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Distaff and Spear Counterparts in video games.


Distaff Counterparts

  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The Great Giana Sisters started out as a direct port of the original Super Mario Bros before Nintendo cut the cord. The first game is very similar to Mario (especially the first few levels), to the point where Nintendo ordered a cease and desist on it. Twenty years later it was revived but is different enough that it's no longer a distaff counterpart.
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    • Toadette is this to the 'main' Toad.
  • Take Pac-Man. Add pink bow and a BeautyMark. Voila! Ms. PacMan!
  • In a direct homage to Ms. Pac-Man, the sequel to 'Splosion Man is Ms. 'Splosion Man.
  • GrimGrimoire has Lillet and Amoretta, who are female expies of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, with additional Les Yay.
  • In Metal Slug 2, two female soldiers joined up with Marco and Tarma from the first game - Fio and Eri. Aside from when Eri (and Tarma) were booted from the playable cast for Metal Slug 4, they've remained in the series ever since. Their status as the female counterparts to the original duo is made explicit in Metal Slug 3 - halfway through the final mission, the Mars People abduct your character, and their opposite-gender counterpart takes over for the rest of the level: Fio for Marco, Eri for Tarma, and vice versa in both cases.
    • And to confirm, without a doubt, that each female is the counterpart of her respective male version, comes the fact that if there's a second player that is playing with the respective female counterpart during the Mars People abduction. The other guy/chick will be the chosen replacement for your missing character.
    • Speaking of Metal Slug 4, the characters that replaced Tarma and Eri in that game, Trevor and Nadia, were also Distaff Counterparts.
  • Hideo Kojima has a fondness for recycling alternate universe versions of characters he had created previously, almost like actors.
    • During the development of Policenauts, he had a minor role for Solid Snake of Metal Gear - until, to shake things up, Kojima decided to make him a woman. Enter Meryl Silverburgh. When she was reintroduced in Metal Gear Solid, she was made into the niece (actually daughter) of Colonel Campbell and underwent a little Divergent Character Evolution.
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    • Olga Gurlukovch, a nomadic commando encountered in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, to Snake. She does not smoke (Nastasha already filled the chain-smoking Eastern European quota in MGS1), but the rest of her character makeup in on-target: she packs nearly the same kind of pistol, utilizes cover and corner-learning during fights, isn't afraid to fight dirty to win (lobbing grenades, blocking Snake's line of sight with various objects, etc), and is quite scraggly for a solider. When Olga calls herself 'a nomad', Snake replies 'I'm a nomad too', and in Metal Gear Solid 4 he and Otacon live in a plane called the NOMAD. The difference is that Olga's a terrorist-for-hire, whereas Snake is a counterterrorist. Olga later defects to Snake' camp at the cost of her own life, so she's not all bad.
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    • Snake's Archnemesis Dad, Big Boss, got his own distaff counterpart in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater when he was assigned to kill his mentor, The Boss. As this game takes place in the 60's, The Boss originates the use of Snake's trademark sneaking suit and bandanna, and indirectly invented the "Sneaking Mission" during her hostage rescues in WWII.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series:
    • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, Yuriko Omega is the Japanese Schoolgirl version of Yuri from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2. That said, while they are both given as having psychic powers, Yuri mind-controls, while Yuriko tosses things around with her mind. Their personalities are also different.
    • Going back to the original Command & Conquer: Red Alert 1 and 2, Tanya is a Guns Akimbo Action Girl version of the Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series Commando.
    • 2 Yuri's Revenge, in adding Yuri's faction as playable in skirmish mode, introduced the "Virus" unit, basically a female version of the British-exclusive Sniper. Red Alert 3 continued that with the Soviet hero character Natasha. Additionally, Yuri's Revenge had Boris, the Soviet equivalent of Tanya with different strengths and weaknesses (can destroy buildings without having to reach them, but can't [or refuses to] swim).
  • Harry Mason —> Rose DeSalva
  • The Elite Beat Agents' female division, the Elite Beat Divas. Curiously, the Elite Beat Divas seems to be just three girls, while there are five of the agents (and their commander).
