishima would magically travel back in time in the PlayStation 2 version of the game. Fun fact: originally, the PS2 SoulCalibur 2was supposed to have Cloud Strife as the exclusive guest character (going with GameCube’s Link and Xbox’s Spawn), but the deal fell through and they plugged Heihachi in there.

    Yoshimitsu’s rivalry was a natural one, putting his “steal from the rich and give to the poor” personality against the gimp-esque Voldo, who is dedicated to hording treasures for his long-dead master. The fact that they’re both as unorthodox as you can get only helps feed the concept.

    As of SoulCalibur 3, his clan had two main focuses: 1) find treasures and spread their wealth to the poor and 2) find and destroy all remaining shards of the Soul Edge. Kind of like if Lord of the Rings had a bunch of kooky ninjas and more stuff to destroy than a single ring. Unfortunately, that mission led to disaster as one of Yoshimitsu’s top soldiers went insane from a shard of the broken sword and betrayed the rest of the clan. Yoshimitsu’s ending had zero to do with that and instead focused on him stealing more gold.

    His SoulCalibur 4 subplot centered around Tira – essentially Harley Quinn as Gollum with a hula hoop enthusiasm – killing one of Yoshimitsu’s guys. Again, this is in no way reflected in his ending, where he spares the life of the final boss Algol and tells him to get over himself.

    With all these prequel games, it still wasn’t 100% clear if Yoshimitsu was a legacy concept or an immortal with zany fashion sense. SoulCalibur 5 made it apparent that it’s the former as Yoshimitsu found out about the resurrection of regular series villain Cervantes and decided to nip that problem in the bud. Due to age and lack of character importance in comparison, Yoshimitsu got mortally wounded. He survived long enough to find a successor to kill him in battle and take both his sword and name.

    Even then, the ill-fated Yoshimitsu the First was able to chop off his successor’s arm before going down for good.

    Not much became of Yoshimitsu the Second. SoulCalibur 5 lacked endings outside of its main story mode campaign, so Yoshimitsu was pretty much left to the wayside. Then it was made clear that SoulCalibur 6 will be a rewrite of the earlier games, so all we’ll remember Yoshimitsu the Second for is his sweet skull mask within an oni mask look.

    The legacy continued for centuries with there always being a new Yoshimitsu to wield the sword because apparently it’s part of the lore that the sword can’t be used against you if you take up the mantle. Speed up to modern day and we’re back to Tekken 1, where Yoshimitsu entered the King of Iron Fist tournament to mess with greedy, horny-on-main, sumo guy Ganryu and ultimately stole a bunch of his fortune so he could give it out to poor people, such as Marshall Law and his family.

    The game also introduced Kunimitsu, Yoshimitsu’s Manji Clan underling. While Yoshimitsu was about stealing from the villainous Ganryu and giving to the poor, Kunimitsu was all about stealing from the heroic Michelle Chang and giving to himself...er, herself. Namco depicted Kunimitsu as a man in the first game, but every appearance afterwards depicted Kunimitsu as a woman in a fox mask.

    As of Tekken 2, Kunimitsu was excommunicated from the Manji Clan for stealing some of their funds. Her plot was that she wanted to take out Yoshimitsu and wield his sword for herself. Interestingly enough, while they never outright said what happened to her, Kunimitsu has yet to make a single canon appearance since then. She would just show up in Tekken Tag Tournament games and in the background of Street Fighter X Tekken.

    She’s like the Boba Fett of Tekken, basically. Cool mask and look, but was only around for a cup of coffee. Still...somehow popular.

    With Yoshimitsu’s Tekken 2 story, it was explained that around the time of the first game’s story, the Manji Clan tried to steal money from Heihachi Mishima’s vault and not only was it unsuccessful, but Yoshimitsu got his arm lopped off. For the first time in any game, we got robot-armed Yoshimitsu, as kindly mad scientist Dr. Bosconovitch rescued him and turned him into a cyborg. This gave Yoshimitsu helicopter hand abilities, which was essential because the game introduced boxing kangaroos and velociraptors, so he needed to weird up his repertoire to stand out more.

    Dr. Bosconovitch was forced to do some mad science for new top villain Kazuya Mishima until Yoshimitsu paid him back by rescuing him and flying off with his sweet helicopter hand.

    Tekken 3 jumped ahead a generation to play up the new teenaged hero Jin Kazama. Yoshimitsu traded his oni mask and classic attire for something a bit more outrageous. He instead became some kind of cyborg Predator thing, which became his most iconic look. Makes sense, since Tekken 3is the highest-selling entry in the series (and the highest-selling fighting game that isn’t part of the Super Smash Bros. franchise). Plus it got him a guest appearance in Anna Kournikova’s Smash Court Tennis, where he got to use his katana rather than a tennis racket.

    Storywise, Yoshimitsu was out to save the life of Dr. Bosconovitch yet again, though this time he was dying from illness. The idea was that he could possibly come up with a cure based on stealing the blood of Ogre, the game’s final boss and the Aztec God of Fighting. While Ogre got his ass handed to him by Paul Phoenix and Jin Kazama, Yoshimitsu still stole a blood sample. Presumably, they figured out the cure in the end, but when they fed the blood sample to a little mouse for testing, it caused the tiny rodent to go full-on kaiju.

    Yoshimitsu showed up in Tekken Tag Tournament, which brought back Kunimitsu. Their endings were basically the same, showing them doing the cliché rushing sword attack thing where two people dash past each other and one of them falls over after a delay. The winner depends on which character you use.

    Tekken Tag Tournament also led to a comic called Tekken Forever by Dave Chi and Paco Diaz for Image Comics. The whole thing was a mess of a story and the comic got cancelled after a single issue, but it did have enough Yoshimitsu to at least mention. He teamed up with Lei Wulong against Bryan Fury and made enough wisecracks to suggest that he was being depicted as pretty much Deadpool, even down to the fourth-wall breaking.

    Tekken 4 came with another Yoshimitsu design, which happens to be my favorite. The dude dressed as a skeleton dressed as a beetle, complete with wings. The game’s overall plot was that Heihachi Mishima was putting his entire Mishima Zaibatsu up for grabs in the new fighting tournament. In Yoshimitsu’s non-canon ending, Heihachi would still refuse to hand it over, only to find out that the Manji Clan had already succeeded in stealing his money vault. Then Yoshimitsu would peace-out while deflecting bullets with his badass beetle armor.

    While that didn’t happen, he did have a role in Bryan Fury’s ending, which was very much canon. Bryan Fury is an undead cyborg corrupt cop whose appearance and Tekken 4storyline are based on Roy Batty from Blade Runner. Despite being strong enough to throw tanks around, Bryan was on a biological time-limit and wanted to force Dr. Bosconovitch’s rival Dr. Abel into giving him more life. Bryan collapsed after punching the hell out of Abel and went lifeless.

    Yoshimitsu found the body and handed him over to Dr. Bosconovitch, who offered to make Bryan a new, mechanical body. In return, Bosconovitch would study Bryan’s unused cadaver. Bryan silently agreed and the ending made it seem like we’d get a crazy, new version of Bryan in Tekken 5. Instead, Tekken 5copped out by having Bosconovitch put a perpetual energy generator in Bryan’s body for the time being. Deciding that he got what he needed, Bryan went back against his agreement, attacked the doctor, killed a bunch of Manji warriors, and escaped.

    Hence, we got a sweet Yoshimitsu vs. Bryan Fury blood feud going. Their endings were just the two of them killing each other in badass ways. Bryan’s had him being stalked by an invisible Yoshimitsu in the forest, missing entirely with a Gatling gun, and still being able to catch him out of the air with a handgun before finishing him off with a headshot. Yoshimitsu’s took place in the remains of a war-torn city, where he was not only able to evade the bullets, but cut through Bryan and make him explode. Yoshimitsu looked away and remarked, “Retribution.”

    The game also introduced Raven, another new rival of sorts. A ninja himself, Raven and Yoshimitsu scoffed at each other before throwing down. Afterwards, Raven tried to teach Yoshimitsu his cool ninja hand seal gestures, but Yoshimitsu had no idea what he was doing and got constantly berated.

    By Tekken 6, Yoshimitsu was a bit more distracted by his cursed katana acting up. The ending showed that had Yoshimitsu killed the villain Azazel, the final boss’ essence would have merged with the spark of Soul Edge in Yoshimitsu’s blade, both increasing his power to horrific levels and overwhelming him with pure evil. Probably for the better that Jin Kazama took care of the Azazel problem.

    In 2009, we got a live-action Tekkenmovie and...it sure is a thing that exists. In a bastardization of the games’ story, we were granted a bastardization of Yoshimitsu. On the surface, he looked pretty damn good. His armor was probably the best we’d ever see a real-life Yoshimitsu look. Other than that, we got a soldier of Kazuya Mishima who got to use swords against Jin Kazama in a fighting tournament until Heihachi inadvertently distracted him and Jin turned it around.

