Joke characters have been common in fighting games, whether be because of their looks, their attacks, their attitude... or everything together. They're here to make us laugh, and possibly make the opponent lose its focus and lose. Today, I'm counting down the Top 10 joke characters in fighting games. Let's establish a few rules first:
1) The character has to be silly on its own rights.
2) The character has to be at least decent, because weak joke characters are often not used in matches.
3) The character has to be known or its series has to be known, because if not, then the idea is dropped completely.

Alright, let's get to it then:

(Is Super Smash Bros a fighting game? I'd say it is, so...)
Super Smash Bros. Brawl added a bunch of new characters, including Wario. Why is he a joke character? Because they made up his moveset from pretty much every Warioware game there was at the time and he doesn't fight seriously. His running animation looks like heís skipping frames, his attacks are awkward and his special moves are ridiculous: he can bite, roll over you with his bike, corkscrew up and fart on you. For a joke character, he does fit the bill. I've put him at #10 because of the SSB's "obscure" fighting game nature and because Wario is badly done. He doesn't have ANY signature moves from his previous games. He doesn't use the hats from the Wario Land games nor does he use his famous shoulder charge... at all. He was only made to represent the WarioWare series.

Ah yes, the Joker, Batman's arch-enemy, who doesn't know him... ? The Joker was a playble character in Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe and they pretty mailed him in terms of everything. He fights with comedic gadgets, like a hand zapper and a spring boxing glove, but also with more serious stuff like a pistol, bombs and playing cards. That is considered a joke character, but I've put him at #9 because... that's his nature. You're fighting a psychotic clown and other characters are far more joke-y than him. Nevertheless, the Joker is a cool joke character, and I hope that Injustice does him... justice (oh boy, bad pun).

On a sidenote, the Joker has been mostly known for one of his Fatalities that got censored. He basically whipped out a pistol, pulled the trigger to reveal a BANG flag, but then pulled out a real pistol and shot the opponent in the head. In the first build, the camera showed both characters at all time. The final version however, the camera closes in on Joker and we don't get to see the opponent getting shot. Fortunately, in 2011's Mortal Kombat, Shang Tsung's regular fatality is exactly like the Joker's, except with more gore. That is a cool homage... or a way for NetherRealms to flip the bird at Warner Bros. and the ESRB system, your call.

Tatsunoko vs Capcom is a hidden gem in the Wii library. It's essentially a VS title with old classic anime characters matched against Capcom's famous characters. So, which one of them makes the cut? Hakushon Daimaoh? He fights with a hand on a stick, sneezes on you as a launcher, farts on you as a lvl. 1 Hyper Combo and rams you into his lamp as a lvl. 3 Hyper Combo. However, he was cut from Ultimate All-Stars and he's barely known due to that. Doronjo? She "fights" by sending her minions Boyacky and Tonzura do her dirty work for her and they each have goofy attacks, like rapidly finger-poking someone, and their lvl. 3 Hyper Combo has them getting blown up by a nuke. However, she likes that in the anime series, Yatterman, so it's basically a faithful recreation than a joke. Roll? She's a domestic robot that fights with a broom and a bucket of water. There's your joke character, people. Roll has silly moves like scrubbing you to death and lighting you butt on fire before quench the flames with a giant bucket of water. It doesn't get any sillier than this. The funniest thing is that her fighting with a broom came from Megaman Powered Up, as she is a secret character. So, for being a child maid that cleans you hard, she's on #8.

The Soul Calibur series has been very shy on joke characters, because they don't look like ones. Voldo is just weird and Yoshimitsu tries to fight seriously. Dampierre, however, is the closest thing you can get to a joke character. He just doesn't know how to fight. He hurts himself during some attacks (visually only), his attacks are rather childish and he looks like a gentleman than a warrior. The biggest joke here is his Critical Finish in Broken Destiny: while the others simply kill off their opponents, Dampierre literally tells them his sad story that has them cry and drop their coins only for Dampierre to snatch. This guy can make God of War's Kratos cry. You can't be more of a joke character than that... and that's why he's #7.

Persona 4 Arena was a surprising collaboration project between Arc System Works and Atlus, and the game delivered on all accounts for a 2D fighting game, although I'm still waiting for a sequel. The Persona cast does bring their own styles and personalities to the fray, and yes, some have goofy attacks, like Chie's Rampage being rather inefficient-looking flailing kicks and Kanji's strong attack being a speech bubble, which reminds me of someone... Teddie (or Kuma in Japan) excels at everything to be a joke character:
1- He's a bear mascot.
2- He briefly changes outfits during some moves.
3- He fights with wacky items like a baseball bat, a spring glove, and a paper fan.
4- He transforms himself into stuff, like a weight.
5- His special moves are funny to watch, especially his instant kill.
6- His winning poses are... unique.

The only thing that I hate about this guy is that he doesn't uses his Ice spells from the games. Was it because Mitsuru used them and they didn't want to repeat them? Who knows... He takes #6, because while awesome, he's not the first in ASW games.

