You can tell how good The Hero or bad the Villain is by how deep their scars were cut. Take it a few steps further and then imagine the kind of stories one can tell when they're missing a leg. Or two.
Artificial Limbs are commonly given to amputees to help them function pragmatically and to give them a sense of normalcy. Prosthetics can range from simple wooden legs and hook-hands, to robotic arms to even fully-functioning clone limbs made of artificial plasma-gel.
Heroic-types usually try to make their arms and legs look similar to their original ones. If they could not put artificial skin of some kind on it, they at least try to make it look as unrobotic and nonthreatening as possible. Bad guys on the other hand try to make their robot arms and legs as bulky and and obvious as possible, showing it off to show that they will NOT be a victim again, not unlike how one would brandish a gun in their belt to intimidate. At times they could even see their non-robotic components as a weakness, losing more and more of their humanity as they replace their bodies with soulless tech. And some really nasty types have artificial limbs with permanently-installed weaponry.
Character Alignment may also depend on how they lost their limbs in the first place. They could have lost their legs saving a child from a drunk-driven truck, losing their eye trying to rob some old lady or something as simple as losing a finger or five in the garbage disposal.
- In the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, artificial limbs are a recurring element among the vikings of the Barbaric Archipelago. Due to a harsh environment, savage dragons and even savager vikings, loss of limb is rather commonplace. The protagonist of the series Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III loses his left leg after defending his village from a tyrannical queen dragon the Red Death. Not only does his prosthetic leg match the prosthetic tail fin he built for Toothless (making them even), but it can be seen as a badge of honor for defending his people and wears it proudly. The Evil Counterpart to this can be seen in the antagonist of How to Train Your Dragon 2 Drago Bludvist. He lost his arm at a young age seeing his whole village destroyed by dragons. He manages to hide the stump with a false arm, and is generally a bastard. Rule of Symbolism takes this a step further, as while Hiccup is missing a leg and deals with dragons with a gentle hand, Drago is missing his arm and deals with dragons by crushing them beneath his heel (literally in Hookfang's case).
- In the end of The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader cuts off Luke's hand with his lightsaber, and Luke replaces it with a prosthetic. This can be compared to Anakin's replacement arm after it was severed by Count Dooku, and later when all four of his limbs where replaced in his transformation into Darth Vader himself.
- UrTih the Alchemist and his skeksis counterpart SkekTek the Scientist from The Dark Crystal both possess prosthetic arms and legs. UrTih wields a right arm and leg carved from wood, while SkekTek had robotic prosthetics. Because the two were once a single entity, they both probably lost their limbs at the same time. What's even more disturbing, it is mentioned that SkekTek did it to himself out of mix of scientific curiosity and sadomasochism, with UrTih just sitting there taking it as his limbs fell off bleeding without rhyme or reason.
- Deuteragonist Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road possesses a make-shift Diesel Punk left arm that she is more than capable of functioning without. This is in contrast to The Antagonist Immortal Joe, a Dark Lord on Life Support kept alive through a breathing apparatus designed to look like a menacing skull mask that gives him Vader Breath.
- Warhammer 40K::
- Many Imperial soldiers sport some form of Used Future prosthetic, but the Adeptus Mechanicus use the degree of prosthetic replacement as an indicator of rank, seeking to one day make themselves wholly mechanical.
- Chaos prosthetics tend to be spikier and more weaponized. The Obliterators are former Mechanicus troops who found themselves melding with their prosthetics, to the point where they now function as a living Swiss Army Weapon.
- Ork prosthetics, on the other hand, are as big, brutish, and utilitarian as their owners.
- And then ther's Commissar Yarrick, a human with a prosthetic arm and Powerful Pincer... a prosthetic arm he ripped from the corpse of the ork who'd just chopped off his arm. He also has a human-made laser-shooting bionic eye, which he obtained after learning the ors thought he could kill with a glance.
