There are several sure-fire ways to check for heroic DNA in a video game character. An addiction to wearing tank tops (the more torn the better). Crew cuts so kempt you could grate cheese on their craniums. But the one thing sewn into the heart of every hero’s genetic makeup is an unwavering talent for saving the girl.
Sure, it might be a bit sexist, but it’s the only guarantee of true gaming heroism. Sadly, it’s a guarantee made null and void by the following bundlers, who all let the girl of their respective tales die… usually in horrible fashion.
Jackie Estacado (The Darkness)
Granted, Jackie isn’t the type of hero you’d introduce to your dear old mum. Firstly he’s a mafia hood, secondly the boy needs a haircut badly and, perhaps most importantly, he’s possessed by murderous demon tentacles. Sit him down in front of the TV, though, and his sensitive, not quite so murderous side, comes to the fore.
The girl he can’t save: Jenny
Kind, caring, with a wiseass edge to her, Jenny is one of gaming’s few believable, likeable love interests. Her most touching scene sees her make a birthday cake for Jackie, before they cuddle up on the couch together.
How he lets her die
Watches on helplessly as his sociopathic mafia boss Uncle Paulie whacks Jenny in brutal, drawn-out fashion. Honestly, Paulie’s such a vindictive bastard he makes Joe Pesci’s character in Goodfellas look like a loveable (if slightly stabby) tyke. Even for cold, uncaring husks of human beings like us it’s a heartbreaking scene of pointless violence. It also makes the player feel completely powerless, as the evil Darkness holds Jackie back, forcing him to watch his girlfriend’s murder.
Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid 1 & 4)
Grizzled, brooding and hardened to both subzero temperatures and nuclear missile-packing robots of death, Solid ‘Dave’ Snake looks like the definition of gaming heroism. Rocking a mullet the way only a true man can, nothing can stop our boy from saving the day, smoking a cig and whisking the girl into the sunset in one deft, slightly sneaky motion.
The girl he can’t save: Meryl Silverburgh
Meryl is spunky, resourceful and lethal with an automatic weapon. It’s just a pity that resourcefulness can’t quite stop her getting sniped and captured by terrorists.
How he lets her die
Well, it’s kinda our fault as much as it is Snake’s. You see, Meryl biting it depends entirely on whether the player can endure several taxing button-bashing torture segments.
Give in to the torture and the tear-jerking fate in the video below awaits the doomed lovers. Blame our stupid, slow fingers if you will, but we’re pretty sure Snake was somehow to blame.
A more geriatric version of the solid one also lets Big Mama (his old man’s bit on the side) get impaled and die in Guns of the Patriots. And that one has nothing to do with our cripplingly slow chipolata fingers, honest.