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Top 5 Rare Characters Who Improved With Age

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Many returning characters, in both lead and support roles, have ambled in and out of Rare franchises over the years. Sometimes their appearance remains the same, sometimes they change drastically; sometimes they have the same MO as always, sometimes they snap and go a bit mental. We’ve picked out some returnees who grew nicely over time (or shrunk, in one case).

According to… Ben Talbot

1. Sabrewulf
Being stricken with lycanthropy isn’t all bad. Sure, you might end up accidentally devouring your own family in a fit of bloodlust, but on the plus side you get a really hairy back (perfect for the winter), plus some kick-ass fighting skills.

Despite having the same name, Killer Instinct’s furry blue bad boy isn’t the same beast who appeared in the 1984 Speccy classic Sabre Wulf. He’s actually the cursed alter-ego of Count Von Sabrewulf, an unfortunately named man who probably should have seen it coming.

The scoundrels at Ultratech tempted him into entering the first Killer Instinct tournament with the offer of a possible cure, but only if he won… unfortunately, he ended up being beaten half to death and experimented on to the point of madness. In between this and Orchid accidentally sending everyone back in time in Killer Instinct 2, Ultratech somehow had time to augment him with two cybernetic arms, giving him an approximately 4% better chance of winning. At the end of the saga, he ended up drinking some strange blue gunk that didn’t really do anything. Some people are just born unlucky. Still, the arms did look pretty cool.

Top insider fact: he was also called Cyberwulf for a while, which was probably where the whole idea came from.

2. Dr. Caroll
Sabrewulf might have had both arms hijacked, but that’s nothing compared to Dr. Eustace Caroll who lost all his fleshy bits and became a floating laptop.

In Perfect Dark Zero, Dr. Caroll was working aboard dataDyne Corporation’s Trinity Research Platform, using Neurodrive technology to suck all the cool secrets out of people’s heads. This was particularly handy when Jo Dark dropped by, needing to remember some spoilerific secrets that Jack Dark mentioned earlier in the game. Unluckily for the good doctor, he ended up being shot in the stomach and ‘put on ice’ by end boss Zhang Li.

Dr. Caroll showed up again years later in Perfect Dark as the world’s first fully sentient AI. “I don’t think we ever clarified whether it’s the same consciousness in Perfect Dark or the AI just named himself after the famous Dr. Caroll,” says PDZ writer Dale Murchie. In any case, he had a much bigger role in the sequel after being rescued from dataDyne by Joanna. When he goes crazy, his eyes are those of Beau Chesluk, one of the PD programmers.

Top insider fact: the voice actor for Dr. Caroll in PDZ was Don McCorkindale, who played Mr. Forbes in kids’ drama Grange Hill.

3. Klungo
Grunty’s number one lever-puller from Banjo-Kazooie really didn’t have much to do in the original game, aside from being mean to Tooty in the occasional cut-scene. Mr. Mayles must have taken a shine to him though, because he appeared as a recurring mini-boss in Banjo-Tooie and also created Mecha-Grunty in Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty’s Revenge. He’s one incredibly clever… thing.

By the time Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts comes around, Klungo had rejected Grunty’s evil ways and opened up his own video game arcade in Showdown Town. He also spent the time between games developing the top platform games Hero Klungo Sssavesss Teh World and Hero Klungo Sssavesss Teh Universsse with his company Klungosssoft. Bless.

4. Gnawty
Although technically a member of a species, Gnawty still counts here because he/his beaver kin went from being gorilla fodder in Donkey Kong Country to a full speaking/gibbering role in Banjo-Kazooie’s Click Clock Wood.

Quite why gorillas hate beavers so much was never explained, and we still don’t know who left a giant rock blocking Gnawty’s front door. At least it all worked out for the best with a little help from Kazooie’s Beak Barge move.

5. Conker
Long before he had a Bad Fur Day, Rare’s foul-mouthed squirrel was almost the star of the mind-numbingly cute Twelve Tales: Conker 64 AKA Conker’s Quest. He’d previously appeared as a playable character in Diddy Kong Racing, and as the star of Conker’s Pocket Tales for the Game Boy Color.

Pocket Tales pitted him against the worst/best villain in Rare history, Evil Acorn, who was so evil that he claimed he “would return one day” and then didn’t. Twelve Tales was going to star such similarly inscrutable enemies as ‘K.O. Cat’ before the game was mercifully reinvented as Conker’s Bad Fur Day

Age before beauty – suggestions for future Top 5 lists welcome! Send them our way.