Top 5 Gaming Badasses
Games are one of the few ways that ordinary shmoes like ourselves can transcend vicarious experiences such as film and literature to achieve true power fulfilment. Whether it’s by taking your team to the final of the world cup or becoming the lord of your own criminal empire, arguably nothing helps someone feel like a badass than a solid main character. With that in mind, we’ve compiled this list of our favourites:
Here it is in no particular order:
Akuma – Street Fighter Series
Akuma is out there representing for gingers, although he may not be the best proof that they have souls. He first showed up in Street Fighter II: Turbo as a hidden character. By following a strict set of rules, players could encounter Akuma as a final final boss. With his mixture of Ryu and Ken’s moves turned up to 11 and set on fire, boy was he terrifying.
If the dark gray Gi and fiery red hair don’t set you on edge, the glowing red eyes will. Akuma was created by Capcom to be a mysterious and enigmatic character, and several games later we still don’t know too much about him. This is probably because he’s uncapable of shutting up about what a stone-cold legend he is for more than five minutes. In fact, the rare times Akuma does talk, it’s normally to bark a vague but deeply unsettling threat (In Japanese) into his opponents face before this happens:
A little bit of branding goes a long way, folks.
John Marston – Red Dead Redemption
The New Frontier’s Last Hope
Rockstar took a step away from wacky main characters with GTA IV, giving players some honest-to-god people instead of sociopathic (but still extremely well written) caricatures. Having more relatable characters, after all, makes us more invested in their lives and stories and lends a weight to your actions, be they game-integral or the giddy glee of rampaging.
Niko Bellic was very seriously considered for this list, but he loses out to John Marston. This is because Marston is, to date, Rockstar’s most successful gaming protagonist. He’s tragic, he’s got a dark past, and he must fight against extraordinary odds to protect his loved ones. None of these are new things in game narratives, but Marston is so well written and subtle that they take on a new life with him. Instead of being defined by these qualities, like so many videogame characters, he simply goes about the task at hand, with other characters extracting facts from him like blood from a stone.
Marston takes little joy in killing his way through the hundreds of people RDR, but by god he’ll do what needs to be done… which, as it turns out, is a lot of killing. He’s a man of strict morals: he respects women, will fight for the underdog, and hates abuse of authority. Combine this with an incredibly lethal skillset and you have an iconic character to rival any found in the westerns of yore.
Check out this killer original song by Ireland’s videogame music maestro Miracle of Sound: