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This installment of Gaming Hero March Madness introduces our second region and another set of famous fighters. From one-sided slaughters to more fiery debates, let’s see what Round 1-2 has to offer.
1. Bayonetta v. 16. Pac-Man
Bayonetta is to shooting things as Pac-Man is to eating fruit. That certainly pushes this fight in one direction. The Umbra Witch is a versatile death dealer, using a seemingly endless supply of blades and bullets to bring doom to heaven and hell. One could argue that modern gaming as we know it couldn’t exist without Pac-Man, so maybe he could appeal for some kind of grandfather clause win. But this wacky fight is just a formality to showcase another one of this tournament’s top seeds. Bayonetta advances with no shortage of parading and posing.
8. Solid Snake v. 9. Spyro the Dragon
Snake is the ultimate tactician and master of stealth in a Metal Gear series that oddly balances spy thrillers with abstract fantasies and science fiction. As a result of this tonal quirk, his list of accomplishments goes far beyond the staples of espionage fiction. Snake is no stranger to monsters, mechanical giants and a variety of supernatural foes. Spyro’s speed and elemental breath, ranging from lightning to fire and ice, poses a threat to anyone entering a straightforward fight. But Snake is geared up enough to keep this close, and tactical enough to beat a comparatively naïve opponent without even being seen. Snake has seen worse, survived, and advances after what would be an average boss battle on his résumé.
5. Pikachu v. 12. Joel
Pokémon will include a thousand creatures sooner than later and, even then, Pikachu will be the most popular one. With blistering speed and high voltage, Pikachu dooms almost any human opponent. Joel is more or less the fictionalized interpretation of the term “old man strength.” No one wants to mess with Joel, and rightfully so. In The Last of Us’ gloomy apocalypse, no one stands a chance between this stoic father figure and whatever he aims to accomplish…except maybe a piece of rebar. But Pikachu’s fantasy-based presence in a Last of Us universe would turn the most hardened killer into some YouTube video of a dumb kid trying to microwave silverware. Pikachu is simply too fast, and cruises to victory.
4. Elizabeth Comstock v. 13. John Marston
This fight could take place in an infinite number of universes, and I’m pretty sure Elizabeth wins all of them. Theoretically, one well-placed shot to the head (something Marston excels at) could secure the upset. Elizabeth’s mortality and instability are her notable weaknesses. But the power to alter the very fabric of reality is just slightly above the threat posed by a rugged cowboy. Let’s just say Elizabeth could’ve escaped that barn by summoning and dropping a second barn on everyone outside. Elizabeth’s possibilities are literally and metaphorically endless, and she wins this one with a power Marston couldn’t even comprehend.
6. Kirby v. 11. Marcus Fenix
You might think the fighter that uses a chainsaw gun to rip enemies in half is the more gruesome killer here. You might think that. But Kirby is quietly a cosmic monstrosity that devours his enemies and absorbs their powers while transporting his victims to an alternate dimension of nothingness. Kirby sounds more like Cthulhu than an adorable Nintendo hero. Marcus does have a machine gun with a chainsaw on it. I feel like most anti-Gears of War comments can be countered by saying “But he has a machine gun with a chainsaw on it.” As if the result wasn’t sure enough, five seconds into this battle, Kirby would also have a machine gun with a chainsaw on it. Kirby wins.
3. Tracer v. 14. Lara Croft
Overwatch heroes are essentially Blizzard’s Avengers. The super-team was assembled and created to fight against the forces of world-threatening evil. Even when Lara Croft uncovers a surprisingly larger-scale conflict, her adventures can’t compare to the average day of an Overwatch agent. In addition to the nature of their respective worlds, Tracer’s speed, elusiveness, and close range firepower is just a deadlier arsenal. Lara is scrappy, as well as an undeniable survivor. But it would be next to impossible for her to hit an incoming Tracer with her primarily ranged attacks. Lara tends to succeed in underdog scenarios, but this fight is way out of her league. In the battle of dual pistols and English accents, I’ll take the one who can essentially teleport and reverse time. It might be a surprising grind against an opponent who simply won’t stay down, but Tracer eventually wins.
7. Talion v. 10. Fox McCloud
Shadow of Mordor’s Talion graduated from the Arkham Asylum school of fighting a hundred people at once. His endless combos unleash an exceptionally satisfying level of brutality. Fox McCloud poses a speedy challenge unlike anything Talion faces in his own game. Shadow of Mordor has a way of making Talion look unstoppable and, in many ways, he is. But most of the game’s enemies walk mindlessly into his strengths and advantages without posing a serious threat. Even the most daunting of Orc chiefs can be systematically taken down and made weak by environmental factors. Let’s even say Talion interrogates Slippy, because of course it’d be Slippy, to get a read on Fox’s strengths and weaknesses. Fox’s skillset is a perfect counter to Talion’s up close and personal style of slaughter. The animal commander is fast enough to stay far away from a Talion beat-down, can reflect any long-range attempts, and would eventually wear his opponent down through a barrage of blaster shots. If need be, Fox can also call in the Arwing to end this fight much more decisively. Fox wins via his speed, savvy and advanced technology.
2. Dovahkiin v. 15. Frank West
The Dovahkiin/Dragonborn is a hero of legend who fights the many evils of Skyrim. But Frank West has covered wars, you know. The hilariously innovative reporter/photographer can make a weapon out of anything in his never-ending fight against the helpless zombie population. The man is entertaining, but doesn’t exactly consume the souls of ancient dragons. The Dovahkiin is a versatile and immensely powerful threat, overflowing with medieval fantasy’s many methods of attack. I like to think Frank gets a great shot of his incoming death, but the Dragonborn takes this one with a single attack.
Eight more fighters move on as half of our first round is in the books. Be sure to check in next time to see our next set of fighters, how they’re seeded and, most importantly, which gaming legends advance.