10 Video Game Characters Who Changed DRASTICALLY
Whether it’s physical appearance, personality, or even importance, not every video game character remains the same throughout their lifespan. For this list of ten gaming greats, change was inevitable. For some, it fits perfectly; while others may have been better left untouched. In this instalmmnet, we look at the ten characters that underwent a heap of change to be the creations they are today.
The name Lara Croft is synonymous with strong female characters, and the early PlayStation titles are some of the more recognizable feats in early 3D gaming. The character was a no-nonsense tomb raider that could easily give Indiana Jones a run for his money. She was the strong, sexy face of female gamers in a time where the industry was still generally ignoring the female market. So when the character underwent a complete make-over in 2013 for Crystal Dynamics Tomb Raider reboot, not everyone was pleased. The reboot saw Croft, now more traditionally pretty than the stronger and sexier early iterations, before she became the hardened adventurer gamers knew her as. Her strengths were more internal, and though that allowed for character growth over the course of the game, it seemed to go against everything that Lara Croft had originally stood for.
In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Raiden replaced Solid Snake as the main character, a move that fans loathed. The character was quite the antithesis of Snake, with flowing locks of blonde hair and almost intolerable characteristics. Despite the outpour of hatred gamers had on the character, series director Hideo Kojima brought him back in the fourth installment, Guns of the Patriots, seemingly as a means to redeem the both himself and the character. Raiden was a shadow of his former self, equipped with a cyborg body, much like Grey Fox and Olga Gurlukovich before him. His temperament was more subdued and gruff, putting him near the level with the legendary Solid Snake, allowing fans to finally accept him into the Metal Gear universe.
Dante was first introduced in Capcom's 2001 gothic action title, Devil May Cry, where his personality was almost as sharp as the sword on this back. Dante’s personality was one of his great charms, which is why fans went into an uproar when the flashy demon hunter took on a more serious, straight-laced tone in the follow-up, Devil May Cry 2. The character, who looked much older in the sequel, was almost unrecognizable in both looks and personality, save for his staple red jacket. Another change took place for the prequel, Dante’s Awakening, to make the character much younger. Of course, these transformations pale in comparison to the complete overhaul the character received for Ninja Theory’s reboot in 2013. Though his name remake intact, his look and persona went through an entire adjustment for the new installment.
It was 1980 when the yellow ball known as Pac-Man hit the arcade circuit. The game was simple - survive through a maze of walls and pellets while trying to avoid four pesky ghosts. An amazing formula of mixed simplicity and complicity turned out to be an extremely addicting game, but as time wore on, the in-game model needed some updating. So, in the easily forgotten quiz game Professor Pack-Man, the character was given legs and a small pug nose. Overtime, the character's features became greatly exaggerated, with longer legs, more predominant eyebrows, and an elongated nose. As if the physical change wasn't enough, Pac-Man became a verifiable hero, taking on evil geniuses and evil spirits, leaving his days of maze running.
What started as a simple altered sprite color blossomed into a lovable counterpart to the famed Mario of the Super Mario Bros. Even though Luigi began his career as a back-up character, always playing second fiddle to his fellow plumber in red, over the years he was able to create a name for himself. With successful games like Luigi's Mansion and the 3DS follow-up, Dark Moon, the green machine quickly rose the ranks to hero. Luigi was even eventually privy to his own princess to gawk over, Princess Daisy. To mark the release of Dark Moon, New Super Luigi U, and Dr. Luigi, Nintendo commemorated the green plumber with a period from 2013 to 2014 dubbed as the "Year of Luigi."
Gamers from the early 1980's will recognize this brutish ape as the giant obstacle between Jumpman and the hapless princess. Tossing barrels down a series of planks, Donkey Kong proved to be a nuisance that everybody grew to hate over a series of games. That is, of course, until he started starring in his own series - Donkey Kong Country. From there, the ape became a hero, joining the ranks of Mario and friends in games like Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart to rival the equally sizable Bowser.
Everybody knows Mario as the red jumpsuit wearing Italian plumber, and he has been that to gamers for quite some time, but his start was far less glamorous. Before taking over as one of Nintendo's most notable mascots, Mario was simply known as Jumpman in the arcade classic Donkey Kong. After his premier in Donkey Kong, Jumpman transformed into Mario in the classic NES side scrolling platformer, but the plumber still had some growing to do. After joining the realm of 3D and being supplied with a voice actor, Mario pretty much started to do everything, from sports to brawling, leaving his Jumpman persona in the dust.
Leon S. Kennedy
The rookie cop from Resident Evil 2 is almost unrecognizable by the time you get to his role in Resident Evil 6. Of course, the trials he has been through has aged him a little, but his biggest transformation has come from within. In his first appearance in Raccoon City, Leon is naive, easily swayed, and not entirely at his strongest. By his reemergence in Resident Evil 4, the character has seen his fair share of trauma and hardships and has clearly learned a thing or two, though his personality is still on the lighter side. In Resident Evil 6, he’s a no-nonsense agent of the United States government. He’s more a shell of his former self, having left behind his life as a rookie Raccoon City Police officer after just one day on the job.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic's transformation over the years is a little more subtle and physical than most, but there's no denying the blue hedgehog has seen his fair share of change since 1991. One of the more tragic changes in Sonic's lifespan is his fall as Sega's mascot. During the years of the Sega Genesis, Sonic was the face of the console. With Sega's move from consoles to simply developing games, Sonic lost much of his luster and the quality of his games declined. Along with these changes, Sonic also started to get taller, more slender, and became a bit more anthropomorphic with a voice actor bringing the character to life. In the 2008 game Sonic Unleashed, the blue hedgehog could transform into a Werehog, marking one of the more unique changes to the character.
The Prime Evil, Diablo, has been seen over the course of three games, and though he had mostly remained the same between the original and the sequel, his 3rd iteration looks like a complete reimagining of the character. Where the big red baddy was more bulky and menacing looking for his first two appearances, the character followed societal norms and slimmed down quite a bit. As the demon’s vessel was Deckard Cane’s niece, Leah, Diablo took on a more effeminate look. Not everyone took kindly to the new design, which featured multiple arms and weird mouth-creatures embedded on its shoulders.