King Koopa Copy. Try to say that really fast. It seems that the Super Mario Bros.' archnemesis, King Bowser Koopa, serves as the inspiration for many villains in other video games. There are two main reasons for this: One, simply that the Mario franchise is so well known that most creators know enough about Bowser to base these characters on him. Bowser is one of the first, and certainly one of the most long-running video game villains. It also certainly helps that the game in which he debuted was released in The '80s, when most people who are creators nowadays were kids, and likely to play the game and remember its antagonist. Two, he uses many tropes associated with villainy (An Obviously Evil appearance, a fire motif, a menacing growl, etc.) For this reason, Bowser is kind of a go-to inspiration when designing a villain for a video game, or anything else. The classic fairy-tale dragon, which kidnaps and guards princesses in a cave or a castle, is one of the main inspirations for characters like these. These characters may:
- Be big and imposing. Typically a Top-Heavy Guy.
- Have all sorts of scary-looking pointy parts, such as spikes, horns, fangs, and claws.
- Have spiky or bushy hair, with Evil Eyebrows. Big ones!
- Have a color scheme consisting of red, green, yellow, and/or black.
- Kidnap someone, and that someone is usually either the hero's girlfriend or a princess, if not both.
- Be a King Mook with a large army of other members of his species, which is usually Always Chaotic Evil. Also, his species is usually reptilian, because Reptiles Are Abhorrent. However, other big, scary animals may be used instead, such as bears or pigs.
- Have a tough, brutish personality. May also have a touch of arrogance.
- Have a very deep, growly voice. May or may not actually speak.
- Have Stout Strength. Usually Acrofatic.
- Have Glowing Eyes of Doom, usually red.
- Have fire powers, usually fire breath, since Evil Is Burning Hot.
- Live in a dark, scary castle, usually found in a Lethal Lava Land.
- Be associated with Rotten Rock & Roll and/or Ominous Pipe Organ.
- Be fought on a bridge, usually over a pit of lava, and defeated when the hero gets to the other side of the bridge and activates a switch that makes the bridge fall. This is how Bowser is fought in the original Super Mario Bros., and it's so much more recognizable than Bowser battles in later games that it's practically a Signature Scene for the original game.
- Be a Classic Villain, usually embodying Wrath and Pride, if not other sins.
- Be rather Laughably Evil. A King Koopa Copy isn't usually the way to go if you want your villain to be a serious threat, although some turn out to be Not So Harmless Villains, like Bowser himself has shown multiple times.
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- Super Mario Bros.:
- King Bowser Koopa, of course, is the Trope Namer. Starting with Super Mario Bros., he is the Big Bad of the franchise, the ruler of an empire of turtles, is himself a dragon-ox-turtle, has massive brute strength and fire breath, and is always trying to kidnap Princess Peach and take over the Mushroom World.
- The Final Boss of Super Mario Bros. 2 is not Bowser, but a grumpy, tyrannic toad named Wart. This is because the game was originally conceived as Doki Doki Panic, which happens to have borrowed many Mario elements beforehand.
- Tatanga the extra-terrestrial is another Mario Big Bad from Super Mario Land. However, his "Bowser expy" side was mostly used in the Game Boy comics.
- King Totomesu, the first boss of Super Mario Land, fits the bill a bit more closely than Tatanga, being a large red-and-yellow fire-breathing creature fought on a bridge.
- Wario was originally conceived as one of these. As an exaggerated Evil Counterpart to Mario, Wario was depicted as a bigger, fatter, crazier and more powerful version of the iconic red plumber, as well as a straightforward villain. He would undergo Divergent Character Evolution in later games and become a comic relief anti-hero, headlining a series of adventure games and another series of quirky minigame collections.
- Midbus in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story is designed as a bit of a Mirror Boss for Bowser, and he has the same build except he's pink, has a pig face, and his spikey shell looks a bit like an armadillo's.
- The Legend of Zelda's Big Bad, Ganon (who came from the same creator as Bowser), started out as one of these. In the first couple games, he was a beastly Pig Man overlord who kidnapped Princess Zelda and tried to take over the land of Hyrule. However, when his human form, Ganondorf, was introduced, he went through Divergent Character Evolution from Bowser and became more of an intelligent, refined villain. The development even went the other way, as both were said to be skilled in Dark Magic, but while Ganon/Ganondorf eventually became more focused on magic, Bowser became more focused on brute strength. Ironically, Super Smash Bros. brings this full circle by depicting Ganondorf (in human form) as a brute-strength heavyweight just like Bowser, although he uses loosely defined martial arts techniques (mostly based on another human character) whereas Bowser's style is rougher and even less refined. Breath of the Wild takes this divergence into overdrive, as Ganon has transformed over the millennia into an Eldritch Abomination Almighty Idiot that is Made of Evil (the liquid "Malice" Ganon secretes corrupts Hyrule and hurts Link), is primarily referred to as an "It", and wants to completely destroy everything rather than Take Over the World.
