When Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada announced that more characters would be joining the roster of Tekken 7, fans' minds began to run wild. After the addition of Noctis and Geese Howard, it seemed as though every character was fair game for the Tekken treatment. Turns out, that sentiment was true, as Namco announced the next mysterious guest character: Negan from The Walking Dead. Excitement and outrage followed the revelation, but all fans could agree: this was a truly random fighting game character. But considering the long and hallowed history fighting games have with random characters, having Negan join Tekken 7 is par for the course.
Fighting games have been incorporating guest characters for years, pulling from a variety of mediums to pad out rosters. Sometimes, these guest fighters make sense (Ryo Sakazaki in Fatal Fury Special!), but others... not as much (Gon in Tekken 3? Buh?) Often, characters are brought into fighting games as a means of cross promotion, or as a bit of fan service, but there have been plenty of instances in which guest characters left fans scratching their heads. So join CBR as we take a look back at a time honored fighting game tradition to bring you the 20 most random characters to ever appear in fighting games!
20 MICHAEL JACKSON (READY 2 RUMBLE ROUND 2)
Michael Jackson was a bonafide legend in the world of music, cementing himself as the King of Pop. He could dance, he could compose, he could sing. It seemed like there wasn't anything the Gloved One couldn't do. Well, Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2 took this concept to the extreme and decided to bring MJ into the world of boxing.
This arcadey boxing title already had a cast of colorful characters, but seeing Jackson trade blows with the likes of Afro Thunder and Butcher Brown was a sight to behold. Dressed to the nines in a theatrical military jacket, MJ even incorporated his famous glove into his boxing routine, sporting a single bedazzled white glove. Ready 2 Rumble definitely didn't take itself seriously, but seeing the King Of Pop in a boxing game was the definition of random.
19 THE TERMINATOR (WWE 2K16)
Arnold Schwarzenegger is an outspoken fan of the WWE, and has even managed to secure a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame. Thus, including the Austrian Oak in a WWE game would absolutely make sense. But putting the Terminator into a wrestling game? That makes significantly less sense.
Included as a pre-order bonus for WWE 2k16, fans could step into the massive boots of the T-800 and step into the squared circle to bust some heads. Coming to the ring on his iconic motorcycle to the strains of the Terminator theme, ol' Termy certainly cuts an imposing figure next to Randy Orton and The Miz. But not since Robocop saved Sting at Capitol Combat 1990 has there been a more random inclusion of a robot in wrestling.
18 SPAWN (SOUL CALIBUR II)
During the '90s, Spawn was everywhere. You could barely throw a "No Fear" wallet without hitting a Spawn comic or merchandise. But by 2002, Spawn's star had fallen significantly, and the grim anti-hero was on the outs. This only made his inclusion in the Xbox version of Soul Calibur II that much stranger.
Spawn creator Todd McFarlane was brought on to design the character Necrid for Soul Calibur II, so putting Spawn on the SC roster wasn't too far fetched. But to see the brooding Spawn squaring off against samurai, fencers, and whatever-the-heck-Voldo-is was a strange sight to behold. Add to this a battle axe wielded by Spawn shaped like Spawn's mask, and you've got a strange, out of place, totally random character.
17 SOLID SNAKE (SUPER SMASH BROS)
A fighting game character be random and completely out of right field while also being totally awesome. These concepts are not mutually exclusive. Case in point, including Solid Snake in Nintendo's mega popular Super Smash Bros.
While the Metal Gear series may have cut its teeth on the NES, it was on the PlayStation that the franchise would receive a fresh coat of paint under the name Metal Gear Solid. MGS quickly became a Playstation staple, and every Metal Gear title going forward would appear on a Sony system. While Metal Gear Solid was ported to the Gamecube, Solid Snake is much more associated with the Playstation, making Snake's inclusion in SSB an odd choice. An awesome choice, to be certain, but Snake in Smash made for one random character.