    Tekken Tag Tournament 2was another non-canon entry that happened to have a huge collection of totally awesome ending cinematics. Unfortunately, three of them were dedicated to Yoshimitsu getting clowned. Raven met with Yoshimitsu in a forest for an off-mission battle and cut him down before returning to his task. Kunimitsu fought him in the same forest and seemingly lost the fight, only to somehow swipe Yoshimitsu’s sword and take off (causing Yoshimitsu to openly admit how much she had improved). Then Bryan’s had Yoshimitsu attempt to ambush him in his own hideout, only to have Bryan sidestep all the invisible swordplay, put Yoshimitsu through a wall, then detonate a bomb he tagged him in.

    At least we got Yoshimitsu’s completely badass ending where he got the better of Bryan. Even with Bryan wielding a giant fuckoff laser cannon, Yoshimitsu was able to both dodge the beam and just rush through it with his sword as a deflector. Finally, he chopped Bryan in half, who once again exploded, only this time after laughing about dying in the coolest way possible.

    Capcom’s Street Fighter X Tekken gave us the novelty of playing as a Capcom-style version of Yoshimitsu, back to his Tekken 3look. The game’s plot revolved around a mysterious box called Pandora that landed in Antarctica with various duos racing and fighting over it. Yoshimitsu noticed his cursed sword being called to it and hired Raven to watch his back. What followed was Raven insisting they be discrete and stealthy while Yoshimitsu joked around, talked like Yoda, and regularly changed his decisions on a whim.

    Their rivals were Vega and Balrog, who Yoshimitsu insisted on facing honorably. Eventually, their ending led to Yoshimitsu being briefly possessed by his sword and attacking Raven. Raven accidentally got stuck inside the Pandora box and Yoshimitsu walked off with the box on his back.

    The sweet thing in this game was how they had various cross-alt costumes. What that means is that characters could dress like certain fighters from the opposing franchise. Like Tekken’s Kuma dressing like Street Fighter’s R. Mika. Yoshimitsu got the best out of this with an M. Bison attire complete with the gold Shadaloo symbol as a mask. That’s an alternate reality I’d want to see more from.

    Speaking of his appearance, Yoshimitsu got his most outrageous one in Tekken 7, where he was a full-on octopus man. Just a bunch of tentacles hanging off his head and back for no reason whatsoever. Unfortunately, due to the very Mishima-based story of the game, the only lipservice most others got was a series of one-fight campaigns where selected characters would face a rival and get an ending cutscene. Why they didn’t just merge that with Arcade Mode, I don’t know.

    Yoshimitsu’s rival was Leo and upon fighting, one of two things would occur. Either Leo would win and make comment of Yoshimitsu’s appearance before running off or Leo would kick Yoshimitsu in the junk before running off.

    To tie-in with Tekken 7’s release, Titan Comics released a four-issue Tekkenminiseries by Cavan Scott and Andie Tong. While it continued the war between Heihachi Mishima, Kazuya Mishima, and Jin Kazama, it at least found a way to include the other series mainstays by having Jin gather together a strike force made up of Nina Williams, Ling Xiaoyu, Panda, Paul Phoenix, and Yoshimitsu. Yoshimitsu didn’t really get much to do other than look weird and insult Phoenix.

    But hey, the final battle had Angel possess Jin’s comrades and set them against the Mishima trio. Angel Squid Yoshimitsu is kind of sweet, right?

    Whatever his form, Yoshimitsu is part of Namco’s DNA. Tekkenand Soulare outliers in the fighting game genre in that its protagonists are rarely good people. The first entries in each series had the “hero” win, only to unleash a reign of terror. But Yoshimitsu? There have been many of him, but they have all held onto the tradition of cracking down on the corrupt and coming to the aid of the weak while looking ridiculous and rad.

    Maybe Nina shouldn’t have been the one Tekkencharacter to get her own game.

    Gavin Jasper thinks “Tears in the Rain” is a great scene and all, but maybe Rutger Hauer should have laughed before exploding at the end of Blade Runner. Follow Gavin on Twitter!3


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    Arc System Works' futuristic fighting game is far from orthodox. Here's a look at its cast, equal parts ridiculous and badass.

    The Lists Gavin Jasper
    Aug 4, 2018

    Guilty Gearis one of the most underrated fighting game series you’ll ever find. Despite its overall quality, both in gameplay and graphics, it will never reach the popularity of the big names. I guess it’s the over-the-top nature of the series. I mean, just look at the name. At least most other fighting games have titles that mean “guys fighting to the death” or“dudes fighting on the street” or “the best fighter there is” or “some Japanese word that sounds pretty cool.”“Guilty Gear” is just nonsense on the surface, and even when you do figure out what it means, “mutant cyborg wants to kill all the other mutant cyborgs because he had a hand in their creation” is a bit of a mouthful.

    That’s not even counting the bizarre sequel names like Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus Rand Guilty Gear Xrd –REVELATOR–.

    Regardless, I absolutely love the collection of characters and the game's ridiculous storyline. The story is, as best as I can describe, the aftermath of X-Men's Age of Apocalypsemixed with the war from Terminator. Years have passed, but through sinister plots and conspiracies, the world keeps creeping towards a second round of endless bloodshed. The major players include everything from a scientist-turned-immortal-bounty-hunter, a righteous king, a guild of assassins, ninja politicians, sky pirates, a medical vigilante, an oversexed witch, a hapless time-traveler, and a soldier practically made of muscle.

    As I’ve done so many times before, I’m going to rank the Guilty Gear cast from worst to best. This is only going to include characters that appear in the one-on-one fighting games, meaning that Guilty Gear 2: Overture is out of the running. Also, despite there being different incarnations, I’m counting all of the Robo-Kys as a single entry.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

    As always, I’m ranking these based on style, storyline, and personal preference.

    Heaven or Hell? Entry #35. Let’s rock.

    35. LEOPALDON

    First appearance: Guilty Gear Isuka

    It just had to be this guy. Isukawas when Arc System Works hit the Capcom level of, “Man, I don’t know, just throw us some money,” and Leopaldon was the boss character we got out of it. With what feels like a dozen total frames of animation, this eyesore is too weird to stand without any context, and he happens to show up in a game with no storyline. The most we know is that it’s a guy befriending a Gear dog and that somehow means everyone has to fight what appears to be Sasquatch through the eyes of someone who ingested a ton of acid.

    34. ANJI MITO

    First appearance: Guilty Gear X

    Guilty Gear X and its upgrades introduced so many rich and exciting new character designs into the series... And it also introduced Anji Mito. Anji is just lame all around. His weapon sucks, he looks boring, and his defining character trait is “is Japanese.” And while, yes, being Japanese actually means something important within Guilty Gear’s plot, there are two characters who fall under that category and are more interesting and entertaining.

    I really can't think of anything more to say about this doof.

    33. FANNY

    First appearance: Guilty Gear Petit

    There’s not much to Fanny due to appearing in an obscure, portable port of the series, but her basic design isn’t the worst idea. She’s a female spinoff of Faust’s subplot. She was saved by Dr. Baldhead when she was younger and now searches the world for him, having no idea that he’s completely changed his identity. Considering Baldhead had a giant scalpel as a weapon, Nurse Fanny builds on that by having her wield a giant syringe.

    Personally, I’d like to see her show up in one of the proper games with more normalized proportions.

    32. BRIDGET

    First appearance: Guilty Gear X2

    On one hand, I was always going to be soured by Bridget because the last thing I ever want is another annoying little boy fighter. But hey, in a series as weird as Guilty Gear, Bridget succeeds in having an outlandish design. He’s a boy forced to cross-dress in order to sidestep bad luck and tries to make a name for himself as a yoyo-wielding bounty hunter.

    Unfortunately, Bridget’s never been able to find his place in the series. While everyone’s talking about That Man and Gears, there’s a kid dressed as a nun doing yoyo tricks and nobody pays him any mind. As it is, Bridget is just there.

    31. ABA

    First appearance: Guilty Gear Isuka

    ABA never got much play, but boy was she delightfully unnerving. During a time when Kingdom Hearts taught us that cutting people up with giant keys could make for a fun time, we got this sickly, bandaged woman carrying around a neurotic and downright freaky, giant key. Almost too weird for the Guilty Gear roster, ABA was a decent addition, although not good enough to carry Guilty Gear Isuka.

    She was forgotten about fairly quickly, though her time in the sun did give us some good ol’ disturbing imagery.

    30. KLIFF UNDERSN

    First appearance: Guilty Gear

    Poor Kliff. He was pretty much one and done in his first appearance. Just as well, really. There’s nothing especially wrong with the man. The stout, over-the-hill badass with a giant blade that can kill dragons is certainly likeable, but he’s the wise, old guard mentor character who needs to make way for the new heroes, even if it means getting wasted by the biggest threat. Before Sol and Ky become an odd couple, it’s Kliff’s belief in them both that brings them together.

    When they brought him back in later versions of the Guilty Gear X engine, it felt more out of necessity. They ran out of old characters to reinvent, so might as well toss Kliff in with the rest.

    29. JAM KURADOBERI

    First appearance: Guilty Gear X

    While Potemkin, Justice, and Kum are built like bulldozers, you also have Jam choosing to face her enemies with no weapons despite being less bulldozer and more unicycle. She never quite hits the highs that many of the other cast members do, but at least she works as an outsider with a gimmicky personality. The story in Revelatormakes it an explicit all vs. evil threat conflict, but Jam is sort of off to the side. She ends up giving guidance to the likes of Kum and Jack-O’, but this is all done via her usual schtick.

