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?
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
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?
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
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?