The nineties might be known as one of the best decades ever in video game history. Sure, the particular era of time may not have been the beginning of the industry nor was it necessarily when we really saw what video games were capable of, but it was still the generation that gave us some of the most memorable games and gave birth to franchises that would stay with us years to come.
With every video game franchise that came to fruition during the nineties, we also received an iconic hero that went hand in hand with the game. Whether it was the titular plumber from the Super Mario series or the giant sword-wielding soldier from Final Fantasy VII, there is no denying that some of the best video games heroes were birthed during this period. Of course, with a popular video game hero, we must also remember some of the malicious video game villains we have encountered over the years, leading our favorite games to an epic climax for an amazing journey.
While we certainly appreciate the villains we have encountered over the years, we can’t help but wonder what it might be like if the tables were turned. What if our favorite video game heroes weren’t heroes at all, but perhaps a small blip in time turned them into villains instead? While some of these heroes might seem unlikely to turn to the dark side, artists from across the web have reimagined these twenty-five classic heroes in a light that we never imagined before.
21 I Gotta Believe!
Parappa the Rapper isn’t really a game where I would picture an evil antagonist. Sure, the game has had a few rivals at best during the series’ brief history, but a sinister Parappa? I just can’t really see that adorable rapping goofball becoming vindictive. Still, this more human variation of the rapping pup fills our hearts with more dread than expected. We definitely prefer our sweet puppy looking Parappa over this darker version, but we wouldn’t mind seeing how he’d play out in a series reboot.
20 Toasting Darkness
There has been plenty of speculation over the actual Zelda timeline over the years, at least until we got the official version of it when it was released a few years back. While we haven’t seen this bit of history play out in a Zelda game yet, it certainly seems possible considering where the series has gone before. A sinister Link teaming up with Ganondorf and Ganondorf ending up with Princess Zelda? It looks like we might need a new Hero of Time.
19 Following The Mad Scientist Trope
It’s pretty ridiculous that Dr. Cortex has been given so much grief over the years from a bandicoot. For a doctor, he doesn’t really seem to have the smarts. Maybe it would be best if Crash were served by an antagonist that had the intuition and thought process of a bandicoot AND a doctor, as well? While Crash may not seem like doctor material, we think that this evil scientist variation might work as a better antagonist than the otherwise buffoon rival that he has faced all these previous years.
18 Less Cuddly, More Ferocious
Spyro the Dragon technically already has an evil counterpart with the same name, simply called Dark Spyro, but sometimes just a sinister clone isn’t enough. This dark version of our favorite purple dragon feels miles away from the adorable guy that we are used to. While he may look the same on the outside, those glowing red eyes just scream evil and certainly make this one dragon we wouldn’t want to cross. He even looks scarier than the actual Dark Spyro himself!
17 The Doppelgangers We Should Have Gotten
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might not technically be video game characters originally, but anyone growing up in the 90s will certainly be familiar with the side-scrolling beat em’ ups the turtles have produced over that decade. Strangely enough, we didn’t really see many dark counterparts to the turtles themselves in video games, though it would have definitely been welcome. This dark variation of our lean green fighting machines has the four turtles teaming up with the Foot Clan. It looks like New York is going to need to find a new group of crime fighters!
16 A New Dictatorship
Since Bowsette has been officially debunked from Super Mario canon in the series, the idea of a dark Princess Peach seems like a mere dream. While we think that Bowser works better as a single father, personally, we still wouldn’t mind seeing an evil version of Princess Peach. Besides, considering that both Mario and Luigi and dark doppelgangers, the princess should probably also get one as well. And no, Princess Daisy definitely does not count. Let’s get the plumber facing off against someone different for a change!
15 Sticking To The Shadows
Sonic has seen his fair share of darker versions of himself over the years whether it was Eggman’s robotic version of the hedgehog himself or even Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic has been no stranger to dark doppelgangers. So picturing this darker version of Sonic creeping in the shadows doesn’t seem like too much of a surprise. Still, the evilest part about this version of the titular hedgehog is how much it reminds us of that teaser poster of the upcoming movie. It’s anybody’s guess as to how he’ll actually look!
14 A Worthy Opponent
Mega Man has faced hundreds of robot master over the years and it doesn’t seem like any of them really have what it takes to knock out the blue bomber themselves. Maybe Dr. Wily should consider making a robot based on the most capable android of all time? Considering Mega Man is programmable, a dark version of him isn’t too far of a stretch, especially if Dr. Wily were at the helm. A sinister Mega Man would certainly be a good asset to Dr. Wily’s fiendish ways.
13 We Never Thought They'd Make Us Scared...
If you were like me back in the 90s, you spent countless hours trying to breed a golden Chocobo in Final Fantasy VII. Of course, that road to the perfect Chocobo was littered with plenty of other colors, including black. While the black Chocobo may have been the second best in the lineup, capable of traversing rivers and mountains, they never seemed this dark… it’s those glowing red eyes. Red eyes are always a sign of evil!
