Some video game characters get all the love. Some don’t get enough. Your uncle Geekly wants to even things out a bit with this week’s three list of three. I could also use some costume ideas so don’t be surprised if you see me dressed in a primary color jump suit—or two.
Underrated Video Game Characters
Yes. A famous video game series shares her name, but how many people have you seen point to the guy dressed in a green elf costume and say Zelda? That’s Link. Link gets all the attention, but he’s also the more static of the two characters.
Zelda has been portrayed in so many ways. She even gets in on the action as her alter egos Sheik and Tetra every once and while. She’s been the leader of sages and even a goddess. Link rocks the same kind of outfit game after game, but gamers don’t know what they’re going to get with Zelda. She may even be a ghost.
Many gamers would consider EarthBound (1994) or Mother 2 in Japan as one of the best RPGs to come out for the SNES, but many more of them don’t remember who the main character of the game was. Ness is a 13-year-old boy with psychic powers.
Sure, there are other characters gained along the way in EarthBound, but Ness is the players first and strongest, and a lot of the game’s character comes from Ness.
Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik
Most gamers know of Mario’s Bowzer, but Sonic’s Dr. Eggman goes unheralded. It’s a shame. He may come off as a mad scientist clone, and he is for the most part, but Eggman wants to conquer the world, so he can install his ultimate utopia, the Eggman Empire.
A lot of other mad scientist types have had a similar motivation of wanting to rule the world because they’re the best person for the job—Doctor Doom comes to mind—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good motivation. What’s Bowzer trying to do most of the time besides kidnapping a princess?
Overrated Video Game Characters
First off, Master Chief isn’t a Master Chief in the navy. That’s an enlisted rank (a very high enlisted rank), not an officer’s.
Second, you can take Master Chief out of Halo and no one would miss him. He may as well be Jeff Johnson or John Jeffson. My apologies to any Jeff Johnsons or John Jeffsons who may be reading this.
Halo’s multiplayer mode is what most gamers play this game for. They aren’t looking for story, and Master Chief isn’t much of a character.
The whole point of Half-Life 2’s protagonist is that he’s a blank slate, but if he’s a blank slate, only defined by the suit he wears, he isn’t much of a character. He’s kind of like Master Chief in that sense. Cool suit. Great abilities. What’s your name again?
Iron Man detractors claim that Tony Stark wouldn’t be anything without his suit, but he’d still be rich, a genius, and have plenty of personality. Gordon Freeman is none of those things.
2018’s God of War notwithstanding, Kratos was a bloody He-Man for the modern era. Gamers knew he’d lost his family—which was explained more in the most recent God of War—and that’s most of what they knew about him. Kratos was an excuse for a muscle-bound, over-sexed man to tear apart some Greek gods.
He received the post-hero treatment in 2018’s God of War and while it was a refreshing take on the character, it could’ve carried more weight if there was more to the character prior to that offering.
Video Game Sidekicks
Yeah, this turian may take offense with being called a sidekick, but he deserves to be on this list. He’s the only squad member available to Shepard in each Mass Effect game, he survives a rocket to the face, and he and Shepard have a special bond.
Get your head out of the gutter. Hmm. They could have a “special bond” if you play the game a certain way, come to think of it. Anyway, one of the most satisfying moments in the Mass Effect series is watching the two pal around and watching their relationship grow.
He’s always number two to Mario’s top banana, but Luigi doesn’t complain, not even when Nintendo named him Luigi Mario. I guess that would make his brother Mario Mario. Man, that’s a terrible name.
Give him a vacuum to suck up ghosts and he can be a main character. A gamer may want to play as him in Super Mario Bros. 2, and I never minded letting my younger brother take the controller during the original Super Mario Bros., not telling him where any of the shortcuts or secrets were, and then use them after he lost a man. Ah, memories.
I had to put Sparx from Spryo the Dragon on here because so many of my family members love that game, and Sparx doesn’t get much love. I also don’t like it when games force a player to run over every little gem or coin or ring. All you’ve gotta do is get close to a gem, and Sparx picks it up for you.
Sparx also represents one of the cleverest ways to denote health in a video game. He changes color, gets dim, as you take damage and disappears when Spyro has one hit point left.
Yep. I’m sure I missed the boat on a lot of these characters. Please direct your complaints to our intern Jeff Johnson—or is it John Jeffson—or let me know which video game characters you’d choose by leaving a comment.