My Top Ten Favorite Badass Video Game Characters
In my years playing video games, I’ve come to particularly enjoy games that are action-packed and feature some of the most impressive visuals that I never tire of seeing. None of these iconic action sequences would be entirely possible without the right character bringing their unique talents to the table. Whether it’s heroes or villains who are superpowered, highly skilled in combat, or defy the laws of nature, no game franchise would be complet without a character or two who really kick ass.
The list that follows is my top ten favorite badass game characters and what sets them apart. Please be warned that there are spoilers ahead.
10. Rhonda Kreske (Dead Rising 3) — (spoiler alert) It might seem odd to have a tough-as-nails mechanic in the #10 slot, but Rhonda is, in my opinion, one of the best things about Dead Rising 3. From the moment she first appears on-screen as the friend, maternal figure, and employer of the game’s lead protagonist, Nick, her winning personality and take-charge attitude make her an instantly likable character. She quickly proves she can hold her own when a pair of hoodlums dragged her into a shack for an attempt to rape her only to be sent packing by her within minutes. As if she isn’t awesome enough, to begin with, she acquires a robotic flamethrower arm to replace her own when it’s cut off toward the end of the game.
9. Galahad (Aveyond series) – (spoiler alert) The fantasy adventure series, Aveyond, isn’t widely known; it’s likely I wouldn’t even be aware of it myself if I hadn’t downloaded a demo of Aveyond 3: Gates of Night and got hooked. Each entry in the series tells a story separate from the others, with up to a 300-year gap in between games. Only two characters appear in all four Aveyond games in some form — the vampiress Te’ijal and Galahad, the paladin-turned-creature-of-the-night she tricked into marrying her. Even though Te’ijal’s been a vampire longer than him, Galahad is the most powerful character present in the series. In Aveyond 4, he appears out of nowhere and single-handedly demolishes a battlefield full of demons that the four playable characters had no hope of beating.
8. Big Daddy (Bioshock 1 & 2) – The world of Bioshock 1 & 2 is a massive undersea city called Rapture built to be a utopia for humankind. It falls into disarray after the introduction of a highly-addictive drug that grants superpowers. The main character in Bioshock 1 discovers Rapture sometime after its decline into a monster-infested ruin. The most dangerous creatures roaming about are each referred to as Big Daddy, hulks in full scuba gear that wield huge drills as weapons. While they’re not to be trifled with, each of them serves as a devoted guardian to a young, drug-addicted girl wandering about the city. Each Big Daddy turns deadly if they think their charge will be harmed. To make things more interesting, Bioshock 2 flips things around by allowing the player to assume the role of a Big Daddy fighting to reclaim the girl who was forcibly taken from him.
7. Vaas Montenegro (Far Cry 3) — A good rule of thumb, for both the world of Far Cry 3 and real life, is to make sure the island you’re planning to skydive onto isn’t overrun with drug runners and criminals led by a dangerous psycho. The game’s main protagonist, Jason, learns this the hard way when he and his older brother are quickly captured upon landing; the brother – a soldier no less – is killed during the escape attempt. From there, it is up to the non-combatant Jason to systematically tear down the empire of the psychotic villain, Vaas. This undertaking isn’t without its perils. At some point during the story, Vaas shows off his special blend of crazy when he captures the intrepid hero, ties him to a cinderblock, and shoves him into a pit filled with water without warning.
6. HUNK (Resident Evil Series) — In a game series populated by experienced fighters, soldiers, mercenaries, and the like, it takes a lot to stand out. One character that does is a Special Forces operative who goes by HUNK (Human Unit Never Killed). He remains the most mysterious character of all in the Resident Evil series. His real name was never revealed, and his face is constantly covered with a red-lensed gas mask. HUNK’s character bio states he has a reputation for being the only operative to come back alive from several team-based missions given to him by the corrupt pharmaceutical company, the Umbrella Corporation. Though his only real appearances are in Resident Evil 2 and the spinoffs, Umbrella Chronicles and Operation Raccoon City (all set in the year 1998), he is presumed to be still alive and kicking and waiting for a comeback.
