Final Fantasy week, day 1

The central character of any game defines it. It goes double for Final Fantasy. Some characters blend compelling personalities with a tale of personal growth; some simply fade into the background and let a grand adventure take place around them. Obviously, nobody from the second category is going to make this list. No, it's a place only for the most dashing, the most troubled, the most likable of Final Fantasy leads. Away we go.

5. Squall Leonhart (Final Fantasy VIII)

No hero in the history of Final Fantasy has divided fans quite as much as Squall. A bitter, cynical and unfriendly young warrior, his number one line throughout the game is "whatever." But as he begins to unravel the mysteries of his past - and thanks to the support and ultimately the love of heroine Rinoa Heartilly - his personality becomes much more rounded and likable. In fact, Final Fantasy VIII is one of the most genuinely amusing games in the series; the lynchpin for this is Squall's defective personality and the way the other characters play off of it.

4. Tidus (Final Fantasy X)

One of the most complex and bizarre heroes yet seen in the series, the insecure Tidus is a mere figment of the imagination - or is he more? A superstar athlete with a childish outlook on life, he's thrown into a world completely outside of his experience, where he's forced to quickly learn how to deal with people who couldn't care less about his achievements in sports. He becomes determined to live up to their expectations, though, and his transformation from bitch to badass is one of the most believable character arcs in gaming. Soon, he's found love and learned terrible secrets, but he accepts his fate with grace and dignity.