Pointy-headed intellectual types love to blather on about Joseph Campbell and The Hero’s Journey while restating the obvious but with bigger words. So the world loves heroes, maybe even needs them. OK, we get it. During our collegiate years, while learning how to restate the obvious but with bigger words, we also read about the idea of duality (something can’t exist without its opposite.) So what about the other side of the Hero coin? We almost never hear about the ones who wussed out and ran the other way. Heroes and cowards are inextricably linked in a cosmic web of interconnectedness through which their phenomenological manifestations are mutually reinforcing and co-dependent. So let’s look under the nearest rock for some of gaming’s most cowardly characters. Prepare to be disgusted by their pathetic weakness.
Al Asad – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Setting off a nuke in your hometown to cover your escape? Talk about alienating the base. If Al Asad has a redeeming moment, it’s when Price puts a bullet in his head.
Captain Linebeck – Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Despite being a flamboyant pirate captain, Linebeck has more in common with the weasel-faced Daxter than the dashing Jack Sparrow. He’s a scrotumless blowhard who talks tough but somehow disappears whenever the situation gets even remotely menacing. He stays on the ship while Link, a mere child, does all the dangerous work and then has the audacity to try to take credit for Link’s success. There’s nothing worse than a conniving little bitch with a martyr complex and a huge chip on his shoulder, who spends more time trying to look busy than actually getting anything accomplished. And yet Link puts up with him, even though his presence is more hindrance than help.
Lord Lucien Fairfax– Fable II
The opening of Fable II contains a shocking scene of kindercide. The cowardly Lord Lucien shoots two defenseless children (you and your sister) in order to maintain his diabolical reign of terror. The sister dies, while you are sent flying out a window and miraculously survive to pursue a terrible vengeance. Or fart your way into bed with a comely villager, the world is yours to shape as you wish.
Above: Hmm, I think I’ll have an orphan milkshake for breakfast
The Lone Wanderer (you) – Fallout 3
At the end of Fallout 3, you’re presented with a choice. Someone has to perform a suicidal task to save the day. So are you a hero or a coward? Choices like these are a big part of why we gave Fallout 3 our coveted Game of the Year Chalice.
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