Top (L-R) Urdnot Wrex, Vaas, Wesker, Big Daddy, Kratos
Bottom (L-R) Alexia Ashford, Galahad w/ Te’ijal, Rhonda, HUNK, Kai Leng
(photo credits at end)
5. Kai Leng (Mass Effect 3) – (spoiler alert) The Mass Effect series has many formidable villains to its name, but very few with the aptitude of the telekinetic ninja-like swordmaster Kai Leng. Though he is seen standing idly by in one of the opening movie-style cinematics, he shows just how dangerous he is in his first action sequence. He is sent by a terrorist group to assassinate some high-ranking political figures and knows he must slow down the main protagonist, Commander Shepherd, to pull it off. Toward this end, he drops from the sky onto the nose of Shepherd’s transport shuttle, stabs the engine with his sword while evading fire, and makes a smooth exit when his ride/shuttle comes in to pick him up. Despite Shepherd’s best efforts, Kai succeeds in killing one of the politicians unless one of two other characters (Thane or Kirrahee) are still alive to stop him.
4. Kratos (God of War series) — I must admit that I’ve never actually played any of the God of War games, but I’ve seen enough YouTube videos from other players to have developed a liking for the Spartan anti-hero, Kratos. Over the course of the three main games in the series, Kratos personally takes down many of the central figures in Greek Mythology – Gods, demi-gods, and Titans alike – in a quest for revenge. Kratos’ thirst for vengeance knows no bounds. He even claws his way out of the underworld – twice – to satisfy his bloodlust.
3. Albert Wesker (Resident Evil Series) – Of all the villains in the Resident Evil franchise, there is not one that comes close to sharing Wesker’s particular capabilities. Granted superior strength and agility from a genetically-altering virus, Wesker is capable of easily besting the most experienced combatant and can move faster than a bullet at point-blank range. Even more remarkable is his knack to stay cool and composed in most situations. One example to the contrary is when an opponent gets lucky enough to stab him in the arm; the look of rage on his face says it all. My personal favorite fight sequences are when he goes up against his long-standing rivals, Chris and Jill, inside a mansion, or his close quarters battle against Chris and his new partner, Sheva, in a ship’s cargo hold.
2. Urdnot Wrex (Mass Effect Series) – Kai Leng is not the only character in the Mass Effect trilogy to take down a shuttle, but the brawny alien leader of Clan Urdnot of the lizard-like Krogan race, Wrex, does so in an extraordinary fashion. To save Commander Shepherd from a ship full of mercenaries, Wrex dives through a window and uses his body weight alone to force the shuttle down onto a platform. He then proceeds to beat the stuffing out of all the mercs on board. I was a fan of Wrex even before I saw this takedown, but this scene elevates him to new levels of awesome.
1. Alexia Ashford (Resident Evil: Code Veronica) – If there were any one character who is arguably more powerful than Wesker in the Resident Evil series, it would be the main villainess in Code Veronica, Alexia Ashford. No sooner do Alexia and Wesker come face to face than she transforms into a humanoid plant-like creature and engages him in a fight. Though the extent of her powers is never fully explored, what little she demonstrates is enough to make Wesker think twice about duking it out. One of his punches does nothing more than make her stagger. Alexia also uses her blood as a weapon, which ignites into flames within seconds of being exposed to oxygen. The game, in general, doesn’t have the best dialogue, but this showdown is spectacular.
It could be interesting to throw all of these characters together for a grudge match, excluding Vaas and Rhonda since they wouldn’t last a minute, and see who comes out victorious. Granted, Kratos has an unfair advantage due to his tendency to come back from the dead until he gets it right, but Kai Leng’s ability to create psionic force fields are a good countermeasure against the determined Spartan.
Feel free to cast your vote on who would win such a Battle Royale in the comments below. And be sure to tune in next month as I countdown the top ten things I love about the Mass Effect games.
Rhonda — http://i.imgur.com/pc2Dpqy.jpg
Kratos – http://i.imgur.com/cXg7bMn.jpg
Albert Wesker – http://t08.deviantart.net/YDtgwYw3CNf7stcAACMEvu-6TrY=/fit-in/700×350/filters:fixed_height(100,100):origin()/pre01/f49e/th/pre/f/2012/183/0/9/resident_evil_5_by_lena14081990-d55nyxl.jpg