Holding out for a hero
Heroism is a funny thing when it comes to video games. A hero doesnt have to be a shining light of virtuous goodness, or a selfless bastion of hope. A hero, in video games, just has to be a protagonist. This could mean a cluster of pixels; a silent, floating gun; or a motion-captured actor bringing a character to life. As gaming evolves so does the idea of the hero, growing with every generation to be more well-developed and likable, even if their actions are still tantamount to sociopathy in any other medium.
Over gamings rather lengthy history there have been thousands of different protagonists, good guys, and heroes that weve had the pleasure of playing as, but we wanted to spotlight the ones that came out on top. The most memorable, heroic game characters weve ever played as. Because sometimes, no matter who you are or what you do, we all need a hero...
And we've even updated the final entries, so now, based on your votes in the comments, we have a full 100 heroes! Let us know if you're happy with the final list.
100. Bayonetta (Bayonetta)
Demon hunters are a dime a dozen, but Bayonetta stands out by killing angels and demons alike in increasingly bombastic and risqu fashion. With her lovely accent, martial arts expertise, sense of humor, and unique style, its hard not to want to follow her wherever her dangerous missions take her. And never make the mistake of underestimating her, because as she so eloquently puts it, Dont f**k with a witch.
99. Commander Shepard (Mass Effect)
Sure, Shepard is no Garrus, but just because she can't live up to the awesomeness of her most loyal squadmate, doesn't mean she's not worth tipping an intergalactic hat to. She does, after all, end a systematic, bi-millennial process of genocide of the entire galaxy, saving untold trillions over billions of years. She might get her hands dirty sometimes, punching out reporters for no reason or endorsing too many shops in the Citadel, but her total body-count-to-saved-people ratio is high enough to justify her sometimes-insane actions.
98. Neku Sakuraba (The World Ends With You)
Yes, Neku starts off as your typical angsty teenager. Heck, the kid has more or less given up on life at the onset of The World Ends With You--and he's certainly given up on people considering how often he talks about how badly they suck. But this headphone-wearing hero eventually changes his tune when paired up with strangers in a series of life-or-death situations. And when those strangers unexpectedly become his friends, he slowly realizes that some things in life--some people, even--are worth fighting for, ultimately putting his own at risk to save others. Oh, and the entire world. He saves that, too.
97. Niko Bellic (Grand Theft Auto IV)
Grand Theft Auto IV's Niko Bellic is the American Dream gone horribly wrong. He arrives in the country as a confused immigrant and quickly dirties his hands with the blood of gangsters who are out to kill or exploit him. Before long, he's unwillingly working his way up the criminal food chain. Niko is a hero because, despite doing terrible things, it's not entirely his fault--he's a product of circumstances. Bellic himself says it best: "Life is complicated. When the war came, I did bad things; after the war I thought nothing of doing bad things. I killed people, smuggled people, sold people. Maybe here, things will be different."
96. Faith Connors (Mirror's Edge)
Faith scales the skyscrapers of a clean dystopian future, sliding down mirrored glass and kicking off pristine white towers as she treats the world like her playground. But while her actions definitely make her worth paying attention to, it's really her motives that have her leaping over the competition as one of gaming's greatest heroines. She's not parkouring the world for fame--she does it for the love of her family, and in hopes of saving her sister. Oh, and she has an awesome eye tattoo, proving that it's possible to get a giant tattoo on your face and not look like Mike Tyson.
95. Ethan Mars (Heavy Rain)
Ethan Mars does what any father would do in an terrible (but extraordinary) situation, and his harrowing tale is what makes Heavy Rain one of the best PS3 games out there. Okay, so maybe he lost sight of his son Jason for a quick second, which ultimately resulted in the kid getting smoked by a car and dying. We all make mistakes. But the amazing thing about Ethan Mars is that he's willing to do just about anything to keep his children--by which we mean Shaun--safe. Whether that involves driving a car the wrong way down a highway, or cutting off his own finger with carpentry tools, there's no other man as dedicated to playing favorites as he. Unless you chose to do none of those things, in which case, shame on you.
94. Marcus Fenix (Gears of War)
We couldn't exclude Marcus Fenix from our list of best heroes in games--after all, this dude's a legend both within the scope of his own universe as well as our own, starring in some of the best games on the Xbox 360. He fought the locust for ten years before being branded a coward, saving untold numbers of lives in the process. And why did he receive this unfair, demeaning label? Because he abandoned his post to save his dad. What a champ!
93. B.J. Blazkowicz (Wolfenstien)
When youve single handedly defeat Mecha-Hitler, that pretty much makes you a hero in anybodys book. B.J. has tirelessly slaughtered Nazis through three generations of hardware, and could be credited with kicking off the first-person shooter craze that led to games like Doom and Duke 3D. Whether you know him as a sideways-looking face at the bottom of your screen or a fully-rendered secret agent, B.J. has gunned down entire armies, killer dogs, and occult zombies without breaking a sweat. Without him, Wolfensteins Nazi killin just wouldnt be the same.
92. Spyro (Spyro the Dragon)
Few third-party mascots have aged as gracefully as this plucky purple dragon. His first adventures on the PS1 were among the platforms best platformers, offering a mix of headbutting combat, exploration of secret-filled stages, and challenging flight sequences. After a brief lull of ho-hum games, he burst back onto the scene with the Skylanders gang, delighting an entirely new generation of kids with his fire-breathing antics. Showing courage and curiosity beyond his years, Spyro is easily one of the most relatable mythological creatures of all time.
91. Alucard (Castlevania)
Castlevanias most famous hero, Simon Belmont, is a tough, whip-cracking warrior. But for a time, he was replaced by a more cultured, well-dressed protagonist who killed monsters with flair. The star of series' masterpiece Symphony of the Night, Alucard inherited many traits from his father Dracula, but his desire to protect humanity comes from his more understanding mother. A master of combat and magic, Alucard is a badass with style and a nice change of pace from the Belmont clan.
90. Frogger (Frogger series)
Ask anyone to name a game character that is a frog and most people will say Frogger. Some people will say Slippy Toad and then youll have an argument about whether Slippy is a frog or a toad (hes a frog). Either way, Frogger is a well known video game frog. He hops forwards, backwards, sideways. He avoids traffic the same size as him (Frogger big or traffic small?). He drowns if he falls in the water (not ideal for a frog). There are no dangers Frogger isnt prepared to face in his quest to get home.
89. Meat Boy (Super Meat Boy)
One of the top character traits that a hero needs is persistence. He can't give up no matter how many times a buzzsaw tears him apart in one hit. Meat Boy might be easy to kill, but even 10,000 deaths means nothing to him in his quest to save Bandage Girl. And despite the horrors he faces, he still keeps a positive outlook on life.