  • Rogue Squadron: It's not a straight example, but the Rogue Squadron comics had Soontir Fel, best pilot in the Empire since Vader's death and part of an elite squadron, eventually getting shot with a Y-Wing's ion cannon, being captured, and switching sides to fly in Rogue Squadron. The first game, the only one which didn't cling to the movies for characters and missions, had Kasan Moor, an excellent pilot and rare female Imperial who was part of an elite squadron, eventually getting shot with a Y-Wing's ion cannon, defecting, and switching sides to fly in Rogue Squadron. Her creator has said he was trying to make someone like Fel, and was a little sad to see that while Fel's role was always increasing, Kasan Moor lingered in the limbo containing all the Star Wars Legends characters introduced in video games who weren't involved with Revan or Kyle Katarn, and has been used exactly once since. In another video game (though at least it's one from a different studio, unlike every other character stuck in that limbo).
  • Guy from the original Final Fight ended up being replaced by his sister-in-law Maki in the first of the two SNES sequels. The game attempts to justify the fact Maki's fighting style is identical by establishing that Maki's father was also Guy's Bushin sensei. Later, she reappeared in Capcom vs. SNK 2: Mark of the Millennium and was shoehorned into the portable versions of Street Fighter Alpha 3, where her fighting style was now a bit different from Guy's.
  • Sakura Kasugano and Karin Kanzuki from Street Fighter Alpha are essentially high school girl versions of Ryu and Ken. Though Karin has no direct connection to Ken (as opposed to Sakura, who is Ryu's apprentice and fellow Shotoclone), she has the same color palette (blond hair with a red outfit) and acts as The Rival to Sakura, much like Ken does to Ryu.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The design team for Final Fantasy XIIIs Lightning were literally told to make a female version of Cloud from Final Fantasy VII. In design terms, she fits, having a similar hairstyle and face, a weather-related name, and a similar cold attitude. She's even introduced in a big Homage Shot to Final Fantasy VII when she gets off a train along with a black male gunner, who even says "you're a former soldier" (referencing Cloud's designation as an 'ex-SOLDIER'). However, her personality is quite different to Cloud's, except on the superficial level of them both being stylish, aloof Jerkasses, with Lightning being a lot tougher than the secretly weak Cloud. This is even addressed in Dissidia Final Fantasy 012 where Cloud admits to Lightning that he sees her as 'the real soldier'.
    • Tiamat is both a Distaff Counterpart and Evil Counterpart to Bahamut following Dungeons & Dragons tradition. This is especially noticeable in Final Fantasy VIII, where Tiamat is a Palette Swap of Bahamut and her Scan description indicates she underwent a Face–Heel Turn from being a Guardian Force.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man X8 had two new Navigators to accompany Alia, a mainstay since Mega Man X5. Sure enough, all three of them can be unlocked as playable characters, Distaff Counterparts of the three heroes, having similar playstyles: Alia —> X, Layer —> Zero, and Pallette —> Axl. All they need to think about now is a distaff counterpart to Sigma. Better yet, they shouldn't. (Well, there is always Lumine—no, wait. False alarm.)
    • A cross-series example exists in Ring.EXE from the Battle Network Gaiden Game Battle Chip Challenge, who is, to date, the only NetNavi whose gender is the opposite of the Robot Master they were based on. In case you didn't pick up on the hint, Ring Man was male.
  • Early Harvest Moon games practically lived off of these with their "For Girl" versions, which also were updated rereleases that fixed and added material. Eventually the games added the ability to choose your characters gender at the start.
