Good Intercontinuity Crossovers

As a general rule, crossovers are actually pretty bad. Perhaps a better way to put it is that they are easy to do badly–a crossover that sounds good in concept may founder because the characters or settings turn out to be incompatible, for example. But the crossover nature of the campaign I’m running for Anime USA this weekend makes me think about actually good crossovers. Here’s a sampling of some of my favorites:

Jason and the Argonauts: Not any of the film versions, I mean the original legend. Think about it, Odysseus, Perseus, Hercules, Nestor, Ajax, Atalanta, and so on, all on the same ship going questing together? It’s the ancient Greco-Roman equivalent to The Avengers!

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The comic, not the movie. It’s a brilliant conceit, mashing together a team of the pop-culture heroes of the 19th century, and an excellent bit of comic-book storytelling to boot.

The Subspace Emissary: AKA Smash Bros. Brawl‘s story mode. I think the moment at which I knew I was in love was when it has Red from Pokemon become Lucas from Mother 3’s mentor–but it’s full of all these golden little paired-off character interactions that are sheer joy to watch. Frankly, I’m torn on whether the best moment is Pikachu shocking Ridley, then standing tiny but fierce and protective over the temporarily indisposed Samus, or Link and Samus Zelda extending a hand of friendship (or at least temporary-truce-to-fight-a-bigger-threat-ship) to Ganon. If you’ve never played it or seen the story, and you have any fond memories of classic game characters at all, I strongly recommend trying to find the cutscenes on YouTube and giving them a watch.

ETA 9/16: Fixed a sense-breaking typo in the last paragraph.

5 thoughts on “Good Intercontinuity Crossovers

  1. The SSE is shit though. The gameplay is mediocre and since effectively none of the characters speak, the plot is nigh incomprehensible.

    All it's good for is being an easy way to unlock everyone.

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  2. Subspace Emissary was phenomenal… words cannot describe how disappointed I was when they announced the next Smash Bros. game wouldn't have a version of it (I wanted to see Mega Man in the SSE sequel!). Looks like it won't displace Brawl as my favorite Smash Bros. game after all.

    Perhaps a better way to put it is that they are easy to do badly–a crossover that sounds good in concept may founder because the characters or settings turn out to be incompatible, for example.

    Heh. With my fanfic (gee, have I mentioned it enough times recently?) I sort of went from the opposite direction: I picked a crossover that doesn't sound like it'd work at all with MLP, and set out to make it better than its premise would seem to allow.

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  3. I enjoyed the gameplay a great deal. It was basically a very good Kirby game intercut with occasional Smash Bros fights.

    As for the plot being “nigh incomprehensible,” given that large numbers of people seem to have had no difficulty following it based on the characters' gestures, I don't think the claim is supportable.

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  4. Normally I wouldn't comment while archive diving but YES SUBSPACE EMISSARY IS THE BEST and I am especially fond of how someone, somewhere, made the conscious decision to use no words, other than the names of the characters when they are introduced.

    I think a big part of what makes it work is that it feels like the kind of story children might enact when playing with all of their toys.

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  5. Technically Solid Snake gets one line, but the sound mixing on it is terrible and it's basically inaudible. But yes, the lack of dialogue is great. The story holds together impressively well without it.

    And yes, that's exactly it about kids and their toys.

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