One of the things that makes games so interesting are the various characters littered throughout them. From Mario to Samus, Master Chief to Solid Snake, Lara Croft to Ratchet, we all have gaming icons and characters that we love or hate. This week we want to look at some of the characters in gaming that are the most compelling to us, whether it is due to characterization, toughness, coolness, or just simple oddity.
D'Marcus Beatty, Co-Site Director
I've encountered countless characters throughout my years of gaming, and some games have occasionally made me forget that the characters in the game didn't exist. When reflecting on that thought, it actually made me feel a bit of melancholy that Tidus, Revan, Solid Snake, Link, and various others didn't truly exist outside of my gaming console. However, out of all the characters that I encountered, one resonated with me like none before.
Metal Gear Solid 3 final foe, The Boss, is one of the most intriguing characters that I've ever played against. She always seemed somber and melancholy, with a realistic touch of pathos that surrounded her throughout the entire game. The player can always sense her love and respect for Snake and can see the conflict in her eyes long before we know the reason behind her actions. Even amidst the supernatural abilities displayed by the other Cobras, The Boss's realism and fantastic characterization shine through. When we make it to the end of the game and find out that *Spoiler Alert* her mission from the U.S. government was to defect and be killed as a scapegoat, we realize the dedication to her country that she displays. Regardless of her name going down in the annals of infamy and her being branded a traitor when in fact she is the biggest patriot ever, willing to sacrifice herself for the good of the country's name, she is steadfast and strong, never faltering. The pain in her face as she faces Snake time and again, unable to tell him of her mission and her dedication is amazingly and accurately conveyed.
The Boss's story is one of the most amazing ever penned in a game, and the character was given life through her actions and her subtle facial expressions. Because of her wonderful characterization, the Boss is one of the most compelling characters ever portrayed in a game.
Maria Montoro, Co-Site Director
Link, the highly praised hero of The Legend of Zelda, is one of my favorite characters, with all his charisma and tenacity. However, Jade, from Beyond Good & Evil, sunk into my brains and will probably never get out. She's a tough young woman determined to save her planet Hillys from the claws of an evil alien force called Domz and the Alpha Section, an elite force that controls the planet. With her strength and courage, she'll battle her way to the Alpha Section's headquarters, where she'll discover what is really going on. The Alpha Section talks about protecting the citizens, when they're actually taking advantage of the alien invasion for their own benefit. Jade is intrepid and resolute. With the help of her humanoid-pig uncle Pey'j and some other characters along the way, she'll defeat numerous beasts, solve puzzles, and overcome key obstacles. Stealth action and some platforming are also significant elements of Beyond Good & Evil's gameplay.
Jade's funky but stylish look, along with her strong personality, make up a solid video game character that remained in my head forever. Maybe the only reason why I remember her so well is the fact that the game is exceptionally fun and interesting; it gave me hours of truly entertaining gameplay that not all video games can provide.
Jonathan Marx, Freelance Writer
The most memorable character I ever had the misfortune to encounter was Gossamer, the red monster from Sheep Raider. Sheep Raider is a great puzzle / platformer starring Looney Tunes characters. It really is worth a few hours of your time, it's a truly great retro-game.
The Red Monster is one of the last bosses. No matter what I did, I couldn't get past that fool. He was so tough to beat that it drove me and my wife nuts. First of all, a new technique was introduced to beat him. You have to sprint around in a circle in order to get him dizzy so that you can take advantage of his disabled state. This took us forever to figure out because sprinting in the game was never really a factor. When we finally did get it, implementing the technique was clunky at best. We struggled mightily to pull off the technique without falling into the lava.
When I finally did get that skill down pat, it came down to one final clutch jump onto a rotating platform. Unfortunately, I am a notorious choker. Just ask my varsity basketball coach when I went 0 for 12 from the line against the Wisconsin School for the Deaf and we lost by one. That's a true story. Needless to say I must have beaten that boss 20 or 30 times only to jump pathetically into the burning moat of fire. It truly was a ridiculous couple of hours. I just couldn't make it happen. In fact, to get past that boss I had to pass the controller over to my wife so that she could make the critical leap before he woke back up. Of course, she was clutch and was able to do it in one fell swoop. You should have seen the mad controller passing that went on. It was like an Olympic relay without the grace and confidence. Our palms were certainly sweaty though. The whole ordeal felt like some slow motion scene from Seinfeld.
The good news was that it was a truly memorable gaming experience that will stay with me forever. The bad news is that I never really beat that boss and it has driven me crazy ever since. My wife will never let me live it down.
Matthew Walker, Freelance Writer
It is hard to pick the most compelling character in video games, especially when they are among such fantastic company. However, having said that, there is one character that has stuck with me since his introduction several years ago - Solid Snake.
Granted, when he was originally introduced it was with the limited graphic power of the Nintendo, but much has changed since then. Even the story of Snake's first mission was limited, but that too has, of course, changed. Actually, I have to say that the resonating appeal of Snake did not occur until Metal Gear Solid for PlayStation. I mean, here you have a solider following orders and at every turn, his commander is deliberately shrouding secrets from him. Yet, he continues with the mission. Then of course, there was the sense of brotherhood Snake shared with Grey Fox. Hideo Kojima beautifully captured the sense of honor and brothers in arms while depicting the fall and retribution of Grey Fox throughout the game. All the while, the cool factor of Snake in the game rose higher.
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