By Royce J.
There have been many memorable video game sequels over the years, and even more attempts to introduce new characters into the general consciousness of gamers worldwide. These are the standouts from a handful of famous follow-up titles.
8. Princess Toadstool-Super Mario Bros 2 (1988)
The transformation of Princess Toadstool (now Princess Peach) from vulnerable kidnapping victim, to nimble heroine in the sequel was truly astounding. By no means was Peach a game changing character. Much like early computers, Peach lacked speed and power attributes. However, she made up for it with an ability to cheat gravity and float through levels. More importantly, her and Mario seemed to be amicably separated, paving the way for her to begin forging her own iconic identity.
7. Shao Kahn- Mortal Kombat II (1993)
Yes, he shares an extremely similar moniker to the Jungle Books’ stripey villain, “Shere Kahn.” But Mowgli would have gotten his little, red loin clothed ass kicked all across the jungle at the hands of this sledgehammer wielding sorcerer. With a mask like Skeletor and a body like He-Man, Khan seems to have split his time evenly between conjuring-up spells and working-out. Due to instant popularity, he was quickly resurrected for MK3 as the final boss again. The physical damage we took from him was only rivaled by the psychological damage stemming from his incessant mid-fight mockeries.
6. The Arbiter-Halo 2 (2004)
Many gamers tap Master Chief as the ultimate first- person shooter creation of all time. Single handedly tearing through the alien hostiles in the first game, he was eventually joined by The Arbiter, a playable member of the enemy Covenant. Upon learning of plans for the extinction not only of his own race, but all life in the galaxy, The Arbiter defects and joins humanity. Absent from the original, players were subsequently given a highly developed enemy perspective complete with a background story of disgrace and redemption far richer than Master Chief’s.
5. Skate-Streets of Rage 2 (1992)
Kicking serious ass isn’t easy to begin with-now try doing it on skates. Eddie “Skate” Hunter is the younger brother of policeman Adam Hunter, who was captured following the original game and doesn’t appear in the sequel. Far from being a burdensome tagalong, Skate is a relentless young Floyd Mayweather on wheels. His acrobatic breakdancing style of fighting added an element of speed and attitude that was missing from the original. Appearing at the height of the inline skating/roller blading era, Skate gives younger gamers a character to connect to, while paying homage to a since deceased 90’s fad.
4. The Ambulance-John Madden Football ’92 (1991)
In the days of bloody hockey video game fights and basketball brawls (see Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball), the second console iteration of the Madden football series introduced one of its greatest creations: The Ambulance. Injuries have always played a major part in the violent ballet that is professional football, and an ambulance has long been a mainstay at stadiums across the country. But what was unique about this ambulance was how it deliciously satisfied our appetite for barbarity. It easily caused far more injuries than it helped to relieve–often times haphazardly wiping out entire offensive lines as it careened onto the field after an injury. Players would learn to hustle out of its path in all later versions, but it was eventually discontinued in 2001.
3. Chun Li-Street Fighter 2 (1991)
With the shoulder pads of a career-woman and what could only be described as a “hair bra,” Chun Li was the best thing to happen for the future of female fighting characters. The only lady floating in a sea of international male testosterone, Chun Li effortless stayed afloat due to a mixture of speed, power, and a balanced fighting style. Her sleek figure bounced all over the screen, slowing down just long enough to pull off a spinning bird kick, or back an opponent into the corner, battering them mercilessly with the devastating lighting kick attack. Beaten by a girl–you had it coming.
2. Tails-Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992)
Miles “Tails” Prower joined Sonic for his second quest to save the Chaos Emeralds from the sinister Dr. Robotnik. Nicknamed for his multiple tails, this adorably diminutive flying fox brings a sense of uncompromising loyalty to Sonic. Despite spending half the game off-screen playing catch up with his fleet footed partner (he “Tails” Sonic), his good nature and devotion is never shaken. Tails must have really resonated with all younger offspring doing everything they could to keep up with older siblings.
1.Wario-Super Mario Land 2 (1992)
Overcome with jealousy and aversion for the ubiquitous Mario Brothers, childhood rival and over-inflated doppelganger Wario has seized control of Mario Land. Skilled in hand to hand combat as well as sorcery, Wario has placed a spell on the island’s residents to deceive them into attacking its noble, eponymous leader. Fans would have to wait another two years to control Wario in his own title, as he is not playable in this game. Despite his noticeable size advantage, he is easily defeated in the culminating battle by a combination of dodging and head jumping. However, his role as Mario’s greedy, dedicated antagonist in countless future titles has cemented his place as the greatest new character from a video game sequel. Waluigi could never compare.