There must be an easier way
Video games frequently throw their heroes into seemingly insurmountable problems. Saving doomed worlds. Killing unkillable bosses. Managing tower defense during a Jehovah's Witness convention. But while epic gaming experiences inherently require epic challenges in their scenarios, some heroes just make life hard on themselves.
Often, if they just dropped the traditional madness-goggles of video game logic, they'd realise that things are a lot easier than they think. Often, if they just applied a bit of blunt, real-world common sense, they'd have things dealt with in a fraction of the time, and with only minimal risk of maiming and death. Might not be as glamourous as taking the +5 Sword of Deadening out for a whirl, but it is far less hassle. Click on, and I'll explain.
Almost any Zelda game
The in-game conundrum: Ganon keeps stealing the Triforce and attempting to take over the world.
The in-game solution: A chosen boy-elf must travel between all of Hyrules sub-nations doing odd jobs for everyone he meets in exchange for the various means to reach and defeat Ganon.
The better solution: Get Hyrule organised. Have its various indigenous peoples stop bitching and whining about their individual troubles, unite as a nation, sort each others shit out, and then storm Ganon as an army. The whole thing could be over in a couple of days, and the resulting free Hyrule would be in a much better state afterwards.
Street Fighter II and IV
The in-game conundrum: Shadoloo, a sinister global crime syndicate-cum-burgeoning evil empire, is using a world-wide fighting tournament to recruit new members, train its existing enforcers, and take out its opponents.
The in-game solution: Various good guys enter the tournament in order to fight their way to the Shadoloo management and discover the organisations base.
The better solution: Get Chun-Li to do her job. Shes an Interpol agent. The tournament is a public event. This should not be a tough one to crack.
Grand Theft Auto IV
The in-game conundrum: Niko has to track down the man who betrayed his military unit, while becoming increasingly embroiled with an increasingly troublesome criminal underworld.
The in-game solution: A whole lot of robberies, assassinations and drug deals for a whole load of shady characters, usually enforced by blackmail, followed by a whole lot of back-stabbing and fleeing for his life.
The better solution: Just behave yourself. Stay out of trouble, and use Google to find the guy youre looking for, if you really have to.
The in-game conundrum: Youre tapped in a maze of twisting corridors and hazard-filled deathtraps. Demons are everywhere, and theres no direct route to the exit.
The in-game solution: Trek through miles of extra corridors and deathtraps in order to find the colour-coded keycards needed to unlock the doors leading to the way out.
The better solution: You have a rocket launcher and a BFG 9000. Use them.
Resident Evil 4
The in-game conundrum: The Presidents daughter has been kidnapped by a rural Spanish parasite-cult intent on indoctrinating her into their midst and using her to take over the world.
The in-game solution: You, as Leon Kennedy, have to fight your way through woods, a village, a castle, a secret lab complex and a whole military island, killing not-zombies and murdering giant monsters in order to rescue her several times over.
The better solution: Go home. Rescue her once, leg it out through the woods (theres a road nearby, and your arrival in a police car means that this place is pretty near civilisation), and go home. And then order an airstrike. Or, you know, leave as soon as you know what youre up against and come back with a lot more men, armed with more than a pistol.
Any 2D Mario game
The in-game conundrum: Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach and imprisoned her several countries away.
The in-game solution: Mario walks a winding path through up to eight continents, navigating their most dangerous areas via death-defying gymnastic displays.
The better solution: Just go around the hard stuff. Seriously. That stuff is laid out in a straight line. Just go around it. Cave level? Stay above ground and go over it. In fact why are you even travelling through all eight continents? Just steal a goddamn airship. Peach could be dying.
The in-game conundrum: Ryo Hazukis father is murdered by Lan Di, the son of a man killed by Hazuki Snr.
The in-game solution: A years-long, as-yet unfinished, quest for revenge, so far spanning two countries and already threatening to consume Ryos being.
The better solution: Just let it go. Seriously. Your dad killed his dad, so he evened the odds. Youre kind of the bad guy for even going after him. Youre probably starting generations of inter-familial murder here. Just let it go.
The in-game conundrum: Vincent is confused over his relationship with his long-term girlfriend, Katherine. Unsure whether to marry her or leave her, he starts a second relationship with Catherine. Meanwhile, strange, seemingly lethal dreams are starting to plague unfaithful men across the city.
The in-game solution: Loads of existential soul-searching, mystery solving and surreal, brutally hard platform-puzzling.
The better solution: Dont cheat. Just man up, decide which woman you want to be with, if either, and go for it.
Sonic the Hedgehog
The in-game conundrum: Dr. Robotnik has enslaved the worlds animals and encased them inside robot shells programmed to enforce his will and defeat his opponents.
The in-game solution: Sonic must run, jump and spring his way through a boatload of hazardous areas, somersaulting into the robots to liberate the animals, before repeatedly facing down Robotnik in his various mechanical death-machines.
The better solution: An EMP. All of Robotniks foot-soldiers, weapons and traps are mechanical and electronic in nature. All of Sonics friends are fleshy and organic. Tails is an engineer. This is totally doable.
The in-game conundrum: Ethan Mars one remaining son has been kidnapped by a serial child-murderer called The Origami Killer. If Ethan doesnt save him over the next few days, he will drown in a (literal) drip-feed deathtrap fuelled by the citys heavy rainfall.
The in-game solution: Ethan must work with a series of clues communicated to him by the killer in order to solve multiple, torturous puzzles and track down both Origami and his son.
The better solution: Just tell the police. A whole force, including the FBI, has been after Origami for ages. While Ethan is mutilating himself and going steadily mad due to having all the clues but no investigative resources, Special Agent Norman Jayden has those resources but no clues. Hmmm, I wonder if...
The in-game conundrum: Frank West is a photojournalist investigating the National Guards sealing off of Wilamette. Upon his arrival by helicopter, he discovers a mall besieged by zombies.
The in-game solution: Frank lands on the roof, tells his pilot to return in 72 hours, and heads inside to attempt to investigate--and survive--the zombie hoard while taking photos as evidence.
The better solution: A zoom lens. Take photos of the zombie crowd from a safe distance, bugger off, upload to the internet. No need to even land.
Any more quick fixes?
So there's my list of game characters who need to stop dicking around. But how about you? Any other showboating show-offs you think could get the job done in half the time? Let me know in the comments.
And why not also check out some of our similar features? A good start would be our TL;DR, 10-word versions of the most complex game plots (opens in new tab). And then you might like to have a look at 9 video game 'bad guys' who aren't really bad at all (opens in new tab).