    Jam’s just about bounty hunting in order to earn enough money to own a restaurant. Otherwise, she just Forrest Gumps her way through world events. That and constantly hitting on Ky, not realizing that his heart belongs to an actual important character.

    No, I don’t mean Sol! ...Pretty sure I don’t.

    28. RAVEN

    First appearance: Guilty Gear X: Lightning the Argent (novel)
    First appearance (playable): Guilty Gear Xrd: –REVELATOR–

    I’ll say that they did a great job building up Raven by making him a non-playable and looming threat for so long. Not as long as That Man, but fifteen years between showing up in a novel and becoming part of the in-game roster is pretty damn impressive. He’s a fun addition to the games by mixing stretch-based attacks with claw swipes, like the unholy hybrid of Vega and Dhalsim.

    Unfortunately, despite all this build, Raven feels flat. His whole deal is that he’s been immortal and unkillable for so long that he’s apathetic about everything. There are some snippets of cool stuff in there, like his backstory where he spent years as a benevolent protector until realizing that godhood is a thankless position, but for a guy who can’t die, he certainly doesn’t have much of a pulse.

    27. ZAPPA

    First appearance: Guilty Gear XX

    Much like ABA, Zappa’s deal is that he’s ALMOST too weird for Guilty Gear, but still just barely works out. He’s certainly original in the way he flails around unnaturally and fights differently based on which ghost is possessing him. 

    Zappa’s whole story is about dealing with being possessed, which keeps him interesting. His appearance in Revelator’s story mode as that universe’s Ray Stantz is a wonderful use of the character, even if he’s traded his crazy ghost behavior for being a living exposition dump.

    26. KUM HAEHYUN

    First appearance: Guilty Gear Xrd: -REVELATOR-

    Kum shows up as a novel idea, only to reveal an even more interesting concept underneath. Looking like Gouken from Street Fighter, Kum's gimmick is that he's a mystical being able to tune people’s bodies and souls like instruments to help fight off disease and stuff. That’s cool. Then things get crazier when it’s revealed that, despite appearing like Gouken, Kum is actually a young woman in a very realistic-looking mech suit.

    The game builds up Kum really well and even gives her a really sweet moment with Johnny, but when it comes time for Kum to step up in the story mode...well, she’s there. She just stands around yelling, “I can’t hold it much longer!” for the few times the game remembers to give her a subplot.

    25. BAIKEN

    First appearance: Guilty Gear

    Baiken’s always felt like Arc’s attempt at their own Akuma, but I never really bought it. Making her the hidden boss in the first game and a centerpiece in one of the Xrdupgrades always struck me as strange. Baiken’s cool, but not cool enough to pull that off. Considering the series likes to continually introduce increasingly-powerful characters, Baiken’s never stood out as a top tier badass outside of how a couple of Accent Core’s endings centered around Baiken being totally capable of outright murdering I-No.

    But I dig her regardless. Despite originally being a Kenshin palette swap with boobs, she does have one of the most intricate designs in the series, mixing a “no time for your shit” attitude, a heart of vengeance that would make Frank Castle double take, a missing eye, an amputated arm, a bunch of scars, and a grappling hook...for some reason. She may not be able to stand up to the heaviest hitters, like That Man, but she does damn well for someone fighting one-handed.

    24. MAY

    First appearance: Guilty Gear

    The first Guilty Gear had a little too much grit to it. It was a fantastic debut and bloomed into a top-notch franchise, but a lot of that game felt very edgelord in comparison to everything that followed. Just grim swordsmen cutting each other up into bloody explosions before frowning and saying some variation of, “Get out of my face, bitch.”

    Except for May. May was there to bring the colorful and cartoony soul that would live on in its sequels. While Dr. Baldhead was obsessed with drowning himself in pools of blood, May was swaying around with a giant anchor in hand and summoning dolphins. At the same time, she had a strong reason to enter the initial tournament, which both showed off her sense of loyalty while building towards Johnny’s debut on the roster.

    May’s ability to wield an anchor over her shoulder would later be explained in a later game. May is Japanese. In Guilty Gear, Japanese people are both rare at this point in history and strangely mystical. It’s this big romantic metaphor about World War II that turns them into a nation of superhero survivors and the whole thing just intrigues me.

    Anyway, May is an adorable sidekick who is just so important to Guilty Gear’s overall aesthetic.

    23. SIN KISKE

    First appearance: Guilty Gear 2: Overture
    First appearance (playable): Guilty Gear Xrd –SIGN–

    At first glance, Sin isn’t really all that necessary because Guilty Gear already has two other protagonists. Sin isn’t likable enough to steal the story away, even if he’s carrying on in the shadow of the series’ more popular characters. Luckily, he isn’t meant to be the main character. At least, not yet.

    If anything, Sin’s existence allows Ky and Sol to develop and get over their human flaws. Ky, being all religious and a stickler for public opinion, has to get over the fact that his love for Dizzy is not something he should feel shame for. Sol, on the other hand, gets to finally leave his loner life behind and become a father figure. Or grandfather figure.

    Sin is no hybrid protagonist, but he’s a hell of a supporting character.

    22. ELPHELT VALENTINE

    First appearance: Guilty Gear Xrd –SIGN–

    Not only is Elphelt a blast to play as, but she’s just so freaking adorable... Unfortunately, she’s programmed to help bring about extinction of the human race. Like, even if she wasn’t such a major part of Xrd’s overall storyline, she’s already such a fun design that she’d feel right at home in the series.

    Elphelt is a romantic who is really, REALLY into finding a husband to the extent of fighting in a wedding dress and putting the shotgun in shotgun weddings. She also plays into the series’ love for musical references. Not only is her gimmick “guns and roses,” but her Instant Kill is a “shot through the heart.” And if you use it on Faust, he refers to her love as “bad medicine, indeed!”

    She’s such a pure-hearted dreamer despite the reasons she was created that having her be the damsel in distress in Revelatoradds some extra complexity. You want her to be safe in the end.

    21. DIZZY

    First appearance: Guilty Gear X

    A lot of the time, fighting games tend to make the sequel’s boss come off as more fearsome and imposing than what came before. Sagat and Shang Tsung were followed by their employers. Geese Howard was followed by his half-brother, identified as the only person Geese ever feared. Heihachi gave way to his demonic son. From the beginning, Guilty Gear made it seem pretty straightforward. Justice was a major threat, but after her defeat, she and Sol Badguy talked up That Man, who was obviously the next big boss.

    Right?

    The series went in a different direction. Instead of a roster of well-meaning people (and a couple of villains) taking on a new threat, Guilty Gear became a story about warriors going off to fight a confused Disney princess in fetish gear who is powerful enough to destroy humanity, but just wants to chill out in the forest. Suddenly, the black and white nature of the war against Gears becomes gray and Sol Badguy’s mission of guilt-fueled genocide comes into question.

    Dizzy would then hang out on the sidelines for a while, but her role as a minor character who is capable of leveling cities with her grim reaper wing is rather fascinating.

    20. TESTAMENT

    First appearance: Guilty Gear

    If Justice is Apocalypse, then Testament is Magneto. I guess that makes Dizzy Phoenix? I don’t know.

    As Kliff’s adopted son who doesn’t want to commit to war, but does out of loyalty and because it’s the right thing to do, Testament gradually loses his mind from the constant bloodshed. Then upon being transformed into a Gear as part of an experiment, he fully turns against humanity. And all things considered, it’s not like he needed much nudging.

    He makes a great gameshow host villain for the first game and then moves on to find his place in a post-Justice world. Through Dizzy and his reluctant alliances with Johnny and Sol, Testament becomes a better person who is very capable of falling back to his anti-human ways at the slightest provocation.

    It’s kind of nice that he isn’t in the Xrdgames. I like the idea of him chilling out on his own, ignoring all the craziness going on until he decides to make it his business.

    19. VENOM

    First appearance: Guilty Gear X

    Venom started out as an insane design with a character that didn’t stand on its own. His identity as an assassin who killed his enemies via magical billiards felt slightly reminiscent to Lord Raptor and his basketball-based attack from Darkstalkers. Then there’s his ridiculous, albeit iconic hair.

    Problem is, he was the third wheel to the Millia/Zato storyline. Not that he wasn’t a sympathetic one. He was loyal to Zato and held an unrequited love for the man. Sure, he could never be with Zato, but seeing the one Zato did love betray them and lead to Zato becoming a flesh-and-blood marionette made it understandable that he’d lash out against Millia and forever hold it against her.

    Venom really came into his own during Revelator, where he decided to rebrand the Assassin’s Guild as a force for good by taking responsibility for the evil it had done and publicly dying in battle. Like Jesus Christ, but with more 8-ball projectiles. Venon survived, though. He couldn’t kill himself due to an oath to Robo-Ky, but he couldn’t allow anyone to know he was alive or else it would ruin everything.

    The whole epilogue segment, which itself is like a half hour long, is tense as hell and makes Venom look awesome, all while giving him a semblance of closure. Funny enough, despite Millia’s escape from the Guild causing so many problems, it’s Venom who finds peace living the normal life.

