The Top 7 Mentally damaged characters we love

One in five Americans are born with some sort of personality disorder – something that makes them zag when everyone else zigs. It might be as subtle as a nervous tic, as confusing as Asperger's or as overt as psychopathy. But mentally unstable individuals are a part of the real world – and part of the world of videogames as well. Sometimes their damage leads them to be horrible, monstrous villains, and other times it can make them loyal friends, or complex protagonists. No matter what it does to them, though, it's usually hard not to be sympathetic to their problems, and to, in a way, fall in love with them... even if they're murdering sociopaths.

7. James Seth Lynch

From: Kane & Lynch series

Though the quality of Kane & Lynch's videogame outings are questionable, the complexity of Lynch's character isn’t. Lynch was jailed for stabbing his wife to death with a butcher knife, a crime he claims not to have committed. Though to be honest, after fighting alongside Lynch in the original game (which forced us to play the singleplayer as the much-less-interesting Kane), we’re pretty sure Lynch actually did the crime, even if he doesn’t realize it. How could someone brutally murder a loved one without remembering that they did it? Well, in Lynch’s case, it’s because he hallucinates. He hallucinates a lot.

During some of the missions in Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, Lynch would screw things up for Kane, shooting hostages and civilians for no reason and attracting unwanted attention. It wasn’t until we played co-op that we learned exactly what was wrong with the insane anti-hero: what Kane saw as innocent bystanders, Lynch hallucinated as aggressive police officers. Cowering pedestrians were swapped for enemies with pigs for heads, brandishing guns instead of purses. When Lynch doesn't take his meds, he goes bonkers.

From Kane’s point of view, Lynch is a crazed murderer, but from Lynch’s… well, he’s still a murderer, but one that kills cops, not random people. So we guess that’s better?

6. Gray Fox

From: Metal Gear Solid series

Gray Fox’s parents were murdered in Vietnam when he was young, throwing him into a life of war at an early age. After killing enough people as a teenager to earn the nickname “The Hunter,” he was taken by the CIA and used as a test subject for the "Perfect Soldier Project.” In order to create said perfect soldier, the CIA forced Gray Fox to stay in a coffin-shaped sensory deprivation chamber whenever he wasn’t being sent around the world to murder people. This not only made him stronger and more agile, but it wiped his memory clean every time he was put inside. You know, so that his mind wouldn’t be littered with corpses or anything like that.

That is, until he lost a battle with Big Boss – a defeat so crippling that not even the coffin could keep his mind clear. Driven by an urge to take down the one that got away, Fox broke out of his chamber and murdered friends and foes alike to get to his target. When he eventually did, he revealed that his mind was “littered with corpses” (oops), proving that even the best sensory deprivation chambers aren’t as good as advertised.

Later in his life, he was cut up and turned into a ninja cyborg, and could be found shadowing Solid Snake, being the bestest of frenemies while killing even more people, further piling on to a craziness born from ludicrous amounts of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Hollander Cooper

Hollander Cooper was the Lead Features Editor of GamesRadar+ between 2011 and 2014. After that lengthy stint managing GR's editorial calendar he moved behind the curtain and into the video game industry itself, working as social media manager for EA and as a communications lead at Riot Games. Hollander is currently stationed at Apple as an organic social lead for the App Store and Apple Arcade.