- Gruntilda from Banjo-Kazooie as a rare female example. In addition to having a green skin, she also shoots fireballs during the final battle of the first game. Subverted with Captain Blackeye who was to be the Final Boss of Dream (the game that eventually became Banjo-Kazooie). In Banjo-Tooie you can find him drowning his sorrows in Jolly Roger's Lagoon lamenting that "a bear and bird stole his glory".
- Conker's Bad Fur Day parodies this trope with the Panther King. Despite being a big, menacing tyrant with an army of Wicked Weasels, a horrifying voice, and even a similar facial structure to Bowser, he's an incompetent manchild who doesn't even survive long enough to be the Final Boss.
- Baron Dante from Croc is a big green-skinned monster king with a deep voice and magic powers. He even has a mohawk!
- Pete already has some similarities to Bowser, being an imposing antagonist known for kidnapping Minnie Mouse, but the Disney's Magical Quest games really play up the similarities between the two by making Pete an Evil Sorcerer, and making him much, much bigger than Mickey. The character himself debuted in the 1920's making him far far older then the troper namer!
- Donkey Kong's villains are highly reminiscient of the Koopa King:
- King K. Rool is often seen as the series' answer to Bowser. He is an overweight yet muscular crocodile who is green, has sharp teeth, menacing claws, and is the leader of an army of crocodiles known as the Kremlings. K. Rool's first appearance (using the 'King' moniker) is the most easily comparable to Bowser, though as his series progresses, the Kremling King undergoes Divergent Character Evolution. Among the things that distinguish him from Bowser, K. Rool gains an affinity for Cold-Blooded Torture, suffers Sanity Slippage (to the point of voluntarily risking his and his minions' lives by starting up an untested Blast-o-Matic), and develops a flair for theatrics, dressing up in various costumes in each new game.
- Donkey Kong Country Returns has Tiki Tong, leader of the villainous Tiki Tak Tribe. He's get Red Eyes, Take Warning, a Jagged Mouth, and a scary roar.
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze's main villain, Lord Frederik, is a powerful warlord who leads the vikings known as Snowmads. Like K. Rool, he too is pretty tubby, but still able to put up a fight. Interestingly, he's An Ice Person, while Bowser is Playing with Fire.
- Garland, the Big Bad from the original Final Fantasy I was that on a minor level (kidnapping Princess Sarah and such) but it really was expended in the Dissidia: Final Fantasy series which added to his design a BFS, a menacing voice, and more Spikes of Villainy.
- Five Nights At Candys 3: In the Retraux-style platformer minigame "Candy's Adventure", the final boss is the Boss Dog, an enormous red-furred Angry Guard Dog who breathes fireballs, leads an army of smaller red dogs, and wears a spiky collar.
- In one level of Guacamelee!, you are running away from an enormous dragon who resembles Bowser. The dragon is defeated by luring him onto a bridge, then hitting a switch that causes the bridge to collapse, a tribute to Super Mario Bros., where Mario defeats Bowser the same way.
- Bernardo from High Seas Havoc is a Wily Walrus who heavily resembles Bowser due to his large frame, Evil Eyebrows, and similar color scheme. He also kidnaps the hero's girlfriend.
- King Dedede of the Kirby series was a straightforward example in his first appearance in which he stole all the food in Dream Land, forcing Kirby to rise and stop him. However this gets subverted in the second game Kirby's Adventure, in which Dedede breaks the Star Rod from the Fountain of Dreams, causing everyone in Dream Land to be unable to dream and gives the pieces to his minions. But it turns out he only did this to prevent Nightmare, a Sealed Evil in a Can born of nightmares from getting loose. Since then he's become more of an Anti-Villain, butting heads with Kirby until a worse threat shows up and often goes out of his way to quell bigger threats to his kingdom. These days, most of his grievous acts are only committed when he's befallen Demonic Possession. The creators of Super Smash Bros. are aware King Dedede's similarity to Bowser: one of the first events in Brawl Lampshades it by pitting you against Bowser and Dedede, describing them as "selfish kings".
- Ridley from Metroid could be seen as a combination of this trope and the Xenomorphs from the Alien franchise. He is often associated with fire and magma along with the areas he makes his domain in, he has sharp claws and red eyes, breathes fire, and is a large, reptilian leader of a roving band of Space Pirates, who in some games also appear to look reptilian. He also kick starts the events of Super Metroid by kidnapping the Baby Metroid that Samus was trying to protect, prompting her to go back to Zebes to rescue it.
- Junkrat and Roadhog from Overwatch could be considered Decomposite Characters of this trope. Junkrat has a similar hairstyle and Evil Eyebrows, his explosives can meet the fire criteria, and the spiky tire on his back resembles Bowser's spiky shell. Roadhog is a brute of a man with an incredibly deep voice and Stout Strength. Both are vicious criminals who smash and destroy with glee.
- Many starter Pokémon's final evolutions resemble this. However as Mons they only really count as antagonists if your rival is using one.
