As the Mario spinoffs continued to expand and grow, so did their character selection for thier playable rosters. The Kart, Party and many sport titles brought an assortment of characters that were previously never playable. Some were expected, but some were downright unusual.
Playable in: Mario Party 8, Mario Super Sluggers
When Mario Party fans first got word that Blooper was to be playable in the eighth game of the series, they didn’t know what to think. Would he float around the board? He’d probably be like Boo but doesn’t he belong in the water? Once the game came out, all was good and fans accepted him into the Mario Party universe. He later went on to baseball, appearing in Mario Super Sluggers in playable form.
9. The Kongs
We all love the Donkey Kong series and with that comes a love for all the characters involved in the series. However, gamers were taken a bit a back when the Kongs began appearing as playable characters in two games released in the same year. Funky Kong showed up to race with the Mario gang in Mario Kart Wii and Super Mario Sluggers introduced a slew of playable Kong characters like the unusual Baby DK and the long forgotten Tiny Kong.
8. Petey Piranha
Playable in: Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, Mario Power Tennis, Mario Superstar Baseball, Mario Strikers: Charged, Mario Super Sluggers
In Super Mario Sunshine, Petey Piranha was an interesting new boss and a unique character derived from the classic Piranha Plant. Nobody, however, expected to unlock him as one the last racers in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. His enormous head would make you think he isn’t capable of racing or running around a court, but somehow he manages.
7. The Babies
Playable in: Mario Golf, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Mario Superstar Baseball, Mario Kart Wii, Mario Super Sluggers
It was one thing when Baby Mario was playable in Mario Golf for the Nintendo 64. It was another thing when both Baby Mario and Baby Luigi made it into Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Superstar Baseball. But when Baby Peach and Baby Daisy were thrown into Mario Kart Wii, we had a problem. Top it off with Baby DK in Mario Super Sluggers and you know you have taken it too far.
6. Shadow Mario
Playable in: Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour
It was interesting enough that a Shadow version of Mario was a playable character, but it gets weird when Shadow Mario, the alter ego of Bowser Jr., sets up a match with Bowser Jr. himself.
5. Metal Mario
Playable in: Mario Golf, Dr. Mario 64, Mario Kart 7
We just love Mario, don’t we? What was once a simple hat upgrade that turned Mario into a heavy piece of metal, is now a stand alone character. How that happened is beyond me, but apparently he’s good at golfing, racing and is experienced in the field of medicine.
4. Final Fantasy Characters
Playable in: Mario Hoops 3 on 3, Mario Sports Mix
While it isn’t too shocking considering Square Enix developed the games, the Final Fantasy characters that were included in both Mario Hoops 3 on 3 and Mario Sports Mix were short of unusual. Having never appeared in any previous Mario game, the characters felt a bit out of place, but they were still enjoyable nonetheless.
3. Super Team
Playable in: Super Mario Strikers
Did anyone see this one coming? Super Mario Strikers featured nine main playable characters. The spots were filled by the likes of Mario, Luigi, Peach, Wario and the like. One spot remained shadowed and there was a limitless list of characters that could easily take the spot. What you unlock instead is Super Team, an entire team of robots that are all capable of performing a Super Strike. The team is clearly overbalanced and was definitely not what anyone was expecting.
2. Dry Bowser
Playable in: Mario Kart Wii
Back in New Super Mario Bros., when Bowser fell to into the depths of the lava and instantly transformed into Dry Bowser, I never expected to fight him in one of the final boss battles of the game. With Bowser back to his normal self, I never expected Dry Bowser to show up anywhere else. Then Mario Kart Wii came. Playable, right by Bowser himself. You have to love how the Mario series works.
Playable in: Mario Kart DS, Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Not even part of the Super Mario series. Not even a character from any game. Just a plain old robot that was capable of playing two games and could move it’s gyroscopes around. Making it into Super Smash Bros. Brawl was acceptable, but how he got into Mario Kart DS is beyond me.