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The Top 7… Evil clones

What makes a good villain? Well, a lust for power is a good start. A personal axe to grind with the hero is always welcome, but not necessary. And while it helps if they’re so overpowered as to make the hero look puny and insignificant by comparison, it’s arguably more compelling when the villain and hero are evenly matched. By that logic, making the villain and hero so evenly matched that they’re essentially the same person must be pretty damned compelling, right?

Well, games certainly appear to think so, judging by the number of games that have set their heroes against evil “mirror” or “dark” versions of themselves over the years. As with any other widespread trend in gaming, some instances of this are more memorable than others; the ones that follow are our favorites.

7. Cosmic Mario clone

From: Super Mario Galaxy 2

Mario's had his share of twins and doubles in his life, be they Wario or Bowser Jr in disguise. In fact, Mario was one of the first game characters to get a palette swap double in the form of Luigi. Despite all that, Mario wasn't diabolically "cloned" until the second entry in his space-faring series Super Mario Galaxy. And while alone they might be an annoyance, as group they're filled with giddy evil.

Technically the Cosmic Clones began with Cosmic Mario in the first Galaxy, but he was more of a friendly rival than a dark nemesis. The Clones were introduced in the Galaxy 2 trailer reveal trailer at E3 2009; displaying their ability to replicate constantly and in certain stages were always one step behind Mario, imitating his actions and ready to do damage. Whether in a standard stage or under a Clone Comet, they made each level more dangerous and exciting, pushing Mario forward and causing a painful penalty should you back track.

The Mario development team must have really enjoyed the added challenge, as the evil double has already made a return appearance. A Clone (along with his remixed Mario theme soundtrack) returned in Super Mario 3D Land to add challenge to post-game stages, even growing three times Mario's size while mimicking all his moves just a moment later. With two appearances in a row, does this mean the clones have become series regulars?

6. Evil Lara

From: Tomb Raider: Underworld

Lara Croft’s last true Tomb Raider adventure (the excellent Guardian of Light drops the TR moniker) had the flexible amateur archaeologist once again trotting the globe in search of an ancient artifact that could end the world if it fell into the wrong hands (surprise!). The artifact in question happened to be Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer. The whole adventure is Norse-themed, so naturally there must be an evil doppelganger of Lara, right?

For some inexplicable reason the devs shoehorned (and we mean shoehorned) a Lara copycat into the story. Just how inexplicable is Evil Lara’s existence? The game never even explicates the origins of Evil Lara. Where did she comes from? Why is she evil? What the hell is she, besides an ashen, red-haired, yellow-eyed wannabe? The game doesn’t care, because there’s tombs that need a’raidin’!

At first Evil Lara shows up simply to add “tension” to the action. See, Croft Manor burns to the ground and for some reason Lara’s friends think she did it! Isn’t that tense? Good thing Evil Lara is mute so that she doesn’t add any personality to her villain status. Anyway, the two Laras eventually fight and the clone seemingly dies, and gamers everywhere coughed out a collective “What the F was that?” The “F” it seems was actually an “F you if you want to understand what that was, unless you’re willing to pay us more money.” Underworld’s DLC fleshes out Evil Lara somewhat, but doesn’t fully explain her existence other than showing where she was created. The cool part, though, is that the real Lara seems to feel sympathy for her clone and so uses a bit of hocus pocus to free Evil Lara from whatever magic bound her to the dark side, essentially transforming her into… Neutral Lara?

55 comments

  • alex-odell - January 15, 2012 1:13 a.m.

    As soon as I saw this article I was thinking that Dark Link would be in here and I was right
  • Darkwun - January 11, 2012 2:49 p.m.

    Weird thing \bout when i faced Dark Link a second time was, i did th dungeons out of synch. I got what i needed from half completed dungeons to open the next one and just went and completed it in whatever order i liked. By time I faced Dark link all i did was literally thrustattack every single time and he ran into my sword! i have no idea if the two incidents are causal or correlative, but was a pretty anticlimactic fight either way! I struggled with him like hell thefirst time I played, it was the only time I struggled in a fight in the game!
  • Darkwun - January 11, 2012 2:38 p.m.

    I gotta add my retro throwback addition of Evil Adam from Body Harvest. The guy was a constant pain in the ass, and I only ever completed that game and defeated the bastard because of a glitch where I could shoot his mutated form from safety where he wouldn't attack me!
  • archnite - January 10, 2012 7:06 p.m.