    18. AXL LOW

    First appearance: Guilty Gear

    Axl Low’s whole deal is that he doesn’t belong and he does a good job of sticking out. Probably because the only characters he seems to connect with are the most anti-social.

    The concept of a man from the present being stuck porting around time is played for laughs a lot, but as it continues, Axl’s story gets increasingly sadder. Dude is just confused and frustrated. When even I-No feels bad for you, you’ve really been hit hard.

    That’s why I dig how, as the story progresses, Axl gradually grasps who and what he is. He isn’t just some poor sap who can’t control rifts in history. He’s actually a powerful wielder of time itself whose decisions are weighed down by his responsibility.

    17. JOHNNY SFONDI

    First appearance: Guilty Gear
    First appearance (playable): Guilty Gear X

    Johnny is somehow the skeeviest character, while also being one of the most noble. He’s a swashbuckling Johnny Bravo with all the negative ego and womanizing that status entails, in addition to being an outright criminal, but he’s also an adventurer obsessed with helping strangers and bringing hope to orphans. Though only female orphans. It’s weird. He doesn’t hit on them or anything, but he does constantly play up how handsome he is around them while hitting on every other woman he sees, which isn’t a good look and leads to the awkwardness of May being in love with him.

    Despite the gender issues going on, Johnny does genuinely love his sky pirate crew, and underneath all the style points, he’ll do just about anything for their safety. A good, old fashioned scoundrel with a heart of gold.

    Plus I thought the series did such a good job building up his introduction. While the first game laid the seeds for That Man, who is still hanging back, May’s whole story was built around Johnny and made it very apparent that he’d be playable in the sequel. And he was! He lived up to the hype with his quick slashes and flipped coins.

    16. JACK-O’ VALENTINE

    First appearance: Guilty Gear X: Lightning the Argent (novel)
    First appearance (playable): Guilty Gear Xrd: -REVELATOR-

    Initially, Jack-O’ feels like a zanier version of Kula Diamond -- maybe with a touch of Tira from SoulCalibur. Her mood swings, childlike demeanor, and fighting style that revolves around building tiny houses for her ghost henchmen would make her an easy side character anywhere else, but instead, she’s actually super important and that pushes her into an interesting direction. She’s not quite a boss character, but she is central to the Revelatorplot.

    Not only is she created as the opposite of Justice, but she’s delightfully the opposite of That Man. Once she gets to actually do stuff, she is blunt and honest with the rest of the cast. She doesn’t go out of her way to say vague things and then sit it out in the shadows. She outright tells I-No about what she is. She doesn’t hide who she is from Sol Badguy. She doesn’t even make any bones about the fact that she exists to sacrifice herself and save the world.

    15. POTEMKIN

    First appearance: Guilty Gear

    In the hierarchy of big dudes in fighting games, Potemkin ranks just below Juggernaut and Chang Koehan, as far as I’m concerned. Even if I suck with him, nothing beats crushing people with Potemkin’s space-shuttle-sized arms. Then there’s that wonderful Japanese voice, which sounds like Andre the Giant gargling.

    I want to put Potemkin in the top ten, but the guy really doesn’t get to do anything. Once Zepp is turned into less of an airborne shithole, Potemkin barely does anything of note. At most, he’s what we have to settle on, knowing that his yet-to-be-playable leader, President Gabriel, is a nominee for President Badass. Not only did he clown Bedman, but he’s considered Slayer’s rival.

    Give us President Gabriel on the select screen, already.

    14. ANSWER

    First appearance: Guilty Gear Xrd –SIGN–
    First appearance (playable): Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2

    There’s not much to Answer at this point, but the newcomer is so high-concept that it’s hard not to fall in love with him from the very moment you hear him described as “ninja businessman.” The developers grabbed that ball and ran it for a touchdown. Rather than letting Chipp’s subplot be a one-off joke, Answer’s existence expands on it and vindicates it.

    He seems to be what Capcom was going for with Crimson Viper. Having boring political and business conversations on a cell while taking breaks to kick ass is something that doesn’t always naturally come off as rad, but Answer makes it work.

    13. RAMLETHAL VALENTINE

    First appearance: Guilty Gear Xrd –SIGN–

    Don’t know about you, but the way Ramlethal’s dress is depicted as some kind of flesh and teeth thing that vaguely resembles the inside of someone’s mouth is really unsettling to me and helps sell her role as would-be world-destroyer. That and the two ball creatures wielding giant swords for her while shooting lasers.

    After her defeat, Ramlethal becomes your cliché AI character who slowly begins to realize that she has emotions and that her genocidal programming is bullshit. That works out well on its own, but her brief role in Revelatorbrings it up a notch. Her death fakeout carries a good amount of weight when it happens, while her return at the end feels like more than a copout. Mainly because of Raven – the one who saved her – who has come to realize that Ramlethal is more than an object and that this world still has some surprise to it after all.

    12. KY KISKE

    First appearance: Guilty Gear

    I already did that thing earlier where I compared Guilty Gear characters to X-Men. Well, Ky is obviously Cyclops while Sol is Wolverine. Yup.

    Ky will never be as cool as Sol. While Sol rides motorcycles and tracks down bounties, Ky does paperwork and stares at his sword. But despite being the generic hero type, Ky carves out his own identity by being the pure-hearted warrior who reluctantly finds himself becoming anti-authority.

    Ky is a soldier, a police officer, and strongly religious. Over the series, he finds himself having to question his faith in his superiors. Everything from disagreeing with their decisions to outright finding out that the Pope is out to destroy all human life. Then when Ky himself becomes a king, he is put in a corner where he has to question his own authority. He has to hide his family from the public because God forbid people find out the king is shacked up with a Gear. So, yeah, Ky can be compelling when he isn’t dealing with paperwork.

    Revelator’s story mode epilogue does fantastic work pushing him back up to being a fearsome protagonist. 

    11. ROBO-KY

    First appearance: Guilty Gear XX

    If you’re going to muck around with a preexisting set of sprites, at least make it something special and creative. Robo-Ky is something special and creative. Being just a robotic knockoff of the lesser protagonist would have been a waste of a roster spot normally, but Arc really knew how to make this design fun.

    Robo-Ky goes from being just a cannon fodder drone to being some kind of insane weirdo robot with his own bonkers personality. You know how RoboCop has a gun built into his leg? Well, Robo-Ky has an entire throne built into his back!

    In Revelator, Robo-Ky returned when the Postwar Administration Bureau storyline had long run its course and was practically forgotten. Robo-Ky brought some hilarious comedy and surprising pathos to being a robot duplicate with no real purpose. Plus it was rather inspired that Robo-Ky, arguably the weakest fighter in the series, would make for the ultimate counter to Bedman, one of the strongest fighters. Robo-Ky’s partnership with Venom and altruistic behavior makes me psyched for when he’ll show up again.

    I also need to mention that having his theme song “Holy Orders?” be just a distorted version of regular Ky's theme song is one of the finest touches in Guilty Gear history.

    10. CHIPP ZANUFF

    First appearance: Guilty Gear

    Chipp Zanuff proves how awesome the story of Guilty Gear can be because of its power to commit. In the first game, he was probably the most forgettable character. He was a ninja and recovering drug addict with an attitude problem. Nothing much in comparison to the rest of the cast.

    Then in Guilty Gear XX, Chipp’s search for his master’s killer leads him to discover that the Assassins’ Guild would answer to him in some form if he were to become an actual world leader. And so...Chipp decides to run for President!

    The games that immediately follow kind of try to sweep this joke subplot under the rug and maybe make him a close ally to Potemkin, but once the Xrdgames kick in, they completely embrace the President Chipp storyline and the series is all the better for it.

    Chipp has founded his own kingdom and wants to run a democratic election to be its president. As goofy as that is, Chipp’s brief appearances in the story increasingly make “President Chipp” not seem like the worst idea. He becomes something of a guiding voice of reason to Ky while regularly saving the hides of his friends and figuring out villainous plots from the shadows. He’s like a kid who wants to sit at the grown-ups table, but happens to be smarter than half the people sitting there.

    9. JUSTICE

    First appearance: Guilty Gear

    Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that’s what makes Justice work. Guys like M. Bison, Shao Kahn, and Rugal Bernstein are practically cartoon supervillains. They’re threatening to an extent, but they’re repeatedly defeated and are considerably less scary the longer they’re around. Justice is more on the level of Orochi from King of Fighters. There’s such a fierce reputation to the character that everyone lives in the fear of it.

    Justice represents the horrors of an endless war that mankind just barely survived. If Justice were ever to return, then the world would be fucked. In the Xrdgames, the plot to resurrect Justice is treated like a doomsday scenario.

    8. I-NO

    First appearance: Guilty Gear XX

    I-No has the personality that Raven lacks. She appears to be an immortal who started meaning well, but has since become corrupted. Instead of becoming a hollow husk of a being, I-No instead appears to enjoy the fact that she can do whatever the hell she wants with no repercussions. Her aesthetic of a guitar-playing nymphomaniac makes all the sense because her goal is to live the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle without any of the consequences.