12 A Dark Deity
Speaking of glowing red eyes. We already took a look at a sinister version of Link from The Legend of Zelda earlier on in this list, but we couldn’t help but add in another version of the Hero of Time, this time seeming like a cross between Dark Link and Fierce Deity Link. Link has faced dark versions of himself several times over the years, but they were nothing more than mere shadows. This dark variation of Link seems like he might actually be capable of stopping him in his tracks, however.
11 If He Wasn't Intense Enough...
Earthworm Jim was a pretty awesome video game character in the 90s, even spawning his own cartoon series, but his popularity pretty much faded by the turn of the century. While our hero may have never duked it out against a dark version of himself in his side-scrolling days, there was an anti-Jim in the cartoon series. He may look pretty much like his original self other than the gross green exterior, but you can tell there isn’t a good bone in his body. Literally.
10 A Dark Past
Lara Croft may have a pretty dark past compared to other treasure hunting thieves in video game lore, but for the most part, Lara is considered to be one of the good guys. She is also pretty familiar with dealing with the supernatural, so we wouldn’t be surprised if she had to face an evil doppelganger of herself on one of her adventures at some point. Here we get a look at the tomb raider and her dark counterpart side-by-side. While they might look similar, one of their looks could be quite dangerous.
9 Monkey See, Monkey Do
Diddy Kong is probably my favorite of the Kong clan, even surpassing the likes of series’ favorites Dixie Kong and of course the mascot that started it all, Donkey Kong. While Diddy has pretty much followed Donkey Kong’s giant footsteps over the years, it seems unlikely that he will ever turn over a new leaf and turn to the dark side. Still, we see him here doing just that and in all actuality, he really does look quite menacing, maybe even more so than King K. Rool.
8 Talk About A Reject Starter...
We can’t imagine Ash having started out with any other Pokémon other than the series’ electric mascot Pikachu. Sure, Pikachu might have been a tough nut to crack in the beginning, but he eventually became a loving companion. Ash could have had an even rougher start, however… he could have ended up with this Pikachu. Look, we know that Pokémon just follow the morals and orders of their trainers, but we can’t help but think that this specific Pikachu would be a complete nightmare to deal with.
7 Because Spooky Dolls Are Always Scary
Poor Geno. Gamers have been begging for Geno to return in some form or another ever since his inception in Super Mario RPG and while we still might be holding out for a chance for him to appear as DLC in Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, it seems unlikely. I’d be angry too if I was an underappreciated video game character and continuously ignored over the years by developers. So Geno totally has a motive to turn sinister! Besides, who doesn’t enjoy a good old fashioned living-doll storyline?
6 When A Leader Falls, A New One Rises
Who’s to say that Red (Or Ash if you prefer) wouldn’t turn to a life of crime after the original Pokémon games came out? He was only ten, after all! Sure, he might have fulfilled his dreams of becoming a Pokémon master, but maybe adulthood hit him a little harder and he realized being a Pokémon trainer wasn’t all that great, to begin with. And with the head of Team Rocket Giovanni out of the picture, Kanto was up to get a new crime lord at one point or another.
5 Best Not To Get On Her Bad Side
Sorry Sephiroth, but you probably shouldn’t have treated our favorite flower girl like dirt back in Final Fantasy VII. While plenty of rumors talked about possibly reviving Aerith back in the day, they were unfortunately untrue and one of our favorite characters was stuck in the afterlife. We could only imagine what kind of revenge she would enact on Sephiroth if she ever returned, however. Sure, she might seem sweet on the outside, but there’s no telling what kind of revenge she’d want after returning from the grave.
4 We Knew He'd Lose It One Day
There is kind of a joke among Super Mario fans that Luigi is sort of the black sheep of the series’ family. Sure, the green plumber has been around pretty much from the beginning, but he always pales in comparison to his brother and is kind of a loser when comparing the two. It seems like at some point, Luigi might just snap and turn to the dark side, especially since he has dreamed of stepping outside of his brothers’ shadow before. Watch out goombas, because this dark version of Luigi looks relentless.
3 Sonic Might Want To Step Aside...
Forget sinister doppelgangers of Sonic the Hedgehog. A dark version of Miles “Tails” Prower is where it’s at! Tails might be kind of a pushover compared to other characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog universe, but he certainly is capable of so much more. Based on the spirals in his eyes, we can’t help but think that Eggman had the twin-tailed fox hypnotized and turned evil. While Sonic might be more capable in a battle, this dark version of Tails looks way more confident in his fighting abilities than before.
2 The Classic Doppelganger
Rayman has had a dark doppelganger since his early platforming days and his dark variation has shown up in dozens of games since, including skin variations in newer Rayman titles. Still, the evil doppelganger never really seems too vicious as not to go against the Rayman series’ bright and shiny exterior. This variation of Bad Rayman, however, seems a lot more sinister than what we have seen in the past and it looks like those claws and fangs could rip through anything. Rayman might have his hands full with this guy.
1 When The Vampires Have Their Way...
The Castlevania series has given us plenty of spooks over the years, though none might be quite as iconic as Richter Belmont’s duel against Dracula. While Richter has made an appearance in a couple of Castlevania titles, it’s hard to imagine him actually turning into a ghoul himself, though, given the circumstances, it is definitely possible. While the supposed vampire hunter might be one of a kind, we definitely wouldn’t want to square off with him when he has vampire powers as well.