Anyone or anything that returns in a stronger, more powerful fashion tends to have letters, symbols, or other similar prefixes or suffixes (like X, R, Mega, Super or even Mk II) added to either the end or the beginning of their name.
A variation is when the name itself is modified to signify that the creature or character is stronger, though the change is usually fairly minor, to prevent mistakenly suggesting that the creature or character is a completely different entity.
Bonus points if the character or creature is either recolored or has his appearance changed to look more menacing.
Anime and Manga
- Digimon frequently (but not always) denotes different Digimon in the same family by adding prefixes to a base name; for instance in Digimon Adventure Greymon digivolves to MetalGreymon and then to WarGreymon. Not all prefixes are different tiers - across the franchise, WarGreymon, EmperorGreymon, ShineGreymon, and ZekeGreymon are all at the highest tier (or would be, as Frontier and Xros Wars don't have standard tiers). Digimon Xros Wars uses a different name system for its main Digimon, Shoutmon. Shoutmon can combine with his friends, and the result is called Shoutmon X[number] - as in, a four-mon combination is Shoutmon X4. The "X" is pronounced "cross" in Japan and "times" in the US, by the way. By the end of the series, he goes up to Shoutmon X7.
- Common but not universal in Bleach: A Soul Reaper's Zanpakutou has a fixed name for sealed and Shikai states but that name is expanded into a full title for Bankai. For example, Byakuya's Zanpakutou is called Senbonzakura (Thousand Cherry Blossoms) until entering Bankai, whereupon its name becomes Senbonzakura Kageyoshi (Thousand Cherry Blossoms Vibrant Display).
- Jojos Bizarre Adventure: Star Platinum, then Star Platinum: The World. Also, all Requiem stands have "Requiem" added to the end of their names.
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW) has an example where the possessed Rarity is called Nightmare Rarity.
- Direhorses in Avatar are alien creatures named for their superficial resemblance to Earth horses, only more dire.
- In Warrior Cats, this doubles as both Meaningful Name and Meaningful Rename, in that the name of a cat denotes rank in a Clan Hierarchy (like -kit for kits, -paw for apprentices and -star for leaders).
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, direwolves are a species of wolf common north of the Wall that can grow to the size of a small horse. They are named after the real-world dire wolf, the largest species of canid (but still much smaller than its fictional counterpart), which went extinct around 10,000 years ago.
- A variation in Gathering Blue: Characters' names lengthen by syllable as they age to denote their increased life experience. For example, a woman born as Ann is renamed Anna, then Annabel, then Annabella as she grows older.
- Power Rangers: Individual zords combine into a Megazord, and if all zords that year are used in a single formation it's an Ultrazord. The earlier seasons had more of a formula to it before the combinations got fancier names: [X]zords merged into [X] Megazords, combining the [X] Megazord with the Sixth Ranger's [Y]zord made the Mega [Y]zord, and adding the carrier zord made the [X] Ultrazord.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Rita Repulsa's Putty Patrollers are replaced with Lord Zedd's Z Putty Patrollers, which have a Z on their chests and are practically indestructible - unless you hit them directly in the "Z" in which case they explode into harmless bits.
- The Road Warriors (also known as the Legion of Doom) were repackaged in 1998 as LOD 2000, with little changing except more colorful shoulderpads and the addition of Sunny as their manager. This lasted for about six months.
- In Warhammer 40,000, Tyranid units that are stronger than usual are usually referred to as "Unit's Name" Prime.
- There's various templates in Dungeons & Dragons that can be applied to a single creature to modify its stats (size, ancestry, and other traits), which are then reflected in its name. Usually a good indicator of a Mary Sue / Min Maxer if applied to a PC.
- In OGRE by Metagaming and Steve Jackson Games, The titular A.I. controlled tanks were identified by putting a "Mark X" after the word "Ogre", with the X being a Roman numeral (I, II, III, IV, V, VI). The higher the number, the more powerful the Ogre.
- The decker programs sold by Hacker House for the Shadowrun supplement Virtual Realities had numbers at the end of their names. The higher the number, the larger and more powerful the program.
- The franchise has many monsters that act as variants of the same base monster, though not always stronger, with the connection being signified by a partial name change, such as Dark Magician to Dark Sage or Dark Magician Knight. Played straightest with the Gagagigo family, Gagagigo's card lore tracing his evolution into Giga Gagagigo, then Gogiga Gagagigo.
- There's also the LV monsters, which are more this trope combined with Power Levels and/or Character Level. Examples include Armed Dragon and its more powerful forms Armed Dragon LV3, Armed Dragon LV5, etc., or Silent Swordsman and its more powerful forms, among others.
- The Chaos Xyz monsters (Including the Chaos Numbers) also follow this pattern. Examples of the first type include "Number 39: Utopia/Aspiring Emperor Hope" which becomes "Utopia Ray" or if Ranked up becomes "Utopia Ray V" or "Utopia Ray Victory". Example of the variation include "Norito the Moral Leader" becoming "CXyz: Simon the Great Moral Leader".
- Final Fantasy:
- The series in general does this for the spells: Fire -> Fira -> Firaga -> Firaja.