    She doesn’t have complete freedom since she works for That Man, yet it’s still her nature to mess with him by stepping out of bounds, damn the consequences. She’s overly self-serving and anyone who falls in line with her whims is in deep shit.

    Eventually, it was explained that I-No is the magical manifestation of mankind’s hope and desire. That’s an interesting twist, since it plays into her kinky demeanor, but makes it all that much more tragic that she’s so jaded.

    7. LEO WHITEFANG

    First appearance: Guilty Gear Xrd –SIGN–

    Leo, Leo, Leo... Where have you been all my life? Why did it have to take so many games for this Victor Creed-looking mofo to grace us with his awesome presence and cross swords?

    Leo is the perfect mix of competent warrior, a strong leader, and a lovable doofus. In a story where nearly all the villains are redeemable in some way and even the criminals are heroes, it’s nice to see one guy who sticks to his guns a little too hard. It leads to some hilarious moments, like when he really wants to let Johnny and May escape his grasp, but his underlings are watching and that would just make him look bad.

    For Guilty Gear Xrd Sign, I highly recommend checking out Leo's system voice add-on where he takes over all of the game's announcing. When you pick Leo on the select screen, you get the lovely reaction, “LEO WHITEF—oh, shit, that’s me!”

    6. MILLIA RAGE

    First appearance: Guilty Gear

    The relationship between Millia and Zato-1 is a fascinating one, and Millia’s path is rather ballsy in my eyes. From the very beginning, her story is entirely cut-and-dry. She’s been forced to be an assassin and wants her freedom. She wants to be free of the Assassin’s Guild, free of Zato-1, and she wants to live a normal life. There’s even an admirer that pops up who initially appears to be her tether into that kind of peaceful existence. The potential normal boyfriend to have a normal life with.

    But things move into an awkward direction with Zato. He dies and becomes a puppet for a violent creature. We learn that Zato and Millia were closer than just being in the same clan. Millia still had the right to leave, but there was a romantic relationship that she left behind. When she fights Eddy, the puppetted corpse version of Zato, it’s both out of fear for her own life and a way for her to make amends by putting Zato down. She can finally move on and live that normal life by bringing closure to a complicated relationship.

    Except...not really. The normal life is boring. That admirer of hers is actually a creepy stalker “nice guy.” Zato returns from the dead, emotionally altered, but shows that he both cares for her and has a newfound respect for her wishes. Millia finally realizes that, after all this time, that wasn't what she truly wanted.

    Millia was wrong from the beginning and the betrayal with Zato may have been a massive mistake with all the horrific fallout. Now it’s time for her to embrace what she is and walk towards the future.

    5. BEDMAN

    First appearance: Guilty Gear Xrd –SIGN–

    Once you think Guilty Gearcan’t get any weirder, they introduce a new villain who is Freddy Krueger as played by Mandark from Dexter’s Lab. It’s a completely batshit and creative design for such a delightfully unsavory character. Like, Bedman is a guy who casually kills a girl’s dog just to help her understand that living beings are all distinct and have differences, and that’s what makes it all beautiful. The kid is messed up.

    There are lots of cool little quirks in Bedman that make him stand out in a series full of interesting characters. That robotic bed he wields. The fact that he has to be asleep because being awake for too long would make his brain fry due to being too smart. His endless banter and obsession with film and theater. His tendency to wear glasses despite never being awake to use them. That he works for the Pope in a secret plot to recreate the world. His inexplicable spot as one of the most powerful beings in the world, to the point that he humbled Slayer.

    Bedman’s final defeat is a satisfying one, and even in his death, we’re given the cliffhanger of knowing that we’ll one day get a Bedwoman in the series.

    4. SLAYER

    First appearance: Guilty Gear XX

    In a futuristic world of magic terminators, shadow beasts, and metal witches fighting to decide the future of humanity itself, I love, love, LOVE that there stands a man who simply shrugs in the background because a lot of this excitement is simply beneath him. That Slayer’s defeat does nothing more than show him casually laying on the floor, mildly amused, speaks volumes for how little a shit this vampire badass gives.

    With Kliff taking a dive early on in the series, Slayer improves on the mentor role by simply being a benevolent third party whose feathers refuse to be ruffled. He’s a being who would have peaced out of the world out of boredom, but stuck around because of the worthy challengers, an interest in dabbling in mankind’s affairs, and the simple fact that reality keeps getting more and more interesting, even for someone as ageless as himself.

    Slayer is an expert at killing and at being fashionable to the nines. So of COURSE he started a guild based entirely on both of those things. Makes sense for a man who regularly punches his enemies into space while smoking a pipe and reciting a haiku. Nobody's dandier than Slayer.

    3. SOL BADGUY

    First appearance: Guilty Gear

    They named a character Sol Badguy, and we’re supposed to just accept that. That’s the stupidest name. And yet, here I am, accepting that because taking Blade and adding a bunch of Queen tribute absolutely does it for me. The guy holds his future sword the same way Freddie Mercury held his mic. That’s supreme.

    I joked about this in the beginning of the article, but the silly name of the franchise really brings out a good twist early on when we discover what the hell “Guilty Gear” even means. Sol Badguy starts off as just a gruff anti-hero in a game where nearly everyone is violent and pissy. It isn’t until his ending in the first game that we find out that he’s more than just a bounty hunter. He’s an immortal scientist-turned-science-experiment who wants nothing more than to purge the world of the nightmares he created. That was the perfect way to start off the series, and Ark had done a great job building on that.

    He stopped being so genocidal when he met Dizzy, who may or may not be his kid. He’s become less of a loner over time and embraces his friendships with Sin, Ky, Axl, and others in his way. He’s been able to find the hope stolen from him so many decades earlier by bringing back the love of his life. Even at this point, when he’s preparing to take on his longtime target That Man, I have to wonder if it’s something Sol really, truly wants.

    Not only is Sol one of the best Guilty Gear characters, but he’s one of the best main heroes in a fighting game. He stands in the high tier with Terry Bogard, getting by via punching people so hard that explosions happen.

    2. FAUST/DR. BALDHEAD

    First appearance: Guilty Gear

    During the Chipp entry, I mentioned commitment. There is no better example of that than the “whereabouts” of Dr. Baldhead. How a nine-foot-tall doctor with a giant scalpel and a body count in at least double digits went missing is beyond me. 

    Baldhead was off-putting but definitely memorable. He didn’t truly hit his stride until he became Faust, adding inexplicable cartoon physics to his febrile behavior. He’s the Deadpool of the series in that he’s the perfect mix of nonsense action and emotional backstory. Despite all the blood on his hands, he pulls off so much whimsy that his reality-breaking actions can easily make you smile.

    And isn't that the best medicine?

    1. ZATO-1/EDDIE

    First appearance: Guilty Gear

    Go figure that a fan of Marvel’s Venom would pick the guy with the black symbiote for the #1 spot. In actuality, I was always on the fence about this drill/shark/claw enthusiast, but from beginning to end, Zato’s whole story arc has been really excellent.

    In the beginning, Zato came off as a mid-level threat with a cool gimmick. He supposedly sacrificed his eyes to give himself control over the shadows. Starting off as genuinely frightening, the truth made Zato pathetic. Losing his eyes did nothing. He was unknowingly the host for a Gear offshoot species that took the form of shadows. Zato was played like a fool while thinking he was badass. Then he died and the creature danced his body around like a puppet.

    Zato did some horrible things, including murder an innocent little girl under orders of the Conclave, but his status as Eddie’s rotting host was just sad.

    Zato was eventually resurrected as part of an experiment, with virtually no emotions to speak of, but he also returned with a new lease on life and a realization that he never truly desired power, but peace. After dying and going through Hell, he came back as a semi-clean slate driven by his need to make right with the woman he once loved and wronged. Even with his stoic demeanor, his actions post-resurrection have been at odds with every sin he’s committed, whether it means opposing the Conclave, using the Assassin’s Guild as a force for good, respecting Millia, or setting up a peaceful retirement for Venom.

    And that’s the list. Agree? Disagree? Are you some Leopaldon fan who will never forgive me? Sound off in the comments.

    Gavin Jasper wishes they’d make a new SoulCalibur already so he’d have reason to work on that character ranking. Follow Gavin on Twitter!


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    Kingdom Hearts 3 is almost here, but is it ready to appeal to everyone who waited for it?

    Feature Matthew Byrd
    Aug 6, 2018

    It feels strange to sit down and actually play Kingdom Hearts III. While the roughly 13 years since Kingdom Hearts II’s release haven’t been devoid of Kingdom Heartsexperiences, none of them have featured that magical numerical notification that screams, “This is the next Kingdom Hearts. This is the one you have been waiting for.”

    Between the rumors, the delays, and the many E3 previews, Kingdom Hearts III has sometimes felt like more of a specter than an actual project. It exists...yet it doesn’t exist. It looms over the fanbase as both a sign of something beyond the world they know and a haunting omen of their expectations. With a controller in your hands, though, Kingdom Hearts III doesn’t feel quite so mythical. Instead, it feels remarkably like you’re sitting down to play a major Kingdom Hearts game again. That’s a realization that will either excite you or inspire a sense of lingering dread based on what your expectations for this game are.

