Gaming’s least hard hard-men

Promoted as the hardest thing since Chuck Norris’ forehead, the following collection of grizzled marines, legendary soldiers and black-hearted school children cut imposing figures. Break past the Duke Nukem tough veneer, though, and you’ll actually find most of these hard men are really as daunting as the Wii’s processing power.

If over-pronounced bouts of masculinity are a sign of insecurity, then these boys must all sleep with security blankets constantly clutched betweens their stupidly-sized biceps. Cowardly, comically inept or just addicted to being murdered, they’d be ill prepared for an animated argument, let alone the vicious virtual worlds they live in. So, when danger calls or the faeces hits the fan, and you can afford them… call someone else.

Warning - contains spoilers.

Why you’d think he’s a hard man

Above: Seemingly hard on the outside...

On first glance Snake Eater’s malevolent Ruskie solider is Joseph Stalin melded with a feral Pikachu, without the laughs. Throughout the course of Big Boss’ Cold War adventure Volgin brutally beats subordinates to death, launches a nuclear missile on his own motherland and dabbles in a little sexy sadism time with the one-eyed operative’s love interest, Eva. All this and he can harness the elements themselves, with lightning constantly coursing through his body

Why he’s not hard at all

Looking back at his evil deeds they’re not really that dastardly or, more importantly, hard. The subordinates he kills are either drunken or weedy weapons scientists, the missile he fires is into a largely unpopulated area and his sadistic sexual behaviour is with a woman so promiscuous, she chooses to brave the cruel Russian cold in nothing but her undercrackers for most of the game.

Above: But all about the man-love on the inside

He’s also a bit of a coward and, when he actually has to fight Big Boss mano-a-mano, he cries for Ocelot’s help, before getting his electrified ass handed back to him. And, the less said about his relationship with the effeminate, thong-wearing Major Raikov, the better.

Not as hard as… Sokolov

Sokolov is death-proof. Despite seemingly dieing in MGS 3, he reappears in MGS: Portable Ops. The karate stance he dons when Big Boss first saves him shows he’s well schooled in martial arts too. Granted, he pisses his pants during Ocelot’s Russian roulette interrogation, but we’ll just blame that on a rebellious bladder. Real men relieve themselves wherever they want.

Above: Don't mess with his kung-fu

Why you’d think he’s a hard man

Above: We can tell you're sucking it in Ropeburn

Travis Burfield, known as Ropeburn from his spandex-hugging wrestler days, has all the assets of a vintage hard man. Surly, broad-chested and adopting a ‘suplex now ask questions later’ approach, he’s the head of security in a totalitarian city where the flow of information is suppressed. What’s more, he’s neck-deep in a citywide conspiracy – Project Icarus – to kill all the beautiful parkour people ferrying info between rooftops.

Why he’s not hard at all

All that wrestling training clearly didn’t pay off. Sure, he can barge through a wall of ply wood, but he can’t overpower a skinny, five foot chick. Undone by a swift boot to the crown jewels, which leaves him hanging from a building, he sings like a canary before being shot by an assassin.

Above: He can't apply for a new one until he's watched 14 John Wayne films back to back

Not as hard as… Celeste

She might not look that tough as she guides you through the game’s tutorial, but Celeste soon proves to be a backstabbing, karate-kicking super assassin. The fight against her at the end of the game is much more challenging than the two second scrap against Ropeburn. Score one for girl power and zero for sweaty man-hugging wrestlers.

Above: Arms of steel are no match for a piercing glare

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000
  • sofaku - January 8, 2010 5:56 p.m.

    surprised i didn't see lord Lucien. u know when u fight him at the end of fable and he acts all baddass but all you have to do is shoot him before he finishes his little speech.
  • Heyexclamationpoint - January 6, 2010 2:35 p.m.

    Qwark reminds me of Zapp Brannigan from Futurama
  • m1bayluv41510 - November 11, 2009 3:28 a.m.

    make a t-shirt showing a stoogie chomping, machine gun rocking robot like that image of clank G.R. so i can buy the shit outta them!
  • Romination - January 29, 2009 3:41 a.m.

    I think Destroyman needed a mention. After all...he was really a postman. wtf is that all about!? You could even put Silvia as harder than he was
  • masenjo - January 28, 2009 1:47 p.m.

    Never fuck with Florian
  • Hurricrane - January 28, 2009 1:22 p.m.

    rofl great article, I love me some Issun
  • AA95mp - January 28, 2009 1 p.m.

    i'm not surprised captain Q is on here but i don't think he qualifys as looking hard at all
  • FierceDeity - January 28, 2009 2:38 a.m.

    oh fine fine, you put warning - contains spoilers right at the top in tiny writing. but still goddammit
  • Kirbykiller4 - January 28, 2009 1:12 a.m.

    Geez,that mirrors edge screenshot looked terrible for some reason.
  • game-thugsta - January 27, 2009 11:57 p.m.

    Zero's hard? The nerd who was hoisted up in his closet by his underpants? Besides Sweet smoked tons of fools and singled handedly brought Grove back (CJ was planning to leave it.) Oh and Master Chief has smoked wayyy more aliens than clank.
  • RebornKusabi - January 27, 2009 8:57 p.m.

    You know, I never thought about this until I read this article but Bernie is kinda built up to be a badass! Considering Him, Niko and Darko (I think that's all, if not then add whomever I missed) were the only ones that "survived", he has to have SOME battle skills...
  • schmeidenkamp - January 27, 2009 6:26 p.m.

    14 john wayne films back to back. lol
  • RonnyLive19881 - January 27, 2009 5:53 p.m.

    Hmm I think they missed someone...
  • skyguy343 - January 27, 2009 5:29 p.m.

    that bastard kamek always used his magic powers to catch pop flies in mario superstar baseball. what an asshole
  • UnreaK745 - January 27, 2009 4:31 p.m.

    i just can't stop... i have to.... FIRST!!!!!! there u go I said it... awesome article btw u rock!!
  • dougle - February 25, 2009 8:08 a.m.

    captain Qwark IS the greatest super hero the galaxy has ever known!
  • oreopizza47 - February 1, 2009 2:29 a.m.

    i agree that Brucie isn't hard in the slightest, but it's not the jewelery that kills his look. obviously, no one here knows Mr. T. Mr. T pities all you fools.
  • deathrebellion - January 29, 2009 10:19 p.m.

    Lolz ISSUN yup he's the definition of Hardass Hard man
  • Jason.Darksavior - January 28, 2009 8:47 a.m.

    Nice Article.
  • MoChilla - January 28, 2009 3:59 a.m.

    Also, bowser gets swung by his tail in 64. tsk, tsk, not gangsta.