12 video game characters who cant swim (and why)

Enemies are made when you cant swim

Water is the most essential element of life. We need it to survive. But don't ever forget that it can be an unstoppable force of nature. You never know when H20 will stab you in the back--remember those cute little droplets of water that tickle you on a rainy day? If enough of those guys band together, they can form a tidal wave and crush you like a bug.

To the characters on this list, a body of water is like Kryptonite is to Superman. Like angry dingoes and toddlers, they just don't mix. But one thing's for sure: they all have their reasons. Swimming lessons are expensive and take up a lot of time, inflatable arm floaties are just embarrassing, and some of the following characters just don't want to mess up their sweet hair. So let's take a deeper look and dive in!

Altair (Assassins Creed)

The hero: Altair is a well-trained assassin. This guy can scale walls, survive falls from insane heights, and fight armed men without breaking a sweat. Despite all those abilities, he's terribly afraid of water. So much so that a little dip in the drink means instant death.

Why can't he swim? Altair was born and raised in the desert. There aren't a lot of swimming holes and oceans out in those barren lands, and water is a precious commodity. If it's not for drinking, herding animals, or watering shade-providing plants, you're best off not getting caught trying to learn the backstroke in it. Besides, it was the Middle Ages after all, a time where people barely bathed. If you can't even convince folks to clean themselves, then why would they bother with recreational swimming?

Cole Macgrath (Infamous)

The hero: Cole Macgrath is a tesla coil with legs--Sith lords can only dream of being on Coles level when it comes to lightning manipulation. The juice is constantly surging through him, and he can shoot out and absorb electricity like no other. In short: he's a modern age super hero with really cool moves.

Why can't he swim? There is a downside to having awesome electric powers: contact with a body of water means Cole, and anyone who joins him, become crispier than a batch of oven-burned fish sticks. Considering humans are mostly made up of water, Im not entirely sure how Cole is alive at all. His innards should be completely fried, yeah?

Tommy Vercetti (GTA: Vice City)

The hero: In Vice City, Tommy can drive a helicopter, shoot any gun with marksman-level skills, outrun the police, and get away with first-degree murder. Somewhere along the lines, he failed to gain one rather basic ability.

Why can't he swim? Its only natural for a man with excellent 80s fashion sense to not want to get his hair or clothes wet. When it comes to swimming, he doesnt even make an effort to float. He just sinks. And here I thought polyester was waterproof.

Nathan Spencer (Bionic Commando)

The hero: Nathan Spencer is an ultra-athletic beast who lucked out in the gene pool. He's an excellent swimmer--or was, until a little incident with a grenade caused him to lose his left arm. Then Spencer did what any reasonable person would do: he replaced his lost appendage with a biotic one.

Why can't he swim? You try back stroking with a massive hunk of metal for an arm and tell me how that goes. Even if you somehow manage to build up enough body strength to not drown straight away, you've got to worry about rust and de-coloring.

Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog)

The hero: Sonic is one of gaming's most notorious non-swimmers. Usually thats not a big deal since he can run faster than the speed of sound and skip along the top of the water at max speed. But it takes time to build up speed, and if Sonic's not accelerating fast enough, he sinks to the bottom of the ocean faster than you can read this sentence.

Why can't he swim? Because Sonic is too busy to bother with swim lessons. He is always out and about stopping Dr. Eggmans wicked machinery, and the evil scientist never gives him a break. If Sonic is going to waste precious time on swimming lessons, someone else better step up to save the world. Tails just isn't ready.

John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)

The hero: John Marston is a kickass cowboy who was born and raised in the Old West. If you wanted to live past the age of 25 during that era, John is the perfect role model. He rides horses, shoots guns with deadly precision, and didnt take crap from anyone. But sometimes, people work so hard to achieve such a level of badassery that they overlook the simpler things in life--and for ole John, that was swimming.

Why can't he swim? I swear this one isnt his fault. Poor John was born with a rare disease that causes his heart to fail the moment his belly button comes into contact with water. I hear they call it the First-Installment Syndrome. Perhaps its time we campaign the Wet Controller Challenge to raise awareness.

