We talk about book heroes, we talk about TV heroes, but why have I never thought before to make a post about my favourite gaming characters?! While it’s true that I mostly play RPGs or strategy games like The Sims where you make and develop your own characters. But you can’t really have addictively (is that a word?) gamed for over a decade and not met a bunch of characters you really like. So here are my favourites as far as I can recall:
(SPOILER ALERT: Some of the following give away plot endings of the games. If you don’t want to know, stop reading!)
- Agent 47: There are no two ways about Mr 47—he has just got to be one of the classiest game heroes around! With a smooth, hairless head (and a barcode just above the back of his neck), just over six feet tall, extremely fit, dressed in a sleek black suit and a red tie… that unhurried, controlled walk, head slightly tilted to one side… the ease with which he steps up quietly behind you, pulls out his fibre wire and strangles you… the expertise with which he handles firearms…
Um… did I mention Mr 47 is an assassin? He is the character you play as in the Hitman series of games. 47 goes by a number of aliases, and is a “genetically enhanced clone” (says Wikipedia). However, I am not alone in my admiration for 47—the Hitman movie is in post-production and due for release this year.
- JC Denton: The playable character in my favourite game of all time, Deus Ex. JC is a nano-augmented clone (of his brother Paul—yes, more Wikipedia!), working as an UNATCO (United Nations Anti Terrorist Coalition, I think) agent. He’s a large, expressionless, rather ruthless guy, but for some reason I’ve always been rather fond of him. I guess it’s mainly because when he finds out that UNATCO are not exactly as holier-than-thou they make themselves out to be, he decides to defect to the other side so he can actually help people.
What’s cool about JC is that can enhance his capabilities beyond human levels thanks to a number of nano-augmentation slots all over his body… Well, one must remember that the game takes place in the 2050s.
- Jan Orrs and Kyle Katarn: This is the pair from the Jedi Knight game series. Actually, Kyle is the main hero, and Jan is just a glorified spaceship driver! That’s a little annoying, as you hardly get good female protagonists in games. Well, anyhow, they are both mercenaries, often out on assignments, and usually ending up in places they are not wanted.
Kyle gets to play with light sabre and fight many bad guys with it. Jan gets to pretend-die (in one version of the games, if Kyle chooses the dark side, Jan really dies), and they have a (short-lived, I believe) romantic alliance. Together they travel to all sorts of places and have many adventures (mostly Kyle), including meeting Luke Skywalker.
- BJ Blazkowicz: The protagonist from Return to Castle Wolfenstein, a US Army Ranger. (Blazkowicz also stars in the first Wolfenstein game, but I haven’t played that.) He gets to battle WW II baddies as well as occult and supernatural creatures, and even come face-to-face with some really ghastly übersoldaten!
Sent to investigate Heinrich Himmler and his SS Paranormal Division, Blazkowicz and his friends are captured. As you might have guessed, they have to escape Castle Wolfenstein and find out what’s really going on. Things they’d rather not have known!
Return… is just a plain old, honest-to-goodness shooter, but seeing the things you see with Mr Blazkowicz, it’s hard not to be friends after that!
- Gordon Freeman: Of Half-Life and Half-Life 2 fame. Freeman is a physicist-turned-hero when things go terribly wrong at the lab he works at, and he finds himself battling mutants and aliens to save his life and that of his co-workers. Half-Life is creepy at best, but Freeman is an enterprising sort! Someday I hope to finish playing the games.
- Dink Smallwood: Starring in the game named after him, Dink’s adventures may look tacky to us right now, used as we are to slick graphics and realistic movements, but it can’t be denied that Dink has got spunk, not to mention an endearingly vulgar sense of humour!
A pig farmer to begin with, he is forced to leave his village after his mother’s tragic death in a fire, and go to live with his aunt and uncle. On the way he battles monsters, rescues a little girl, finds treasure, meets the king, and finally has to battle the boss of a dastardly group called the Cast who are terrorizing the kingdon. A boss by the name of Seth Robinson, one of the game’s developer!
Read my review at Just-RPG.com if you want to know more. Dink Smallwood is freeware, by the way, so try it if you want.)
- Guybrush Threepwood: And, finally, I guess you can’t really talk about having a sense of humour without mentioning Guybrush Threepwood of the Monkey Island games. He is basically a good guy who wants to be a pirate when he starts out, and ends up having all sorts of adventures, including falling in love and trying to survive run-ins with his sworn enemy, the undead pirate, LeChuck! Guybrush is cheeky and witty, and his tongue gets him into as much trouble as it gets him out of! Among his notable talents are being able to hold his breath for ten minutes, and finding innovative ways to get out of a tight spot.