BlazBlue, for those who don't know, is a series that Arc System Works is working on, because at the time, they had lost the license of Guilty Gear due to the SEGA-Sammy merging. That has been resolved and Guilty Gear is back into the hands of their original creators. However, Toshimichi Mori, BlazBlue's creator, didn't pull the plug of the series and he kept it going instead. Fortunately, BlazBlue got quite the acclaim and a 3rd game, Chrono Phantasma, is coming next year. So, over up to Continuum Shift Extend, which of these characters is the joke? Arakune? He's got weird moves like a tongue slap and a crouching heavy attack which he swims across the field, but it's an amorphous ooze who's insane in the membrane. Taokaka? It's a [big-breasts-obsessed] catgirl who has a childish attitude, dangerous claws and also has a special attack in which she throws garbage at her opponent, but she's deadly, and shows a minimum of combat training. The one I'm eyeing on is Platinum the Trinity (available as DLC for CS and as a regular character in CS2 and CSE). Platinum is a little girl dressed in Magical Girl clothing and wielding a huge wand. The wand is actually a weapon that allows her to shape it into any object she desires. However, that includes a giant cat-headed mace, a frying pan, a baseball bat, cat-shaped bombs, cat-shaped missiles, a giant bubble-blower, a pogo stick and of course, a laser cannon... or the loli-laser XD. Add to this a light attack that is a punch in the shape of rock, paper or scissors, a grab that have her swing a giant bell at her opponent, an evading move which she summons a puffball to float on, a Distortion Drive which she spins like a top and a jumping attack on a heart-shaped board... and you got the most random character in the series. Oh, she's also a girl with 3 personalities: a foul-mouth girl, a kind boy and an imprisoned sorceress. Platinum, also being my favorite character in the series, gets #5, better than Teddie since he borrowed the wackiness from her, but below a certain character that without it, Platinum would never have been like that.

Guilty Gear, the predecessor of both BlazBlue and Persona 4 Arena, gets the highest of the three because both Teddie and Platinum were inspired by this character: Faust. Faust, or Dr. Baldhead, is an 8-feet-ish tall character in a doctor outfit with a paper bag on his head and with a large scalpel as his weapon of choice. You'd think that a rather insane doctor would fight like a rather insane doctor, with savage cuts to the stomach, injection darts and a overcharged defibrillator, but nope, he fights with a... bag of tricks. He launches bombs from his bag, he teleports by making a door appear and slams it on his opponent, he transforms into a baseball player to score a home run with a baseball bat, uses his scalpel as a springing pole, shoves his scalpel down your butt as a Russian-roulette tension move and finally, straps you to an operation table before blowing you up with explosive. He also never stands up in battle, preferring to remain crouched most of the time, although that might have been because the character would be almost as tall as the screen. So, for being one insane doctor with one insane moveset, Faust takes the #4 spot on my list.

Ok, screw it, I'm putting all of these Tekken characters in the same spots. That you have animals or other beasts in a fighting game, it can pass; that you have animals that behave like humans, that I'm having troubles with. Kuma is Heihachi's pet grizzly bear and he (that's a male BTW) got trained in martial arts... in addition of somehow learning a farting move (again). Panda is a panda bear that also got trained by Heihachi, but Xiaoyu Ling treated her (that's a female BTW) better for her bodyguard. The thing is that the bears fight mostly on two legs rather than on all 4, so right off the bat, it looks awkward to begin with. That's why there are considered joke characters. Then *sighs*, Alex and Roger came along. Alex is a revived dinosaur trained in boxing and Roger is a kangaroo trained too in boxing (stereotypical much ?). Long story short, Kazuya Mishima wanted to experiment with animals to make genetically-engineered killing machines. The idea by itself sounds goofy to begin with, as humans would have been the better subjects. I'm sorry, but in a game where the best fighters around the world participate in a fighting tournament, these characters just come out as oddballs. Yeah, many people would probably want me to put Dr. Boskonovitch instead, an old scientist, but the problem is that he was only playable in the console version of Tekken 3 as a secret character, and only resurfaced for Tekken Tag Tournament 2 as a DLC character, so people might not have noticed much about him. The animals, however, got into Tekken much sooner and they built their characters rather quickly. For instance Kuma has a rivalry with Paul Phoenix, who he always wins against. So, for being odd characters in the series, having weird-out movesets and having bizarre backstories, Kuma, Panda, Alex and Roger all take the #3 spot as joke characters.

Both Marvel and Capcom had their oddballs over the years, but one might never have guessed to see them all in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. Since 2 companies are involved, I picked 2 characters for this spot. For Marvel, we have Deadpool, the Merc with a Mouth, a foul-mouthed mercenary that literally never shuts up. He wisecracks at just about everything he does. In additoion of that, he walks in a prideful manner, moonwalks to walk back, yells "Shoryuken!" to launch, shows off when tagged in, breaks the 4th wall with his taunt AND with his victory pose and further breaks it with his lvl. 3 hyper combo. It goes like this: he taunts the opponent to hit him while he strikes a pose and walks like a girl. If hit, he blinds the opponent with a flashbang, whacks him with his health bar and finishes him off with a home run swing with his super meter. That blew my mind when I saw that the first time.

