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The Best Video Game Moments in ‘Scott Pilgrim’

The announcement at San Diego Comic-Con that Bryan Lee O’Malley’s “Scott Pilgrim” will be coming to video games is certainly awesome, but not really much of a surprise. After all, the series itself is chock full of references to the classics of the console era, and the story of an unlikely hero fighting through a series of bosses to get a girl is a plot that’s at the core of everything from Super Mario Brothers to Castle Crashers!

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Unfortunately, the game won’t be coming out until next year, but we can while away the time ’til then with a look back at “Scott Pilgrim”‘s video game connections, compiled by our own Chris Sims:

More often than not, O’Malley’s elaborate title pages are references to classic game logos. The special color section that opened “Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together” had the main characters standing in for Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog


…”Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” riffed on Bonk’s Adventure for the TurboGrafx 16…

…and the title page for “Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe” was a reference to the NES/Arcade classic Double Dragon (yet another a game about fighting evil bosses to save your girlfriend).

Most of the fighting of Scott Pilgrim draws on Capcom’s Street Fighter series with its Hurricane Kicks and Dragon Punches, but the synchronized dance battle that caps off the first volume reminds us more of Sega’s Space Channel 5, where an intrepid reporter in a retro-styled future fights off an alien invasion with the power of busting a move!

“How appropriate, you fight like a cow,” in addition to being a great response if anyone mentions that they “grazed” you, is one of the great lines from the insult-swordfighting sequences of the hilarious Monkey Island series.

The most notable recurring gag of the series is that every band is named after an old video game, whether it’s Scott‘s high school band Sonic & Knuckles, rivals-turned-allies Crash and the Boys, or his ex’s band The Clash At Demonhead, based on the game below in an article from 1989′s “Nintendo Power” #6!

The introductory sequence to Volume 2 (“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”) where Scott fights his way to a rival high school to save his then-girlfriend Kim, as well as the fact that his defeated enemies turn into change, is a clear reference to the greatest side-scrolling beat-em-up of the NES: River City Ransom — a sidescroller that O’Malley told ComicsAlliance is similar to the upcoming SP video game!

Magic doors that lead into subspace in a land of dreams? Ramona Flowers may have taught us that they’re useful for delivering CDs in Toronto, but Super Mario Brothers 2 taught us they were useful to delivering vegetables to the evil King Wart.

The continue screen is a classic element of the arcade era, but our favorite comes from Capcom’s Final Fight. Sure, your girlfriend leaving you might not be quite as dramatic as getting blown up by a bundle of TNT when you’re out on the street with an ex-pro wrestler to battle the Mad Gear Gang, but it sure does feel like it.

Of course, it always helps to have an Extra Life, although as Scott can attest, it’s a little disconcerting to see your own smiling, disembodied head laying around. Maybe that’s why Mega Man, the star of over forty games from the NES to the XBox 360, had to shut his eyes in the picture below.

Advancing by “Leveling Up” is something you can find in countless RPGs — not to mention the pen-and-paper roleplaying games that inspired them, or any action game that claims to have RPG Elements — but the fact that Scott gains Experience through washing dishes and learning the power of love and friendship reminds us more of the ubiquitous Final Fantasy series and its spiky-haired sword-wielding protagonists than anything else.

Like anyone who stayed up ’til three in the morning trying to save the Seven Maidens, get the three medallions, find the eight pieces of the Triforce or any one of roughly eight hundred other number-related challenges, Scott Pilgrim is a guy who dreams about The Legend of Zelda.

And finally, enjoy these faux-screenshots from the back cover of “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” which transpose scenes from the book into 16-bit scenarios:


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