Heroes are not always the muscle-bound, superpowered white knights the comic books portray. They come in all shapes, sizes, and walks of life. Sometimes a hero is simply a person who pushes on through unbearable situations to save those they care about most. In celebration of those people, here is a list of the gaming heroes who gave their all.
Asura (Asura’s Wrath)
Using more quick-time events than actual gameplay, Asura’s Wrath featured amazing fight sequences that would make most anime on the current market blush. Yet, between each brutal fight sequence, we saw a man whose overall goal was to save his daughter at any cost. The inevitable sacrifice he must make is amazingly beautiful and brutal.
Oddly enough, players have to play the game with a high ranking to get the true-true ending. Yes, that’s a little bizarre.
Gabriel Belmont (Castlevania: Lords of Shadow)
The Belmont family must always face a cursed legacy, it seems, and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow certainly didn’t break from tradition. In this particular title, Gabriel Belmont is on a quest to save the departed soul of his wife, yet that quest is challenging and full of questionable moral choices. Gabriel seems to be blinded to his own vicious actions, resulting in a profoundly tragic ending.
Majin (Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom)
Games that feature a pet-like creature to build a relationship with over the many hours of gameplay always tug at our heartstrings, and Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom are no exception. The protagonist Tepeu rescues the Majin, a naïve but powerful creature that has the ability to help save Tepeu’s kingdom from the darkness that is encroaching upon it. As they travel together, their actions mold the Majin into a powerful ally and friend. This bonding is brought to a shocking conclusion when players discover why the Majin was imprisoned initially, and the sacrifice that needs to be made to save the land is a difficult one.
Alan Wake (Alan Wake)
Alan Wake goes on a vacation to get away from the noisy city, only to have his wife kidnapped while everyone in town is becoming possessed killers. With a flashlight and gun in hand, Alan has to fight horrors derived from his own mind in order to save his wife. Through a series of nightmarish discoveries, it seems that he may very well be another plot device to keep the horror going. Rod Serling, of Twilight Zone fame, would be proud.
Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell: Conviction)
It’s no wonder that by the time Splinter Cell: Conviction begins, Sam Fisher has had enough of the spy business. One can only assume all the years of crouching and sneaking have been murder on Sam’s aging knees. Yet, in Splinter Cell: Conviction, Sam is thrown back into the game after the alleged death of his daughter. Risking his life to save her while no longer on the government’s payroll is a true sign of a man on a mission. Sam is bankrolling this ass kicking himself, worn-out knees and all.
Dominic Santiago (Gears of War 3)
Anyone who’s ever played through the Gears of War series, will know the personal hell that Dom has been through. It’s already depressing enough that humanity is near the brink of extinction with food supplies and morale running low for the remaining heroes. Yet for Dom, the fight against the Locust is more personal. Dominic gave his all before the loss of his family and eventually proved his dedication with the ultimate sacrifice.
Ethan Mars (Heavy Rain)
I have to be honest here: Ethan Mars was a pretty bad father for not keeping a closer eye on his kids. In fact, one could argue that it was his short attention span that began his test of torment in the first place. Still, players of Heavy Rain have to make choices for Ethan that have the potential to mold him into a man of great sacrifice rather than a couch potato who watches cartoons all day long.
Max Payne (Max Payne 3)
In Max’s first game, he loses everything he’s worked for. He comes home to see his wife and child murdered, and it doesn’t take long before this event sends him on a pill-popping killing spree.
In Max Payne 3, we find our antihero aged, ragged, and simply hoping for the closure of death. Yet, when Max takes on a security job to protect a client and things go to hell, he looks the reaper in the eye and doesn’t blink. The moral of the story: Don’t mess with an angry man who can distort time and space whenever he shoots his gun.
John Marston (Red Dead Redemption)
John Marston knows the whole “hero with a dark past” thing better than anyone. In order to save his family, Marston has to hunt down his old posse and kill each and every person he’s ever been involved with. He is forced to abandon his morals in ways no one should and is thus met with a fate that gamers will not soon forget.
Lee Everett (The Walking Dead)
The groundbreaking The Walking Dead puts players in the shoes of Lee Everett, a regular man caught off guard by the initial zombie outbreak. Unlike most of the other characters on this list, Everett has no combat skills, nor is he the legendary descendant of some superior ancient race. He’s a regular John Q. Everyman, put into situations that leave him with no obvious right or wrong moral outcome.
What is especially unique about Lee Everett is that he has the goal of protecting young Clementine. Every decision he makes—good or bad, righteous or evil—is remembered by Clem, and Lee eventually must give his all in order to protect someone else’s future. Lee Everett is a true hero.
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*