Holding a Special Place in our Hearts: Ratchet & Clank, Mario, de Blob, Kirby, Fox McCloud, Pit, Wander, Pac-Man, Chris Redfield
8. (tie) Kratos (God of War)
The God of War series may be, at its heart, a hack’n slash, but the story of Kratos is pretty gut wrenching. He vows to serve Ares if he and his men are spared during a losing battle, but is later betrayed by Ares and tricked into killing his own wife and child. This leads to Kratos not only battling Ares, but also taking on the Gods of Mt. Olympus as well as the Titans, neither of which being an easy task. While Kratos is ultimately successful in these battles, he sacrifices himself for mankind, leaving his fate currently unknown.
8. (tie) Solid Snake (Metal Gear)
Despite not being a fan of the Metal Gear games after the original Metal Gear Solid, I have to include Solid Snake on this list. Snake is a genetically modified soldier and part of a secret cloning program. From his time as a rookie until his final mission, which finds him aging rapidly due to his genetic tampering, Snake is constantly facing incredibly long odds and is almost always on his own, though he does get radio and remote support from a cast of other characters. Despite his incredible fighting skills, the key to Snake’s success often lies in stealth and knowing when to engage the enemy and when to avoid them.
7. Raziel (Legacy of Kain)
Raziel’s history is a bit complex. When first introduced, he was the top lieutenant of the vampire ruler Kain, but was thrown to his death when his powers eclipsed his master’s. Saved by the Elder God, Raziel goes on a quest for vengeance, including defeating his vampiric brothers and traveling through time in an effort to confront his former master. During his quest, Raziel learns that he was once a member of the Sarafan, a vampire hunting brotherhood, and that his spirit would ultimately inhabit the Reaver, which had been broken when Kain attacked him with it. He also discovers upon defeating Kain that his choices will determine the fate of the land of Nosgoth and that the Elder God has hardly been his ally.
6. Adol Christin (Ys)
What seperates Adol from most heroes on this list is that instead of finding himself in a situation that calls for battle or for him to be “the hero,” Adol searches out adventure. He’s rarely called to action, he finds the action and jumps in. In that regard, his timing is uncanny as the lands he visits usually have some intrigue or conflict going on that Adol is happy to insert himself into. The thing is, Adol is also really great at resolving the conflicts at hand. While he seeks out adventure, he also has the abilities to take on whatever and whomever he comes across. Just an aside here, but these games are also very hard, so bonus points to Adol for facing some seriously intimidating beasts.
5. Simon Belmont (Castlevania)
I really could have picked any Belmont here, but Ultimately went with Simon since he has had three starring roles and dealt with Dracula the most during his lifetime, including dispelling a curse placed on him that forced him to intentionally resurrect Dracula only to battle and defeat him once more. Simon uses the Vampire Killer as his primary weapon in his battles, but also has access to supplemental weapons such as throwing axes, holy water, and the always useful boomerang cross. Simon, like his ancestors and descendants, battles hordes of Dracula’s followers, all the while traversing dangerous terrain to bring down the Vampire and preserve the peace for his home land.
4. Isaac Clarke (Dead Space)
Isaac Clarke really can’t get a break. An engineer, he is heading to a spaceship for work and to see his girlfriend. Upon arriving, he and his crew are attacked by necromorphs, with Isaac barely surviving and finding himself all alone against the threat, with the surviving members of his team tasking him with getting them all off the ship. Isaac uses his skills as an engineer to do so, learning how to use new weapons on the fly. After escaping the ship, Isaac is placed in a psych ward on the Sprawl (located on Titan), which is then infested by necromorphs as well, meaning Isaac must once again battle these monsters before escaping the sprawl, only to find himself in yet another situation on an icy planet. While only an engineer, Isaac uses his intelligence to overcome the situations that seem to find him each time. To top all of this, his girlfriend was killed long before he made it to the ship. That’s a bad few days.
3. Leon Kennedy (Resident Evil)
Much like Isaac Clarke, Leon Kennedy has trouble find him. On his first day as a police officer in Raccoon City, Leon finds himself alone against the Zombie outbreak. He does eventually escape Raccoon City and is promoted over time to the President’s security detail. It is at this point that he is tasked with rescuing the president’s daughter from a rural European village, that happens to be the home to Las Plagas, a parasite that is controlling the visitors and driving them to kill Leon. After defeating their leader, Lord Saddler, Leon saves Ashley, the daughter, and returns to the US where, once again, a zombie outbreak occurs, including the infection of his good friend, the President. It is Leon’s training and skills that make him such a force in each game and lead to him triumphing in each situation.
2. Mega Man/Mega Man X (Mega Man/Mega Man X)
I’ve included both incarnations of Mega Man here because it would be impossible to pick between them. As a helper robot, Rock volunteers to be transformed into Mega Man by Dr. Light after Dr. Wily hi-jacks Light’s other robots to attack civilization. After each defeat, Mega Man was able to use that robot master’s weapon. His battles with Dr. Wily would continue through nine more sequels, with Mega Man triumphing over Wily’s creations each time. Towards the end of his life, Dr. Light also creates Mega Man X and puts him in stasis in case he is needed at some point in the future. Oddly enough, it is his discovery by Dr. Cain, and Cain’s attempts to replicate X that lead to X having to do battle with other robots that have gone Maverick and are threatening mankind. Both Mega Man and Mega Man X seem outmatched, but both always answer the call and defeat the enemies facing them.
1. Link (The Legend of Zelda)
While I recognize that most Zelda games feature a new Link, it is the hero’s spirit that embodies them and fate that leads to them saving Hyrule (usually). Link is the quintessential hero. He isn’t necessarily the quickest or the strongest and the foes he faces always seem to have the advantage, but Link always uses his skills and the tools and weapons at his disposal to claim victory. Also, despite not being a soldier or a fighter, he takes the situations that fate hands him and just does what has to be done, even when it seems that doing so is almost suicidal. It is his bravery and unflinching courage that define him and guide him in each adventure. For always being the hero, Link is #1.
Brandon Nicholson is a blogger for TMRzoo.com and the founder of Just Another Video Game Blog and covers all gaming consoles and platforms including Sony Playstation 3 and PS4, Microsoft XBOX One and XBOX 360, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP and computer games designed for Mac OS, Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. Brandon provides his readers with reviews, previews, release dates and up to date gaming industry news, trailers and rumors.