5. Lord Starkiller
From: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II
LucasArts’ follow-up to The Force Unleashed was sort of crap, but the actual premise wasn’t all that bad: Vader, in an attempt to revive his former apprentice, clones Starkiller (Galen Marek) in the cloning facility on Kamino (you know, that one cool part from Episode II). But cloning a Jedi isn’t as easy as cloning a Mandalorian, and Starkiller, again, goes AWOL, killing the other clones and breaking free. This, for the record, is the “good” clone.
Fair warning: we’re about to get into spoiler territory here, so if you’re planning on playing the Force Unleashed II anytime soon (which we don’t recommend) you might want to skip over this next paragraph.
Once Starkiller finally reaches the end of the horrible Vader boss battle he’s given a light and dark choice. If he chooses the dark choice he’s killed on the spot by a lightsaber to the back. “Um, bro, remember when I said we couldn’t actually make a perfect clone? Gotcha!” Vader chortles and a dark, evil version of Starkiller emerges. A loud “DUN DUN DUN” plays and the two evil Sith go and tie maidens to train tracks or whatever. In DLC released for the game, Lord Starkiller travels around the galaxy killing members of the Rebel Alliance, including Chewbacca and Han Solo, which is actually cooler than anything that happened during The Force Unleashed II. That’s actually why he made it on this list: in The Force Unleashed II’s case, the evil clone is actually far cooler than the good guy.
4. Dark Samus
From: Metroid Prime series
More so than most of the other characters on this list, Samus Aran seems to have a real problem unwittingly leaving clones of herself just lying around. First (or chronologically last, whatever), a too-close encounter with the X Parasite created the SA-X, a powered-up clone that stalked her through Metroid Fusion. Then, in Zero Mission, she was confronted by a mirror version of herself as part of a test from her adoptive alien race, the Chozo. However, it was Samus’ contact with the radioactive substance Phazon in Metroid Prime that produced her real doppelganger, Dark Samus.
Where evil clones in other games tend to be one-off gimmicks, Dark Samus endured long enough to be the central villain in two of the three Metroid Prime games. Created when the seemingly dead Metroid Prime came into contact with Samus’ cast-off Phazon suit at the end of the first MP, Dark Samus wasn’t the most expressive shadow double, never saying much apart from occasional laugh- and scream-like noises. However, that didn’t stop her from going on an interplanetary crime spree in search of more Phazon, eventually culminating in the takeover of Samus’ Space Pirate enemies, the corruption by Phazon of a handful of planets and Samus’ fellow bounty hunters, and one final merging with a floating, Mother Brain-like supercomputer. Where other dark clones just want to bump off their originals, Dark Samus wanted to conquer, and she came awfully damn close – and may come back to do so again, if there’s ever a Metroid Prime 4.
3. Dark Prince of Persia
From: Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
Like Samus, the Prince is no stranger to dealing with doubles of himself, having had to contend first with an evil, magic mirror-created Shadow Prince in his original series. It was the far more insidious Dark Prince (aka Sand Prince) from the rebooted Sands of Time trilogy, however, who really stood out as a formidable rival – partly because, for large chunks of the game, you are him.
Purportedly created through the Prince’s contact with the corrupting Sands of Time and his own mucking around with the timestream, the Dark Prince was actually an attempt to reconcile something of more direct concern to fans: the dramatic shift in tone between the happy-go-lucky Prince in the Sands of Time and the angry, brooding one in Warrior Within. To that end, Yuri Lowenthal (who voiced the Prince in Sands of Time, but not Warrior Within) returned to help give him a somewhat softer edge, while his angry, vicious side manifested itself as the Dark Prince, a shockheaded wraith with a lust for power and a bladed whip permanently fused to one arm.
For most of the game, the two shared the same body, with the Dark Prince (normally just a smart-assed voice in the Prince’s head) occasionally taking over to swing across chasms and chain-decapitate enemies. At the very end, however, once the Prince was finally “free” of the Dark Prince, he manifested as a separate being and forced the Prince into a final battle, which may have taken place entirely in the Prince’s head. It was a sad inevitability that the Dark Prince would eventually turn against the real thing, but until then, his sardonic quips made for a nice counterbalance to the more good-natured Prince, and we were sad to see him go.