Shovel Knight from Yacht Club Games is already an indie darling on Nintendo's Wii U and 3DS, but when the development team decided to bring the game to the Sony PlayStation ecosystem and the Microsoft Xbox domain, both publishers offered up a little extra incentive to persuade returning fans to double-dip. Poke around long enough in the PlayStation versions of the game and you'll find God of War's own Kratos roaming the world map and itching for a fight. Meanwhile, over in the world of Xbox, the long-lost Battletoads Rash, Zitz, and Pimple offer to run Shovel Knight through their special training course. IGN showcases both encounters for those missing out on the platform-exclusive action.
The encounter with Kratos is remarkably true to the God of War storyline; Kratos, through all fault of his own, spends his time in Shovel Knight screaming at the heavens to Athena and blaming her for his bad sense of direction that led him off course. His three-part boss battle borrows elements from Sony's franchise and is a delightful sidestep from the game's main quest. However, for as much fun as Kratos is, the Battletoads completely steal the show in their cameo. Roaring into Shovel Knight's world following an encounter with a space warp, the 'toads open up their training course based on the Wookie Hole and Turbo Tunnel levels of the original Nintendo Entertainment System title complete with rearranged soundtrack. If you thought the speeder bike segment was challenging on the NES, try running it while trying to take a swipe at Pimple. The bike course is so true to the original experience that I swear I recognize some of the obstacle patterns from the old game. The Battletoads segment fits much better with Shovel Knight's tribute to the 8-bit style than Kratos's appearance, but I can't think of anything from Sony's catalog that would be a better fit considering that none of their famous franchises have memorable 8-bit origins. Now we just need an update for the Nintendo versions that crossover with one of their famous franchises. How about a Bowser battle?