  • In Pokémon:
    • Humans:
      • Red ↔ Leaf (FireRed / LeafGreen)
      • Ethan ↔ Lyra (HeartGold / SoulSilver) / Kris (Crystal only)
      • Brendan ↔ May (Ruby / Sapphire / Emerald)
      • Lucas ↔ Dawn (Diamond / Pearl / Platinum)
      • Hilbert ↔ Hilda (Black / White)
      • Nate ↔ Rosa (Black 2 / White 2)
      • Calem ↔ Serena (X / Y)
      • Sun ↔ Moon (Sun / Moon)
      • Lunick ↔ Solana (Pokemon Ranger)
      • Kellyn ↔ Kate (Shadows of Almia)
      • Ben ↔ Summer (Guardian Signs)
      • Volkner ↔ Elesa (Diamond/Pearl/Platinum ↔ Black/White)
    • Pokémon:
      • Nidoran-M / Nidorino / Nidoking ↔ Nidoran-F / Nidorina / Nidoqueen
      • Tauros ↔ Miltank
      • Volbeat ↔ Illumise
      • Latios ↔ Latias
      • Gallade ↔ Gardevoir (although it is possible to get a male Gardevoir)
      • Glalie ↔ Froslass (again, a female Glalie is possible)
      • Darkrai ↔ Cresselia: Subverted in that Cresselia is female, but Darkrai is genderless (though always given a male voice and sometimes referred to with masculine pronouns).
      • Braviary ↔ Mandibuzz
      • Zekrom ↔ Reshiram: Averted. Intended to be the case according to Word of God (at least as far as appearance is concerned), but both were given male voices in the anime.note 
      • Mega Mewtwo X ↔ Mega Mewtwo Y: Subverted in that both are alternate transformations of the same Pokémon, are genderless, and that a masculine Mega Mewtwo Y exists in Super Smash Bros..
  • BioShock 2 gives us Big Daddy —> Big Sister.
  • In the Super Robot Wars franchise, we have Ingram and Viletta Pliskin who, in their original game Super Hero Operations, started out as male and female versions of the same original player character. When their characters were later adapted into the Super Robot Wars Alpha series (and the subsequent OG series) Banpresto worked around this by changing Viletta's last name to "Vadim" and explaining that she was actually a gender-bend clone of Ingram.
    • In Super Robot Wars Reversal, you are allowed to choose between Raul and Fiona Gureden, the male and female versions of the same player character, respectively. In Super Robot Wars Original Generations, both of them are adapted into the story as Half-Identical Twins.
    • In Super Robot Wars GC, Banpresto once again allowed the player to select a male or female version of the same character. This time around, both of them actually share the same exact name — Akemi Akatsuki — only with their given names spelled using different kanji. Lord knows how Terada plans to work around that one if he ever decides to put them into the OG series.
  • Parodied in Ace Attorney, where the producer of the popular series "The Steel Samurai: Warrior of Neo-Olde Tokyo" creates "The Pink Princess: Warrior of Little Olde Tokyo", featuring basically the same plot and setting but with a girlier gimmick (even the star of Steel Samurai, Will Powers, plays the Pink Princess in the sequel).
  • Persona 3 Portable subverts this with its Female Protagonist route. Though she shares the male protagonist's Wild Card power and has a gender-flipped version of his starting Persona, she's otherwise very different from him; the male is blue-haired, wields swords, and is stoic to the point of occasionally bordering on apathetic, while the female is auburn-haired, wields naginatas, and is a Plucky Girl who is determinedly cheerful and energetic.
  • Mortal Kombat has quite a few. Sheeva is a female Goro and Kintaro (she was even known as She-Goro in early development before names were decided upon). Chameleon has Khameleon and Sub-Zero has Frost (the latter is justified in that Frost was—for a time—Subby's handpicked pupil). Kira is said to be a female Kano, although she also draws inspiration from Sonya.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog — Amy Rose. Amy even started out as basically a pink version of Sonic with clothes on before being redesigned.
  • The Wii Fit series has two generic fitness trainers, a man and a woman, that help players with exercises. Both of them also appear together in the fourth Super Smash Bros. game.
  • In Robopon, Cherry and Diane are this to Sunny and Sun-02.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Lucina in Awakening is deliberately this to Marth from Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, including going by his name early on in the game. After all, Lucina is a direct descendant of Marth.