88. Dizzy (Dizzy series)
Why is a 1980s icon on this list when hardly anyone outside of the UK has heard of him? Because Dizzy was just as big a platform hero as Mario (for a time). In certain circles, yes, but its easy to see why. Hes the Prince of the Yolkfolk and saves his eggy friends from the clutches of the evil wizard Zaks on a near-daily basis. Best of all, hes always smiling unless it starts to rain. Then hes sad. Awww.
87. Parappa the Rapper (Parappa the Rapper series)
This rapping puppy dog isnt the save the world type of hero, more like a hero of dance and lyrical acuteness. Parappa can almost instantly get a song stuck in your mind, but youll never forget to check and turn your signal to the left. He may not be the most courageous character on this list, but anyone who can win the heart of his flower girlfriend by learning martial arts from an onion headed Kung Fu master is a hero in our book.
86. Terry Bogard (Fatal Fury)
The Legendary Hungry Wolf is one of SNKs most memorable characters for good reason: The American-born brawler is not only one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet, but also one of the fiercest sluggers The King of Fighters tournament has ever known. His general badassery landed him a spot on our list of the best figting game characters, plus, he has flowing locks of golden hair, shouts hilariously memorable phrases as he pummels foes into pulp, and even has a pet monkey, which is just plain awesome.
85. Chun-Li (Street Fighter)
Ryu may be a great poster boy for Street Fighter, but Chun-Li broke ground as one of the most recognizable heroines in gaming. The first lady of fighters (as in, literally the first one ever) uses her lightning legs in the name of justice, defending the innocent as a proud police officer with Interpol. When shes not booking thugs, tracking down Shadaloo, and endeavoring to avenge her fathers murder, shes cheering up kids with demonstrations of her combat prowess and positive attitude. We also have a weird thing for her muscular thunder thighs. Dont you dare judge us.
84. Lee Everett (The Walking Dead: The Game)
The Walking Dead: The Game series isn't even over yet at the time of this writing but Lee Everett immediately proved that he is worthy of being ranked among some of the best video game heroes. Hes always the first to step up and face difficult situations, instinctively rising to become the reliable leader that the group of survivor needs. Granted, players can choose what kind of person Lee can be, but his unwavering devotion to Clementine shows that despite his choices and his dark past, hes a caring and trustworthy individual.
83. Klonoa (Klonoa series)
The good natured Dream Traveler easily makes it onto our top 100 heroes list. Klonoa travels against his will to unbalanced dream worlds that are being threatened by dangerous creatures or power hungry characters. When he recognizes trouble, there is no hesitation between Klonoa and his companions as they set off to defend the dream worlds and set things right in some of the first 2.5D, side-scrolling games to hit consoles. Also, judging from his hat hes a Pac-Man fan, which makes him even more awesome.
82. Eddie Riggs (Brutal Legend)
Most people that accidentally end up in an alternate universe made entirely out of heavy metal would probably curl up in the fetal position. Not Eddie Riggs. This is a guy whose unwavering love for distortion and twelve-minute guitar solos has instilled within him a great sense of loyalty. Often sarcastic--but always ready to rock--Eddie is a capable leader of men, one whos incredible sensitive to justice. Cross Eddie and his friends, and hell come at you with a guitar riff so hard itll melt your face off, and quite possibly make your head explode. He truly is the greatest roadie of all time, and were grateful he landed a leading role--even if it wasnt on a stage.
81. Rash/Pimple/Zitz (Battletoads)
If there was a forgotten franchise that we'd like to see come back, Battletoads would be one of them. The early 90s saw a wave of new animal heroes created to rival the success of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles--but none of those wannabes had as much spunk as Rash, Pimple, and Zitz. These anthropomorphic frog brawlers (named after unfortunate skin conditions) collectively formed the Battletoads, taking their fight to the evil Dark Queen and her goons. The three pushed the boundaries of good taste, destroying enemies in extreme exaggerated fashion via ultra-enlarged fists, feet, and magically sprouting ram horns, going places where the Turtles just couldnt in games. And while their debut NES appearance was a broken mess, the Battletoads undeniably badass spiked kneepads, rock tunes, and dont-give-a-darn disposition landed them a well-deserved spot on our list.
80. Jim Raynor (StarCraft series)
If you don't know who Jim Raynor is, it's time to catch up on your StarCraft lore. He may be rough around the edges but he fights for whats right, even if it means vowing to kill his former love interest, Kerrigan. He embodies the concept of the greater good and is willing to put it all on the line to protect others. If youre ever stuck in a sticky situation, whether its against a swarm of Zerg or a Protoss fleet, hes the man you want to be fighting side by side with. Hes proven to be extremely resourceful, even when its against insurmountable odds.
79. Francis (Left 4 Dead)
Who better to have on your team of zombie apocalypse survivors than a muscle-bound biker? Francis oozes calm and strength, both physically and mentally. He also likes shotguns, specifically those that allow him to remove zombies heads from their shoulders with one shot. And he doesnt go for any of that melee nonsense his favourite secondary weapon is (wait for it) a brace of slightly smaller guns. Hardcore. Oh, and he hates just about everything. All heroes should be a bit moody.
78. Rayman (Rayman series)
At first Rayman was pretty cool but then he was mostly annoying but now hes cool again. You might think having no arms, no legs, and no neck would be a disadvantage, but his absence of traditionally vital body parts actually works in his favor. For example, he can do a super long range punch thanks to having no limbs handicapping the optimum reach of his hands. Can Mario and Sonic do that without some kind of power-up? Rayman also hangs out with Globox, whos a pretty cool guy actually.
77. Carl Johnson (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas)
In the arc of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas--one of the best PS2 games of all time--Carl Johnson goes from gangbanger to government dirt-doer to airplane pilot to Vegas playboy, then back to Fake Los Angeles to expose the crimes of crooked cops. Thats the most simplistic way to describe the multi-dozen hour journey and the number of activities and craziness you can do within Rockstars massive playground. Amidst the brilliantly vibrant world of the state of San Andreas, CJ is the glue that keeps it all together. Few GTA heroes have been as charismatic as him, and few likely will in the future.
76. Frank West (Dead Rising)
Hes covered wars, yknow. Frank is a photographer-turned zombie slayer. He approaches everything in a very down-to-Earth fashion and even does his best to escort survivors to safety. Okay, so he fails more times than he doesnt, but his hearts in the right place. He loses points for wasting food by killing zombies with 20 custard pies at a time and for taking photos of Jessies cleavage, which helps him to level up. Hmmm. Still, hes covered wars, yknow.