16 BARNEY THE DINOSAUR (XENOPHAGE: ALIEN BLOODSPORT)
The '90s saw a veritable avalanche of forgettable fighting games hitting the shelves, doomed to clutter the bargain bins. While many of these fighters came and went with little fanfare, one PC fighter managed to gain attention to one of its incredibly strange, incredibly random characters. That character was Barney the Dinosaur.
The bane of every parent's existence in the '90s, Barney built an empire out of songs about loving each other and cleaning up. A particularly surly programmer at developer Argo Games clearly had a bone to pick with the big purple dinosaur, including Barney as a combatant in the gory Xenophage: Alien Bloodsport, allowing players to beat Barney black-and-blue. Wailing on Barney might be cathartic, but it sure is random.
15 RASH (KILLER INSTINCT)
Once upon a time, a company by the name of Rare ruled the video game world with an iron fist, pumping out arcade hits like Killer Instinct and legendary platformers such as Banjo-Kazooie. During this time, Rare created a series of games following the misadventures of the "Battletoads," three muscle-bound amphibians clearly aping the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But then Rare got bought up by Microsoft, and fans thought they would never see the Battletoads again.
Fast forward to 2016, and Killer Instinct has returned with a vengeance on the Xbox One. While the return of KI was surprising enough, fans were downright shocked when it was announced that a Battletoad would be joining the Killer Instinct cast. Sure, the 'Toads and KI have a shared history, but seeing a giant toad in sunglasses named "Rash" trading blows with the KI combatants was as random as it was great.
14 PEPSIMAN (FIGHTING VIPERS)
If you think advertising is strange in America, just take a look at the pure, unadulterated lunacy that are ads in Japan. Case in point: Pepsiman, the Pepsi spokesman clad in a skintight body suit that communicates entirely by hissing, who runs around delivering Pepsi to thirsty people. Pepsiman became a bonafide hit in Japan, and even managed to end up on the roster of Fighting Vipers.
A 3D fighter based around armored combatants duking it out in square rings, Fighting Vipers featured a strange roster comprised of rockers wielding guitars and in-line skating martial artists. Even with its selection of oddball fighters, Pepsiman was especially random, dealing out damage while preaching the thirst-quenching power of Pepsi. Fighting Vipers just needed to add the Coca-Cola Polar Bear and it would have been the perfect game.
13 EARTHWORM JIM (BATTLE ARENA TOSHINDEN)
Earthworm Jim is no stranger to the role of guest fighter; after all, this '90s platforming star popped up in comedy fighter Clayfighter 63 1/3, and the cameo made perfect sense. But including Jim in the very serious, very Japanese Battle Arena Toshinden? That makes significantly less sense.
When Shiny, maker of Earthworm Jim, ported Battle Arena Toshinden to the PC, the decision was made to include Jim as a joke character. But seeing the goofy anthropomorphic earthworm square up against wandering swordsmen and karate masters is just jarring. Compound this with Jim ditching his trademark blaster in favor of a massive stone club, and you've got a recipe for a truly random character.
12 SPARTAN-458 (DEAD OR ALIVE 4)
Whether you know the Dead Or Alive franchise for its fast and furious fighting or its emphasis on certain, er, physics, odds are you're familiar with the game's concept: various martial artists duke it out for martial arts supremacy. While the series has its fair share of quirks, DOA isn't exactly the type of franchise to feature giant karate robots from the far-flung future. But that is exactly what Dead Or Alive 4 got with the inclusion of Spartan-458.
Hailing from the Halo franchise, Spartan-458, or "Nicole" if you want to get formal, was seven-foot tall pile of metal and muscle that joined the DOA tournament to lay the smack down. Included as cross-promotion between DOA and the Xbox, Spartan-458 stuck out like a sore thumb on the roster of brooding ninjas and hyperactive kickboxers, making this one random character addition.
11 THE CAST OF STREET FIGHTER (POWER RANGERS: LEGACY WARS)
The Street Fighter franchise is built on white-knuckle, action-packed karate fights. So is Power Rangers, the long running children's series. Despite this similarity, these two series couldn't be more different. But that didn't stop half the roster of Street Fighter V from popping up in the mobile fighter Power Rangers: Legacy Wars.