    My Kingdom Hearts III demo consisted of two worlds: one based on Toy Story and one based on Hercules. The demo began with the Hercules section, which was hardly a throwaway decision. Brendan Docherty, senior product marketing manager for Square Enix, noted that the Hercules section has been featured heavily in previous Kingdom Heartsgames and invokes a feeling of returning home.

    Indeed it does, but this particular area also showcased quite a few of the things that have changed since the release of Kingdom Hearts II. Perhaps the most notable, or at least the most immediate, of those changes is Sora’s enhanced agility. While Sora’s ability to run up walls and more easily navigate his environments may be new to those only familiar with Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, it’s a feature that Docherty reminds me has been “tested and honed in the handheld [Kingdom Hearts] titles.”

    As such, it hardly feels like something that the team decided to just play around with and insert into the Kingdom Hearts formula. For instance, there was a point in the demo when I needed to run up a cliff while the area boss threw boulders down at me. The sequence was rather easy to control and also did a tremendous job of selling the scope of both the boss and the area around me. While the enhanced navigation options initially presented themselves as a form of environmental navigation, I was told that they will also factor into the combat in various ways.

    That’s not to say that the game’s combat is deprived of options in its base form. Far from it. In fact, the changes to the game’s combat are destined to become Kingdom Hearts III’s most-discussed alterations.

    On a basic level, Kingdom Hearts III’s combat functions similarly to the combat seen in earlier games. You can lock-on to enemies, swing your keyblade, and utilize multi-character attacks, summons, items, and spell-like abilities. In that respect, the gang’s all here. However, it’s now easier than ever to access special attacks during combat (which vary and can be executed with the press of a button), attractions (the ability to summon various Disney rides that wield special attacks), and some more involved “Links” (or summons).

    The general idea behind these new additions seems to be a desire to make Kingdom Hearts combat feel more grandiose and varied. From a sheer spectacle perspective, the additions absolutely work. There’s nothing quite like summoning a giant neon roller coaster from the sky and using it to shoot down a rock monster before it blows up in a glorious display of lights and damage. Square has also spiced up the old hack-n-slash of the previous games with more generous special abilities to help remove some of the monotony of combat from earlier installments.

    All of these additions do make Kingdom Hearts III’s combat feel lighter and even easier at times. Now that you have access to so many damage dealing options - including multiple keyblades and the ability to temporarily upgrade your keyblade during a combat sequence - there are times when battles just breeze by in a haze of spectacular summons and effects.

    Curious about whether or not these changes would affect the overall difficulty level of the final game, I asked Docherty whether or not we can expect some of the surprisingly challenging encounters from the previous games. His response was encouraging.

    “Yeah, it’s a Kingdom Heartsgame,” said Docherty. “There is a lot of depth to the system. It’s not just wailing on the X button. There are some encounter-by-encounter scenarios you will have to deal with and there are some hard bosses.”

    Said scenarios seemingly included a section in the Toy Story area that concluded my demo of the game. It saw me jump into a giant toy mech and take on enemy robots. This segment played out similar to a first-person shooter. I was even able to jump between mechs and utilize different abilities (even though I was able to dispatch the enemy bots without having to do so).

    Read the Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Truth be told, I felt that this particular section was wearing its welcome out around the time that it concluded. It didn’t really equal the spectacle and joy of the game’s more traditional battles. However, it’s worth noting that this section was just a small instance of the various special gameplay instances that will be peppered throughout the campaign. I was told that the toy store alone featured a variety of these special sections.

    While it was hard to get a feel for how well all of these gameplay changes will work together over the course of the full game, it became immediately clear that the game’s exceptional presentation value is going to have an immediate impact.

    In fact, it’s no stretch to call Kingdom Hearts III’s visuals the most impressive overall display of modern game technology. Perhaps that could be argued on a purely technical level, but once you factor in the colorful attacks, torrent of particle effects, and the way that the game recreates so many iconic characters and worlds, it’s impossible to play the game and not gawk at how much is happening on screen and how great it all looks.

    This magnificent recreation of so many iconic characters, worlds, and images may just be enough to draw new fans into the series. Indeed, the team may be banking on just that.

    “It’s the Disney worlds that bring a lot of people to the franchise in the first place," said Docherty. “For a lot of people, especially with the first [Kingdom Hearts], it’s about ‘Oh I like Aladdin, I like Tarzan.’ Now we have a new era of Disney movies for fans of Tangled, Frozen, Big Hero 6, and everyone is a fan of Toy Story throughout the generations. Fans of those IPs will see the game and think ‘I want to know what’s up. What are they doing and what're all these Disney things I love in one package?’ Hopefully, they’ll check it out and I think they’ll fall in love with the Kingdom Hearts story as well.”

    But what about the continuing Kingdom Hearts story and the series’ biggest fans? While my short time with the game didn’t reveal too many details about Kingdom Hearts III’s greater plot, Docherty noted that it’s a universal story that will appeal to newcomers and hardcore fans alike. However, he noted that those who have played all of the previous games will have a much “greater grasp” of the subtleties in the story. Of course, those who wish to sample the previous games in the series before the release of Kingdom Hearts III can always play Kingdom Hearts 1.5, 2.5, and 2.8 (all available now).

    As I walked away from the Kingdom Hearts III demo, I couldn’t help but wonder whether time will be this game’s biggest enemy. 13+ years of anticipation can do some funny things to someone’s expectations. Based on my time with Kingdom Hearts III, I genuinely believe that its January 25, 2019 release date will come as a relief to the fans who have waited so long for this massive sequel.

    Docherty had some closing words for those fans, too: “I know how much the franchise means to so many fans. We’re not going to let them down.”


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    The three-day celebration of fighting games has come to an end. Who are the winners?

    NewsGavin Jasper
    Aug 6, 2018

    After another exhausting weekend, the 2018 Evolution Championship Series is behind us. Two days of fighting game tournaments in every direction followed by one day of focus on the top eight competitors for the bigger tournaments. Announcements were made, awards were given out, and salt was had.

    Even though there were only eight major tournaments this year compared to the usual nine, there were plenty of side tournaments, with their finals showcased on several Twitch channels. Notable inclusions were SoulCalibur VI, EX Fighting Layer, King of Fighters XIV, ARMS, Samurai Shodown II, and even Windjammers(as hosted by WWE’s Xavier Woods).

    But for the main games, here are the results:

    Injustice 2had the least amount of presence due to the lack of competition. The most notable moment was player Tweedy repeatedly defeating the nigh-unbeatable SonicFox and getting in his face and telling him to try someone else after each match. Although Tweedy’s Starfire was able to crush whatever SonicFox threw at him, his attitude would be deflated when player Rewind took him down in grand finals with his Catwoman.

    1st: Rewind (Catwoman, Black Adam, Blue Beetle, Firestorm)
    2nd: Tweedy (Starfire, Doctor Fate)
    3rd: SonicFox (Starfire, Firestorm, Red Hood, Black Manta)
    4th: Big D (Poison Ivy)
    5th: Hayatei (Robin)
    5th: Semiij (Catwoman)
    7th: SylverRye (Hellboy)
    7th: Biohazard (Bane, Cheetah, Starfire, Black Manta)

    BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle was an energetic tournament, even if following what was going on was at times a head-scratcher. Player Heiho won with his team of Ruby and Gordeau, but the real story was Heiho’s outright exhaustion. He worked his way up from the loser’s bracket, which meant plenty of non-stop gaming. The problem was that at the same time, there was a side tournament going on for Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late(st) and Heiho was a big player there, too. That meant that he’d have to bounce back and forth between stages. By the time he barely lost the UNIELgrand finals, the man looked like he was going to collapse at any moment.

    1st: Heiho (Ruby/Gordeau)
    2nd: Fame96 (Yu/Jin)
    3rd: DoraBang (Hazama/Nu-13)
    4th: KOG (Tager/Waldstein)
    5th: Kazunoko (Ruby/Gordeau)
    5th: Fenritti (Jin/Hyde)
    7th: Gouda (Gordeau/Nu-13)
    7th: DettyWhiteRock (Yang/Waldstein)

    Super Smash Bros. for Wii Uhad what’s probably its final year and the crowd wasn’t too excited about three of the top four players using Bayonetta (who won last year). Finalists Lima and CaptainZack were a lot more casual out of spite to the point that when one lost a character abruptly, the other eliminated himself to even things up. The two even messed around enough to the point that a judge insisted they cut that shit out or be disqualified. Eventually, Lima came out the winner.

    1st: Lima (Bayonetta)
    2nd: CaptainZack (Bayonetta)
    3rd: Nietono (Sheik, Diddy Kong)
    4th: Mistake (Bayonetta)
    5th: Mr E (Lucina)
    5th: MVD (Diddy Kong)
    7th: Raito (Duck Hunt)
    7th: Choco (Zero Suit Samus)

    Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 featured Omito absolutely cutting through the competition with his Johnny. Notable in the grand finals was that while Omito won the 2017 Guilty Gear tournament, runner-up Machabo won the 2016 tournament.