75. Bub and Bob (Bubble Bobble)
Arcade classic Bubble Bobble introduced Bub and Bob (and was later ported into one of the best NES games of all time). They used to be human but were cursed and got turned into bubble dragons. Bubble dragons are dragons that can blow bubbles. Bub and Bob are both adorable and brave--they have to overcome 100 levels of beasties and platforms to rescue their girlfriends, Betty and Patty, which is a truly noble undertaking that propelled Bub and Bob through a prosperous career in games.
74. Sly Cooper (Sly Cooper series)
Sly is the Danny Ocean of gaming: A calm-and-collected thief with a heart of gold and dependable friends at his side. Taking great care to only pick the pockets of certified criminals, Sly ensures his platforming sneakery is both morally defensible and tons of fun. So fun, in fact, that he landed a spot on our list of best stealth games. Hearing him tiptoe around guards to the sounds of violin plucks is a classic cartoon bandit trope, and Slys laid-back demeanor makes each heist feel like a sure thing. Wed gladly take Sly Cooper over the Disney version of Robin Hood any day.
73. Pac-Man (Pac-Man series)
The oldest character on this list (hello 1980), Pac-Mans here for the simple reason that he was the first. Before Pac-Man there werent characters. Just spaceships or paddles or actually thats all there was: spaceships and paddles. But then came Pac-Man, and the full potential--both in terms of star appeal and lucrative marketing bucks--of a game character concept was truly realized. Toru Iwatanis simple, iconic, timeless character design has seen Pac-Man endure for more than 30 years and become an established visual shorthand for gaming and gaming culture all over the world.
72. Travis Touchdown (No More Heroes)
Seriously, how many games feature a protagonist who shrieks the names of desserts as he eviscerates yet another coin-bleeding member of a faceless army of disposable footsoldiers? Dont think about it too hard. Travis Touchdown is an obnoxious, geeky pervert whos just as comfortable ogling girls and watching pro wrestling as he is doing odd jobs to raise money for gut-wrenching murder. These traits alone were enough for him to place in our list of top 7 assasins. Theres something awful and wonderful about him all at once, and you cant look away--least of all, because you might be killed. And lets face it, its much more fun to watch Travis on the giving end; not the receiving end.
71. Dovahkiin (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
Dovahkiins power is what makes him an impressive character, and Skyrim one of the best games ever. As the Dragonborn, he carries the burden of being one of the only people in the world capable of actually defeating dragons, shouting them out of the sky with powerful, ancient dragon shouts and besting them in battles before devouring their souls. Dovahkiin is also capable of solving literally every problem for every person in Skyrim, which, obviously, has to count for something.
70. Jack (Bioshock)
Very few FPS heroes have ever dealt with such a crapheap lot in life as Jack and come out the other end both empowered and noble. Think about it. One minute Jack is reading a lovely note from his mum and dad, and the next hes swimming for his life through a flaming sea. Then hes dropped thousands of feet into a claustrophobic Objectivist hellhole filled with the criminally insane, gets stalked by biomechanical terminators in diving helmets, finds out his mum and dad dont even exist (and that he himself exists only as a tool for a madmans victory over another madman), and that free will is a joke. And he still manages to rescue a load of little girls (in what is one of the best games of all time) and become a father/grandfather figure to them in the years to come.
69. Pit (Kid Icarus)
He may look like he is just a light-hearted angel that should be shooting heart shaped arrows at couples in a park, but Pit is actually a skilled warrior and brave hero. He started off as a typical young angel until he was called upon by the goddess to battle the evil Medusas Greek Mythology-inspired monsters. Pit manages to defeat the minions of the underworld and saves mankind on several occasions with the help of his trusty bow and light arrows. He later made an admirable appearance on what remains one of the best 3DS games. Not bad for a hero whos basically a little kid with wings.
68. Little Mac (Mike Tysons Punch-Out!!)
Little Mac is the definition of an underdog hero. Any boxer less than half the size of an opponent would probably run from the ring in fear. That isnt the case with the tiny, green-gloved fighter. Little Mac proves that what matters isnt the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog. He manages to bob and weave his way past heavyweights like Bald Bull and Soda Popinski, and is able to drive his fist home to a championship belt by defeating Mike Tyson himself. He not only appeared in one of the best NES games of all time, but hes also a champion, inspiration, and hero through and through.
67. Corvo (Dishonored)
Corvo isnt the typical hero type. He hides in shadows (Dishonored is, after all, one of the best stealth games out there), converses with a mystic being that very well may be the devil, and likes to dispatch his enemies by slicing their heads off their shoulders. But he does all of these things to the benefit the city of Dunwall and to save the kidnapped Empress-to-be. Plus, he is probably one of the nicest assassins on the job, as he doesnt always submit his victims to death. Instead, Corvos targets might just spend the rest of their lives working in a coal mine, or be humiliated out of their influential political position.
66. Dig Dug (Dig Dug series)
Do you dig Dig Dug? We definitely dig Dig Dug. If you were hanging around arcades in the early 80s theres a good chance you will have encountered Namcos subterranean monster hunter. And undoubtedly Dig Dug was his most endearing when experienced in the arcade original. Anyone who hammered his Pump Button and witnessed the helmeted hero inflate a Pooka to death will appreciate that Dig Dug was a true pioneer of inventive ways to kill in video games. Thanks Dig Dug.
65. Billy and Jimmy Lee (Double Dragon)
These days, the beat-em-up genre has largely fallen into disrepair, with notable exceptions like Castle Crashers falling few and far between. But back in the 80s, when hair was big and vests were quite literally rad, Billy and Jimmy Lee of Double Dragon fame were raising all sorts of Cain as kings of the coin-up. Sure, Billy and Jimmy are little more than a stereotype--Americans who give that whole martial arts thing what for--but they do so with panache. Panache here, of course, is synonymous with dynamite, whips, knives, bats, rocks, oil drums, etc. etc.
64. Sir Arthur (Ghosts & Goblins)
Tell us this: What other gaming character has the audacity to charge heedlessly into the creepiest graveyard known to man wearing nothing but his boxer shorts. Any further discussion as to why Sir Arthur of Ghosts n' Goblins fame stands as one of the top 100 game characters is moot.
63. Death (Darksiders II)
Obviously, Death is pretty good at killing stuff--his jaw-dropping agility in conjunction with his deadly-fast scythes makes him the perfect instrument of precise destruction. But what makes Death such a great character is his surprisingly selfless mission. Heres one of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, who can basically do whatever he wants, and all he cares about his helping his brother, War. His motivations are totally noble; he doesnt kill stuff because hes Death--he kills stuff to preserve his brothers life. What could be more heroic than that?
