5. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)
Villainy is one of those things that comes in all shades of color. Most villains are borderline grey, with only certain factors needed to become the viciously vile abomination we grow to love to detest. Sephiroth is one such character.
He is the embodiment of the evil, black to the core, and never waning from his goal of obliterating life on the planet in order to fulfill his mother's wishes. However, there is one cruel action that has forever been etched in the minds of gamers across the board: the slaying of Aerith before the eyes of Cloud who was incapable of saving the one girl who could save them all. Not much else stands out about Sephiroth, other than the fiery annihilation of the small village of Nibelheim, but it is enough to cause the character to go down in the history books of video game villains.
4. Kratos (God of War series)
Kratos is the only character I can say took out a god and looked cool doing it. Scarred by the memories of his past, Kratos took it upon himself to challenge the God of War and won. The battle took him through several points of mythology, and never did it divert his attentions from his ultimate goal. Now that is determination. The most brutal fighting moves to be pulled off in a video game since the days of Mortal Kombat were only some of the arsenal that Kratos had in order to warrant his spot among some of the top male characters. His goal was so crystal-clear that he never once made excuses for his actions to take out the occasional sacrifice in order to reach the ends he wished to achieve. Kratos is among the most hardcore characters, and that is why he demanded to be on the list.
3. Simon Belmont (Castlevania series)
While being part of a bloodline of warriors could be just enough for any person, try being part of a bloodline in command of destroying the vilest creature of the night ever, Dracula. There have been other Belmonts that should appear on the list, but Simon was at the start of it all and survived. Simon has been the one Belmont to go untarnished by the bite of Dracula. He is also one of those characters that stands for everything that matters to a hero, virtue and honor among the top. His ancestral heritage alone instilled that honor into him, but it was his virtue that required the return of Simon to the Castlevania series. I think Simon is due a next-gen experience, maybe then he can reclaim the honor of the Belmont clan with whip-cracking style.
2. Solid Snake (Metal Gear series)
What can I say about Snake that I have not already said several times in other areas of the site? Snake lives and breathes the symbolism of a soldier in every appearance he has made in video games. The honor, the decree, and the determination of the soldier are all present in the in Snake. He has taken on numerous missions without having the whole folder of debriefing material shared with him. Friends and comrades alike have betrayed him. He has even had one of the largest bombshells dropped on him while trying to save the world: the villain on one of his first missions, Big Boss, is actually his father. Yet he still persevered and completed his mission. Duty to the flag has been both an honorable thing as well as a thorn in Snake's side since the beginning, but yet he knows what his ultimate mission is and what needs to be done in order to reach the goal. Valor is a trait sometimes missing from the male characters in video games; next time they need some they should just call up Snake and ask if he has any extra to borrow, to which he will reply, "plenty."
1. Link (The Legend of Zelda series)
Determination is one of the key factors to being any kind of main character. Courage is another factor heavily required to be any main character. However, there is one trait that any male character has to have to be atop a list such as this, and that is the ability to wear a tunic and tights looking cool all the while. There is only one character that can pull this off and continuously save the day; his name is Link. If you have never experienced the joys and sense of completion you receive when playing through one of Link's many adventures, then you must. As for the courage he has, there is no question about this; he is, after all, constantly paired with the Tri-Force of Courage piece. So what if all of his games generally have the same plot? Link has more than made up for the repetitive storylines by proving that not only does he carry off the tunic and tights look without a snicker, but that he is not required to speak. The silent hero is sometimes the best character, and in this case, those words could not be truer.