I love fitness and athletics centred reality shows, those were a group of people in better shape and with more acrobatic capabilities than I will ever have compete by attempting to clear a course so intense I feel muscles tearing just from listening to the descriptions.
Ninja Warrior is pretty cool and is perhaps the most well-known of this genre, but as of last year I have a new favourite show and it’s the Netflix original, Stallone produced Ultimate Beastmaster. What sets it apart are a few things:
- There are 108 competitors from 6 different countries.
- Each episode sees 12 participants go at it, with 2 per country. Each episode crowns a Beastmaster and then the finale sees all 9 masters compete against one another in a souped-up version of the course for the title of Ultimate Beastmaster and a serious amount of cash.
- Each country has its own announcing team and while Netflix focuses on the Americans for the most part, one of the joys of the Ultimate Beastmaster is watching the shenanigans they all get around to. Season 2 has French and Italian announcers and the rivalry between them almost made me choke from laughter.
Over Christmas and New Years’ Eve, after watching the second season of Ultimate Beastmaster I wondered how video game characters would fare against the savage courses of the beast, so I decided to find out. After all, they kept referring to the course as some form of live-action video game. This is my own little version of a fantasy league, with a set of game characters competing for the title of beastmaster. Each week we’ll put more characters to the test, for the glory of it.
For the first week, I’ll nominate the characters myself, based on the following rules. But for the rest of the season, it’s my hope you’ll help me come up with a list of worthy candidates for the title of Ultimate Video Game Beastmaster.
The rules for character are as follows:
- A character has access to all skills from across all their appearances. For example: Mario would have the combined skills of all of his appearances in video games.
- Athletic abilities only, tools aren’t allowed. Sorry, Belmont Clan.
- Abilities behave just as they do in the game. Example: Genji from Overwatch can quickly climb to the top of an obstacle, but he can’t hang from it or shimmy.
- Using abilities to skip parts of the course is forbidden.
The Beast consists of Four Levels and these are the skills required for them, to help you make your choice. Some characters will have skills that grant them a significant advantage with a given obstacle. For example, Kratos from God of War has a significant advantage on walls, due to his wall climbing abilities. Where other characters can climb ledges and shimmy across them, which helps move across a wall, Kratos can move across such a surface efficiently.
To avoid confusion, here’s a basic definition for each of the major skills:
- Climbing: Vertical movement only. Includes ladders, ropes, ledges, handholds.
- Ledge Shimmy: Horizontal movement only.
- Wall Climbing: Free movement across a wall, horizontally and vertically.
- Jumping: high and long jumps. Includes running start where available.
- Rope Swinging: Can increase/generate momentum while hanging. Includes ropes, trapeze, hanging wheels.
- Bite Force: Walking, running.
- Grinder: Jumping, climbing (optional)
- Energy Coils: Jumping.
- Long jumps with minimal running start grants an advantage.
- Dead Bolts: Climbing, Jumping, Ledge Shimmying.
- Rope Swinging grants an advantage.
- Mag Wall: Climbing, Ledge Shimmying.
- Wall Climbing grants a big advantage.
- Spinal Ascent: Jumping, Climbing
- Spinal Descent: N/A (completion assumed)
- Point Thruster: Ledge Shimmying/ledge hold.
- Stomach Churn: Jumping
- Digestive Track: Crouching, running, climbing.
- Dreadmills: running & jumping.
- Chain Reaction: climbing.
- Rope swinging grants big advantage.
- Vertebrace: jumping, climbing, Ledge shimmying.
- Ejector: Completion assumed, even though many fail at this.
- Prism Strike: Ledge Shimmying, jump.
- Coil Crawl: Ledge Shimmy, Climbing.
- Hangman: Ledge Shimmy/Hold, Climb.
- Pipeline: Ledge shimmy.
- Wall: Climb.
- Wall Climbing grants advantage.
- Ricochet: Climb, Jump.
- Wall jumps grant advantage.
- Full Tilt: Ledge Shimmy.
- Motherboard: Climbing.
- Wall Climbing grants advantage.
- Sky Hook: Ledge Shimmying
- Rope Swinging grants advantage.
- Ventilator: Climbing
- Wall jumping grants advantage.
Note that these requirements are merely guidelines and characters may combine their skills to overcome situations. Even if a character can’t shimmy, he may find a way through by using his other skills.
With the rules and the levels explained, it’s time to meet the first round of gaming Athletes. Note that for further weeks, character from the same franchise may be chosen, as long as they haven’t already participated.
- Mario – Super Mario Bros. series
- Kain – Legacy of Kain series
- Mega Man X – Mega Man X series
- Genji – Overwatch
- Aloy – Horizon: Zero Dawn
- Lara Croft (LAU) – Tomb Raider series
- Jill Valentine – Resident Evil series
- Hayato – Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
- Catwoman – Batman Arkham Series
- Link – The Legend of Zelda series
- Bayonetta – Bayonetta series
- Faith Connors – Mirror’s Edge series
Be sure to come back next week to hear how these twelve gaming superstars did when they faced the Beast, and once we crown a beast master among them, it’ll be time to look at the next set of contestants!