- Each Lokomo in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks requires an automatic wheelchair to move. The only exeception is Bryne, a rogue Lokomo who has a mechanical left arm equipped with a set of Wolverine Claws. He can use it for hand-to-hand combat or launch it like a grappling hook.
- Overwatch is chock full of examples played straight and otherwise. Of the characters with confirmed prosthetic limbs, we have:
- Doomfist, a mercenary/ terrorist whose primary weapon is the massive gauntlet that he wears over his right arm; both his arms are themselves quite intimidating prosthetics. Doomfist is one of the few confirmed antagonists in the game, and his gauntlet is twice as large as his left arm, decked out with spiked knuckles, and features a prominent set of horns on the shoulder.
- Genji, a former yakuza and current Cyber Ninja under the employ of Overwatch whose injuries were so severe that 3/4 of his limbs and most of his torso had to be rebuilt with cybernetic prostheses. Genji is a rogue operator, but ultimately he strives to atone for his past actions. While undoubtedly mechanical looking, his body maintains basic humanoid proportions. Notably, in the Uprising comic (and the skin which was unlockable in the event) his cybernetic parts are Red and Black and Evil All Over, much more angular and expose a lot more wiring and bare skin. It's made clear that at the time he was still working for Blackwatch, and had yet to find the peace he has in the present.
- McCree, a former teenage arms dealer and gang member who was taken in by the titular organization. His bulky (but proportionally sized) mechanical hand and forearm are decorated with a prominent skull, hearkening back to his criminal past.
- Junkrat, an Australian scavenger and international criminal. In keeping with his chaotic nature, his prosthetic arm and leg appear to be cobbled together out of scrap metal and discarded parts. His peg-leg also forces him to walk with a distinctive limp.
- Torbjorn, a brilliant but jaded engineer who worked for Overwatch. His left arm appears to have been replaced by a set of Power Pincers, and his right eye is covered by a mechanical looking eye patch.
- The members of Team Star Fox in the Star Fox all possess identical metal prosthetics to to better endure the G-force their line of work entails note . In contrast, many of the bad guys possess artificial body parts varying in variety. Andross survives his battle in Star Fox and reappears with a false eye in Star Fox 2. General Scales from Star Fox Adventures possesses a primitive two-hooked false hand. Fox's rival Wolf O'Donnell has worn an eye patch through most of the series, ungrading to a technological false eye by Star Fox: Assault.
- BlazBlue: Played with by the hero, Ragna the Bloodedge. The man isn't all that heroic at first, merely going against The Empire because one higher-up in its army pissed him off (that, and his master Jubei and benefactor of sorts Rachel guided him). He's got an artificial arm as he lost the original one to his brother back when they were still children. The new arm he gets, called Azure Grimoire, is nasty: it's permanently black-colored, has a few red veins running on it, and it gives him the power to steal people's souls. Oh, and the Azure Grimoire is made from the corpse of an Eldritch Abomination that destroyed civilization almost a century ago. Due to the events of the games (especially comes the third game), however, he slowly and surely becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who finds a new purpose in life. His prosthetic doesn't change any, though.
- In Kiwi Blitz, villain Gear has a chainsaw like object as her left arm. So far, she is generally unsympathetic. Good guys Steffi and Reed both have prosthetic limbs, but they mostly serve as non-weapons and they lost their body parts trying to save others.
- In Spacetrawler, Yuri loses all four of her limbs and takes the opportunity to become fully transhuman. She upgrades her prosthetics multiple times during the comic. As she lets bloodlust and post-traumatic stress take over, her prosthetics become increasingly inhuman—for example, giving herself the body of a giant spider or mantis. Near the end, she crosses the Bishonen Line, and her most powerful form looks human again.
- After Martina loses her arm, she has it replaced with a prosthesis that looks and functions exactly the same as her human arm, refusing to trade her humanity for firepower because she'd seen how it affected Yuri.