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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Great Duos in Gaming Part 1

Sometimes a job is so tough that one cannot accomplish it all by their lonesome. As much of a loner as he is, even Batman doesn't always fly solo. Why should gaming characters always go it alone? Welcome to a new feature I like to call Great Duos in Gaming.

Popo & Nana - Ice Climber & Super Smash Bros. Series

Popo is in the blue and Nana is in the pink. Together, they form the frosty due that is the Ice Climbers. These two Eskimos made their debut on the NES in the aptly named Ice Clumber. Player one assumed the role of Popo while player two played as Nana. They scaled a number of mountain peaks while being confronted with all types of opposition such as the polar bear wearing shades. The two were missing in action for nearly twenty years but that all changed when there were made a selectable fighting pair in the 2001 Super Smash Bros. Melee. Popo and Nana fight together, striking foes with their mallets, ice breath and other manner of dual attacks. The Ice Climbers are much stronger together than they are alone. If you lose one of them during a fight, your battle strength will be cut in half. Popo and Nana returned in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and thanks to the Wii's added visual power, the fur on their parkas looked even better. You will not find a cuter pair of Eskimos in gaming or real life.

Bub & Bob - Bubble Bobble Series

Are they dragons or are they dinosaurs? This question is still hotly debated to this day. One thing no one will dispute is how undeniably adorable these two are. Like any disgustingly cute critter, Bub and Bob dispose of their enemies by blowing bubbles to trap their enemies and using the spiked backs to burst the bubbles, killing those juveniles. Who says cute games don't contain some form of violence? In their original game Bub and Bob are on a long journey (seriously, even by arcade standards, Bubbble Bobble is not short) to save their girlfriends. You can certainly opt to play the game solo as Bub, but considering how difficult the game gets, bringing a second player into the fray as Bob is certainly recommended.

Issac Washington & Agent G - House of the Dead: Overkill

The two protagonists of House of the Dead: Overkill do not get off to a friendly start. How not friendly? In the game's opening cut scene, Issac Washington sucker punches Agent G, much to the later's confusion. But an endless horde of mutants force these two to rely on each other. Through wave after wave of undead flunkies, two blown up automobiles, and a nightmare train ride, G and Washington become one of the best pairs of fire forged friends in gaming. The back and forth banter these two provided during gameplay and cut scenes make so much of the game's dialogue an absolute riot to listen to. What does the G stand for? As far as Washington is concerned, it stands for genocide.

Banjo & Kazzoie - Banjo-Kazooie Series

A bear and a bird? That seems like a pretty crazy combo, but Rare made it work and crafted two of the most memorable platformers on the N64. Banjo is the bear and while he houses a great deal of muscle, the bird, Kazooie spends a lot of time being carried around by Banjo via backpack, but she more than carries her own weight on this team. In fact, Kazooie can even walk around and carry Banjo on her back. The combined might of bear and bird allow this duo to swim, fly, climb walls and much more. Whille Banjo loves to have fun, he's more the straight laced, serious type when compared to Kazooie who is always quick with the snarky remarks. Like all best friends, they bicker from time to time but there's no better pair of bear and bird than Banjo and Kazooie.

Sonic & Tails - Sonic Series

Sonic may be the fastest thing alive, but in spite of his speed, he'll never be the genius that his best friend Tails is. In his first appearance, Tails was kidnapped by Sonic's arch fiend, Dr. Robotnik (Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Game Gear). Not exactly the best first impression to make, but he made up for it in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on the Genesis. Tails was controlled by the AI but a second player could plug in another control and play as Sonic's sidekick, which is much more preferable if you're playing with Tails and want to get all those Chaos Emeralds. Tails is invaluable during certain boss fights and since he's incapable of dying, he's gaming's greatest meat shield. Tails received some new abilities in Sonic 3 & Knuckles where players could actually make use of his ability to fly and unlike Sonic, he can swim. It may not have been established early on in the West, but Tails is a child prodigy. He built Sonic's plane, the Tornado and he's a technical wizard with all types of machinery.

Asha & Pepe' - Monster World IV

It was getting too stuffy with all the boy heroes mucking up the Monster Boy series. So they dropped the lads and made a girl the star. Asha completes the game's first dungeon on her own but she'd be helpless without Pepe's aid for the remainder of the game. Asha handles the combat while Pepe' provides her with much needed assistance. Pepe' grants Asha an extra jump, is resistant to fire, be the thrown to press switches and can be held to slow Asha's descent. Monster World IV is a fantastic actrion/RPG that everyone should check out. It was originally only available in Japan but now it can be experienced, fully translated in English on the Wii's Virtual Console and Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network.

Mario & Luigi - Mario & Luigi Series, Super Mario Series

One is short and a bit tubby, the other is tall and lanky. If Mario is the ultimate player one, that makes Luigi the ultimate player two. Mario is hands down the most recognizable character in gaming and Luigi is his younger twin brother that stands in his shadow but still has throngs of fans. Originally a palette swap of Mario, Luigi gained his own jump and slippery traction in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. It wasn't until Super Mario Bros. 2 that Luigi took the appearance that he's known for today. In the 3D Super Mario games, Luigi was absent but he returned to fight by Mario's side in the hit RPG Mario & Luigi series where he and Mario could use joint moves both on the field and during battle. In the Super Mario Galaxy games, Luigi was finally made played in 3D Mario adventures, containing his unique Lost Levels performance attributes. Mario & Luigi are arguably the most popular duo in video games.

Bill Rizer & Lance Bean - Contra Series

Look up BAMF in the dictionary and you're sure to see a picture pf these two gun-touting macho men. Based off of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill and Lance are so manly that just playing a game of Contra will put hair on your chest. These two take on aliens, wreck giant Terminator-like bosses and ride on airborne missiles all without breaking a sweat. Bill and Lance's idea of partying is blowing up everything in sight. When they attack, they attack aggressively. Aliens found this out the hard way since Bill and Lance don't take kindly to otherworldly invaders.

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