- In the remake of Final Fantasy V for the Gameboy Advance (and later iOS) there is Omega MK. II, which is not only stronger than the original Omega but is also 22 levels lower than the original.
- In Final Fantasy VII, the summon Bahamut comes in 3 increasingly powerful versions, culminating in Bahamut Zero.
- Final Fantasy VIII has this done not only to spells, but to healing items to some impressive extent, thanks to all the synthetizing you can master. There go Potion, Potion+, Hi-Potion, Hi-Potion+, X-Potion, Mega-Potion... And many more beside Potions.
- Final Fantasy XII has another Omega named Omega Mark XII, one of the last marks you fight and also an optional superboss. In the Japan-exclusive version (named Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System) Omega Mark XII is also fought on the 99th floor of trial mode.
- Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team both have most of the bonus bosses be tougher versions of the normal bosses found in the game. They have the same name as the originals, but with "X" added to them. Even the bonus boss Bowser X from the former. The latter also has the Underground Monkey mooks having names of the original mooks with "R" at the end of them.
- Monster Hunter has the many types of variant monsters, which are tougher and more aggressive versions of monsters that show up at higher ranks, and sometimes also have different elemental attacks and weaknesses. The classic example being the flagship flying wyverns Rathian and Rathalos, which later come in the variants Pink Rathian and Azure Rathalos, and later still Gold Rathian and Silver Rathalos.
- Almost all of the bosses and minibosses in Kirby's Return to Dream Land, Kirby: Triple Deluxe, and Kirby: Planet Robobot that appear in extra mode have an extra suffix added to their names in addition to looking more menacing than their normal mode counterparts. This is "EX" in Return to Dream Land, "DX" in Triple Deluxe and "2.0" in Planet Robobot. This is likely a successor to Revenge of the King, a sub-game in the remake of Kirby Super Star, which acted as an extra mode for Spring Breeze and added "Revenge" to Whispy Woods, Lololo and Lalala, Kracko Jr, and Kracko.
- In the Mega Man Battle Network games, depending on the game, the enemies may be leveled with letters alpha, beta and omega, or a number (1, 2, 3) followed by EX and/or SP. Bass will often be an exception: He had been XX, BS, GS, etc. The life virus in Megaman Battle Network Transmission gains an "R" in its name and a different color when it was revived.
- Many Pokemon have a two-part name with one part changing to reflect a higher power level upon evolution, such as Machop - Machoke - Machamp, or Larvitar - Pupitar - Tyranitar
- All Mega Evolution forms in Pokémon X and Y officially have the name "Mega <mega evolved Pokemon>".
- Borderlands prefixes its upgraded enemies with "Badass", then "Badmutha", and finally "Superbad" as player progresses through levels of New Game+.
- Dragon Quest:
- The Slimes have a lot of buffed variants, including an infamous one that only takes one point of damage and gives out high EXP. All of them have "Slime" in their species names. Several other monster families are similar, in that the name gets tweaked as you encounter stronger variants.
- Magic spells also have modified names for stronger versions. With attack spells, the base spell tends to become [Spell]le, Ka[spell], and finally Ka[spell]le.
- In Dragon Quest XI, monsters get strengthened at a few points in the game, gaining an extra descriptor and Glowing Eyes of Doom. First they become "vicious" monsters with red eyes, then "malicious" ones with green eyes.
- Many enemies in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have many auto-leveled variants distinguished from the base mook by some power ranking slapped after the name. For example: Draugr Wight, Draugr Deathlord, Reaver Marauder.
- When Sonic the Hedgehog is powered up by the chaos emeralds, he becomes ''Super Sonic" and turns yellow. There's other transformations from other sources as well, but this is the most famous.
- The "Hyper" prefix is used in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door for variants of enemies that charge their attacks. Some more traditionally upgraded foes get the "Elite" prefix.
- Bonus Boss Vanitas Remnant in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep Final Mix has more attacks than the original, all of which One Hit Kills you if you did not set your abilities up right.
- In Warcraft III, most neutral creeps of a line use different suffixes (but there's no universal "this suffix means this type" effect) in addition to the usual size, model and hue differences. For example, Bandit/Salamander/Ogre Lord, Forest/Ice/Dark Troll Trapper/Priest/Warlord, Ancient Sasquatch/Wendigo/Hydra, etc.
- Robocraft had these added, instead of plasma launcher T2, Plasma launcher T3, Plasma launcher T4, etc you have plasma pulsar, plasma disruptor, plasma bombarder, etc.
- AdventureQuest has many items that named by their level tier, often with humorous and sometimes referential top-tier names.
- Elemental magic has a sequence of offensive spells for each of the four classical elements: [Element] Strike, Bolt, and Blast. Paid members get two more tiers: Wave and Surge. Despite the names, the only difference between tiers (and elements) is in the escalating amount of damage they deal their target.
- Ancient Magic uses a similar system with the "elements" of Smoke, Shadow, Blood, and Ice, using the tiers of [Element] Rush, Burst, Blitz, and Barrage. Unlike the standard elements, the Burst and Barrage spells can affect multiple targets, and each element also causes a unique Standard Status Effect.
- Megatron and Galvatron from Transformers are usually the same being from two different time periods, although in some continuities, they're two different people.