62. Duke Nukem (Duke Nukem series)
Always bet on Duke, right? Except when it comes to topping this list, because he doesnt. Thats probably due to his flaws: Hes stuck in the 1990s, appeared in one of the worst games of the current generation, and oozes chauvinistic sexism from every pore. But he also saves the world from alien scum and does so with undeniable flair and charisma. Youll complain about his personality when hes not around, but youd gladly go for a drink with him when he is.
61. Bomberman (Bomberman series)
On the surface of it, it might seem like Bomberman is barely a character at all. Like Hello Kitty, hes less a real person, more a physical conduit with which to give abstract cuteness corporeal form. But consider this: Bombermans first game saw him fight his way through 50 floors of explosive subterranean horror with the ambition of becoming human upon reaching the surface. And having attained that goal, he immediately returned, to sacrifice himself endlessly for our entertainment in the gladiatorial arena of multiplayer. In fact since then his life has essentially become nothing but multiplayer.
60. Galen Marek/Starkiller (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed series)
Wielding the dark side of the force and serving under the tutelage of Darth Vader himself, Starkiller is one of the last characters that you would expect to be considered a hero. Its his transition from Sith assassin to self-sacrificing Jedi Master that makes him so great. The most defining moment of his heroic career is his direct contribution to the formation of the Rebel Alliance who would ultimately be responsible for overthrowing the Empire. As if dispatching squads of troopers all at once and crushing AT-ATs with pure thought isnt enough. Having that much power at your disposal can result in some gnarly kills.
59. Strider Hiryu (Strider)
Hiryu isnt the easiest person to write an entry for, given that hes of the quiet, stoic, mysterious background, unknown identity school of character design. ie. the 80s, when no-one could be bothered writing anything because their heroes were basically just sprites who did cool stuff. Still, his sheer levels of badass cool have seen him endure long past his clichs sell-by date, making him now an archetype rather than a stereotype. And besides, being one of the top Special A-Class Strider mercenaries in history, his once-pioneering acrobatic murder skills have now found a perfectly fitting modern home in Capcoms fighting games. Hes somewhat of an enduring classic.
58. Sackboy (LittleBigPlanet)
This brave little walking ball of yarn stuffed with fluff is all smiles as he (or she) hops and skips along to save LittleBigPlanet from whatever is threatening its current state of peace and harmony. Always ready to do what's right, Sackboy readily follows direction from strangers in hopes of helping others. He's versatile, customizable, not entirely squishable, but a resourceful little Sackperson nonetheless with a diverse wardrobe. Oh, and incredibly cute to boot.
57. Ryo Hazuki (Shenmue)
Ryos this far down the list because, while hes a good man at heart, his path is shaped by a lust for revenge. Thats not quite the heros way. But his actions are most certainly heroic when you look at them in isolation. Most heroic of all, he rides alone into the heart of a gangs hideout to save his friend Nozomi without even a thought for his own safety. He does save her too, bringing her home on the back of an admittedly-borrowed-but-still-kickass motorbike. Ryo-san, we salute you.
56. Raziel (Soul Reaver)
As pissed-off vampire antiheroes go, few wear the title as proudly as Raziel, Legacy of Kains bitterly discarded protagonist. After being cast off by vampire lord Kain in Soul Reaver, Raziel went on a one-creature rampage between the material and spectral realms. Amidst it all, he chops, impales and drops his shroud to eat the souls of monsters. As Raziel progressed through both Soul Reaver, its 2001 sequel, and eventually 2003s climactic Legacy of Kain: Defiance, we learned more about his origins and motivations, and frankly, it makes him even more of a badass when the series bowed.
55. Phoenix Wright (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney)
Outside the courtroom, Phoenix Wright is easy-going, goofy, and lovable. When its time to be a lawyer, this renown defense attorney is as sharp as his blue suit, and loyal almost to a fault. Phoenix represents a true hero not only for his innocent clients, but for justice. Confident, smart, and not willing to back down, he stands for what is right with evidence, logic, and a whole lot of finger-pointing and objections.
54. Bill Rizer and Lance Bean (Contra)
The Stallone and Schwarzenager look-alikes have saved the world from massive alien invasions half a dozen times; the most recent standout being Contra 4. There isnt much to the pair personality-wise, besides their mentality to shoot everything on sight, but thats what makes them such amazing killing machines and world savers. Well, that and the fact that its impossible for them to jump without doing a somersault flip and they have guns that can shoot unlimited bullets and missiles. These super soldiers get the job done. Now, get to the choppa!
53. Sora (Kingdom Hearts)
Few videogame heroes are as pure of heart and innocent of mind as young Sora. He values friendship above anything else, something he perhaps confuses with love, which is obviously what hes feeling for Kairi. But thats his charm his childish naivety, like the way he meets a stranger and declares theyre friends after 20 seconds. And he has bigger feet than 99% of the heroes on this list, so he gets bonus points for that.
52. Yoshi (Yoshis Island)
Yoshi may be best known as Marios sidekick, but his heroism should not be overlooked, since he did get to star in his own series and help Mario for a change. This reliable little green dinosaur is a key ally when it comes to saving the Mushroom Kingdom time and time again, as well as his own island. He's friendly, charismatic, and utterly adorable, but what makes him special is that he's always ready to save the day--no questions asked. It helps that hes not a very picky eater either.
51. Liu Kang (Mortal Kombat)
He can shoot fireballs, whoops and hollers just like Bruce Lee, and pioneered the Animality with his dragon-transformation fatality--its no wonder that Liu Kangs the chosen champion of Earthrealm. Sub-Zero and Scorpion may get most of the fanfare, but this Shaolin monk has always fought with a righteous fury for the greater good. Plus, the strange squeals he emits during his trademark Bicycle Kick move are unforgettable, and he can drop an entire arcade cabinet on his dazed opponents head. Thats boss.
50. Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher)
The amnesiac Witcher from Rivia stands in sort of a grey area on the hero spectrum. He may make his living as a mercenary--killing monsters and mythical creatures for cold hard cash--but the monster hunter has a soft spot for the poor and downtrodden. Hell fight till his last breath to defend nonhumans from oppression, but he can also be tilted the other way and take part in his fair share of debauchery and revenge. In the end though, he fights to bring justice to those who have wronged the people he cares for, making him a hero in his own right.
49. Amaterasu (Okami)
To the simple humans that surround her, Amaterasu is a simple, flea-ridden dog wandering the Japanese countryside. Beneath that mundane exterior, shes one of the most powerful gods in Japanese mythology, on a massive quest to save ancient Japan. In Okami, she saves the oblivious inhabitants from the danger they face by uniting the 13 gods and using the celestial brush to literally paint over reality. That she uses such power exclusively for good is strong proof of her integrity.
