Best male characters in video games Part I

by on March 14, 2015



                After
my article last year about the best female characters in video games a
counterpart for male characters was bound to happen, but I never found the time
to finish this project until now. The following articles from this series
contain some of the best male characters I’ve seen in video games, being
protagonists, playing a support role or just an NPC, it doesn’t matter. I based
my decisions on the character’s personality, charisma, skill, personal story
and contribution to the respective game’s story and many other criteria. Keep
in mind that this list includes a good dose of subjectivism as these are
characters that I liked and my opinion may differ from yours. Also, I’ve chosen
only one character per franchise and only from games that I’ve played, so some
popular heroes might be missing because of that (no Snake!).
                Without
any further introductions, these are some of the best male characters I’ve had
the chance to see in PC video games:
(Warning this might contain
spoilers!)

Sam – Serious Sam Franchise
                Sam
might mean serious business when fighting Mental’s hordes of enemies, but as
the last man living he is not serious at all. Sam was written in such a manner
to entertain the player in a video game series that has little to no
interaction with other characters (there are no other characters!). His jokes, snappy
comments and monologues are extremely welcomed to take some of the focus from
the only goal of this game: slaughtering everything that stands in the way.
                Sam is
an expert with any weapon he can find and can handle some huge and ridiculous
arsenal designed to kill out of the ordinary monsters. With his macho style and
dynamic but carefree personality, Sam blends in perfectly in a caricature of a
world which seems designed just for him. The best part about this character is
the fact that he never gets bored as he is either entertained by the endless
waves of bizarre enemies or he can easily entertain himself with a joke which makes
him a win-win from the player’s perspective.
                Sam
might not be one of the greatest characters, but he makes a good start for this
list. He is funny in an old school fashion with many cheesy lines and it can be
quite entertaining to hear some of his jokes. The first couple of games in this
series were great and Sam made them even better.
“WOHOO! They’ve made guns even BIGGER since the last game!”
“All right, now I’m seriously serious!”

So serious!
You blind?!

Sander Cohen – Bioshock
                Despite
the game’s length, Bioshock is riddled with interesting characters, especially
male characters, and it seems unjust not to mention one of them. The only
problem when it comes to this game is the fact that it is so hard to choose a
character that stood out more than the others as they all have a pretty short
but explosive appearance in the game. Being Frank Fontaine, Dr. J S Steinman,
Sander Cohen or Andrew Ryan, all of them are almost equally impressive and go
out of the stereotypical type of male characters seen in the year to year
generic shooters, but for me the one that stood out the most and passed the
test of time is Sander Cohen.
                Sander
Cohen is an artist, writing poetry and plays, composing and even sculpting, he represents
the true artistic heart of Rapture. But after the fall of Rapture into chaos he
descended into madness and became ignorant to the death and destruction around
him. He is now just a grotesque image of a once talented artist, filling Fort
Frolic, his main location, with disgusting and disturbing images of what he perceives
as art now. Splicers have become the subjects to his new artistic vision and
their mutilated bodies garnish the place.
The best way to describe this
character that appears in very few areas in the game is by quoting one of his
audio logs which characterize his mental state in a way I might not be able to
do.
The Wild Bunny by Sander Cohen:
“I want to take the ears off, but I
can’t. I hop, and when I hop, I cannot get off the ground. It’s my curse, my
eternal curse! I want to take the ears off, but I can’t! It’s my curse! It’s my
fucking curse! I want to take the ears off! Please take them off! Please!”
After…
Before…
Kyo Kusanagi – The King of Fighters
Franchise
            The King of Fighters might
not be the most popular fighting franchise in the west compared to Mortal
Kombat or Street Fighter, but it sure does have some amazing characters and an interesting
story spaning over sixteen games. From the many playable characters, for me,
Kyo Kusanagi is the most representative for the series.  He was introduced in KoF ’94 as the youngest member
and the leader of Japan’s fighting team together with Benimaru Nikaido and Goro
Daimon.
                Kyo
Kusanagi is one of the main protagonists and probably the most emblematic
character in the series. His name and abilities are designed specifically to
fit the legend of Orochi from the Japanese mythology. Kyo is a high school
student, overconfident and with a devil-may-care attitude, but he has a strong
sense of justice and fights to do good. He is able to use pyrokinetic powers
which allow him to wield fire as an element of his attacks and combines this
with his clan’s martial arts style. Kyo is the heir of the Kusanagi clan, one
of the three clans that sealed Orochi in the past and fights against those that
try to bring him back into the world. He has a rivalry with Iori Yagami the
last member of the Yagami clan, the long lasting archenemy of the Kusanagi
clan, but this doesn’t stop him from fighting alongside with Iori during the climax
of KoF ’97.
                Due to
his popularity and the evolution of the story, Kyo was even cloned, with different
versions of him being playable in KoF ’99. His look has changed over the years,
but his motivation and good will still drive him forward to fight against stronger
adversaries and those that put the people he cares for in danger.
                Kyo
Kusanagi didn’t miss a single game in the franchise and has been seen in many
spin-offs as well, always being voiced by Masahiro Nonaka. With SNK Playmore
registering a new trademark for King of Fighters, for what seems to be a 3D
game this time, it is safe to assume that Kyo will return in the upcoming title
and probably more to come after that.
Youth!
The endless rivalry!
War – Darksiders
                War is
the youngest of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse and the main protagonist of
Darksiders. He is a Nephilim, a race derived from both angels and demons that
is nearly extinct. In the past, War, alongside with his three brothers,
destroyed worlds under the command of Absalom, but the four changed sides
swearing allegiance to the Charred Council to preserve the balance in the world.
The four became known as the Horsemen and were sent to destroy Absalom and the
remaining of their kin as they were threatening to destroy Eden.
                When
the End War between angels and demons was erupting on Earth, War found himself
in the middle of it attempting to find answers for what was going on. His powers
were mysteriously drained while he was fighting one of the demon’s commanders
and was called back to the Charred Council which accused War of starting the
Apocalypse before its time. Stripped of all his powers, including his mount and
sword he was sent to the Abyss for a hundred years. However, War wants to prove
his innocence and persuades the council to give him a chance to clear his name.
War returns to a devastated Earth with the human race being extinct and fights
demons and angels alike in order to find those responsible for this mess.
                War
resembles a human in aspect, with long white hair, lighter skin tone and white
glowing eyes. He has a tough personality, incredible combat skills and a great
voice suited for a Horseman with him being voiced by Liam O’Brien (Ukitake from
the anime Bleach, the English dubbed version). War’s body is covered in a
strong and awesomely looking armor with red textile and silver colored metal and
he wields a gigantic sword. His mount is Ruin, which is a beefy horse
smoldering with fire and smoke from his hooves and tail.
                While
the future of this franchise is uncertain, the games still stand out through
their unique setting and action and the captivating main characters. War is a
character to be remembered and it will be quite a shame if a studio doesn’t take
over this franchise so the fans can see the Four Horsemen fighting side by
side.
Badass!
Even the apocalypse can’t stop war!

To be continued…

Nodrim