Kick-ass 90s characters who died a sad death

As in life and Uwe Boll's Postal, it's always the good that die young in video games. Playing Earthworm Jim HD recently, we suddenly started thinking about 90s characters we'd loved that slipped away into gaming obscurity long before they should have. So join us, as we hold a wake for our favourite game stars from the decade of Jar Jar Binks, who all checked out in premature or undignified fashion . Sleep well, gentle princes. You truly were too beautiful for this world <sniff>.  


Last known whereabouts: Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus (1998)

Debuting in 1997, Abe was an extraterrestrial life form that made impromptu bowel movements, arthritic platforming and slave labour cool again. Granted, he moved like the Prince of Persia… if he’d just had a dodgy hip replacement through the NHS. But then again, he was basically a green Che Guevara. Although he was admittedly more concerned about saving his fellow co-workers from getting turned into tasty beverages than starting a Marxist revolution.

Sadly, time was running out on our semi beloved factory worker. Although he was originally slated to appear in a five game quintology of Oddworld titles, he was replaced just three games in by an alien with serious Clint envy in Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath. While the Western-style adventure was well received, it sold like petrified equestrian bum biscuits.

Above: Abe, your farts truly brightened up our lives. Bless you

Chances of being resurrected: Shiiittt. Pass me a Proton Pack!

Pretty dang decent. Series co-founder Jeff Braun recently confirmed that work had started on a game that had the cinematic quality of a “CGI-based film”. Although he tempered this by revealing it would take years to make. D’oheth!

Afro Thunder

Last known whereabouts: Ready 2 Rumble: Revolution <shudder>

Afro, Afro, Afro. Where did it all go wrong, buddy? Once the darling of not entirely shitty comedy boxing genre, Thunder took the Dreamcast by storm in the last millennium’s final year. With his mighty locks and fists quicker than a greased Scotsman, he stunned any Dreamcast gamers he crossed swords with (mind out of the gutter, sicko).

Pity his series was about to take the almightiest of nosedives into vapid, celebrity-pleasing nonsense. First it was Michael Jackson and Shaquille O'Neal in Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2. Then, after the series looked like it had suffered a reasonably honourable death after nine years in the wilderness, it returned in 2009… with shitting Simon Cowell as one of the fighters. Oh, Afro.

Above: Afro as we want to remember him: getting his face punched in

Chances of being resurrected: Slim. Please God, slim.

Considering 2009’s ill-advised Ready to Rumble: Revolution is currently sitting pretty on an average Metacritic rating of 37, we’d say we’ve seen the last of Afro. Ah well, at least we won’t have to watch him getting his faced punched in by a man wearing ridiculously high trousers again.

Duke Nukem

Last known whereabouts: Duke Nukem Forever (Oh man, the pain is still so fresh)

The stogie-smoking, soap opera-loving, womanising wonder first broke onto our monitors in 1991. In the years that followed, his sweary, stripper-shagging antics charmed the pants of anyone lucky enough to step into his awesomely manly shoes. Duke, quite simply, had the world by the g-string and could stuff as many blood-covered dollar bills down it as he wanted.

Then a little thing called Duke Nukem Forever happened. A hugely ambitious shooter, the project was in development for over a decade. It was finally taken out back and put out of its misery Old Yeller-style last year. And even for a hero so kick-ass he can fill aliens with lead while simultaneously getting a lap dance, we fear we’ve seen the last of the Duke.

Above: Now that's a man

Chances of being resurrected: We’re sacrificing lambs to pagan gods as we speak. But don’t get your hopes us.

Despite 3D Realms claims that the Forever is still in development, publisher Take-Two Interactive have filed a lawsuit against the developer for failing to finish the project. At any rate, we reckon our role model ain’t coming back. But a gamer can dream. A gamer can dream.

Earthworm Jim

Last known whereabouts: Earthworm Jim HD (Buy it!)

An earthworm that became a superhero. A superhero that met a cow. A cow that totally crushed a princess. Our tenuous Gladiator-related intros aside, Jim was one of the brightest shining starts of early 90s platforming. When his original adventure stormed the Genesis and SNES back in 1994, it’s weird, wonderful and giant hamster-intensive levels were like nothing gamers had seen before.

Our invertebrate ass-kicker then when onto star in an equally crackers and critically acclaimed sequel. But sadly, the glory days couldn’t last. Personally, we blame the N64’s dreadful Earthworm Jim 3D (which was developed without original developer Shiny) for our spineless saviour’s downfall. Jim subsequently went onto demean himself even further by appearing in Clayfighter 63 1/3. That sound? The wails of a thousand 90s men children weaned on 16-bit platforming.

Above: Andy Asteroids (aka the best name for a mini-game ever)

Chances of being resurrected: We can rebuild him, we have the technology.