Ellie (The Last of Us)

The heroine: Ellie is a resourceful girl. While she initially doesnt have the survival proficiency of Joel, she learns how to handle herself pretty quickly. That is, until it comes time to cross a small body of water, in which case Ellie freaks the hell out.

Why can't she swim?Ellie was born after the fungal pandemic had already spread so shes young enough to have never really seen a safe swimming hole. The Jaws-Effect is in play here, people. Survival may be important but the thought of taking a dip and getting eaten by infected would paralyze even the manliest of men in fear.

Raz (Psychonauts)

The hero: Razputin Aquato did pretty good when he spun the wheel of life. He inherited some wicked psychic powers and ended up in a family of circus acrobats. All he has to do is withstand his father who pushes him to do things he doesnt like to do--like practicing long hours to perfect his flips instead of, you know, developing his mental capacity to push things with his mind. Oh, and theres this curse that causes a magic hand to drown him in water.

Why can't he swim? Word on the street is some mean gypsies from the rival circus put that curse on the Aquato family. Or so Raz is told. Pfft. Curse, smurse I say! Its just a ploy to keep poor Raz practicing more acrobatics. Its what his father always wanted, right? But then Raz just HAD to inherit psychic powers, which ruined everything. How else is dad going to find someone to take his place when he retires?

The Incredible Hulk (The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction)

The hero: The Hulk is one of the most powerful beings in existence. Hes super strong and has very few weaknesses. Despite a life of thrill that has him duking it out with immortals and swimming in lava to fix tectonic plates, the dude just cant get a break in water.

Why can't he swim? I have a theory, and trust me, Im an expert. Ive seen enough BP commercials to point out that oil spills and radiation poisoning from all that toxic waste humans are dumping into the ocean are to blame. The Hulk is already stuffed to the ears with radiation, so any more could cause a full-blown overdose. I dream of a day when giant green monsters can swim in peace without the worry of excess isotopes.

Master Chief, or any Spartan (Halo)

The hero: The Spartan program spawned some of the greatest soldiers mankind has ever seen. They jump as if gravity never existed, never get fatigued, and are immensely more powerful than the average human. All those traits can be yours if you just sacrifice the ability to swim (its all there in the fine print.)

Why can't he swim? A few things you should know about Spartans. First, they're abducted as children and trained as super soldiers. UNSC scientists aren't fools, so, knowing deep-water battles would be few and far between, they cut swimming from the Spartan training program. Plus, Spartans wear MJOLNIR combat armor, which is SUPER heavy--half a ton, to be exact--making swimming impossible.

Spider-Man (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)

The hero: Spider-Man can do everything a spider can. Its all there in his classic theme song after all, but its tricky to make a compelling game when comic book characters like him seemingly have no physical weakness.

Why can't he swim? See here, Spider-Man is still part spider. Even the mightiest of arachnids can fall to things much larger than themselves and in Spider-Man 2, the largest enemy is the ocean. Spiders don't have the power to swim and neither does Peter Parker.

Red (Pokemon Red & Blue)

The hero: Red, much like many other budding Pokmon trainers, went into the wilderness alone with dreams of becoming a Poke-Master. You can assume most adventurers know a lot about survival but poor ole Red was only 11-years-old when he started his Kanto region journey. Still, momma never got worried--or bothered to even check in--because her boy was in good hands.

Why can't he swim? The Pokmon that surround Red are practically living tools. When you can mount the Pokmon-equivalent of a goldfish and float over whirlpools, or hop on the back of a Pidgey and fly, theres very little reason to swim. Need to start a fire or stop the biggest criminal organization in the world? Theres a Pokmon for that.

Water is a disaster waiting to happen

And if you're looking for more, check out the absolute worst water levels in games and 6 amazing things developers have done at the request of their fans.

Ken Serra
I love video games and sports. e- or otherwise. Writer for GameGeex.com Writer for Team Curse. #CurseorDie I played Halo and Call of Duty at a pro level. Platinum in League of Legends (~_~) . Wanna play a game? Hit me up! =D @GGXChaobo for all my shenanigans.