48. Captain Price (Call of Duty/Modern Warfare)
Captain Price can almost be legitimized to be on the top 100 heroes list on the merits of growing his humongous handlebar mustache alone. But aside from that (and being practically immortal), Price has been a war hero since the Call of Duty series was based WWII, saving the world from Nazi regimes, preventing terrorist nuclear plots, and halting a Russian invasion of the US in (the fictional) World War III. Just being in one world war qualifies you as a hero, and Price has seen two.
47. Agent 47 (Hitman series)
To refer to Hitmans Agent 47 as a hero would be a bit of a misnomer. He has been known, after all, to unceremoniously murder a man simply because his clothes were deemed desirable, and then also cram that mans naked corpse into a armoire in an insane effort to cover his tracks. So theres that. But as far as greatest characters go, may we remind you that Agent 47 shows absolutely no compunction in killing a man, stealing his clothes, and then shoving that guys cold, dead, naked corpse into an armoire? Pretty awesome.
46. Ratchet & Clank (Ratchet & Clank series)
Though he started off as a snarky, arrogant Lombax, Ratchet metamorphosed into a cool and confident commando with a penchant for invention and fixing junk. Hes an incredibly capable and adventurous character, and even has a compassionate side. Clank, on the other hand, is a lovable little guy that often acts as a counter to Ratchets do-first-think-later personality. Hes also a walking encyclopedia, providing a slew of facts to every ill-informed joke Ratchet rattles off. The playful interaction between these two makes them a hilariously fun pair of characters that cant be separated.
45. The Nameless One (Planescape: Torment)
Where most RPGs are content with giving you the tools to create your own character, Planescape: Torment embellishes its play-your-way protagonist with one of the most fascinating backstories ever imagined. The Nameless One is a once-human immortal who can never permanently die; but each time he is felled in battle, he loses more and more of his memories. Recovering the fragments of The Nameless Ones past through his various incarnations is an emotional journey that reveals him to be a character that has truly suffered many lifetimes worth of anguish. Though you can imprint your own philosophical views on him through the games long-winded dialog, hes still a fully realized and impressively developed character all his own.
44. Mike Haggar (Final Fight)
The measures of a true hero are selflessness, strength, and the ability to inspire others. Mike Haggar has all three nailed. When the Mad Gear Gang tried to corrupt him, he told them to sod off. When they kidnapped his daughter, he ripped off his shirt, left his mayoral office, and headed to the wrong side of town to beat the crap out of the lot of them. Thats the kind of man we need in politics. Not only that, but his wrestling career is the entire reason Street Fighters Zangief got into the sport. They share so many moves because the Red Cyclone is a massive fanboy. And rightly so.
43. Manny Calavera (Grim Fandango)
As the skeletal star of one of the all-time greatest adventure games, Manny makes journeying through the afterlife a relatable experience. Though he starts out the game as a simple travel agent (who happens to reap souls), Mannys bountiful empathy makes him an unlikely hero in his inventive noir world. His cool-headed attitude, loyalty to Glottis, and witty quips based on his surroundings all make him one of the most endearing skeletons ever.
42. Sam & Max (Sam & Max series)
What? Putting the duo together is cheating? As if. Sam & Max are as inseparable as any animal freelance crime fighting duo, using their wits (and comically-oversized guns) to solve case after case, even if no one wants them to. Their witty dialog, charming demeanor, and ability to fight gigantic, evil statues shaped like Abraham Lincoln make them among the best characters gaming has ever seen.
41. Kyle Katarn (Star Wars: Dark Forces series)
Kyle Katarn is one of those unsung heroes of the Star Wars universe. Hes an ex-Imperial turned Jedi whose contributions, although pretty significant, arent necessarily well known. Some of which include the acquisition of the original Death Star plans and thwarting the Dark Trooper project. Part of what makes him such a great hero is that his main concerns were always about the safety and well-being of those he cared about, regardless of what side he was affiliated with.
40. Kirby (Kirby series)
If you dont think a pink blob can be tough, then you clearly havent seen Kirby in action. The deceptively cute puffball has mastered an armorys worth of weapons, and its all thanks to his insatiable appetite. Kirby takes on the ability of whatever he eats, so watch out, because that friendly face hides a marksman, swordsman, flamethrower, and more. We thank our lucky stars every day that Kirby has yet to develop a taste for human flesh.
39. Banjo and Kazooie (Banjo and Kazooie series)
Whats the burly honey bear without his strange red bird partner that lives in his backpack? Nothing, thats what. Banjo and Kazooie are a powerful team, combining both of their individual skill sets to overthrow the evil schemes of the butt-ugly witch Gruntilda. Banjo does most of the grunt work, running, climbing and swimming through the world collecting the jigsaw puzzle pieces--but he wouldnt get far without Kazooies ability to fly, her sharp beak, and her even sharper nagging wit.
38. Jak & Daxter (Jak & Daxter series)
Being responsible for turning your life-long friend into an Ottsel must be a pretty heavy burden to carry. Making the choice to change him back or save the world is a decision that has even more weight. In the end, the duo decides to save the world, forgoing the only opportunity to revert Daxter back to normal. Selflessness like that is what undoubtedly makes Jak & Daxter a heroic pair, who are well worth having around to protect your city.
37. Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell)
Hes voiced by Michael Ironside and he wears awesome night vision goggles. Thats good enough, right? No? Fine. Sam Fisher has saved the free world on countless occasions, executing the Fifth Freedom (see: killing in the name of protecting freedom) to take down terrorist organizations all around the world. Best of all, he does it with a style all his own, be it fully equipped (as he has been in the earlier games) or stripped of all his tech (as proven in Conviction). Hes like Macgyver-meets-James Bond-meets-Batman.
36. JC Denton (Deus Ex)
Good ol JC is a closer: Hes the kind of guy youd bring in if you need something done, and you need it done right. Like some sort of futuristic Sherlock Holmes, hes intelligent, incredibly resourceful, and just enough of a loner to ensure that he wont let anything get in the way of his objective. Hes also a walking biochemistry project, thanks to his nano-augmentations that give him superhuman strength and perception. While its ultimately up to you where JCs loyalties reside, one things for sure: This guys always up to the task, no matter how dangerous it might be.
35. Garrett (Thief)
Hes dark, mysterious, cynical, steals from the rich and gives to himself. Okay, so hes not exactly Robin Hood--but he did go well out of his way to save the world a few times. Although hes the last thing youd expect from a hero, he's one of the best conceived characters in gaming and thats what makes him so interesting. You could also say that Garrett is a pioneer of sorts, paving the way for the myriad other thieves and assassins of our time.
