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The Top 7... Assassins

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On some level, roughly 95 percent of games have always been about assassination: go to point A and kill prominent entity B, fighting your way through goons C through Z to get there. Most games tend to come up with a morally justifiable pretext for all the violence - rescue, vengeance and self-defense are only a few - but more and more, we're seeing games that drop the act and let you be what you've secretly known yourself to be all along: a remorseless killing machine bent on destroying your targets by any means necessary.

These games have produced an entirely new breed of hero, and whether they're deeply conflicted about their professions or simply don't give a shit, they all have two things in common: 1) they kill people in high places for money and/or glory, and 2) they are deeply, insanely awesome. Here are some of the best:

7. Travis Touchdown

TravisLast seen in: No More Heroes (Wii, 2008)

What's his deal? Having taken up the life of an assassin for lack of anything better to do, Travis Touchdown has just one goal in life: to be America's greatest hired killer. Rather than accomplishing this through a lifetime of hard work and carefully managed connections, he takes the relatively quicker route of simply killing the 10 best assassins in the country, all of whom conveniently live in the same crappy California town that Travis does.

Signature weapon: A lightsaber-like "beam katana" that he won in an online auction.

Highest-profile hit: The CEO of Pizza Butt. Three times.

 

Why he's awesome: Skinny, punked out and unbelievably dorky, Travis Touchdown is probably the least likely assassin ever to star in a videogame. He swings a lightsaber that looks more like a fluorescent light bulb. He's constantly shown taking a dump. He has to work at crappy jobs just to raise enough money to murder people. And his attempts to woo his sexy handler, Sylvia Christel, are repulsively awkward.

So why's he on this list? Because despite failing at life, Travis is actually a pretty talented assassin, able to go toe-to-toe with gunfighters and effortlessly reduce legions of armed thugs to screaming fountains of blood. What's more, all those deep, embarrassing flaws make him interesting. He's an antihero in the truest sense of the word, a self-absorbed loser on a meaningless mission, and while we wouldn't exactly say he "matures" over the course of his misadventure, he at least becomes less of a dork.

Also he has a big-ass motorbike that can do wicked jumps.

6. Altair

Last seen in: Assassin's Creed (PS3/360, 2007) Altair 

What's his deal? A talented but arrogant member of the Assassin cult living in the Kingdom of Jerusalem during the Third Crusade, circa 1191, Altair is ceremonially "killed" and resurrected after catastrophically botching an extremely sensitive mission. Stripped of his rank, he's then forced to slowly re-learn all his cool abilities while stabbing his way through a hit list of evildoing Crusaders and Muslims.

Signature weapon: The "Assassin's blade," a small, concealed knife that retracts handily into a forearm-mounted sheath.

Highest-profile hit: Robert de Sable, Grand Master of the Knights Templar and - in the game, at least - conniving would-be backstabber of Richard the Lionhearted.

 

Why he's awesome: Well, Altair can climb walls, for starters, and then leap from vertigo-inducing heights into tiny haystacks and get up without so much as a cracked rib. He can sprint like the wind and hide in plain sight just by folding his hands, and when cornered he can rapidly cut down any number of enemies (provided you know what you're doing, anyway). Cool talents aside, Altair's a pretty compelling character in his own right, gradually growing out of his arrogant-prick phase to become more noble and altruistic. And as he does, he begins to actually question the morality of what he's doing, something few of the other assassins on this list ever do.

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16 comments

  • martinlindved - February 17, 2010 9:24 p.m.

    where the fuck is Ezio?? gotta admit that agent 47 is a good choice. without him this article would had been a joke. i mean, MEGAMAN?? ............?
  • Vader999 - October 28, 2009 10:12 p.m.

    Honorable mention to Ryu Hayabusa.....my fave DOA char aside from Nicloe and Kasumi.......
  • Vader999 - October 28, 2009 10:08 p.m.

    Sub Zero was indeed a brutal, ass-whoopin son of a bitch.....
  • DARK_SIDE - September 22, 2008 8:27 p.m.

    MEGA MAN! WHAT ARE YOU GUYS INSANE! If he is an assasian then practically every game character that exists could be an assasian.
  • DARK_SIDE - September 22, 2008 8:33 p.m.

    I think they should have inclued some MARVEL comic characters like all time favorite WOLVERINE, I mean the guy was killing before half the heros were born.
  • c1nd3rcell - July 6, 2009 11:26 p.m.

    Altair should be number one!!! (if megaman is an assassin, than North Korea will stop launching missiles at us.)
  • RebornKusabi - January 6, 2009 2:31 a.m.

    Oh and not to attack any specific users here but NO ONE on Naruto was a true ninja... in fact, historically speaking, James Bond and Agent 47 are pretty much "new age" ninja's- the key to being a successful ninja was to remain both hidden and out of the spotlight... wearing black ****ing cloaks and a face mask are not any of those >_> Goddamn Japanophiles!
  • LegendarySandwich - December 30, 2008 4:43 a.m.

    Even though Naruto himself isn't very ninja-like, a lot of the other characters in Naruto are.
  • DARK_SIDE - September 3, 2009 2:04 a.m.

    @MOOMAN haha! cake, so funny p.s. you remind me of Homer Simpson
  • MOOMAN - July 24, 2009 5:12 p.m.

    OK STRIKE THAT ALTAIR SHOULD BE NO.1 HE MY FAVORITE ASSASSIN AND BTW NINJAS SOMETIMES ARE ALSO TRAINED FOR INTENSE WAR-LIKE COMBAT AND ANSWERING QUESTIOND LIKE ASKA-NINJA!!!!!! NINJA GO!
  • MOOMAN - July 24, 2009 5:10 p.m.

    OH SO MEGA MAN IS THE BEST ASSASSIN? WELL THEN YOU OBVIUOSLY HAVE NOT HEARD OF ME. OH AND BTW, SANTA CLAUS IS BEST ASSASSIN HE CAN CRUSH YOU WITH HIS SACK (OF PRESENTS) AND SIT ON YOU TO BREAK YOUR RIBS. OH AND BTW, CAKE IS DELICIOUS. MMM... CAKE...
  • Daniel1995 - March 6, 2009 2:51 p.m.

    AGENT 47 RULES
  • handdestr - January 25, 2009 1:06 a.m.

    why didnt u put any of the dark brotherhood peeps from oblivion. i thought vicenti was a badass.
  • bernie10 - January 7, 2009 9:06 p.m.

    how can altair be six!?
  • -FABLExFAN- - January 6, 2009 10:33 p.m.

    Okay so maybe people on naruto aren't so ninja like, but naruto can make a freaking glowing ball in his hand and when he touches you with it it kills you on contact, and he clones himself. if that's not cool i don't know what is. but you cant call megaman an assassin and naruto not a ninja?, oh and if megaman is an assassin ... that makes me god.
  • RebornKusabi - January 6, 2009 2:21 a.m.

    I agree, Megaman is a hell of an assassin!

Showing 1-16 of 16 comments

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