Thanks to Jim’s triumphant Xbox Live HD reboot, we reckon there’s life in this mud muncher yet. Although series creator Doug TenNapel denied Earthworm Jim 4 is in development, he still remains hopeful that it’ll see the light of day.

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  • Sandman89 - June 11, 2010 4:19 p.m.

    Last pic perfectly captures my pain :'(
  • Shrimpandwhitewine - June 11, 2010 4:26 p.m.

    Man I miss Shenmue...
  • AnonymouZ - June 11, 2010 4:32 p.m.

    dude, i was so looking forward to play Raziel... bloody Kain and his poor selling games x( Soul Reaver 2 did leave some impact in my life however, as i still own a raziel 2099 email account... xD
  • CH3BURASHKA - June 11, 2010 4:41 p.m.

    Huh, never played any of these. Man, am I young...
  • Embolado - June 11, 2010 4:41 p.m.

    Aww man your missing some of my favs :( Fei Fong Wong - Xenogears Ashley Riot - Vagrant Story Fwank - Loaded Chaos - Primal Rage
  • Embolado - June 11, 2010 4:44 p.m.

    The picture for the article, I was imagining their pictures trapped in the Dreamcast VMU
  • ColonelKc - June 11, 2010 4:46 p.m.

    I was rofling after the last pic...
  • JaySherman - June 11, 2010 4:47 p.m.

    Shadow Man. The first game for N64 was AWESOME.
  • Spacegrass - June 11, 2010 5:01 p.m.

    It doesn't really have any characters that stand out, but if there's one game series from the 90s that deserves a comeback it's Freespace. I never played Shenmue or Dino Crisis, but I'm still mad about Freespace II's eternal cliffhanger.
  • DaBadGuy - June 11, 2010 5:04 p.m.

    They still make Army Men games....holy shit. The last one I played I believe was Sarge's Heroes 2. I loved the series on the original Playstation, the hell do they still have money to make more?
  • AgentHonor - June 11, 2010 5:07 p.m.

    Its a same that Crystal Dynamics keeps pumping out Tomb Raider games while their Soul Reaver IP is on the shelves just waiting to be made. Same with Dino Crisis, then Capcom teases us with a Rathalos armor in Lost Planet 2 while the Wii enjoys a full blown Monster Hunter game.
  • NotBraze - June 11, 2010 5:12 p.m.

    Wouldn't Munch's Odyssey be the last known whereabouts of Abe? That was a great game too, and he may not have been a title character, but he was just as important as Munch.
  • LaffPiranha - June 11, 2010 5:14 p.m.

    MegaMan Legends definitely needs a comeback, since they left 'ole Rock stranded on the friggin' Moon! Hell, if Capcom doesn't want to sink all of their financial resources on an HD-laden successor then they should just release a third installment on the DS or PSP. But I digress; such a thing will surely never transpire. As for another 90s character due for a comeback...perhaps another Tomba game, maybe?
  • russman - June 11, 2010 5:31 p.m.

    I dream daily of a reviving of Toejam and Earl. Oh the happy Megadrive memories of 1 & 2. Yes there was a #3 but it didnt have the same 16 bit magic.
  • revrock - June 11, 2010 5:45 p.m.

    Any of the characters from Killer Instinct, too...
  • d0x - June 11, 2010 5:56 p.m.

    I would kill for a new Legacy of Kain game. Sadly the lady who wrote the amazing story from Soul Reaver on (except blood omen 2) left for Naughty Dog a few years back so even if they did make another game her original and twisted vision would probably be killed. Oh Amy Hennig please send me the end of the story PLEASE!!!! The LOK games have some of the best voice acting in gaming and the stories were so damn involving and epic. Of any game series thats not dead that I could bring back it would be that one. I would even sacrifice Shenmue to see the end of Legacy of Kain.
  • Kipper - June 11, 2010 6:31 p.m.

    "Before this, we’d seen Ryo become Japan’s answer to Inspector Poirot..." Poirot was a private detective, not a policeman. Perhaps you are thinking of Inspector Japp.
  • jakery22 - June 11, 2010 6:44 p.m.

    :O. Sarges heroes 2. How much i loved that game. I could never play it, but i loved it. I'd love to have a go on a next gen console. If it coming out this year i might just buy it. I may be the only one but I'm going to buy it. :D.
  • theyouthcard - June 11, 2010 7:01 p.m.

    Soul Reaver was without a doubt the reason I fell in love with games!! The first one was so vast and enjoyable that I would still play it today if my PS3 was backward compatible! Soul Reaver 2 was a let down and Defiance was pretty cool but I didnt like the emphasis pushed onto Kain!! Bring back Raziel PLEEEEEEEASE!!!!!
  • slimjim441 - June 11, 2010 7:47 p.m.

    Sonic the Hedgehog

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