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The Top 7… Mentally damaged characters we love

5. Jack (Subject Zero)

From: Mass Effect 2

Speaking of special individuals being used as lab rats until their brains are mush...

If you were to take River from Firefly, shave her head, replace her typical quirks with piracy, kidnapping, vandalism and murder, you'd have something that looks a lot like Jack (or Subject Zero, if you're so inclined). The biotic powerhouse was kept in a padded room by the sinister Cerberus group when she was a child, being psychologically tortured because why the hell not? They conditioned her to feel better when she killed people, turning murder into a drug of sorts. It made her stronger, gave her incredible powers and planted seeds of dissent that would eventually make her into one of the most dangerous criminals in the universe once she escaped. Yes, that's right, she escaped. Who thought that they could keep a psychic warrior in a cell?

She eventually joined Shepard's crew, asking him to return to the facility she was raised in so she could blow it up. It seemed like her mind was in a state of disrepair, but the more we interacted with her, the more we found that beneath her tough Girl, Interrupted exterior was a frightened, scared young woman, looking for closure after years of mental abuse.

Also, she wants really crazy, kinky sex... or creepy, sobby, crying sex. Either way, we're not going to judge.

4. Isaac Clarke

From: Dead Space series

Poor Isaac. In Dead Space, the engineer took a job to help rescue workers on the USG Ishimura, a planet-cracker ship that his girlfriend, Nicole, was stationed on. When he arrived, he was thrown into a conspiracy involving the Church of Unitology, Earth's government and zombie-like aliens called necromorphs, which need to be de-limbed in order to be killed. That, alone, could drive a man crazy, but those were the least of his worries – Isaac was also dealing with his own mind, which was slowly being turned against him by an artifact called The Marker. In the first game, it caused him to occasionally see a vision or two, but by the second game the marker's grip on Isaac was so strong that he was one lobotomy away from being smothered with a pillow by a towering Native American.

Clarke was having his sanity siphoned away by an alien artifact that caused lesser men to saw their own heads off with blades (in front of him, no less), and yet, somehow, he still carried on, doing his best to save humanity. We think. Or maybe the entire series has taken place within a padded cell. There's no way to know for sure.

Rumors are that Dead Space 3 will take Clarke's dementia to the next level, with even more visions tearing apart his fragile mind. Then again, after the things he's seen, it's hard to imagine that any hallucinations would actually be worse. He saw a guy drill a hole through his own eye. Seriously, what could be worse than that?

3. Sander Cohen

From: BioShock

Honestly, just about every citizen of Rapture could fit on this list. From the woman pushing around a revolver in a baby carriage to the Splicers singing Jesus Loves Me, they're all a bunch of lovable damaged goods. But even within a city of insanity, one screwy, crazy son of a bitch stood out: Sander Cohen. Cohen is an artistic type that rules over Fort Frolic, the naughtiest part of Rapture, turning the crumbling city into one big, creepy art exhibit. He's put Splicers through all sorts of sadistic tortures, like forcing them to play the piano perfectly for fear of death if they mess up (and since they're sort of insane themselves, they usually mess up).

His most insane work of "art," however, was called the Quadtych. And to complete it, he required the player to take photographs of different corpses located around Fort Frolic and place them in the hands of dead bodies that have been covered in plaster to create statues. Once the Quadtych was complete, Cohen freaked the hell out and became paranoid that the player didn't appreciate the art. He sent waves of Splicers after the player while pumping Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker over the speakers. Yeah. He's sort of a mess. 

Once he calmed down, he actually came to see the art himself, rewarding the player before letting him leave. This made him one of the only characters in BioShock that we actually came face-to-face with and didn't have to kill. (We obviously killed him anyway, but the fact that we didn't have to is sort of awesome.)

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53 comments

  • 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 insane.....at least in my book he is). Good call on Clark.....how 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.

    WHERE IS JAMES SUNDERLAND IM RAGING
  • 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.
  • danger.to.others - 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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