Joypads: Top 10 Characters
Our recent feature proved to be a tough task. Selecting the top 10 sequels was hard enough as there was so many. Picking the top 10 best characters? A lot more trickier as so many iconic characters, and characters that aren’t so iconic but we got attached to them, and they also proved to be a tough task.
10 – John Marston – Red Dead Redemption
Yes, he only made his gaming debut earlier this year, so what? In the course of one game, he becomes one of the most amazing, badass and possibly emotional characters I’ve ever played. At the beginning, he appears to be another typical character for this style of game, who runs round and guns the hell out of anything and everything for generally no reason, but it couldn’t be any farther from the truth. John Marston is a fairly down to earth family man, he wants to live a peaceful life with his wife and child but the harsh realities of the wild west prevent him doing this. Marston is plagued by his past as a gang member, the law of the world forcing him to kill his former gang members in order to see his family again. This is one of the reasons he is so badass however, Marston will do anything and everything to see his family again, regardless of what happens to anyone else.
9 – Neku – The World Ends With You
Neku seems like your stereotypical loner: hates others, always wants to be alone, constantly arguing. That’s how it seems at the start of the game. He’s thrust into a barbaric game run by ‘Reapers’ and will be killed if he doesn’t complete it. What does he do? He complains. This happens a lot. I have to work with this girl to keep me alive? Don’t care. People are dying around me? Screw them. So why am I writing about Neku? Because throughout the game, he changes. He develops from an angsty teenager to a helpful person. He creates friendships with people around him, including a deep caring for Shiki. And what happens next? The Game screws him over. But eventually, he changes his outlook and becomes a new person. Nearer the end of the game, he becomes the voice of reason to someone just like his past self. The game’s ending proves how much of a developed character Neku is, and just how unique his character is.
8 – Raiden – Metal Gear Solid 2, 4
When Metal Gear Solid 2 players first realised they had to play as the newcomer Raiden for the majority of the game, they were not impressed. He was inexperienced, girly looking and a bit whiney at times. Regularly overshadowed by Snake, and occasionally made a fool of. For example, players of MGS2 may remember the various “Why didn’t you tell me?”, “You never asked” conversations. In MGS4, he returns with some balls, pumped with steroids and a few new moves. I love cyber ninja Raiden. His ways of fighting show that he’ll do pretty much anything to get the job done. Without spoilers, he SERIOUSLY goes to extremes later on. I’m sure you’re all aware of the famous scene where he fought off the Gekkos and the knife fight with Vamp, he did a few mad-awesome crazy things there. The reason I nominated him for this list is because Kojima has done all he can to make the fans appreciate him more. He’s done a great job really, however i’m still very concerned about how successful MGS: Rising will be.
7 – Wright – Phoenix Wright
Phoenix Wright is a defense attorney. He can’t shoot fireball or launch missiles at people. Instead, he proves people innocent. So why am I talking about him? Because for a simple defense attorney, he’s been through a lot. He’s witnessed the inner destruction of friends, the death of those around him and the near death of some of his closest companions, and has seen whole families ruined. As for him, he’s been in trouble with the law multiple times for things he hasn’t done, been in love with a psychotic killer, and has even had his whole life turned upside down by a man considered the reincarnation of the devil. Despite all this, he makes it through life doing the right thing: bringing people to justice. Even as he ages, he still keeps the amazing abilities he had when he was a rookie defense attorney. Each new game with Phoenix just shows how great of a character he is and how he’s more than a simple defense attorney.
6 – Naked Snake – Metal Gear Solid 3
Naked Snake to me makes a great character because he starts off life named as John (Surname unknown) and joins the military. His career dated back to the 1950s, when he participated in the Korean War as a teenager and joined the Green Berets. Sometime after he became The Boss’s apprentice. This is where things get interesting as The Boss and John begin to have a great master and apprentice feel as they train together and create CQC (Close Quarters Combat). At the beginning of he is given the codename Naked Snake and was told his closest friend and mentor has joined the enemy side and he has been told the only way to finish the mission is to kill her. To me this strikes an emotional blow to John who’s spent years training and fighting with her only to be told she has to die. Needless to say the ending of the game made me cry. And that’s why Naked Snake is on this list.
