Although contrary to video game villains, the heroes of the video games we know and love today are everything but underrated. In fact, there are certainly a few that I would classify as “too overrated.” Of course, you know me, I’m not the master of video games and everything related, so I can’t possibly know everything there is to know about video games. However, that’s the beauty of research. I’ve gone through the many depths of the internet, traversing the difficulties of some of the hardest levels mankind has created. In my travels I have collected a list of video game heroes that I feel deserve a spot on a list of some sort. These places where these heroes were found will certainly range from the mountaintops that the Frozen Throne sits, to the bounding blocks in the Super Mario universe.
While reading this list, let’s try to keep in mind that I have not played every single video game known to man, so of course I’m going to miss some important characters that should have taken the place of others. But, with as much research as I’ve done, I’ve concluded that the 15 heroes that sit before you are 15 of the most powerful and noteworthy heroes we’ve seen in video game history.
15. Isaac Clarke (Dead Space)
If there’s any argument about the size of this man’s cohones, maybe you need to pick up a copy of Dead Space and play through it, in the dark, with nobody around. Isaac Clarke may be one of the ballsiest heroes to ever show up in a video game, but he also allows himself to have an arsenal under his belt that simultaneously makes him extremely powerful. With a very specific number of weapons and gadgets, he traverses through several alien infested hallways and fights them head on with no second thought. If it were me in his shoes, I’d just lay down and let the aliens rip me to shreds. Not only does Isaac Clarke succeed in being one of the most courageous heroes there is, he also knows the risk of pressing onward. Most heroes would demand an army to take on what he takes on by himself.
14. Kratos (God of War)
Kratos falls onto this list for a lot of the same reason Starkiller falls on this list. I mean c’mon, The Force Unleashed is basically a Star Wars copy of God of War. I’m not throwing any shade to the developers, because as far as I’m concerned, it works. While not only looking badass, Kratos has a tremendous arsenal under his belt that allows him to fight off the bad guys that are only out to kill him. I mean, let’s be honest, what was Kratos expecting when he was put into this game? If he was looking for a casual game with flowers and daisies, perhaps he needs to rethink his occupation. But, that doesn’t negate his ability to continue to be one of the most powerful heroes in video game history. I know what you’re thinking, “would you really consider him a hero?” Yes, I would. Anybody that kills a bad guy to save or succeed in something he’s passionate about is a hero in my book.
13. Dovahkiin (Skyrim)
Dovahkiin, Dovahkiin, naal ok zin los vahriin, Wah dein vokul mahfaeraak ahst vaal! C’mon now, I can’t start this list off without mentioning one of the most powerful heroes the world has ever been graced with. Back when Skyrim was released, nobody was really certain what to expect when it came to the story, or the main character, but what we got was unbelievably exceeding expectations. Not only were we given the freedom of being a mage, an archer, or just a standard sword fighter. We were also given the opportunity to soak in the souls of dragons and use them to our advantage. This separated Skyrim from a lot of other games because of that fact alone. It really gave the character something to feel extra powerful without being too overwhelmingly powerful. There’s no doubt that Skyrim is a tough game, but to have a hero that is also powerful helps the game reach a happy medium.
12. Corvo (Dishonored)
If you’ve never played Dishonored or you’re trying to get a taste of it before you sink your teeth into Dishonored 2, Corvo Attano fits the bill for what it takes to be a villain and a hero almost simultaneously. Although the games are not necessarily based around whether you’re good or evil like Fable and other RPG’s, you still have the freedom to decide if you want to be a pacifist, or make people run in fear simply by showing up. At the same time, he is certainly one of the most powerful characters in the game, especially considering he wields the power to “jump” from place to place, and many other otherworldly abilities us mortals only wish we had.
11. Starkiller (Star Wars: Force Unleashed)
It’s tough to say whether I personally consider Starkiller a hero or villain, but (SPOILER ALERT) the fact that by the end of the second installment of Force Unleashed you decide whether you want to kill Darth Vader or Darth Sidious, that alone screams “good will.” Though, coincidentally only one of those paths leads to a brighter outlook on life, so I suppose you could make that argument. Anyway, I’m throwing Starkiller on this list for a lot of the same reasons I would throw Kratos from God of War on this list. While the Force Unleashed games follow the same basic concept as God of War, they also mix it up by throwing in some powerful force moves, and giving you access to TWO lightsabers. If that doesn’t scream bad-ass to you, well perhaps the fact that you can simply pick up an enemy and throw them off a cliff. Are you convinced yet? I thought you might be.
10. Banjo & Kazooie (Banjo Kazooie)
Now what kind of person would I be if I didn’t include Banjo & Kazooie on this list. I have a serious soft spot for Nintendo 64 games, and I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve played through Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie. Personally, this dynamic duo should be an obvious choice for this list as they have traversed through the best of times and the worst of times (cough Nuts & Bolts cough). Not only are they simply a bear and a bird, but they’re also extremely powerful in regards to the moves they learn, all the way from taking on the infamous Gruntilda not once, but twice. Think about it, have you ever seen a bear and a bird take on an evil witch at the top of her castle? No, you haven’t. It’s almost unheard of and unthinkable to not think these are two of the most powerful heroes in video game history.
9. Master Chief (Halo)
The covenant from the Halo series made my “top 15 villains” list, so naturally I had to include Master Chief in my “top 15 heroes” list. For a lot of people, Master Chief was the first time we ever got to experience what it must be like to be the hero the world is looking for. Specifically talking about the first two games in the series, Master Chief was the man. He never let a silly alien talk him down, and he always had his blood boiling. If you were to ever need to call to someone to lead a charge against an army of evil aliens, Master Chief was the guy to call. With his arsenal of military grade weapons to his carefully placed grenades, there’s no doubt Master Chief holds the title for being one of the most memorable video game heroes of all time. Plus he can jump from a high place and not instantly die, that says something.