With a roster comprised of dozens of heroes and villains from across the long running Power Ranger franchise, Legacy Wars is a Rangers fan's dream come true. But seeing Rita Repulsa and the Green Ranger trade blows with the likes of Akuma, Cammy, Guile, and Ryu? That's just plain awesome. Random and strange, sure, but very, very awesome.
10 COLE MACGRATH (STREET FIGHTER X TEKKEN)
When you buy a game titled Street Fighter X Tekken, you go in expecting sweet, sweet Street Fighter on Tekken action. Ryu vs Jin! Zangief vs King! So many possibilities! But then, someone got the idea to take Street Fighter X Tekken and add a character that is neither Street Fighter nor Tekken. Enter Cole MacGrath.
One of three Playstation exclusive characters, MacGrath hailed from Infamous, bringing his generic gruff white guy video game protagonist self into this highly anticipated fracas. Sure, Cole had lightning powers, but so did Blanka, and at least Blanka wasn't spawned from a largely forgotten franchise. We understand that Sony wanted some first-party representation in the fighter, but MacGrath was a very random (and thoroughly lame) choice.
9 NOCTIS LUCIS CAELUM (TEKKEN 7)
Sure, the announcement of Negan joining the Tekken roster has plenty of fans scratching their heads, but this is far from the first time the Tekken franchise has chosen a strange guest character. In fact, one of Tekken's weirder guest fighters appeared in Tekken 7, in the form of Final Fantasy XV protagonist Noctis Lucis Caelum.
This walking pile of pretty boy anime stereotypes made waves in Final Fantasy XV, with a fast and furious fighting style involving plenty of sword play and zipping around via teleportation. When Noctis made the jump to Tekken, he brought with him his mystical sword, magical blasts, and teleportation wackiness. Ultimately, Noctis proved a fun addition to the fighter, but a Final Fantasy protagonist in Tekken? That's random.
8 AKUMA (CYBERBOTS: FULLMETAL MADNESS)
There are some undeniable facts of life: the sky is blue, grass is green, and Akuma is awesome. Since debuting in 1994's Super Street Fighter II Turbo, Akuma has cemented himself as a Street Fighter fan favorite. Akuma's popularity netted the world warrior plenty of cameos over the years, but the award for "most random Akuma cameo" would definitely go to his appearance in Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness, where the fighter became a massive mech.
As a human-sized combatant would look out of place in a fighting game composed entirely of giant robots, Akuma was given the mecha treatment, taking the name "Zero Gouki." Equipped with all of the legendary moves of his pint-sized incarnation, Zero Gouki could more than hold his own in combat, but seeing a giant, metal Akuma was as hype as it was random.
7 THE CAST OF RWBY (BLAZBLUE: CROSS TAG BATTLE)
Say you're Japanese developer Arc System Works, and you're looking to make the latest entry in your popular anime fighter. You've decided to cross your franchise over with other properties, and you're looking to include the cast of a TV show to the roster. Which TV show do you use? If you answered "an anime-inspired web series created by a bunch of dudes in Austin, Texas," congratulations, you've made a decision just as random as the one made in BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle.
Combining the popular BlazBlue with fellow fighting game franchises Persona 4 Arena and Under Night In-Birth makes sense, but the inclusion of RWBY left plenty of people scratching their heads. Created by Rooster Teeth, this CG anime-inspired series has found a sizable fan base in Japan, but still, seeing characters created by the dudes responsible for Red Vs Blue rubbing shoulders with Ragna and Chie? That's truly random.
6 LARS ALEXANDERSSON (NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: ULTIMATE NINJA STORM 2)
Ever since debuting in Tekken 6, Lars Alexandersson has gained a strong fan following, being established as one of the most important characters in Tekken's story. A fast and capable fighter, Lars seems poised to become one Tekken's preeminent characters. But of all the things Lars is, one thing he definitely isn't is a ninja, making his appearance in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 pretty random.