34. Crash Bandicoot (Crash Bandicoot)
What other video game hero could get away with a pelvic-thrusting victory dance in an E-rated--or K-A, as it was then known--game? Crash was once the PlayStation brands leading mascot (much to the chagrin of then-Sony president Ken Kutaragi, who infamously branded the marsupial as crap), championing his consoles platforming capabilities just as Mario and Sonic before him. His happy-go-lucky demeanor, signature spin move, and awesome death animations made him a memorable madcap hero, with just the right amount of radical tude to be endearing.
33. Professor Layton (Professor Layton series)
Professor Layton might be one of the only characters on this list without blood on his hands. He isnt about kicking in doors and blasting apart a room full of ruffians--hed rather solve a puzzle to get the door open, then challenging said ruffians in a battle of wits to get the information he needs. Always the gentleman, Layton has solved his way through every logical conundrum that's obstructed the truth, proving that theres more to being a hero than brute strength.
32. Cole McGrath (Infamous)
Sometimes, the best, most badass heroes are the unlikeliest. Infamous Cole McGrath was a courier in Empire City when disaster struck, an event which granted him super-human powers. From that moment on, the city is his to either save or destroy, and Sucker Punch deftly portrayed that level of power in your hands. Infamous 2 took Cole to another locale, the city of New Marais, at which point the potential for heroism or villainy rose to even greater heights. By the time you clear the sequel, youll have no doubt in your mind why Cole is a great hero.
31. Simon Belmont (Castlevania)
The Belmont Clan, whose legacy spans over 10,000 years of Castlevania, has defeated Dracula more times than you can shake a whip at. Theres a lot to live up to when youre the heir to a famous clan of vampire hunters, but Simon Belmont gladly shoulders the life-threatening responsibilities of his bloodline. Hes protected Transylvania time and time again, by dispatching Dracula and his nightmarish horde of minions. Its safe to say that heroism runs in the family.
30. Fox McCloud (Star Fox)
Fox is the leader of the Lylat systems premier mercenary space combat squadron, Star Fox. He and his group of anthropomorphic teammates have defeated the evil Andross and saved the galaxy on more than one occasion. Not only is he a nearly unrivaled Arwing pilot; hes also a master at driving any vehicular contraption he can get into, including submarines and armored tanks. No matter how dangerous the assignment, Fox will see it through--especially when innocent lives (and credits) hang in the balance.
29. Monkey (Enslaved: Odyssey to the West)
Monkey is one of the most tragic examples of a true loner. Forced to raise himself in the wilderness of a practically destroyed world, hes got street smarts (er...forest smarts?) like you wouldnt believe. But hes also fiercely protective. His encounter with Trip, though initially a bit on the hostile side, transformed him from an aggressive lone wolf to a caring guardian willing to sacrifice himself for the wellbeing of others. He is, in a sense, a gentle giant, and hes incredibly relatable and believable in a way that many video game characters are not.
28. Dante (Devil May Cry)
Cocky, sarcastic, and confident. All of these are apt descriptions for Capcoms half-demon hero. Hes been charming us for over a decade (and, at times, making us wince--thanks to Devil May Cry 2) across numerous titles. Part of what makes a hero great is great gameplay, and DMC has delivered in that regard, but it helps when youve got such a charismatic hero. Whether its Chibi-Dante (remember Viewtiful Joe PS2?), fighting game Dante, or new-look Dante in DmC, hes a guy who youll always have a hell of a time playing with.
27. The Prince (Prince of Persia)
The Prince is all things to all men. Almost literally. No character of the last couple of generations has had so many radically different personality reboots. The original and best modern Prince came in the form of the Sands of Times foppish, arrogant storyteller, a charmingly conceited chap who proved that showboating heroism and borderline camp need not be mutually exclusive long before Jack Sparrow did. His angsty Warrior Within incarnation had a certain nave charm, and was at least a more capable combatant, and his calmer Twin Thrones form reconciled both a newfound maturity.
26. Ryu Hayabusa (Ninja Gaiden)
The Dragon Ninja is a particularly brutal good guy, but a good guy nonetheless. Armed with the legendary dragon sword, Ryu Hayabusa slices up any enemy assassin, kamikaze ninja dog, greater Fiend, or world-threatening ancient evil that comes his way--all while staying focused around those scantily clad, busty Fiend hunters. It aint easy being a ninja.
25. Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong Country)
Not everyone starts out as a hero. Some of them start by tossing barrels and kidnapping Mario's girlfriend. Still, a huge ape like Donkey Kong was too loveable to stay the bad guy, and eventually he got his own series to star in. Admittedly more interested in collecting bananas than the greater good, those are often one in the same for DK.
24. Jade (Beyond Good & Evil)
Armed with a camera and a big stick to beat things down with, Jade is not your stereotypical, half-naked, sexy, video game heroine. Shes strong, smart, classy, and above all, shes relatable. As a photojournalist, Jade risks her life to expose corruption within the government, and when shes not busy doing that, her time is spent taking care of young orphans. Its not often we get to play a game that stars such a strong female lead, who serves as a good role model without having to don a pair of hot pants or booty shorts.
23. Max Payne (Max Payne series)
Some people have the sort of bad days where they stub their toes and are overcome by existential guilt because they havent accomplished much with their lives. Max Payne, however, has really bad days--the kind where everyone he loves gets murdered. The homicide of Maxs family quickly transforms him from good-guy cop to revenge-hungry vigilante, propelling him through a series of extraordinary mobster-murdering scenarios. He toppled a corrupt corporation, put down a power-hungry secret organization, and survived an alcohol-fueled stint through Brazil. Despite having the worst luck on the entire planet (and with the help of a little alcohol), he manages to maintain his sanity and prevail.
22. Isaac Clarke (Dead Space)
Isaac Clarke isnt a lucky man. When he travels to a desolate mining ship to find his girlfriend, the rig is overrun by aliens. When he is thrown into an insane asylum, it, too, is overrun by both extra terrestrials and insane cultists. But despite staring insanity in the eyes, he has continued to do what it takes to save the people around him, fighting against the most disturbing abominations the universe has ever seen with a cool demeanor, and an even cooler suit of futuristic armor.
21. Crono (Chrono Trigger)
Taken at face value, Crono is the usual bland RPG hero battling monsters with his childhood friends. But the proof of the spiky-haired teen's depth is in the impact he has on those friends. He teaches a robot to be human, convinces a cursed knight to be a champion once more, and his selflessness inspires the games most twisted villain to change his ways. Thanks to Chrono Trigger's rich narrative (it did rank #3 on our list of the best games ever), players felt a connection to the lead like never before.