For Capcom, we have the Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright. Instead of just making him fight normally, they decided to make him fight like a lawyer would. He attacks with speech bubbles, with hand gestures like he's looking for clue, scratching his head and thinking, sneezes to launch the opponent, summon Maya to help him out, summon the Judge to help him out, collect evidences to be used in battles, shoots a bunch of papers and dashes in by reading a testimony. It gets more hilarious when you collect 3 evidences and attack with a speech bubble in Trial mode: the music changes to "Cornered", many of Phoenix's attacks become giant finger-poking hands, his evidences deal much more damage and of course, his lvl. 3 hyper combo, literally put the opponent on trial... and that is the most damaging hyper combo in the game, with high damage and full-screen activation.

I'd like to note that both these characters can be used normally and can prove deadly to any expert. For being the funniest characters in the game with weird moves and attitudes, both Deadpool and Phoenix Wright take the #2 spot.

Ok, maybe you saw this one coming from a mile away, but Dan Hibiki pretty started the whole joke character meme. Dan's concept was simple: Capcom wanted to mock Robert Garcia, Yuri Sakazaki and Ryo Sakazaki from SNK's Art of Fighting, so they made Dan a guy who fights like a rejected version of these characters. The result was a dude with a pink karate uniform with underdeveloped moves, a show-off and rather arrogant attitude, his ever-lasting questing to avenger his father, his legendary taunts and his alternate costumes, one of which you see when you beat him up in Mission Mode. Dan has become famous for a variety of things and to this day, he's made fighting game history with these. Today, as of Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, Dan isn't really the joke character he used to be, because his moves have become better and they finally gave him a personality true to his nature. For being the first joke character in fighting game lore, Dan snags the #1 spot on my list.v

Well, there you go, the Top 10 joke characters in fighting games. While they seem idiotic at first, they mostly come out as useful characters and not just roster fillers. While I'm at it, might as well tell you about the runner-ups:

Pojo and Ned the Janitor (Mace: the Dark Age): Essentially, we have a chicken and a janitor in a fighting game about warriors and demons. That is unique. However, since the game is rather obscure, people might not even know what am I talking about, so they were left out.

Yuki and Miss X (SNK Gals Fighters): This Neo-Geo Pocket Color game pit many female characters from SNK games into a battle. 2 of them were unique: Yuki's Kyo Kusanagio's girlfriend, who knows nothing about fighting and used her suitcase to attack, and Miss X, who,s actually Iori Yagami cross-dressed as a girl. I seriously, can't make head or tail about it. The obscurity and limited release left me no choice but to exclude them from the list.

Norimaro (Marvel Super Heroes VS Street Fighter): I don't know this guy's deal. Itís a guy who attacks with merchandise related to both series, like dolls and plushies, in addition of using school items to attack. He's an original character from the game with no relation to Marvel or Capcom, is owned by Japanese comedian Noritake Kinashi and only appeared in the Japanese version of the game, being removed from it in other versions. This is literally a one-shot deal, because he never appeared again in the entire VS series. Even MvC2 didn't have him and they got every character that appeared since X-Men: Children of the Atom.

Servbot (Marvel VS Capcom 2): Ok, I don't know whose brillant idea was it to add a servbot in the game, but this character is at the bottom of the tier gauge, has zero originality for his attacks and can be killed in like 3 seconds. For being a waste of spot, this little fella didn't make it. For goodness sake, would it have killed you to add a REAL character instead of Servbot. I could go on about Ruby Heart and Amingo, but Servbot is downright useless.

Shikuru (with Mamahaha), Poppy, Chample and Pak Pak (Samurai Shodown 6): You have Nakoruru's wolf and hawk, Galford's dog, Mina's cute little imp and Cham Cham's monkey... as playable characters for the first time in the series. SS6 is somehow supposed to be a major recap of SS1 to 5 as every single character from the series is in the roster. Guess SNK wanted more and added these companions as separate characters. They're essentially like Servbot: not really worth it... and the wolf and dog are somewhat efficient.

Sean (Street Fighter 3): This guy is Ken's student and a really hot-headed character. The fact that people consider him a joke character is because he's poorly balanced that he loses many matches. However, I can't put someone on the list do to poor balance, but adequate design, so...

Mokap (Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance/Armageddon): Midway was running out of ideas for these rather lacking games. So he added a fighter in a motion capture suit. He was a secret character in Deadly Alliance and a regular one in Armageddon, but the concept is so boring that it's not a joke character, just a lazy concept.

Busuzima (Bloody Roar): Essentially, it's a were-chameleon whose human form is an insane scientist. The series was never that popular, so I skipped it for this list.

Peacock (Skullgirls): It's a female cyborg whose design has many references to old 50s cartoons. It's actually a nice concept and she has a fighting style similar to the Joker, but in the end, I had to go with Wario and the Joker. However, the character is extremely deadly in the right hands.

If you think I've missed some, please let me know, but for now, I'll see you next time :)

List by Rollerbob (11/16/2012)

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