8. Samus Aran (Metroid)
I personally never got to experience the Metroid series as much as a lot of people claimed to have. I knew the games existed, but I was too busy beating races on Diddy Kong Racing to care about the Metroid games. However, I cannot deny the impact Samus Aran has had on the video game industry. While being one of the coolest robotic females that has ever graced this list, people have constantly praised her abilities. I mean, for specifically the male players of the games, I guess it’s a nice treat to find out the character you’ve been kicking ass with turns out to be a female. And don’t worry, if I were to ever make a list for most attractive video game characters, she would certainly make the list. She does fall on this list for a lot of reasons Master Chief does, in the way that she just doesn’t take no for an answer. If there’s a will, there’s a way.
7. Mario (Super Mario)
The man in the red cap! We all know who that is! While not as creepy as his brother Luigi, Mario falls onto this list not only for how powerful he is, but for how much crap he has to put up with. People want to throw shade at the fact that Luigi is the redheaded stepchild, but Luigi doesn’t constantly have to put up with the turmoil of losing the love of his life all the damn time. Mario has never really been known to lose his temper or go on a tantrum about his unfortunate gift of life. Much like Link from The Legend of Zelda, Mario is constantly having to traverse through castles or game worlds in order to save the woman he loves. And of course, once he saves her from the grasps of Bowser, Princess Peach somehow seems to find herself being captured again. It’s almost as if she’d rather be held captive than to be under the same roof as Mario. We know you’re powerful, Mario.
6. Link (The Legend of Zelda)
It’s dangerous to go alone – take this! Link is the man, man. Seriously, if there was ever a reason to include him on a list, it was this one. While not only being one of the coolest mofos that has ever graced this wonderful Earth, he’s easily up there with being one of if not the most powerful heroes Nintendo has ever created. It’s not just the fact that he’s a sword fighter and a damn good one at that, but it’s also the fact that he traverses through some of the toughest dungeons and areas that the video game world has ever seen. And who can forget the trauma he must have gone through as we the players took him through The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. There’s really no question or argument here that Link belongs on this list. And the fact that he’s got a new game coming up is even more of a reason to include him here.
On the outside, Kirby looks like a cute little pink fluff ball, but on the inside holds the most powerful abilities one little man should never have access to. While being in some of my all time favorite games like Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards, he’s also got one of the coolest abilities I’ve ever seen with a video game character. In my opinion, I think Nintendo was smart in making such a powerful hero seem so innocent. Much harder for the enemies to ever consider that such a cute little creature could harness such power. Imagine if we had this type of power in our real world. All we would have to do in order to become experienced in something would be to eat it up. Though, obesity is already a problem in this country. Wishful thinking I suppose. Anyway, there really isn’t much to say about Kirby other than the fact that him as a character is freakin’ awesome and every game he’s been in has been fantastic.
4. Alex Mercer (Prototype)
Alex Mercer? Prototype? Like the best game in the world? Yes, Alex Mercer makes his way onto this list for the same reason Spider-Man 2 is the best game ever made. Now some may criticize because Alex Mercer doesn’t really seem like the hero type. Well, when you grow powerful mutated arms on each side of your body, while bringing along the power to climb walls and jump, I’ll make sure to call you “normal.” He may not be a hero in the general sense like wearing a cape or saving someone, but he still tries to do what he can. The first time I ever played Prototype, I was just blown away by how cool it was, and how hard it must be to keep a secret like that. That has to count for something when it comes to being heroic. Not all heroes are obvious, but they still exist.
3. Duke Nukem
“I’ve got balls of steel!” is possibly one of the most memorable moments in internet history. Basically a grown woman gets pissed off because somebody is coming into their Ventrilo server and causing frustration through the use of a Duke Nukem soundboard. I don’t know about you, but that stuff is funny as heck. So, not only for being the inspiration behind one of the best trolling experiences on the internet, Duke Nukem is also known to be one you don’t want to mess with. This man has seen a big chunk of the video gaming world going all the way back to the MS-DOS days. Since then, he’s been featured in a variety of games and platforms ranging across the PlayStation and Xbox systems all the way back to mobile devices, etc. And every single time, people are taken away just by the sheer amount of badassery that oozes from this guy’s veins. If this list were just him and him alone, he’d make the entire article worthwhile.
2. Arthas Menethil (Warcraft)
There’ll of course be some speculation regarding this, more because a lot of people don’t see the hero/villain aspect of Arthas Menethil. If you’ve played the Frozen Throne expansion, you’ll know exactly why he falls into this place. So while not just being a super powerful hero early in the game attempting to save his father, he eventually succeeds him and turns evil. He takes care of every villain and enemy in his path while maintaining a sense of civility and heroism, for a time anyway. Not to mention, Arthas Menethil is just cool enough to be considered an overall badass. Honestly, I don’t think the Warcraft RTS games would be where they are at without the existence of Arthas Menethil.
1. Eddie Riggs (Brutal Legend)
Jack Black on his own gets known as the guy who likes to joke around. I don’t dispute that there’s not a single badass gene in his body, but when he’s included in a game to make him look as if he is, you pretty much have to include him. Brutal Legend to my knowledge is a game that was picked up on some people’s radar, and not insurmountably the greatest game ever made. I’ve played through it and I’d say I’d fall into the category of people that enjoyed the game. It had an open world element that worked for the game, and the awesome hero voiced by Jack Black really just brought the entire game together. He was no longer seen as this fat wannabe rock star, but instead actually seen as a tough rock star that would destroy anything that walked in his path. If they made a sequel to this game and kept Jack Black, I wouldn’t be disappointed in the slightest.