    1st: Omito (Johnny)
    2nd: Machabo (Ky)
    3rd: LostSoul (Elphelt)
    4th: Nage (Faust)
    5th: Rion (Ky)
    5th: Zadi (Raven)
    7th: Teresa (Jam)
    7th: Fumo (Elphelt)

    Next came Super Smash Brothers Melee, which much like its brother, ended with a mirror match. Leffen played as Fox against Armada, who started with Fox but later moved on to Peach. Leffen absolutely crushed Armada in the grand finals 3-0.

    1st: Leffen (Fox)
    2nd: Armada (Fox, Peach)
    3rd: Plup (Sheik)
    4th: Hungrybox (Jigglypuff)
    5th: Wizzrobe (Captain Falcon)
    5th: Mango (Falco)
    7th: Swedish Delight (Sheik)
    7th: S2J (Captain Falcon)

    Tekken 7 was easily the most entertaining tournament, mainly due to Lil Majin’s King coming so close to the top while winning the hearts of the audience in attendance with his collection of surprise powerbombs. He ended up losing the winners’ finals and losers’ finals, setting up a grand final between LowHigh’s Shaheen vs. Qudans’ Devil Jin. Great fighting all around.

    1st: LowHigh (Shaheen)
    2nd: Qudans (Devil Jin)
    3rd: Lil Majin (King)
    4th: JDCR (Dragunov)
    5th: Book (Jin)
    5th: Rangchu (Panda)
    7th: Chirichiri (Shaheen)
    7th: Noroma (Jack-7, Dragunov)

    Dragon Ball FighterZ was a fun time, even if it hit Meleelevels of going on for too long. A little controversy came from the rivalry between SonicFox and GO1. In winners’ finals, SonicFox made short work of GO1’s team 3-0. GO1 seemed very annoyed and ran it back, making his way into grand finals. From there, his momentum got the best of SonicFox and GO1 reset the bracket with a dominant 3-0 set. SonicFox then asked about switching positions with GO1, which was eventually allowed via coin toss. The move killed GO1’s momentum and once again, SonicFox was able to take him to the cleaners. GO1 was not happy.

    1st: SonicFox (Bardock/Fused Zamasu/Android 16)
    2nd: GO1 (Cell/Bardock/Vegeta)
    3rd: Fenritti (Cell/Bardock/Vegeta)
    4th: Moke (Kid Buu/Cell/Trunks)
    5th: KnowKami (Android 21/Cell/Goku Black, Cell/Fused Zamasu/Kid Buu)
    5th: Kazunoko (Kid Buu/Adult Gohan/Yamcha)
    7th: Kubo (Adult Gohan/Android 16/Goku)
    7th: Supernoon (Kid Buu/Cell/Vegeta)

    Finally, we got Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition. I...fell asleep during most of this one because things ran so late. Problem X’s M. Bison took out Tokido’s Akuma in the second set of grand finals. Sorry, but by the time the tournament ended, it was past 3 am on the east cpast. The cringeworthy and surreal segment when Yoshinori Ono walked on stage to reveal G and Sagat’s announce trailers didn’t help my state of mind.

    1st: Problem X (M. Bison, Abigail)
    2nd: Tokido (Akuma)
    3rd: Fuudo (R. Mika)
    4th: Gachikun (Rashid)
    5th: Fujimura (Ibuki)
    5th: Luffy (R. Mika)
    7th: Caba (Guile)
    7th: TheCoolKid93 (Abigail)

    Gavin Jasper has a very patient fiancée whom let him watch fighting games all weekend. Follow Gavin on Twitter!


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    The Minecraft movie encountered yet another hurdle.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 6, 2018

    Production of the Minecraft film adaptation has been put on hold after director Rob McElhenney's (It's Always Sunny in Philidelphia) decision to exit the project. 

    McElhenney informed TheWrap that the film "is not happening" with him as director. Neither McElhenney or Warner Bros. have elaborated on the matter further, but all evidence suggests that the movie will miss its May 24, 2019 release date. At the moment, it sounds like the studio is in the midst of what some have described as a major overhaul of the planned project. 

    While some were surprised to learn that McElhenney had agreed to direct the Minecraft film adaptation, his departure still comes as something of a shock. McElhenney was fairly heavily involved with the production promotion process and there haven't been any tangible rumblings regarding any problems he may have with the direction of the project. However, it does seem that he will no longer be associated with the adaptation. 

    There's no word on who will helm the film now that McElhenney is out, but it seems that Warner Bros. has approached Aaron and Adam Nee (The Last Romantic, Band of Robbers) to pen a new script for Minecraft. The previous version of the script was written by Wonder Womanscreenwriter Jason Fuchs. 

    Some of you may remember that initial reports indicated that the Minecraft film was originally going to be directed by Shawn Levy (Night in the Museum, Stranger Things). However, Levy said that he decided to leave the project after he discovered that developer Mojang wasn't on-board with his ideas for the adaptation. He indicated that they didn't give him much specific feedback and instead stated that his ideas just didn't "feel right."

    Given how long the production process for this project has been, it's very likely that Warner Bros. will approach a safe director to just get the movie done and have it in theaters as soon as possible. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    Space Invaders is one of the most popular arcade games of all time. Here's how it became a gaming phenomenon!

    FeatureJason M. Gallagher
    Aug 6, 2018

    This year marks the 40th anniversary of Space Invaders. Designed by Taito employee Tomohiro Nishikado in Japan, Space Invadershit arcades in 1978 and was licensed by Midway for the United States. By 1982, Taito had sold over 400,000 cabinets and grossed over $3.8 billion in revenue (more than $13 billion today), making it the highest grossing video game of all time. 

    As if that weren't enough, this fast-paced alien shooter is arguably responsible for the first video game arcade boom and has remained one of the most influential titles of all time. In honor of Space Invaders' 40th birthday, Den of Geek is taking a look at this monumental game's creation and development.

    Here's how Space Invaders created an arcade explosion that transformed the video game industry from a novelty hobby into a worldwide phenomenon:

    Special Thanks to George Lucas

    When Tomohiro Nishikado, fresh from the release of his combat flight simulator Interceptor, set out to make a new game, his design featured tanks and planes shooting at attacking soldiers instead of spaceships and aliens. But his early prototype just didn't feel right. Many of the vehicles were deemed too hard to maneuver, for instance. Another problem was that Taito had decided to ban the shooting of human targets as the company felt that would send a problematic message. Nishikado knew he needed to go back to the drawing board and so he gradually arrived at the idea of changing the game to aliens and spaceships.

    Given that the year was 1977, it's pretty easy to see where the inspiration for Space Invaders came from. Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind both hit theaters while Nishikado was working on his alien game and it soon became clear that there was a large audience hungry for anything related to science fiction and outer space. In an interview with The Guardian, Nishikado said that Star Wars isn't directly responsible for the space theme, but added that the George Lucas film did help him solve that problem about shooting humans.

    “It wasn’t Star Wars that led to the outer space theme,” he told The Guardian. “Initially, I started with tanks, then tried warships and warplanes – but the movement and animation didn’t match the game. After much trial and error, by far the best match were soldiers, but shooting people was frowned upon. It was at this time, while I was stuck for an alternative, I chanced upon Star Wars and realized I could use aliens because no one would complain about shooting them. For the actual design of the aliens, I took inspiration from HG Wells’ octopus-like Martian design.”

    Space Invaders' gameplay was heavily influenced by Breakout, but Nishikado added his own twist. Instead of shooting a ball at static objects, Nishikado's game would fire projectiles at moving objects. It was a change that would require special hardware to be developed as the existing tech of the day couldn't handle the descending aliens. Nishikado originally called the game "Space Monsters" before the executives at Taito intervened and went with "Invaders" instead.

    The game released only in Japan at first and was not an immediate success. But after a few months in arcades, the advanced graphics and new kind of gameplay became a sensation and Japanese gamers were soon waiting in line for hours for a chance to play. The reason they had to wait so long is that Taito was caught unprepared and couldn't make the machines fast enough to keep up with demand. The game's massive success caught the attention of Midway, which secured a license to release the game in the United States. And with that, the worldwide revolution had begun.

    From the Arcade to Your Living Room

    Space Invaders soon established domination over every arcade it was installed in. So in-demand was the title that many arcades opened featuring nothing but this one cabinet. It's not surprising then that, by the middle of 1981, Space Invaders had crossed $1 billion dollars in revenue worldwide from its arcade machines, all of it earned one quarter at a time.

    Along the way to its great success in the arcade, the game would also prove to be exactly the shot in the arm that the home console market needed to come back from the brink of death in 1977 (yes, an earlier sales downturn before the infamous 1983 crash that became the kiss of death for many console manufacturers). Home console makers were struggling badly prior to Space Invaders' release due to a glut of Pong clones that left gamers feeling bored and uninspired. Manufacturers were slashing prices and selling their boxes at a loss or leaving the market entirely. The fresh take on gameplay offered by Space Invaders was a godsend for the industry and for Atari, in particular, one of the only major console makers that managed to keep its lights on through the crash.

    1980 would see Atari land the first home console license for Space Invaders, the first time an arcade game was licensed for a console. Sales of the Atari 2600 quadrupled after the game's release, and over two million Space Invaderscartridges were sold in its first year. Needless to say, the game was a system seller.