5 – Donkey Kong – Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong started life as a game on an Arcade machine. Back then Donkey Kong was the villain and would often kidnap Pauline. Now this is where it gets interesting, Donkey Kong then became the Cranky Kong we know and love. The new Donkey Kong starred in the Donkey Kong Country series of games on the SNES and was a worldwide smash. The gameplay and graphics seemed too great for its time yet the plot is as simple as ever. King K Rool has taken DK’s hoard of bananas and he has to get them back. Along the way he gets tips from Cranky Kong and other fellow Kongs. DK has shown he can be a team player with Diddy Kong helping out often. On Donkey Kong 64 he has to team up with other Kongs. Donkey Kong as a character has evolved over the years from a villain to a playable hero in a critically acclaimed series such as Donkey Kong Country. Roll on Donkey Kong Country Returns!
4- Commander Shepard – Mass Effect
One of the greatest things about the star of the Mass Effect series is that the player can mold him/her to the way they want, which in my opinion is a great thing when it comes to characters, many disagree though. Being able to have the type of customisation given to make your Shepard allows the player to possibly replicate themselves, or create the character of their dreams. Shepard is given the personality and looks the player wants him/her to have; want a person who does everything he can to help a total stranger, or a person who would rather shoot them in the leg? There are so many choices to be made relating to Shepards appearance and personality combined, you could be playing a Shepard no other person has played. You are playing the character you, the player, want to play, not who the developers want you to play. Many characters are like this in video games, but Shepard is one of the best examples I’ve seen.
3 – Samus – Metroid
Some may think choosing this character was a bit obvious, for reasons like “She’s the first female videogame character!” or “She’s from a Nintendo game! She has to fit in somewhere”! But thanks to Metroid: Other M not even being released yet, it’s certainly not the case. The previous games portray Samus as the ultimate heroine, both fast and powerful and agile. Artwork either shows Samus shooting something, some sort of pose that shows she’s a rather proud warrior. But Other M aims to show Samus’s weak side, how underneath that big bad suit is a mere human, and as emotionally fragile as they come. So basically, the big bad tough exterior is juxtaposing (love that word) the sensitive emotional interior.
2 – Mario – Super Mario 64
So why have I chosen Mario as one of the greatest characters of all time? Well it seems quite obvious to me. He is the icon of gaming, his series of games sell in the hundreds of millions, he is known worldwide as the face of Nintendo and his games are fun, even without a specific plot. From his first appearance as Jumpman in Donkey Kong, right up to his latest game, Mario Sports mix, he has had a diverse amount of games over the years. With his red and blue overalls, his amazing jumps and leaps across the land and his fearless attitude against the evil that roams the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario to me is a likable and fun character that just keeps growing, never failing to impress us, never losing fans and always delivering an impressive and fun game. Without Mario, where would gaming be today? I expect him to carry on being awesome and entertaining us for as long as Nintendo is still around. Bravo Shigeru Miyamoto and your excellent creation.
1 – Link – Legend Of Zelda
One character that always causes gamers to cheer has to be Link, the protagonist of the Zelda series. With his green tunic, Hylian Shield and Master Sword in hand, Link is another recognisable and well loved character. His appearance has changed throughout the years, even to a cel shaded version, which debuted with Windwaker on the Gamecube. Even then, he hasn’t been any less awesome than he has always been. Taking on the greatest of evils across the land of Hyrule and beyond, Link has always reigned triumphant. Rescuing princess Zelda and facing off against the evil Ganon is the usual quest, but his is games are set in history as some of the very best! Ocarina of time is considered to be the greatest game ever made by many and has secured him as an extremely popular and well loved character. I look forward to seeing him in his latest adventure, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and I don’t expect it to disappoint.