My Top Ten: Protagonists

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Sure, you’re the one with the controller in your hand. It’s you pulling off the headshots but it’s not actually you is it? Here’s my top ten leading characters…

  • Cole McGrath from inFamous – just enough broody savagery to make him interesting, even with that awful dialogue they sprinkled the inFamous world with. Cole did a good job of being believably confused about what was going on but having a confidence and danger to him that made the character more than just a one dimensional hero. The ending was a tad predictable but Cole worked really well to build the game to that point and make it feel realistic.
  • Tomas “Sev” Sevchenko from Killzone – Total badass soldier who could carry loads of equipment. Sure, it slowed him down a bit and made him sluggish but he was always ready with a handy headshot when your adversaries finally stopped with the “Beirut Salute” over the top of crates and actually showed him something to hit. He’s on this list for having a little bit more character to him than the average space-marine shooter.
  • Cloud from Final Fantasy VII – He led the most revered RPG in gaming’s history so he must have done something right. Personally I think it’s the hair that everyone loves. They must have some awesome stylists among the ranks of Avalanche.
  • Mario from everything Nintendo publishes – He’s in everything and yet the world never seems to tire of the pudgy little Italian plumber. You’d think with all that tennis, track and field and now winter sports that he takes part in he’d lose a few pounds. Must be all the mushrooms he eats.
  • Willy from Manic Miner & Jet Set Willy – A simple working man given a task that seems impossible (and actually is impossible). Willy is someone we can all identify with. Except the women. And the jobless. Oh, and people who’ve never been faced with an impossible task. Jet Set Willy was brilliant though, wasn’t it?
  • Gordon Freeman from Half Life – Silent, smart and good with a crowbar. What more could you want from a leading character? Sure, I’d rather his vision was perfect and he’d had a little bit of combat training but hey, who am I to argue? Gordon gets the job done and draws you into the role he plays at the same time.
  • Link from The Legend of Zelda – Enduring and well loved little hooded scamp. Actually Link has gone through many iterations but they’ve all been loved by his fans. Another example of a largely voiceless character getting oodles of love from his public.
  • The Wind from Flower – You should know by now that I try to mention Flower as often as possible (but still not as often as Jet Set Willy and Road Rash). Without an identifiable character this game did an exceptional job of telling a story and provoking emotion and that’s surely the main job of a protagonist? I wasn’t even sure what to name here, it was a choice between the wind or “one of those spinny petals”
  • Soap MacTavish from Modern Warfare – Because it’s written into the laws of video game coverage than every single thing printed on the internet this week must include a reference to Modern Warfare.
  • Player 1 from Road Rash – Player 1 (sometimes credited as “Player One” or “1up”) has been in many games, possibly nearly as many as Mario. But Road Rash is where I remember him (or her, if you’re that imaginative) most fondly. It also meets my contractual obligation to fixate on Road Rash as much as possible. Next week I’ll try to mention Sensible World of Soccer too.
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