The Top 7… Mentally damaged characters we love

2. Kai

From: Heavenly Sword

When Kai was a child, her parents were murdered in front of her eyes by Flying Fox (no, not Gray Fox... we don't think, anyway). Some might take this post-traumatic stress as an excuse to cruise around Miami ritualistically killing murderers, but not Kai — it had a more troubling effect on her. While her body grew, her mind seems to have remained trapped in an innocent state, so she still talks and acts like a child. A child that carries around a gigantic crossbow.

At several points in Heavenly Sword, we were able to play what Kai refers to as "twing twang." Funny, we've always called it "shooting people in the face with a freaking crossbow." That she found a cute, childlike name to assign to murder is somewhat disturbing, though her innocent demeanor has kept her in our minds, years after the game's short campaign ended. She wasn't even the main character; Nariko, who had the personality of a plank of wood, was. Maybe if the mentally damaged Kai had been the protagonist, Ninja Theory would be making sequels to Heavenly Sword and Enslaved instead of emo-fying Dante for the Devil May Cry reboot.

And who lets her put on her own makeup, anyway? She looks like a little girl who broke into her mother's vanity. Or who just wears really huge sunglasses all the time.

1. Wheatley

From: Portal 2

WARNING: Portal 2 plot spoilers ahead, so be warned. You monster.

In the beginning of Portal 2, Wheatley broke Chell out of her prison and led her towards GLaDOS’s lifeless, robotic corpse. He seemed a little… off, but that’s sort of par for the course when it comes to Aperture Science’s creations, so we didn’t really think anything of it. Even when GLaDOS came back to life, and we had to unplug her and plug Wheatley in, we didn’t think that there was anything wrong with Wheatley, just that he was aloof. He had a fun accent! How could he cause any trouble?

Boy, were we wrong.

It turns out that Wheatley was literally created by the world’s best scientists to make bad choices, and to be as cripplingly stupid as technologically possible. He was meant to be a dumb filter on GLaDOS to keep her in check. He’s literally as mentally damaged as can be, intentionally programmed that way by the same people that created a weapon that allows you to travel through solid freaking matter. He's a cancerous lump of inadequacy made specifically to dumb down one of the most technologically advanced machines in the world. He's mental damage incarnate.

And yet, even when he's going out of his way to kill us, we can't help but feel for him. He's never really evil, especially not when compared to GLaDOS, he's just... well, he's just dumb. Adorably, painfully dumb.

Oct 10, 2011

The Top 7... Unlikeliest badasses in gaming
They don't look so tough, but they could kick your ass!

The Top 7… Bestest frenemies
No matter whose side they're on, they're always good for a helping hand or a punch in the face

The Top 7... '80s movies that deserve new videogames
These licenses are just sitting idle!


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...

Showing 1-20 of 53 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000