Use blowtorch on nice, unassuming bystander
I love adventure games. There's something about the way that they seamlessly meld gameplay and narrative that's always spoken to me - even if I frequently have to glance at a FAQ just to make it to the end. But it was somewhere during the time I spent reviewing Grim Fandango Remastered - probably at the point where I lured my in-game best friend back to alcoholism - that I realized adventure game heroes are dicks.
And it's not just Grim Fandango. Adventure games are filled with these sadistic moments, forcing you to screw over everyone around you in order to make any progress. Sure, you're ostensibly doing it for the greater good, but most of the time, you're the most selfish and opportunistic one around. These are some of the most despicable adventure game 'heroes' ever and the cruel things they've done in the name of puzzle solving.
7. Gabriel Knight is the worst friend ever
Gabriel Knight is a smarmy asshole. I mean, look at that face above and try to tell me you're not resisting the urge to punch your computer screen. He's manipulative, he's a womanizer, but worst of all, he's just a terrible friend.
Take his relationship with his partner Franklin Mosely. Knight calls him 'Mostly' in front of all of his peers, much to his chagrin. In Knight's first adventure, Sins of the Father, he also, ahem, commandeers Mosley's badge in order to gain access to, then creepily hit on, a potential suspect. And in Gabriel Knight 3, as part of the most convoluted puzzle in adventure game history, you have to lure Mosely out of his hotel room with candy, then swipe his wallet and his jacket - all so you can rent the bike shop's last scooter under his name. I hope Mosely is at least getting some free meals with all this shit he has to deal with, because with friends like these, who needs enemies?
6. George Stobbart bilks an American tourist out of $50, then gets him arrested in a third world country
George Stobbart seems like your average, run-of-the-mill, rakishly handsome American Everyman. Patent lawyer by trade, George regularly finds himself swept up in huge global conspiracies that threaten the very fabric of our society - y'know, normal, everyday kinda stuff. But, it also turns out that he's unintentionally a huge prick to one guy in particular: Duane Henderson.
Duane's either a humble greeting card salesman or a CIA operative - but either way, he's a little off his rocker. When George meets him in the Yemeni city of Marib during Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars, Duane's on the lookout for a priceless artifact and George needs money for cab fare. A broken replica and a little bit of face paint later, and George cons $50 out of Duane with worthless junk. Not one to hold a grudge, Duane meets up with George again in Central America in the sequel The Smoking Mirror. He helps George escape from prison, only to get arrested by the generalissimo of this despotic third-world country while George slips out the back scot-free. Poor guy.
5. April Ryan causes bodily harm to an innocent detective
When you've got not one, but two whole universes at stake, you'll do practically anything to save the day. But what if that means harassing and potentially maiming a perfectly innocent bystander? That's exactly what plucky art student April Ryan does in The Longest Journey.
Near the beginning of her adventure, April has to make it inside a derelict movie theater to meet someone important. Unfortunately, a detective is eyeballing the joint on the street corner, looking for any suspicious activity. How do you get him to scram? Simply hand him a jawbreaker - covered in a definitely toxic/possibly radioactive green goop, of course. Shortly after this, you find him reeling in a bathroom stall - and, because adventure games, you need his glass eye. Turn off the lights, snag his eye when he drops it, replace it with a toy monkey's, and voila! You're officially a terrible person!
4. Commander Lowe revives an alien life form only to blow it up
If you're stuck on a strange planet with no way to escape, you likely won't give a damn about what you'll have to kill to get back home. But that doesn't make what you have to do any less disturbing.
There's a part in The Dig where Commander Lowe's path is blocked by a massive sea creature. The key to this puzzle is the turtle-like thing hanging out right next to it - the problem is that it just got devoured by said sea creature. Time to reassemble some bones and revive it with a mysterious crystal. Do it wrong and, well, this crime against nature melts back down into a puddle of goo (you monster). But if you put it together correctly and place an explosive canister inside its carcass, you get to sit back and watch the fireworks. Don't worry, you're only killing off a heretofore unknown alien species for your own personal gain. Humanity - 1, Aliens - 0.
3. Manuel Calavera fakes a man's death to steal his job
Like Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, and all the other great film noir heroes, Grim Fandango's Manuel Calavera teeters on the edge of likeable and deplorable. He may be a suave, smooth-talking playboy, but he's also not above knocking his best friend clean off the wagon or locking a claustrophobic waiter inside a pantry. But all of that pales in comparison to the time he faked a man's death just to steal his job.
In order to get passage on the S.S. Lambada, you need to find a job on the ship. The only problem is that the ship is already fully staffed. But that's nothing to worry about - one of the sailors is currently getting a tattoo in town. Simply spike his drink so he falls unconscious, steal his dog tags, then toss them onto some (double) dead bodies at the morgue. The captain'll think he's pushing up daisies and welcome you into the crew. Nothing like conning a complete stranger out of an honest day's work.
2. Guybrush seals a man inside of a coffin
Guybrush Threepwood wants to be a mighty pirate. Pirates, as you know, are not exactly honorable people, what with all the looting and pillaging. Still, it seems like there should be some mention in the Pirate Code that sealing a live man inside a coffin is a total dick move.
In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, Guybrush comes across a used-vessel-turned-used-coffin salesman named Stan. Stan's got a key to a crypt that Guybrush needs, but, of course, Stan won't part with it willingly. What he will do is try to sell you a deluxe used coffin, even going so far as to demonstrate how roomy it is by hopping inside. Guybrush then closes the lid on him, seals it shut with some nails, snags the key, and walks out, all while listening to Stan's increasingly desperate pleas for help. Stan remains stuck inside that coffin and locked away in a crypt until you unwittingly free him six years later in The Curse of Monkey Island.
1. The Scientist launches a nuke just to delve deeper
What would you do to make your wildest dreams come true? Would you lie to someone you loved? Steal something important from them? Murder them? How about causing the deaths of untold millions via a nuclear missile? Well, in The Cave, you can do exactly that!
The Cave is an incredibly dark tale about a group of explorers who each enter a mysterious cavern in search of the prizes hidden within. The thing is - this cave has a real dark sense of humor, and requires that you complete some truly sadistic objectives to proceed deeper into its depths. The most terrifying? Priming and launching an active nuke at a densely populated city. Is it real? Or is it all a hallucination created by the intoxicating allure of The Cave? Best not to think about it, lest the guilt eat away at you for the rest of your life.
That's the second biggest jerkface I've ever seen!
Just 'cause you're the good guy doesn't automatically mean you're nice, as shown by these truly misanthropic moments in adventure game history. Are there any terrible things caused by your pointing and clicking that still haunt your conscience? Let me know in the comments below!