Sometimes really great and really shit things go together like an unhappy married couple who've stuck it out for 40 years. Lollipops and tooth-terrorising drills at the dentist, six pints of lager and a ruinous hangover and, occasionally, rubbish characters and great games. And it's testament to the following titles' awesomeness that they somehow stayed afloat in spite of their hateful captains.
The great game he almost ruined: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
C’mon, like we were going to start anywhere else. The man who forever sullied Metal Gear with his pasty bare ass and half hour talks with his missus has a lot to answer for. We can see what Kojima was trying to do. Clearly, our hateful mop-headed mook was supposed to be the Luke Skywalker to Snake’s Han Solo. Trouble is, Luke never took time out from saving the galaxy to talk to his sweetheart about their anniversary (probably because the only chick in the whole universe was his sister). Thankfully, you can at least subject the hateful hero to a face full of baddie piss half way through the game.
The great game he almost ruined: Daxter
Ah, the completely unlovable ottsel. Where would any good hate feature be without this furry faced ball of bile on legs? Not only is he a horribly misjudged source of ‘comedy’, he never shuts up. He’ll make stupid quips when he’s outrunning a massive boulder or find time to make an obnoxious one-liner while battling a giant bug. Even the entire game is just one big insecure tall tale he tells his friends down the pub to look like the big ‘weird, mutated breed of two rodents’. The really amazing thing, though? Despite the fact he’s such a consistently cringe-worthy character, his game’s still good. Like really good. Honestly, we’ll never know how developers Ready at Dawn pulled it off.
Above: Too much to ask?
The great game he almost ruined: Devil May Cry 4
He’s just like Dante… only rubbish. Admittedly, he’s arguably the more interesting character when it comes to laying a serious smackdown on some demon ass. Give him more than two lines of dialogue in any one scene, though, and he automatically transforms into a dick of the highest emo order. Equal parts insecure whininess and incredible cockiness; he’s every bit the shitty schizophrenic. If Capcom had just replaced him with, say, some sort of witty robot butler (who also had a giant hand that could crush the forces of evil), we wouldn’t need that Nero dartboard at work… and that guy in accounts might still have the use of his right eye.
The great game they almost ruined: GTA IV: The Lost and Damned
Shitting hell, they’re a miserable bunch, ain’t they? We know it’s intentional, but did every single one of them have to be so relentlessly grim-faced. If it’s not horribly moody bikers with faces longer than a clinically depressed basset hound, then it’s totally unsympathetic junkies hogging way too much screen time. Alright, so GTA IV was full of moody, murdering sociopaths, too. But at least they were moody, murdering sociopaths that knew how to have a bit of a laugh. In Niko’s adventure we had Brucie, Roman and Packie to provide a bit of humour between all the drive-bys. In Johnny's game the most light-hearted and memorable character is an ageing politician’s flaccid love sausage.