We all have our favorite gaming franchises and video game characters. Every once in a while a character is so cleverly created they become an instant favorite generating a huge fan base and following for years to come. While choosing only ten was very difficult, join BootHammer as we take a look at our nominees for the Top 10 Greatest Video Game Characters.
1. Gordon Freeman – Dr. Gordon Freeman is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the Half-Life video game series. As a theoretical physicist, he finds himself thrust into a battle for survival against both alien and human forces. Throughout the series, Gordon must face hostile situations, often against overwhelming odds and with no backup. As a means of immersing the player in the role, Gordon never speaks, and there are no cut scenes or mission briefings—all action is viewed through Gordon’s eyes, with the player retaining control of Gordon’s actions at nearly all times. The images of Gordon are only seen on the game’s cover and menu pages, and also in advertisements, making them marketing tools rather than pictures of what Gordon is really like.
2. Max Payne – This game is a third-person shooter in which the player assumes the role of its titular character, Max Payne. The game’s storyline is advanced by the player following Max’s internal monologue as the character determines what his next steps should be. Several of the game’s levels involve surrealistic nightmares and drug-related hallucinations of Payne. The gameplay of Max Payne revolves around bullet time, a form of slow motion — when triggered, the passage of time is slowed down to such extent that the movements of bullets can be seen by the naked eye and enables Max to perform special moves. Although Payne’s movement is also slowed, the player is still able to position the aiming reticle and react in real time, providing an advantage over enemies. Occasionally, when the last character of an enemy group is killed, the viewpoint switches to a third-person view circling a falling body. Likewise, the camera may follow the path of a bullet fired from a sniper rifle.
3. Sonic the Hedghog – Sega struck gold when they created the blue spiked hedgehog, who has the ability to run at supersonic speeds and the ability to curl into a ball, primarily to attack enemies. He quickly became Sega’s mascot and one of the key reasons for the company’s success during the 16-bit era of video game consoles and continues to appear and have his own games to this very day.
4. Marcus Fenix – Who could forget the first time they played as Marcus in Gears of War and unleashed the chainsaw bayonet on their enemy. Marcus led a promising military career during the Pendulum Wars. During the Battle of Epyhra, he abandoned his post to rescue his father, Adam Fenix. Marcus is unable to save his father and is later court-martialed and sentenced to 40 years in a dilapidated prison. At the beginning of Gears of War, Dom Santiago, his best friend and long-time comrade, liberates Marcus from the prison. He is recruited to help the ‘Delta Squad’ deploy the light-mass bomb, but the group sustains heavy casualties during their mission. When their commanding officer, Lt. Minh Young Kim is killed in battle, Marcus is promoted to the lead of the group. He retains the position throughout the Gears of War trilogy, and plays a pivotal role in helping humanity defeat the Locust Horde and Lambent forces. He is instrumental in the destruction of both species, personally killing the Locust Queen and having a major role in the deaths of the two Locust Generals, RAAM and Skorge.
5. Scorpion – Get over here! Scorpion is a recurring player and occasional boss character from the Mortal Kombat series, introduced in Mortal Kombat in 1992. In the games, he is an undead ninja spectre looking for revenge for his own death, his family and clan, Shirai Ryu, killed at the hands of their rival clan Lin Kuei and Sub-Zero.
6. Issac Clarke – Isaac Clarke is one systems engineer you do not want to mess with. Just ask a few Necromorphs. In Dead Space Issac works for the Concordance Extraction Corporation. Prior to the Second Aegis VII incident, he was part of an emergency response unit of the USG Kellion, sent to the USG Ishimura to investigate and handle the ship’s problems. Apparently the sole survivor of the incident, Isaac became stranded in space for a long period of time before he was rescued by an Earth Government ship. Three years after those events, Isaac was held in an asylum on Titan Station and was diagnosed with mental disorders, the most prominent being dementia that result in haunting illusions that taunt him throughout the game. In Dead Space 3, he still has the blueprint to destroy and create Markers. However, in the Awakening DLC, he witnesses the effects of dementia once again when he is exposed to one of the Brethren Moons.
7. Kratos – This violent and unstoppable Spartan is a fictional video game character from Sony Santa Monica’s God of War series. Kratos first appeared in the 2005 video game God of War, which led to the development of six additional games featuring the character as the protagonist. In the series, Kratos embarks on a series of often forced adventures in attempts to avert disaster or to change his fate. He is usually portrayed as being oblivious to all else, often engaging in morally ambiguous activities and performing acts of extreme violence. He is eventually revealed to be a demigod. Each adventure forms part of a saga with vengeance as a central theme, providing additional information about Kratos’ origins and his relationships with his family and the gods. The God of War franchise has become a flagship title for the PlayStation brand and Kratos is one of its most popular characters.
8. Samus Aran – She is well known as one of the earliest female protagonists in video game history and remains a popular character over a quarter-century after her first appearance in Metroid. Guinness World Records 2013: Gamer’s Edition recognized Samus as “the first playable human female character in a mainstream video game” and as being “endearingly” popular, noting that sales of the Metroid series has exceeded 17.44 million copies as of 22 September 2012.
9. Solid Snake – As a former spy, special operations soldier and mercenary, Snake was a product of the Les Enfants Terribles project and “son” of legendary soldier, Big Boss, along with his “brothers” Liquid Snake and Solidus Snake. Possessing an IQ of 180 and fluent in six languages, he was known as “the man who makes the impossible possible” and his exploits made him into a living legend among the military black ops. Initially a Green Beret, Snake was later inducted into High-Tech Special Forces Unit FOXHOUND in the mid-1990s while it was under the leadership of Big Boss. Repeatedly tasked with disarming and destroying the latest incarnation of Metal Gear, a bipedal nuclear weapon-armed tank, Snake would thrice avert potential nuclear catastrophe, becoming a famed war hero.
10. Mario – Where would gaming be today without the iconic plumber known as Mario? He is said by many to be the most famous character in video game history. Mario games, as a whole, have sold more than 210 million units, making the Mario franchise the best-selling video game franchise of all time. Outside of the Super Mario platform series, he has appeared in video games of other genres, including the Mario Kart racing series, sports games, such as the Mario Tennis and Mario Golf series, role-playing video games such as Paper Mario and Super Mario RPG, and educational games, such as Mario Is Missing! and Mario’s Time Machine. He has inspired television shows, film, comics and a line of licensed merchandise. Gamers continue to be enthralled by this innovative adventure series and are always eager to see the next release in arguably Nintendo’s greatest franchise to date.