The Top 7… Mentally damaged characters we love

One in five Americans are born with some sort of personality disorder – something that makes them zag when everyone else zigs. It might be as subtle as a nervous tic, as confusing as Asperger's or as overt as psychopathy. But mentally unstable individuals are a part of the real world – and part of the world of videogames as well. Sometimes their damage leads them to be horrible, monstrous villains, and other times it can make them loyal friends, or complex protagonists. No matter what it does to them, though, it's usually hard not to be sympathetic to their problems, and to, in a way, fall in love with them... even if they're murdering sociopaths.

7. James Seth Lynch

From: Kane & Lynch series

Though the quality of Kane & Lynch's videogame outings are questionable, the complexity of Lynch's character isn’t. Lynch was jailed for stabbing his wife to death with a butcher knife, a crime he claims not to have committed. Though to be honest, after fighting alongside Lynch in the original game (which forced us to play the singleplayer as the much-less-interesting Kane), we’re pretty sure Lynch actually did the crime, even if he doesn’t realize it. How could someone brutally murder a loved one without remembering that they did it? Well, in Lynch’s case, it’s because he hallucinates. He hallucinates a lot.

During some of the missions in Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, Lynch would screw things up for Kane, shooting hostages and civilians for no reason and attracting unwanted attention. It wasn’t until we played co-op that we learned exactly what was wrong with the insane anti-hero: what Kane saw as innocent bystanders, Lynch hallucinated as aggressive police officers. Cowering pedestrians were swapped for enemies with pigs for heads, brandishing guns instead of purses. When Lynch doesn't take his meds, he goes bonkers.

From Kane’s point of view, Lynch is a crazed murderer, but from Lynch’s… well, he’s still a murderer, but one that kills cops, not random people. So we guess that’s better?

6. Gray Fox

From: Metal Gear Solid series

Gray Fox’s parents were murdered in Vietnam when he was young, throwing him into a life of war at an early age. After killing enough people as a teenager to earn the nickname “The Hunter,” he was taken by the CIA and used as a test subject for the "Perfect Soldier Project.” In order to create said perfect soldier, the CIA forced Gray Fox to stay in a coffin-shaped sensory deprivation chamber whenever he wasn’t being sent around  the world to murder people. This not only made him stronger and more agile, but it wiped his memory clean every time he was put inside. You know, so that his mind wouldn’t be littered with corpses or anything like that.

That is, until he lost a battle with Big Boss – a defeat so crippling that not even the coffin could keep his mind clear. Driven by an urge to take down the one that got away, Fox broke out of his chamber and murdered friends and foes alike to get to his target. When he eventually did, he revealed that his mind was “littered with corpses” (oops), proving that even the best sensory deprivation chambers aren’t as good as advertised.

Later in his life, he was cut up and turned into a ninja cyborg, and could be found shadowing Solid Snake, being the bestest of frenemies while killing even more people, further piling on to a craziness born from ludicrous amounts of post-traumatic stress disorder.


Top 7


  • jonathan-nielsen - April 23, 2014 3:21 p.m.

    What about Claptrap? lol love that little robot! or how about Prophet from Crysis (yes, i know, he has visions and he seems to have a bit of an issue regarding blabbing on and on about the whole "humanity is going to die in the future!" even though it happens thats seen as crazy and insane by the other characters and such isn't it?) ? or Wesker (he's least in my book he is). Good call on about the other mental patient that was with him...forgot his name. and The Joker? :D
  • bitchassafriBLAMamericANTISTA - October 15, 2011 8:13 a.m.

    what about BATMAN!!!!!!?
  • Yaro - October 14, 2011 9:30 a.m.

    Surprised to see some love for Kane and Lynch. Severely flawed games both of them. But they also have some incredible moments. Great ideas executed poorly. With some moments of awe. I for one would like to see another K&L game...
  • JoeMasturbaby - October 13, 2011 4:03 p.m.

    the main character from Manhunt 2 perhaps? though idk if anybody else loved him.
  • BladedFalcon - October 13, 2011 11 a.m.