- Charizard is a heroic or True Neutral example in media where it shows a personality. It's a hefty fire-breathing dragon with vocalizations similar to Bowser's (outside of the main series games), and has a superficially similar moveset to Bowser in the Super Smash Bros. series. When it Mega Evolves into Mega Charizard X, it gets sharper horns, extra spikes and red eyes. In the anime series, Ash's Charizard is a highly arrogant, archetypical "tough guy" jerkass until Ash wins over its loyalty. Finally, Pokkén Tournament gives Charizard a stouter, fatter and more muscular build that more closely resembles Bowser, complete with well-defined pecs like what Bowser had in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl.
- The bipedal turtle motif was taken by Charizard's fellow stater Pokemon, Blastoise, but the similarities pretty much end there.
- Emboar bears more than a passing resemblance to Ganon himself.
- Turtonator, introduced in Pokémon Sun and Moon, is a bipedal tortoise with a spiky shell just like Bowser's. Its Fire/Dragon typing reinforces the similarities, since Bowser breathes fire and has draconic features.
- Rocket Knight Adventures:
- In the original game, Emperor Devligus Devotindos is the leader of the pig-like Devotindos Empire. He is a large pig who has sharp teeth and claws, and wears a black cape, pants, and spiked shoulder pads, while his minions usually have green armor and vehicles. He has also hired Sparkster's arch-rival and Evil Counterpart, Axel Gear, to kidnap Princess Sherry and retrieve the key to the seal to unseal his ultimate weapon of destruction, the Pig Star. In the battle against him, he is revealed to be a Terminator-like robot, and one of many such robots stocked aboard the Pig Star.
- In the sequel, Sparkster: Rocket Knight Adventures 2, King Gedol is the leader of the lizard-like Gedol Empire. He is a large green lizard who has long horns, sharp teeth and claws, uses spells and summons during the battle against him, and his minions wear purple armor, like Axel Gear. He has also hired Axel Gear to capture Princess Sherry's cousin, Princess Cherry, and seek out the seven Holy Swords.
- Zavok from Sonic Lost World has huge fangs, spiky shoulders, Evil Eyebrows, and menacing claws. He's also the leader and the strongest member of the Deadly Six. However, despite being the weakest member of the group, Zazz has even more traits of this, such as his mohawk. Even his wild, brutish personality is more in line with this trope than Zavok's calm, ominous demeanor.
- Asgore, the king of the Underground of Undertale is inspired by Bowser and Ganon, being a goat-beast monster with sharp horns and carries a sharp trident. His personality, though, is much different.
- Wario Land: Shake It!: The Shake King is basically Wario's version of Bowser, with an evil glare, large horns, red-and-yellow colors, a huge army, and a kidnapped princess. He also greatly resembles Wario, which is ironic because Wario was an example of this trope in his first appearance.
- The Final Boss of Pikmin is the Emperor Bulblax, a giant-sized green Bulborb with a sludgy texture and mushrooms in its back capable of eating Pikmin with its large, purple tongue. Though it doesn't breathe fire, it shares other attacks from Bowser like Ground Pound (first game only) and Pikmin-scaring roars (second game only).
- King Drool III in the Bonk series. A large, green, crowned Tyrannosaurus rex with wings. He conquers the dinosaur world and kidnaps and brainwashes the Damsel in Distress Princess Za in the first Bonk game. He settled on just taking over the world afterwards, though.
- Chowder does this twice. This is likely a case of Author Appeal, as series creator CH Greenblatt is a video game fan:
- Characteristically, Lord Hater from Wander over Yonder shares a lot of traits with Bowser, more specifically the Bowser of the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi games. Like Bowser, Hater is in control of an army of species-specific minions that are loyal to him and has a tendency to use his power for selfish and petty reasons. Both have a miserable record of failures when it comes to evil plans and tend to be subject to a number of Amusing Injuries and embarrassing situations. They both have bizarre relationships with their arch-enemies that vary from animosity to grudging respect and sometimes even share in recreational activities.
- Lord Tirek from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic averts this at first, being introduced as a small and sickly red and black centaur with a raspy voice, but he starts fitting the mold once he starts absorbing magic from ponies in his plot to conquer Equestria. Tirek's voice gets deeper and more growly, and he grows larger the more magic he absorbs. Near the end, and after draining a populations of ponies, Tirek is a towering, imposing figure who captures and imprisons three Alicorn Princesses Celestia, Luna, and Cadence in Tartarus. He also gains massive horns, bulging muscles, glowing eyes, as well as wielding fire-based magic and being extra brutish and rough in fighting, willing to throw and tackle the much smaller Twilight Sparkle through a mountain. Tirek doesn't have a legion of minions at his disposal, but he managed to coax Discord into doing his dirty work for him, until betraying him once he was done being useful. To cement this, in his Bad Future scenario in the Season 5 finale, he has turned Equestria into a Lethal Lava Land.