20. Abe (Oddworld)
One of the unlikeliest heroes in all of gaming became its most brave, going from janitor to savior for his entire race via pure pacifism. Well, not exactly--his psionic powers meant he could possess those nasty Sligs and force them to commit suicide, which was always a hoot. But Abes strength lies in communication; despite his limited vocabulary and basic social skills, hes able to lead his Mudokon people to freedom from the misery of slave labor. Gentle, intelligent, and somehow able to make fart jokes funny again, Abe is the kind of game hero we want to befriend in real life.
19. Lucas (Mother 3)
In the beginning hours of Mother 3, Lucas isnt brave, or strong, or courageous--in fact, hes actually more sensitive than the average JRPG character. But as the years pass, this delicate sunflower grows into an incredibly strong-willed protagonist capable of standing up to foes others simply dont have the capability of defeating. Its because of his actions, and his willingness to sacrifice everything, that Lucas stands out as one of the most heroic game characters of all time.
18. Kratos (God of War)
Since 2005, God of Wars Ghost of Sparta has become one of PlayStations most popular representatives. Many vicariously revel in his exquisitely brutal brand of gratuitous carnage and mutilation. Being insanely violent isnt exactly an uncommon trait amongst game characters, but driven by a rage wrought from his guilt (slaughtered thousands, including oops his wife and daughter) Kratos kills with such convincing visceral aggression it elevates him way beyond the status of brain-dead murder-bot.
17. Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog)
Sonic is a true hero. He stands up for the little guy and frees the oppressed from the clutches of a genocidal maniac. Hes eco-friendly, a natural leader and uses his super-powers for good, not evil. He doesnt even ask for anything in return, although he wouldnt say no to a chili dog or two. People may still debate Mario vs Sonic, but no matter what side you fall one, you have to agree that he deserves high placement on this list.
16. Wander (Shadow of the Colossus)
Armed with a sword, a bow, a loyal horse, and a heart full of courage, Shadow of the Colossuss Wander put everything on the line to save the woman he loved. This meant not only making a deal with a shady demigod, but also battling giants, literally climbing colossi the size of skyscrapers and taking them down. His ability to face down these massive foes--even if it ultimately resulted in one of the most disastrous gaming romances--without any particularly powerful tools is what makes him remarkable, even if hes willing to use illicit means in order to reach his noble goals.
15. Garrus (Mass Effect)
Alright, lets be fair: Mass Effect is Commander Shepards story. But for as compelling as that character can be, he/she doesnt hold a candle to Garrus. The Turian sniper spends all three games (as long as you dont get him killed) following Shepard around, helping him save the galaxy without batting an eye at the near-impossible odds of success--its no wonder he made it onto our lists of both the characters we fell in love with and most badass characters of the generation. Hes like an insect version of Ryan Gosling.
14. John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)
John Marston is the cowboy weve always wanted in a video game. Like an Old Western Robin Hood, he joined a gang, stole from the rich, and gave to the poor--until he was left for dead by his own. He reformed his ways, becoming an honest-to-goodness family man, but he didnt let that transformation dull his edgy personality. Hes always down for a little danger--sometimes even a little gambling--and the motivations for his gang-slayin (and zombie-huntin) adventures are more pure than anything else in the Wild West. Is it any wonder hes one of the most badass characters of all time?
13. Raz (Psychonauts)
As a circus-acrobat-turned-fledgling-psychic, Razputin was the perfect star for an oddball mental odyssey like Psychonauts. This adorable 10-year-old scamp is the typical sleepaway camp kid, flirting with girls, bonding with his peers and mentors, and exploring the great outdoors. Only, Raz also has the power to project his psychic force into giant palms, levitate atop a ball of energy, and delve into the deepest recesses of a persons subconscious mind. Despite his incredible extrasensory abilities, he maintains a chipper, down-to-earth personality and is eager to help anyone in need. Whether you know him as Goggalor or that kid who summons old men from his ear with bacon, Raz is a truly one-of-a-kind hero.
12. Mega Man (Mega Man series)
The Blue Bomber has captured a special place in our hearts ever since he first fired 8-bit energy shots, securing his place on the roster of best NES games of all time. Hes managed to foil Dr. Wilys evil plans countless times, dominating his legions of Robot Masters along the way. He doesnt fight for personal glory, instead desiring to bring everlasting peace to the world. With such pure intentions at heart, Mega Man is an easy character to love--and if you add up all the powers hes absorbed over the years, hes easily one of the most versatile heroes on this list.
11. Leon S. Kennedy (Resident Evil)
From rookie cop to Secret Service agent, few gaming characters have endured the Hell on Earth that Leon has witnessed across Resident Evil 2, RE4, and RE6. Hes experienced the Worst First Day at Work, the Worst Trip to Spain, and most recently, the Worst Trip to China. And through it all, he maintains not only perfect hair, but composure to match. Leons ability to keep calm and shoot carrion is indisputably a reason why hes one of gamings most memorable protagonists.
10. Guybrush Threepwood (Monkey Island series)
Few video game heroes get their names botched as often as Guybrush Threepwood, but that doesn't stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming a mighty pirate, nor risking his life to save his lady love. Making his video game debut in The Secret of Monkey Island, he didnt exactly make a good first impression with the governor Elaine, but he managed to win us (and her) over with his charm and youthful exuberance. His devotion and loyalty to Elaine is admirable, and while he may not be the most intimidating of protagonists (just look at him), he gets by with his sharp wit and resourcefulness.
Guybrush isnt what you would consider "suave or debonair," if anything he's socially awkward and easy to pick on. But he's genuine and caring (not to mention whipped), and that's what we love about him. He's not only an unlikely pirate, but also an unlikely hero. Through the series hes grown and matured, but we'll always remember him as the eager, young man with simple dreams, whose only goal was to become a swashbuckling pirate.
9. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)
The lovely Ms. Croft isnt the damsel-in-distress type--she doesnt sit around in a tower waiting for some mystical Prince Charming to "save her." Instead, she seeks adventure. She was a daring treasure hunter long before Nathan Drake was even a thought, often chasing thrills at the risk of her own life. Shes intelligent, sexy, and incredibly capable--even if she isnt one of the most tastefully designed female heroines ever--and when she was introduced to the world, she put many of her male protagonist counterparts to shame and ascended as a gaming icon.
Admittedly, some of Laras outings were missteps for the Tomb Raider franchise, but that doesnt detract from her witty and fiercely independent nature. We admire her for many things, especially her ability to fend for herself and adapt to and overcome the seemingly impossible situations she continually finds herself in. Lara Croft isnt just one of gamings most powerful women--shes also one of gamings greatest protagonists.
