Hate is all you need
We gamers spend a majority of our time laughing and smiling. Games make us happy, and playing them is our passion. But there are moments when anger takes over. Where our laughter is replaced with seething hatred, and our smiles turn to grimaces. And while that sudden change can be caused by our enemies, there are many times when our allies are the ones to blame.
Video game sidekicks have a long and storied history of being useless--it's rare one rises above the muck to become a worthwhile friend. For every useful teammate like BioShock Infinite's Elizabeth, there are a dozen of Sonic's Tails, and for every compelling character like Half-Life 2's Alyx, there's Resident Evil 2s Sherry Birkin waiting at the sidelines. Today, we discuss the sidekicks we hated the most to remind us of the times when our best friends became our worst enemies.
7. Otis (Dead Rising)
Its no easy task to save people from a mall full of zombies. Frank West does his best, but he cant be everywhere at once, so youd think someone like Otis would be helpful. But his constant reminders about who needs saving were constant distractions from actually saving people. Especially when answering the phone prevents Frank from attacking the zombies that surround him on all sides.
Even if Frank carried a Bluetooth headset, Otis constant calls during the most inopportune times would give us migraines. And should you end a conversation early by attacking a flesh eating while the tiny text of his call scrolls by, the conversation ends and hell immediately call back, admonishing you for rudely hanging up on him, and then starting his long phone call all over again. Otis can see the whole mall thanks to the security cameras, so why doesnt he understand that a zombie was about to eat our face when you hung? What a jerk!
6. Slippy Toad (Star Fox 64)
If you have any fond memories of Slippy Toad from Star Fox 64, then you must've forgotten about his horrific, piercing voice. This small companion may have been great at fixing engines and inventing all sorts of awesome gadgets, but his froggish vocal cords vibrated so hard they produced one of the most haunting aural assaults ever devised in a game. Never before had a friendly pal made anyone consider stabbing out their own eardrums (or, you know, just muting the game's audio) just to have a reprieve from his high-pitched howl.
Remember? We can recall it with minimal effort: being in the heat of battle, only to hear "I GOT one!" Then, just as you start to realize how obnoxious his celebratory cry sounded, you'd get blasted from the skies out of nowhere. "FOX! FOX! FOOOX ARE YOU OKAY FOX! FO--" GOD MAKE IT STOP.
5. Pawns (Dragon's Dogma)
Taking a fellowship of companions on an epic adventure sounds like the perfect fantasy setup. In Dragon's Dogma, you lead a merry band of travelers called Pawns, slaying humongous monstrosities with the help of a cunning rogue's deadly arrows, the elemental powers of a mystical wizard, and the burly strength of a beefy warrior. They're some of the most helpful companions you could ask for--not only will they help you slay giant hydras, but they'll give you advice on the landscape, enemy weaknesses, and tell you anything else they think might be useful. Problem is, they simply refuse to ever shut up.
All you'll hear is: "Arisen, look here!" "Arisen, there's a goblin!" "The water made me wet!" "What a large tree!" "Can we take a break?" It's like you're running through the countryside with a bunch of children who speak in an old english accent. On top of all that, every single statement is displayed in text (just in case you didn't catch that last helpful comment) and covers up half of your screen. Thank heavens you can turn off these subtitles in the settings, or we just might have pulled all our hair out.
4. Lubba (Super Mario Galaxy 2)
We appreciate that Nintendo wants us to play responsibly, but the numerous warnings and advisories that are plugged into Nintendo games are getting out of hand. Virtually every Nintendo-developed game of the last six years has at least one character or pop-up chat window saying to the effect of, Are you sure you havent been playing too long? Be sure to take regular breaks. We could pick from dozens of characters that have acted as our annoying, in-game nanny, but Super Mario Galaxy 2s plump, purple star man is the embodiment of this irritating trope.
We give Lubba credit for creating Marios starship and for helping collect stars to free Princess Peach, but that doesnt give him the right to get all up in our business. Were trying to enjoy the best Wii game ever, but every hour or so we have to see his dumb face reminding us to take a break. Well tell you when weve had enough!
3. Medic (Battlefield 3)
Sometimes, when you're out of ammo and pinned down in a firefight, death can be a sweet release. It's an excuse to start anew--to jump back into the battle alongside a teammate and approach the situation from a different angle. You're not adding anything to the fight, so enjoy death, and get ready to... oh. And now we're back in the fight, still without ammo, still without grenades, and still without friends. Well, except for that medic, grinning like an idiot.
We originally thought about including League of Legends' feeders or Team Fortress 2's trolls, but we figured that once players start intentionally hindering their teammates, they're more turncoats than sidekicks. Meanwhile, the medic is there, giving you a thumbs up, acting like he just did you a favor. It's the earnestness that infuriates us, and makes us consider putting a bullet between his eyes (if, you know, we actually had any ammo left).
2. Navi (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
Ocarina of Time's protagonist Link was "The Boy Without a Fairy." That was his lot in life. While everyone else around him got to hang out with their fairies and tell ghost stories or do whatever else it is Kokiri children do, Link would just sit there alone, dreaming of the day he, too, would get one. And then he did, and it was Navi, and it was a prick.
Navi spends the entirety of Ocarina of Time telling Link what to do. Hell, the first thing it does is wake him up and complain about how he's sleeping in--what is it, our mom? Then, for the rest of the game, it literally just screams at him. Something nearby that he should pay attention to? "HEY! LISTEN!" An enemy you haven't seen yet? "HEY! LISTEN!" Looking for some private time with Malon? "HEY! LISTEN!" "HEY! LISTEN!" "HEY! LISTEN!" "HEY! LISTEN!" "HEY! LISTEN!" "HEY! LISTEN!" "HEY! LISTEN!" "HEY! LISTEN!"
1. Dog (Duck Hunt)
There's a reason that real shooting ranges have targets featuring the pixelated dog from Duck Hunt--that judgmental canine did some serious psychological damage to kids in the 1980s. Which is strange, because in many ways, he's the perfect ally. When you shoot ducks, he gets them for you. When you miss, he provides some... negative reinforcement. He is, at his core, made specifically to be the most useful sidekick he can possibly be. And we absolutely hate him for it.
That critical glare. That judging snicker. We're already down, we're already in the dumps. We're already considering moving closer to the TV to game the NES Zapper's inaccurate sensor, and then that bastard pops up, does his little laugh, and vanishes before we're able to pretend to shoot him. We pulled the trigger on the Zapper thousands of times during our childhood--and a majority of the time it was aimed directly at the face of this smug son of a bitch.
Let your rage take you over
We're noticing a trend, though. Allies are becoming stronger. Characters are becoming better. Maybe, just maybe, gaming's friends are going to be better friends. Who knows? Maybe in a few years characters like these will be a thing of the past. So, any helping hands you'd turn down?