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Dream Match Game

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Jinpachi Mishima: By the way, old friend, didn't you die after beating Azazel last time?
Wang Jinrei: That's right. I did die. My awesome existence allowed me to cheat death and stand before you now.
Jinpachi: They were this close to killing off a no-name character like you. The only reason you're still here is because those wussy game developers didn't have the heart to go through with it. You'll never figure anything out until you start facing reality.
Wang: Hmph! That's a lot to say coming from a guy who turned into sand in my very hands that one time.

In a Fighting Game, it is rare to see two competitors go head-to-head without the use of superhuman skill. These fighters also have the miraculous ability to seemingly recover from even the most fatal of wounds. As such, Plotline Death tends to be rare in fighting games.

Sometimes, however, not even being Made of Iron can save characters from kicking the bucket for good, be it in the name of drama or just to ensure that the Big Bad can no longer carry out their evil plans.

This can be problematic, especially in long-running franchises, for fans. In fighting games, a good deal of a series' identity comes from the cast, as well as their fighting styles. Maybe there is a Final Boss who is so undeniably cool that they gained an extremely loyal fanbase and merit a playable spot on the roster. Maybe there is a really badass side character who has become an overnight hit with the fandom. Or maybe there is just a particular character that fans find really attractive. Either way, their exclusion may prove to be an unwise decision.


To remedy this, many series decide to write the ultimate love letter to their fans by bringing back the entire cast for one grand battle royale.

Usually, a Dream Match Game has no bearing on the main plotline of its series, as the next proper installment will disregard this one to pick up from where the preceding iteration left off. Despite this, it will still contain many nods to the series' mythos. Nostalgia Levels tend to pop up quite frequently in games like these, albeit sometimes in a new form. A Dream Match Game itself may have an Excuse Plot, sometimes, but not too often, turning out to be a byproduct of one of the characters' dreams or imagination. It may also be used as an opportunity for various "What If?" plots and to explore different paths the main story could have taken if characters had made different decisions.


Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny games are like this too, only instead of bringing back everyone in the series they bring characters from many series together.

Subtrope of Megamix Game, and tends to overlap with Intra-Franchise Crossover in more extensive and far-reaching cases. See also Fake Crossover (a crossover that has no bearing on either series' plot).

Not at all related to Match Game, which is a Game Show.


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    Fighting Games 

    Other Video Games 
  • Castlevania: Harmony of Despair is this trope applied to the series' usual Metroidvania shtick. The playable characters are Alucard, Soma Cruz, Jonathan Morris, Charlotte Aulin, and Shanoa, with DLC in the form of Julius Belmont, Yoko Belnades, Richter Belmont, Maria Renard, 8-bit Simon Belmont, and Getsu Fuma. In other words, you have characters from 1476, 1691, 1792, the early 1800s, 1944, and 2035/2036, as well as Alucard (effectively immortal, but theorized to have been born in the 13th, 14th, or early 15th century), all interacting with one another. note  Bizarrely justified in that the events of the game take place within a cursed book called the Grimoire, where both Castlevania and the various heroes and villains across time have come to life.
  • Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled is this to the original game as well as the greater Crash Bandicoot series, as it includes not just the characters, karts and tracks from CTR, but also all the content from Crash Nitro Kart and even a few costumes and karts from Crash Tag Team Racing, as well as a few original extras of its own. It also doubles as a Megamix Game.
  • The Forza series thrives on this. What can be better than seeing the rarest, most ultra-exclusive multimillion-dollar hypercars trade paint and battle for position? By making them the General Lee and Bandit, or slapping on your favorite motor sport team's colors, or competing with the James Bond cars, or take the cars from Need for Speed and have them go up against the ones from The Fast and the Furious, or Hot Wheels... Heck, Forza 6 actually did just that.
  • Koei Tecmo:
  • The various iterations of Madden NFL offer these in the form of historical teams, different combinations of "All-Star" teams, and "Legends" teams full of Hall of Famers with hyper-inflated ratings. Whenever the last of these appears, expect it to be coached by John Madden himself.
  • The NBA 2K series has been the mainstay of dream match sports titles, where you can have the 72 Bucks, 96 Bulls, 99 Lakers, 80 Lakers, heck the actual Dream Team of your choice complete with throwback and old jerseys.
  • Need for Speed is a car enthusiast's Dream Match Game. Where else (besides the aforementioned Forza) does a gearhead get to see the rarest, most ultra-exclusive multimillion-dollar hypercars trade paint and battle for position? Many games have overlapping car classes between each other that everyone can use supercars, everyday rides or even SUVs to hulk on each other, to the point Need For Speed makes Super Smash Bros. look tame in comparison.
  • Power Bomberman features playable characters from across the Bomberman franchise's entire history — whether they were originally playable, villains, or NPCs. This even includes characters from the manga and the two anime series, Bomberman B-Daman Bakugaiden and Bomberman Jetters.
  • Ultimate Custom Night is this applied to the Five Nights at Freddy's series: almost all of the animatronics from the entire series return, most of which utilize the exact same mechanics as the games they debuted in, plus a few new faces to throw a curveball at even the toughest of FNAF veterans. It's telling that, in a series which has never had more than a dozen enemies per game, this one has over fifty.
  • WWE Video Games occasionally added "Legend" characters to their rosters but the first straight example of a full "dream match" would probably be Legends of WrestleMania in 2009, which had a lineup of classic WWF characters to play as from the company's heydays as well as the ability to import present-day male wrestlers from WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 (which is what vaults it into this territory), excluding downloadable characters and wrestlers who left at the time of the game’s release. The first game to use this concept as an entirely standalone premise (not requiring the player have a copy of a different game to achieve this) would be WWE All Stars, although it was less of a wrestling game and more of an exaggerated fighting game. Nowadays everything is played straight in the core series (currently known as "WWE 2K") where not just legend wrestlers are on the roster but so too are classic venues and classic attires. Even the legends' roster included virtually every character to have been a legend in a previous WWE video game developed by Yuke's and alternate versions of four modern-day stars. The only exceptions were Eddie Guerrero (who never joined WWE until after the 1999 cut-off date), George Steele, Hillbilly Jim, Jerry Lawler (who never wrestled at the event until 2011), Jimmy Hart (who is a manager in the game and rarely wrestled to begin with), Kane (whose masked persona was a costume of modern-day Kane in 2009), Mick Foley (who had joined TNA), Shane McMahon (who only barely makes the cut-off), and Tazz (also debuted after 1999).