Gaming’s least hard hard-men

Why you’d think he’s hard

Above: As hard as he is sexy

Depraved and sadistic, Starkweather is a director of snuff films, with nothing pleasing him more than seeing his puppet James Earl Cash decapitate, skewer and mutilate whoever he tells him to. He may be a bit portly, but he makes up for it with his enthusiasm for voyeuristic violence. Besides, Starkweather is voiced by Brian Cox. And he was Hannibal Lecter - long before Hopkins washed down his first liver with a nice Chianti too.

Why he’s not hard at all

Fat, pasty and a total recluse, you’d have to give this creepy pervert a minigun, a year’s gym membership and Jack Bauer as his bodyguard before he could ever be convincing as hard. His thirst for violence stems from his own physical impotence and the only way he can act out his fevered bouts of brutality is through someone he’s blackmailing.

Above: A fair, mince-sponsored depiction of Starkweather's death

His death is hardly imbued with dignified manliness either. Somehow, a man screaming and begging in pain, while cradling the last of his intestines in his greasy palms, just doesn’t seem tough.

Not as hard as… The White Rabbit

Despite being murdered in a gruesome fashion by Cash, the White Rabbit is still hard enough to frolic through a mental asylum full of unstable and schizophrenic hunters. Gleefully playing out a twisted, perverted version of Alice in Wonderland, all the Donnie Darko-style bunny wants to do is drive you insane, with little thought to his well being.

Above: Off with her head

Why you’d think he’s a hard man

Above: Jewellery? No self-respecting hard men would wear any

Apart from being more pumped than a bouncy castle, Brucie is also a fairly ruthless businessman. He has no problem in hiring Niko to wipe out his competition and is obsessed with being number one at everything he does. The gym-addicted garage owner, unlike the majority of GTA IV’s cast, is also his own boss. And the hits he orders Bellic to complete are entirely fuelled by his steroid-addled fury, not directed by fear of crime bosses.

Why he’s not hard at all
Can you say ‘denial’? How about ‘overcompensating’? Brucie is really just an insecure, low level criminal, whose luxury Lifestyle Auto shop is about as successful as the N-Gage. His ripped abs, delts and his unhealthy love for women are really just covering the fact he can’t accept his sexuality or lack of success. Besides, Niko floors him easily shortly after they meet and proper hard men take Great White steroids, not the Bull Shark variety.

Above: 'Nuff said

Not as hard as… Bernie

Don’t let Bernie’s effeminate nature fool you. When he went by the name of Florian Cravic he fought in the same Eastern European conflict that left Niko such a scarred, wounded mess. Despite his fondness for snuggling with politicians and form-fitting jeans this guy is a hardened, trained killer.

Above: Don’t mess with the Florian

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David Meikleham
Google AMP Stories Editor

David has worked for Future under many guises, including for GamesRadar+ and the Official Xbox Magazine. He is currently the Google Stories Editor for GamesRadar and PC Gamer, which sees him making daily video Stories content for both websites. David also regularly writes features, guides, and reviews for both brands too.