    This is one of those lists that's kinda obvious going in but it was still pretty fun. And if Vader had an EViL clone the whole time why did he make a good one? LA Le Lu Le Lol.
  • rob619 - January 10, 2012 1:38 p.m.

    Metal Gear solid series, the home of tuff ass clones!
  • rocco-lawson-angelastro - January 10, 2012 8:02 a.m.

    wtf wheres kitana and mileena from mortal kombat
  • Asloveszuko - January 10, 2012 6:46 a.m.

    Maybe it's just me, but I didn't really care for the Dark Prince. He was annoyingly snarky. BUT I think the reason I really didn't like him was the fact that he slowly drained your life bar so you only had so much time to get to water, and if your health bar wasn't full or if you got hit by an enemy, you were screwed. Very annoying. His moves were awesome, and I loved swinging around with the chain, but you couldn't enjoy it becuase you had to worry about the stupid time limit!
  • deedob - January 10, 2012 4:45 a.m.

    Evil Lara came from the very first Tomb Raider (where she was also mute)... which is one of the reasons why they took the time to release Anniversary before doing Underworld, the direct sequel of Legends, which ended in a cliffhanger. Anniversary having been released just a year before Underworld, you'd think they didn't need a reason to explain for the third time where the clone came from...
  • deedob - January 10, 2012 4:41 a.m.

    Evil Lara clone is unexplained? The entire thing comes from the very first Tomb Raider. She comes from an Atlantean device in the last few levels where the clone merely acted as a puzzle. They revived the idea of the clone that was left over from that adventure, along with the villain from the same adventure: Natla. Ever wonder why they took the time to rerelease the original game (anniversay) instead of going straight to the sequel of Legends which ended in a cliffhanger? In case it's not obvious: it was to reintroduce Natla AND the clone technology.
  • thatgurl - January 10, 2012 1:35 a.m.

    " Most famously, his appearance as miniboss in the Water Temple of Ocarina of Time is memorable as a particularly tough fight within a notoriously difficult dungeon." Am I the only one who didn't the Water Temple wasn't hard, just tedious? And I'm speaking of the N64 version too.
  • pr0tostar - January 10, 2012 2:10 a.m.

    Alot of people had no idea how to get the key under the temple's central tower, and guessing from the map, would spend hours trying to find a way into a seemingly unaccessable room in the floor below it. Also supposedly there was a way to screw up the order of collecting the keys to where you couldn't progress, but it never happened to me. ....It was a hard dungeon.
  • 435 - January 10, 2012 12:44 a.m.

    Force Unleashed II gets such crap, but it is a fun and competent game. Short as hell, not worth sixty, but for twenty it's a good romp. And it's still a fxckton better than anything Lucas wrote.
  • quincytheodore - January 9, 2012 10:41 p.m.

    Liquid snake... Spoiler, for a game from fifteen years ago. Oh, I remember MGS1: Fell from Hind, got mangled in REX, fell from REX, crashed and burned, still alive. Then he got SARS or something. But that's not over, his arm got planted in Nero.. I mean Ocelot. Then... I don't know, haven't played MGS4... "runs away"
  • slimjim441 - January 9, 2012 11:35 p.m.

    Play MGS4. Now.
  • pr0tostar - January 10, 2012 2:15 a.m.

    15 years now... god I feel old. I have the original case sitting right here on my desk^^
  • Thequestion 121 - January 9, 2012 9:35 p.m.

    Great Top 7 article and I always find evil clones cool
  • clint-welding - January 9, 2012 7:25 p.m.

    awe.... no Metal Sonic?
  • CH3BURASHKA - January 9, 2012 6:29 p.m.

    Cool article; very original idea. Funny that half the list consists of Nintendo characters. Although he's not technically a clone, the scene in Max Payne in which Max fights Max (during the nightmare section) was pretty cool, and a neat twist on an already messed up portion of the game.
  • shawksta - January 9, 2012 4:53 p.m.

    Awesome list, agree with all entries! Cosmic Mario seems to be popping up, his giant self is a MAJOR pain in the ass in those levels, we probably will see it again, but then again, Metal Mario Randomly popped out of freakin nowhere in MK7 and became his own so who knows.

Showing 1-20 of 55 comments

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