    • Morgan also counts. They can be male or female, but they serve the same purpose: in this case, female Morgan is a perfect mirror of her father, the male Avatar. Both wear the same robe, have the same backstory (they were stricken with amnesia and discovered and recruited by Chrom's Shepherds), and in-game they share the Tactician and Grandmaster classes, which are exclusive to the Avatar and his/her children (and Streetpass/Einherjar characters, but they're non-canon), and have the unique capacity to reclass into any other class in the game (except the female-exclusive Pegasus Rider line for males and the male-exclusive Barbarian line for females).
    • Micaiah in Radiant Dawn is the counterpart to Ike, hero of Path of Radiance. Both are charismatic and effective military commanders who come apparently out of nowhere and save their respective countries by finding the previous king's secret heir and restoring them to the throne. Bastian points out the parallels in a letter to Ike.
  • For the 3DS edition of Hyrule Warriors, Linkle is a subversion. Despite having a similar name and appearance to Link, she has her own distinct story branch and character. Her childish "wannabe" characteristics actually make her more similar to Tingle than Link.
  • Tekken 7 introduces a female superior to Raven named "Master Raven".
  • Katrielle Layton, daughter of Professor Layton.

Spear Counterparts

  • Dream Festival! was conceived as the male counterpart to Aikatsu!.
  • In-Universe for Lunar: Nall is Team Pet in Lunar: The Silver Star. Ruby fills the same role in the sequel Lunar: Eternal Blue, but now with femininity, pinkness, and a big yellow bow on her her head.
  • Lubba to Rosalina.
  • Bunnelby and Diggersby (normal-looking rabbit which evolves into larger, very masculine rabbit) to Buneary and Lopunny (normal-looking rabbit which evolves into larger, very feminine rabbit).
  • Sean Matsuda from Street Fighter III to Sakura Kasugano from Street Fighter Alpha. Both are teenage Shotoclones, as well as the apprentices of Ryu and Ken (though Sakura is an unofficial pupil of Ryu's).
  • Touken Ranbu is essentially this to Kantai Collection; they're both free-to-play browser Card Battle Games hosted on the same website, but Touken Ranbu's characters are male personifications of historically famous Japanese swords rather than female personifications of Japanese WWII battleships. Amusingly, the series would get its own distaff counterparts in the all-girl Shinken!! (also hosted on the same site) and Tenka Hyakken (by the same developer behind Kantai Collection).
  • Cloud Strife in Final Fantasy VII is too similar to Celes Chere from Final Fantasy VI for it to be coincidental. Both of them are magic-using swordspeople who have been enhanced via Magitek, and share a similar personality and appearance. They also both get a strong character moment early on where they're forced to dress up in feminine clothing in order to fool a perverted comedy villain. Cloud later was used as a basis for the female character Lightning above.
  • In The iDOLM@STER:
    • The all-male idol group Jupiter were seen as the counterparts for 765 as a whole, given their rivalry and some similarities to the main group.
    • Ryo Akizuki of Dearly Stars serves as this for Makoto Kikuchi of the mainline games. While Makoto is a tomboy popular with girls who was raised to be masculine and wants to be seen for her feminine side, Ryo is a (quite unwilling) Wholesome Crossdresser popular with boys who was signed onto 876 Productions as a girl and wants to be seen as a male idol. Both get their wish; Makoto's feminine side is seen as an endearing quality to her boyish attitude, and Ryo's fans never stop following him when he outs himself as a boy. It's even shown in an epilogue that Ryo later went on to become a successful male idol.
    • 315 Productions is this to 765, 876, and 346 Productions. It focuses on producing solely male idols, with some even being Gender Flipped versions of tropes found in other series' idols. Even its secretary, Ken Yamamura, is this to Chihiro and Kotori. It's worth noting that the above listed male idols ended up signing on to 315 some time after their stories ended in their home games.
  • Argonavis is this to BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!. Unlike most examples, the former takes place in an Alternate Continuity, eliminating any interactions between the latter.

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