8. Master Chief (Halo series)
Master Chief is an against-all-odds kind of guy. Hes a guy whos brought in when the day is clearly lost. When his factions armies are facing down impossible odds, facing enemies with superior numbers, firepower, technology, and positioning. And then, like a logger with a job to do, Chief employs brute-force tactics to clear a path, cripple the advance, and pound the advantage home, using whatever tools he can find, including but not limited to whatever weapons his vanquished enemies have left behind.
Chief isnt the strongest or most crafty hero, and he isnt particularly charismatic or intelligent or playful. But when civilization is on the line and all other options have been exhausted, Chief is the guy whos going to get you through.
7. Ezio (Assassins Creed series)
Long before Ezio became a master assassin--and certainly before he had introduced anyone to the sharp end of a hidden blade--he was a somewhat-innocent 17-year-old interested in charming ladies and fist fighting rivals. Boys will be boys. The remarkable thing about him as a character, though, is that he experienced a lot of pretty horrible things, which ultimately shaped him as a man and transformed him into one of the most badass game characters of this generation.
We were with him when his father and brothers were wrongfully hanged before his own eyes. We felt his rage when his familys name was dragged through the mud, and he was forced to flee Florence with his mother and sisters in tow. Most importantly, we were there when he developed his undying sense of justice and matured into one of the greatest assassins the order had ever seen. No matter his mission, Ezio was always charming and willing to help those in need. He was a selfless man, one that put his life on the line time and time again to make sure evildoers were swiftly put down. The Italian Assassin may be retired, but well never forget his journey or his sacrifice.
6. Gordon Freeman (Half-Life series)
Weve seen through the emerald eyes of Gordon Freeman for over ten years now, saving the world in Half-Life and then saving it again in Half-Life 2. Crowbar in hand, weve defeated any evils that have come our way, be it zombified scientists, giant alien baby monsters, or oppressive Combine soldiers. But though his enemies have changed from game to game, one thing has remained the same: Gordon never knows whats going on.
Its how the characters of the Half-Life universe treat Gordon Freeman, not the way he treats them, that shape such a compelling character. Whenever he arrives on the scene, hes swarmed by people acting like he has all of the answers. Thank god, Gordon is here! they cry. Hell know what to do! But he doesnt. He never does. Yet despite this, he gets the job done. Ever the right man in the wrong place, hes able to overcome the odds, and become the hero everyone sees him as--even if, deep down, Gordons even more confused than the people hes saving.
5. Samus Aran (Metroid series)
The gaming world was in shock when it was revealed that the silent, armor-clad hero of Metroid had been a woman all along. These days, however, she's so respected by players worldwide that her gender has become the non-issue it always should have been. Famous for her skill with weapons, her proficiency in battle, and her diverse collection of tools, Samus might be a gun for hire, but she's proven over that her strong morals ultimately guide her.
And you have to admire her persistence for the ability to regain all her lost items after losing them at the start of every game. Whether she's 2D or 3D, in a sidescroller or FPS, her strength and determination always shine through, allowing her the power to defeat floating aliens space pirates alike.
4. Mario (Mario series)
Describing Mario is about as simple as giving a biography on Mickey Mouse, Superman, or James Bond. Mario isnt merely the mascot for his company, but for his entire medium. And while most mascots are designed with wide appeal in mind, Mario is beloved in spite of being something as noncommercial as a squat, fat, mustachioed, middle-aged guy. When he first appeared in Donkey Kong, Mario couldnt helped but be seen as one of the most human characters in gaming.
Hes spent his career beating the odds in David and Goliath battles, continually besting monsters that overpower him through quick jumps and quick thinking. No matter what year it is or what system hes on, you want to root for Mario. You want to see him win. And he never disappoints.
3. Nathan Drake (Uncharted)
Nathan Drake is a man who exhibits no regard for human life. Thats irrefutable, evidencable, documentable. But the way in which he wantonly murders those who stand between him and some largely inconsequential ancient trinket, its just so... good-natured.
With his half-tuck, quick wit, wry grin, and messy hair, Nate perfectly captures that sentiment of being the guy all the other guys want to be and all the gals want to be with, even if he is basically a raging sociopath that could never successfully integrate into modern society. Due to his predilection for murder. Lots and lots of murder. With Nate, overlooking murder has never been so easy, and anyone who can have that said of them is surely one of the greatest characters ever.
2. Raiden (Metal Gear)
When it comes to the Metal Gear Solid series, many feel that Snake is the indisputable hero of the games. We beg to differ. Throughout the trials and travails of Metal Gear Solid 2, and leading into Metal Gear Solid 4, we feel that Raiden is undoubtedly the greatest hero the Metal Gear series has seen. Heres a few reasons wh--
2. Just Kidding... Solid Snake (Metal Gear)
For over a quarter century, Solid Snake has endured torture, double-and-triple crosses, freezing cold, blazing heat, rapid aging, and lived life on the edge of a blade. And, amidst all of the death-defying odds, he barely picked up a cough from all of the smoking. But even with all of those reasons, theyre far from the sole rationale for why Snake is one of the greatest heroes of gaming.
In a universe inhabited by the most cartoonish nemeses on this side of Batman and conspiracy theories so far-fetched that it took massive sequels to tie up loose ends, Snake exhibits a vulnerability that few game characters display. He fights because he knows no other way, but he hates the fact that its all he can do. For that, despite his survival skills as a super-soldier, hes more human than most heroes you embody in games. They don't make soldiers like him anymore.
1. Link (The Legend of Zelda)
Humble beginnings, courage in the face the ultimate evils, and thankless rewards. The Legend of Zeldas Link is the personification of what a hero is. For over 25 years, Link has taken the heros journey, often starting as just an average boy then becoming an evil-vanquishing, green garbed, warrior of legend through a path of adventure and personal growth. Being the bearer of the Triforce of Courage, Link never turns from a challenge, be it facing grotesque monsters, defeating ancient villains, or competing in rupee gathering contests.
Link is not only brave; he is the embodiment of the virtue of courage and heroism, single-handedly embarking on epic quests, helping those in need no matter how small the task, and showing his kind-hearted soul to everyone he meets. Link does all these things and receives little more of a reward than the occasional thank you. Then, after his job is done, he leaves those he saves and disappears until destiny calls up a new boy in green to find a sword and shield and go off to a new adventure. He is the truest of all video game heroes.
Who did we miss?
Remember, we left the last ten heroes up to you, the readers. So be sure to voice your opinion on who you think deserves to be on this list, and you just might get to see them added next week.