    I agree with mostly everything in this list, except for Jack. She's not likable, she's not even really relatable considering that you're talking about someone who has murdered, kidnapped and tortured people for sh*t and giggles, and then are expected to believe that she can be capable of being loyal to a military guy and suddenly be a good girl who just happened to be conditioned to be bad. It's not Like Kai, who simply doesn't seem to view killing as a bad thing. Jack knows it, and actually gets off on it. She's so over the top in her backgrounds and action that either side of the spectrum she touches feel exaggerated and unreal.
  • lazer59882 - October 12, 2011 9:01 p.m.

    "River from Firefly" wtf does that even mean? what odes that have to do with jack?
  • patrick-mcquaid - October 11, 2011 7:44 p.m.

  • slimjim441 - October 12, 2011 10:23 p.m.

    I know right? This lack of James gives me rage of the Brooklyn variety.
  • Yeager1122 - October 11, 2011 7:34 p.m.

    Gotta kill sandr cohen later to get that power to the peolpe station.
  • Super Barn Owl - October 11, 2011 3:16 p.m.

    You forgot kirby, he clearly has a massive eating disorder.
  • Rub3z - October 11, 2011 2:17 p.m.

    OH. MY. GOD. Just when I thought this site, with its myriad amount of incredible features with splendid and consistently funny writing, could not get any awesome-er... you make a reference to one of my favorite books of all time, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. You can consider my next month or something fulfilled. Gentlemen, I applaud and admire thee. Keep up the excellent work.
  • NightCrawler_358 - October 11, 2011 1:43 p.m.

    I really liked the Beauty and Beast Corps. bosses in Metal Gear Solid 4. Gray Fox at least knew what was going on, I was much more disturbed by "Laughing Octopus." Also, I really liked Dead Space 1, so I really gotta pick up 2 sometime.
  • RedHarlow - October 11, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    Also, I don't know why in Dead Space they always say Isaac has Dementia, when he's clearly suffering from textbook symptoms of Paranoid Schizophrenia.
  • Cleanser247 - October 11, 2011 10:55 a.m.

    Sander Cohen! YES! He's my favourite! : )
  • psycho ninja 4 - October 11, 2011 5:13 a.m.

    What no Joker?
  • slimjim441 - October 12, 2011 10:22 p.m.

    Joker is still more of a comic character than game character, otherwise, being number 1 on the list still wouldn't even be close to describing how crazy he is and how much we love him for it.
  • - October 11, 2011 3:48 a.m.

    I appreciate crazy in games, but most of them are goofy over-the-top versions of crazy written by people who it seems obvious have no idea about mental problems firsthand. But even though they usually get it wrong and just make them "movie version" crazy, as someone with some hands on experience in mental people, IO Interactive doesn't get nearly enough credit for how they developed Lynch. Probably because the average gamer wouldn't know. IO really did their homework and Lynch shows a lot, especially subtle, things that are dead on in the thinking process and behavior of a schizophrenic. They made a complex and realistic (at least, as realistic as if a schizo were thrown into warfare and teetering on the breaking point) character far beyond what I've seen any other game do, as far as the pychotics go. If anyone from IO Interactive read through this article, here's letting them know at least one person out there sees the effort you went in making a real pychotic, not the interpretations of people who just watched a movie or the news. A great job and I hope they dive in even deeper with him in the future, while maintaining the complexity and understanding to a killer all other developers have yet to understand. Long post, but how often does the topic come up to commend the creators of Lynch?
  • SanctusScorpius - October 10, 2011 11:41 p.m.

    What about Tira from SoulCalibur, whose chaotic mental state is actually incorporated into her gameplay? She hurts herself with her own attacks and doesn't even care.
  • HamsterGutz - October 10, 2011 10:10 p.m.

    Only game on this list I've played is ME2, and I didn't even like Jack. Mostly because Jack is a guy's name, but whatever. :D
  • quincytheodore - October 10, 2011 9:51 p.m.

    You could fill the list with Bioshock or Drakengard cast here. Good list :D. In retrospect, Grey Fox wasn't that bad. With everything going on for him, he did save and raise Naomi. Alice could be here, that's one beautiful messed up girl. Or Kaine from Nier, she's damaged not only mentally but physically as well, still deceivingly hot though...

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