    Space Invaders had a "revolutionary impact,"Taito told the BBC in 2013. "It helped lay the foundation for modern video games." That impact led to a video game boom that would soon inspire some of the best-known developers in the business today.

    A Lasting Legacy

    Besides introducing a new type of gameplay, Space Invaders was also highly influential in a number of other ways. For Space Invaders, Nishikado decided to link the player's score or points with their in-game progression and shepherded the idea of permanently saving high scores to the arcade cabinet for display. All of a sudden, video games were no longer just a fun waste of time. They were a competition.

    Sure, you could play Pong and plenty of other titles against a second player, but Space Invaderslet you compete against every gamer on the high score list, even long after they had left the arcade. Other game developers took quick note of the eager fans lined up around the block for a chance at entering their initials and achieve gaming glory.

    In short, it's not too much of a stretch to say that every high score list or speed run record you see today can trace its roots all the way back to Space Invaders. Gamers didn't want to just play a game, they wanted to be better at it than the guy next to them.

    Nishikado's game also influenced some of the industry's greatest creators. Gaming industry titans like Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear), Shigeru Miyamoto (The Legend of Zelda), and John Carmack (Doom) have all credited Space Invaders with getting them interested in making their own games.

    "About a year or two after I joined Nintendo, Space Invaderscame out and became a huge hit," Miyamoto told Glixel in 2016. "And so Nintendo decided to go into the video game business, and that's how I got my start, designing graphics."

    For Kojima's part, Space Invaders was the foundation for what would become Metal Gear, the first installment in his stealth action series.

    He told IGN in 2001 (just months before the release of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty), "In any game you have an enemy coming at yourself that you have to shoot, if you go back to Space Invaders they shoot at you when they come at you, so how are you going to protect yourself? You're going to shoot and that is a typical video game. In my game I didn't want to do that, I wanted to make a game where you could avoid the enemy. That is when Konami told me to come up with a war game so I decided to take these two elements and make Metal Gear."

    Space Invaders' influence has extended beyond gaming innovations, too. It's not uncommon to see the Space Invaders alien icon in works of art. For example, French urban artist Invader (he took his pseudonym from the game to hide his true identity) began using the icon for his mosaics in the 1990s and has gone on to create other pieces inspired by the pixelated sprites of the arcade scene of the '70s and '80s. He has tagged 65 cities in 33 countries with his mosaics and refers to his pieces as "Invasions," which is indicative of just how deeply the game has invaded our cultural zeitgeist. 

    Forty years strong, will the spirit of Space Invaders live on forever? That depends on whether future generations of gamers will continue to embrace the title for decades to come. If you've never played Space Invadersbut are interested in seeing what all the fuss is about, Taito recently released an updated version of the game, Space Invaders Extreme, on Steam for $19.99. Or you could just visit your local arcade for a fix. It's bound to have a cabinet front and center. 


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    Capcom values the reviews of games like Resident Evil as much as the pure sales figures.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 6, 2018

    Capcom Europe COO Stuart Turner wants everyone to know that there are still instances in which the studio values artistic accomplishments and critical reception over how much money a game actually makes. 

    "While we have shareholders to appease, it's not just about commercial performance," said Turner in an interview with gamesindustry.biz. "There is an artistic element that always comes in where we know this is the right way. And while if we compare RE7 to RE6 the absolute numbers are not the same, in terms of the profitability... it's completely fine. It ticked all of our boxes internally. It was really well received...And in some respects, getting some very good review scores counts as much for Capcom as a game that sells millions and millions and millions. We'd prefer a game that got a 9 and sold less, than got a 6 but sold more."

    From a sheer business standpoint, that statement might strike some as the level of odd that borders on suspicious. However, there is a business logic to what Turner is saying. 

    Believe it or not, Resident Evil 6 has so far managed to outsell Resident Evil 7 (despite being a mostly awful game). While that's usually a bad thing in terms of gauging a game's level of success, it's worth noting that the two game's sales figures aren't that far apart but their overall review scores are drastically different. It seems that Capcom believes that the warm reception of Resident Evil 7 elevates it slightly above whatever success you might glean from its overall sales figures. 

    Indeed, representatives from Capcom spoke about how they were blown away by the positive reception that the Resident Evil 2 Remake has received thus far. It's entirely possible that they associate Resident Evil 7's good reviews with the general level of hype for the upcoming remake. 

    Elsewhere, Capcom representatives noted that they plan on devoting more attention to the "pillar" games in their collection, but they are open to exploring the development of smaller, digitally-delivered IPs. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    Riot Games is thinking about no longer being just "the League of Legends company."

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 6, 2018

    League of Legends developer Riot Games is teasing the development of a new game. 

    “It’s an exciting time for us as a company,” said Riot Games co-founder Marc Merrill in an interview with Variety. "We’re emerging from being the ‘League of Legends’ company to whatever it will be in the future. We’ve been working for such a long period of time on so many things.” 

    As PC Gamer points out, Merrill has previously asked fans on Twitter whether or not they would be interested in the studio making an MMO. At the same time, he stated that fans shouldn't take that as a sign that the studio is actively working on an MMO or that they would ever release one. However, he did indicate that the question is an important one to ask at the moment given that the future of the genre is in doubt and WoW remains the only real game in town. 

    So what kind of game would Riot like to make? Well, Merrill did reference "games with longevity" that are "worth your time" as the kind of experience they are interested in. That seems to be another way of saying that the team isn't really interested in pursuing a single-player narrative experience and would likely develop some kind of game that is meant to be played for long periods of time. 

    The other interesting question is whether or not Riot would ever develop a different kind of game that still takes place in the League of Legends universe. Riot has been slowly expanding the League of Legends universe over the years and has been releasing increasingly compelling character videos that feel on-par with what Blizzard creates for World of Warcraft

    Besides, the entire reason this story is such a big deal is that Riot makes so much money off of League of Legends (over $2 billion a year) that they don't really need to make another game unless they're particularly enthusiastic about a particular idea. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    The Walking Dead/Tekken 7 crossover nobody asked for will happen when Negan joins the fight.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 6, 2018

    The history of property crossovers in video games just got a bit stranger today as Bandai Namco has announced that The Walking Dead's Negan will join Tekken 7 as a playable fighter 

    "Your eyes do not deceive you, your pounding heart does not betray you; Negan from AMC's The Walking Dead is making his way into Tekken 7 to deal a world of pain in the Tekken universe," reads a statement from Bandai Namco. "Negan, beloved by fans of The Walking Dead for his charismatic yet sinister demeanor, is ready to destroy all challengers, regardless of their stature in the Tekken universe."

    Tekken 7 is no stranger to crossover characters (the game's roster currently includes Final Fantasy 15's Noctis, Street Fighter's Akuma, and Fatal Fury's Geese Howard), but this latest announcement is on another level. Not only is Negan not from a video game, but he's not exactly the character you think of when you're dreaming of pop culture characters who might join the roster of a fighting game. 

    The other interesting tidbit to take away from the announcement/video is that it appears Tekken 7's Negan will be based on the Jeffrey Dean Morgan version of the character. So, on top of getting over the visual of Negan in Tekken, we'll also have to accept the popular character actor as a fighter who can go toe-to-toe with some characters who are just shy of digital gods. 

    This addition also means that all bets are off as it concerns future additions to the Tekken 7roster. So long as Bandai Namco is trying to capitalize on the success of popular TV shows, may we suggest The Hound from Game of Thrones, Mike from Breaking Bad, and a version of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory who is incapable of defending himself but is capable of expressing the tremendous amount of pain that he is in be added to the game?

    The Tekken 7 season pass featuring Negan is expected to release "soon." 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    A new interview suggests that Niantic is working on a PvP mode for Pokemon Go.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 6, 2018

    It sounds like Niantic is working to add a long-awaited player vs. player mode to Pokemon Go

    “We are constantly improving the elements that we have available in the game and the next thing that we want to add at the end of this year is the PvP mode," said Anne Beuttenmüller, Niantic’s head of marketing for the EMEA region, in an interview with Gram (based on a translation from Variety).  

    While there has been no shortage of loose talk regarding Niantic's interest - and the interest of Pokemon Go's players - in a PvP feature, this is the first time that we've heard someone from Niantic actually say that the studio is actively working on a PvP mode that has even a vague release date. Actually, we wouldn't be surprised if this was a slip of the tongue. 

    Still, we're not that surprised to hear that Niantic is actually hard at work on a PvP mode that might be released in the near future. Pokemon Go is experiencing a popularity surge the likes of which the game's developers haven't seen since Pokemon Go took the world by storm at launch. While we doubt that the game will ever be as popular as it was when it debuted, it's also not unreasonable to think that features like a PvP mode might help Niantic attract returning and new players. 

    What does a Pokemon Go PvP mode look like, though? Based on some of the trends we've noticed in previous Pokemon Go feature additions, we're going to go ahead and guess that the game's eventual PvP options will impose some kind of level restrictions that might be backed up against some kind of paywall. In other words, we don't think that Niantic is going to let new players get steamrolled by veteran ones, and we don't think that they're going to release a huge feature like PvP unless they're confident they can consistently make money off of it. 

    Hopefully, we'll hear something a little more official - and substantial - regarding this possible PvP update in the near future. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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