As strange crossovers go, Pokémon and Nobunaga's Ambition is right up there. Reactions at Pokémon Conquest's announcement ranged from confused mutterings to gasps of wonder at the possibilities. Yet for all the weirdness, it actually turned out brilliantly – whoever came up with the idea of mixing up an old school strategy RPG with the super popular monster mash deserves some kind of medal. It got us thinking – which other franchises could work together to deliver fresh experiences or bring obscure properties into the limelight? There are surely some more nuggets of gold to be found in absurdity. Here are a few ideas – and no, there are no mentions of Metroid X Star Fox.
Pokémon aren't the only Nintendo characters suitable for an invasion of the strategy genre: taking Wario and his Ware cohorts to the battlefield could result in a game like no other. WarioWars could march the flatulent one and friends into the world of Advance Wars to engage in turn-based warfare against Captain Syrup's band of pirates. Throwing these two greedy hosts up against one another could only mean one thing: this war is over money, hidden away in caves that must be defended, assaulted or raced towards.
As you stumbled around the board, you'd have to dodge obstacles and traps left behind by opponents. And what better way to deal with these hazards than through the quick-fire five second micro-games that Wario is famous for? Wander through a woodland section and a bear might appear that needs to be scared off; you might need to proffer a fish to a troll to cross over his bridge. Encounter an enemy and you could pick your nose at them — as is WarioWare tradition. Fail a micro-game, lose a unit; win and you avoid the danger or take down an enemy character. By haphazardly mixing quick wits with thoughtful planning and lashings of Wario's bizarre humour, this could definitely make a play for strangest strategy game ever.
With only one headline game under his belt, Billy Hatcher has been hidden in the shadows for a long time – probably rightfully. In the original GameCube title Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, Billy rolled massive eggs around, using them to smash through enemies and obstacles. By rolling up enough fruit the eggs could be hatched – and who likes fruit more than Yoshi? With a little help from Nintendo's well-loved dino icon, SEGA's chicken child could have a chance to scramble to wider recognition.
It could work similarly to Billy's own game, initially, scooping up tasty treats with the aid of the egg. Once grown to maturity, though, Billy could rest his arms by hopping onto the back of a freshly hatched Yoshi to traverse the world in a way that would make Mario proud, using all of the green dinosaur's trademark tricks, from tongue flicking to flutter jumping. And since Yoshi is quick to lay after gobbling a few enemies and apples, perhaps Billy could have a go at commanding endless eggs as they go along, eventually amassing a small army of Yoshi helpers. Though really, does anybody actually want to see Billy Hatcher ever again?
Bonsai Barber is a rather good WiiWare game that seemed ripe for success, but it's probably not a title that you could say ever gained widespread popularity. But maybe the hair-clipping concept is deserving of another chance – and setting a new entry within the Mushroom Kingdom with a whole host of familiar faces and hairdos to destroy could be huge. Enter Bowser, probably the beast that you would least trust with your head.
After realising that he's never likely to best his plumber rival while trying to dominate the world, Bowser sets up shop as the Mushroom Kingdom's premier hairdresser. Despite the constant abduction attempts that litter his past, people actually choose to visit his shop, and from there he can realise his latest nefarious plan – mess up Mario's mop and win Princess Peach's heart through the power of ridicule. Each day you'd have a line up of appointments, each with different hair style requests, but in reality you could just do whatever you wanted and experiment with hilarious looks on your favourite characters without worrying about the consequences – because really, who's going to argue with an enormous fire-breathing monster when he's got a claw to their scalp? Expect lots of Toads with dreadlocks.
Guitar Hero, a presently defunct rhythm series that far outstayed its welcome with too many releases in a short window of time; No More Heroes, a bloody action franchise that has fans begging for more after just two entries. Brought together by a common love of music, No More Guitar Heroes could be the rhythm-action game of your most violent dreams.
Tired of the assassin's life but unable to leave his brutal tendencies behind, Travis Touchdown is trying to become the most popular punk musician in the world the only way he knows how – by battling rival musicians to the death for chart places. Fights, taking place in the background, would be enacted by hitting the right buttons on overlaid Guitar Hero lanes instead of controlling Travis directly – the most extensive, trying rhythmic quick time events you've ever encountered. More than heavy metal would be shredded if you hit the notes accurately, and once a foe is battered down enough they could be finished off with one final killer riff. In between battles you'd bumble around town, playing odd job gigs to earn money so as to buy far more t-shirts than any sane man could ever need.
What ridiculous crossovers would you like to play, and how would they work? Have you always envisioned Pikmin and Cooking Mama working together in the kitchen? Would you buy A Boy and His Blox, a Tetris-themed 2D platformer? Let us know in the comments section below!