Sure, there's a connection here: Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto designed an alternate ninja-style costume for Lars in Tekken 6, so the character was brought into Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 as a means of cross promotion. But the Tekken franchise features several actual ninjas, making the inclusion of the definitely-not-a-ninja Lars something of a head scratcher.
5 GON (TEKKEN 3)
The revelation of Negan's addition to the cast of Tekken 7 raised some eye brows, but Tekken has a long and storied history of weird guest characters, tracing all the way back to Tekken 3. Tucked in between the future samurai and the flame pants-sporting protagonists was Gon, a tiny dinosaur with a penchant for farts.
Hailing from an obscure manga of the same name, Gon is a rambunctious dino with a nose for trouble. While adorable, Gon's inclusion in Tekken 3 was incredibly random, considering Gon hadn't released in the West. While Tekken fans have fond memories of this little guy, there's no denying that Gon's addition to the Tekken roster was an odd choice.
4 BOBBY OLOGUN (POWER INSTINCT MATRIMELEE)
When it comes to a series like Power Instinct, you have a very high bar for "random." After all, this is a fighting game franchise populated by teeth-throwing grannies, muscular men dressed like dogs, and whip wielding female body builders. But Power Instinct managed to blow past "random" and straight into "what the heck" territory with the inclusion of Bobby Ologun.
An MMA fighter turned comedian, Bobby Ologun made a name for himself in Japan by appearing on variety shows. In the fourth Power Instinct game, Power Instinct Matrimelee, Ologun was included as a boss character, shooting beams from his chest and performing attacks that would cause his head to balloon in size. This weirdness isn't out of place in Power Instinct, but seeing a real person spitting energy clouds in a wacky Japanese fighting game is truly random.
3 NORIMARO (MARVEL SUPER HEROES VS STREET FIGHTER)
You've got to be a truly random character to stick out in a game like Marvel Super Heroes Vs Street Fighter. After all, seeing Cyclops go toe-to-toe with Ryu was bizarre enough as is, but throw in a Japanese prop comic, and you've got one of the strangest characters to ever grace a fighting game.
Designed as a collaboration between Japanese comedian Noritake Kinashi and Capcom, Norimaro is a knock-kneed nerd that fights by slipping on banana peels, hurling items from his school bag, and flailing his arms in a windmill. With a roster composed of the biggest Marvel and Street Fighter characters, Norimaro stuck out like a sore thumb, and was dropped like a brick when the game came stateside, making this a truly random, and truly obscure, fighting game character.
2 ISAAC (BLADE STRANGERS)
In the indie smash hit The Binding Of Isaac, players control the titular Isaac, a constantly weeping child forced to survive in a labyrinthine basement as he is beset by beasts, demons, and his massive, murderous mother. It is a strange game, and most certainly doesn't seem like a good fit for a fighting game. But that didn't stop Japanese developer Studio Saizensen from incorporating Isaac into the upcoming fighter Blade Strangers.
Bringing together characters from games such as Shovel Knight and Cave Story to duke it out, the hilariously-named Blade Strangers prominently features Isaac, showing the weeping toddler delivering devastating combos and screen-filling supers. An indie crossover fighting game is a great concept, but there's no denying that Isaac is a thoroughly random addition.
1 HORNET THE DAYTONA CAR (FIGHTERS MEGAMIX)
With Fighters Megamix, Sega set out to assemble a roster composed of the biggest Sega characters around. With a line-up that includes Virtua Fighter combatants, Fighting Viper warriors, and even Sonic characters, the Fighters Megamix roster was stacked. But when Sega set out to assemble all sorts of Sega characters, they really stretched the definition of "Sega character," leading to the inclusion of an actual car.
Hailing from the mega-popular Daytona USA, Hornet The Daytona Car is a sentient car that doles out beatdowns with its tires. Seeing the star of the arcade driving title step into the ring to bust some heads was incredibly strange, and seeing a car trade blows with Akira and Bark the Polar Bear was the textbook definition of "random."