We could talk for hours about how cool Terra Branford, Master Chief, Ezio or Carl Johnson are, but what’s a good character without others to interact with? Also, here at Walyou we dig geeks, and are geeks ourselves, so obviously some of our favorite characters fall on this category. They help the heroes, and sometimes they are as well known as the main character or become the most recognizable character of the franchise. Luigi needs to step down, for here is Walyou’s tribute to the Geekiest Sidekicks in Videogame History.
1. Lucca (Chrono Trigger)
Chrono Trigger is one of Squaresoft most beloved titles by both JRPG fans and gamers who don’t regularly play this kind of game. The reason is the game is just the most effective sucession of things done right in videogame history, with balanced, addicting combat, moderate difficulty, and a fantastic story.
Lucca is Crono’s best friend, and creator of the machine that warps Marle and Crono to 600 AC for the first time by accident. Designed by manga artist Akira Toriyama, she has control over Fire magic, and uses bombs and guns to fight and protect her friends. Lucca is a genius with machines, and several times throughout the game we see her getting the characters out of trouble thanks to her brilliant (although at times unreliable) inventions. Also, she’s one of the best examples of girl power in a videogame done right: she is key to the story, awesome in her own right, without needing a love story arc to be properly developed. Also? She doesn’t even have to show much skin to be hailed as one of the greatest videogame characters of all time.
2. Weighted Companion Cube (Portal)
Portal took the world, or more appropriately, the Internet by storm after it came out thanks to its brilliant mechanics and puzzle solving in first person perspective. The funny part is that the symbol of the franchise wasn’t protagonist Chell nor antagonist GLaDOS, but players absolutely fell in love with the Weighted Companion Cube.
Considering a faceless, genderless, tongueless, inanimate object a sidekick might be a stretch, but it sure worked with “Wilson” in Tom Hanks’ “Castaway”. The relationship the player establishes with the cube is similar to that: in the coldness, vast emptiness of the laboratory, with GLaDOS as a threatening presence in the horizon, the only thing players know for sure that’s safe is using the cube to solve puzzles. GLaDOS insists on anthropomorphizing the object, too, and it was a great success (yeah, that was a terrible pun, we know); for players absolutely love it and hail its final moments as one of the greatest sequences in videogame history.
3. Otacon (Metal Gear Solid series)
When Metal Gear Solid came out for the PSOne in 1998, players were blown away by its fantastic story, deep characters and dialog and superb gameplay which emphasized stealth over the mindless killing videogames are usually associated with. Solid Snake jumped from 8 bits to 32 and sure made up for the lost time, spawning one of the most beloved franchises ever that is still running strong even today, with Metal Gear Solid: Rising on the way, while the older games get remakes and HD updates.
Otacon is an otaku (anime lover for us westerners), military scientist, and responsible of the software in Metal Gear Rex. Snake meets his sidekick in Metal Gear Solid 1, and granted, while his first appearance is not impressive at all (you know, pissing himself in fear in front of a robot ninja and all that), he more than makes up for it assisting snake throughout the adventure, advising him on strategies to beat the bosses, getting him ammo for his weapons, and providing some awesome, insightful dialog and comedic relief at the same time.
4. Helios (Deus Ex)
Deus Ex was an absolute revolution when it first came out, providing players with a game that mixed both FPS and RPG elements with a cyberpunk aesthetic, multiple paths to achieve the same goal, and a story (with multiple endings and variations) about the very essence of being human. Existentialism at it’s finest example!
Helios, one of the main characters in the game, is an artificial intelligence that appears once the game is almost over, but absolutely changes the way players perceive the story, being the third party in a conflict about the imminent future of the human race. Its complex morals, interesting proposals and crazy dialog earns Helios a position in this list.
5. Zero (GTA: San Andreas)
Around the time GTA: San Andreas came out the franchise was already huge and had several best-selling titles, but this new entry was hailed as the best game in the series for all the things players could do in its huge, open world. California (or to be more specific, San Andreas) was recreated realistically with all of its quirks and landscapes in a fantastic, adult game that put players in the skin of CJ, AKA, Carl Johnson.
Zero is one of the characters CJ meets in San Fierro (San Andreas’ version of San Francisco), he owns a RC store and is an absolute, stereotypical geek in every conceivable way. He’s at war (and the term “war” is used very loosely here) with Berkley, who is obsessed with revenge since he was beaten in a science fair many years ago. His missions, considered by some people as some of the hardest in the game, are nothing but hilariously awesome.
6. Alyx (Half-Life series)
Half-Life started out in 1998, and was already a hit thanks to its devoted community and modders when Half-Life 2 was announced. The series has charmed players with its great story with fast-paced action, well-thought puzzles and sci-fi imbued story.
Alyx is more than a pretty face in the gritty world of Half-Life, for she is a skilled hacker who can also hold her ground with a variety of guns, and supports Freeman throughout Half-Life 2 and Episode 1&2. She is also one of the key members of the Resistance, the group that combats the Alien-Zombie race, the Combine.
The Final Fantasy Series are one of the longest running franchises in the industry, having been around ever since the 8 bit generation. Final Fantasy games are all unrelated to each other storyline-wise (at least the main series), and have nothing in common save a few themes, music, wild-life, and a man named Cid, who has had an incarnation every Final Fantasy since II.
Cid is, in every Final Fantasy game, an older man (at least compared to the main characters) who has a way with technology. He’s usually either the constructor or pilot of airships, the huge boats people to travel the land through the air (yes). As if this wasn’t crazy enough, in Final Fantasy IX and X, he’s even the king/ruler of some part of the world. The most different Cids, though, are found in Final Fantasy VI and XII where he’s a scientist working for the bad guys developing their technology.
8. Bernard (Maniac Mansion series)
Maniac Mansion was one of the first point-and-click adventures ever released. The game had players choosing from a cast of several different stereotypes (punks, writers, surfers, photographers and a geek) and running through the Edison’s mansion, inhabited by a crazy scientist, his wife, son, and pet tentacles in order to rescue Sandy, the girlfriend of Dave, the main character.
Out of all the playable characters, Bernard, the stereotypical geek, became a fan favorite and starred the sequel, Day of the Tentacle with his two friends, Laverne and Hoagie. This second game was as acclaimed as the first one, famous for being hilarious and awesome. On this second game, the purple tentacle grew arms and tried to take over the world, and it was Bernard and his friends’ duty to stop him.
9. Rush (Mega Man series)
The Megaman series are Capcom’s biggest hit in the platforming department. While Megaman 1 was a flop, ever since Megaman 2 the series became a major hit thanks to its precise controls, and strategic gameplay where each enemy the player defeated granted a new power-up/weapon that was strong against another boss, all of whom the player could take on in any order.
One of the most interesting power-ups, though, was Rush, Megaman’s robot dog, who helped him reach places he couldn’t before thanks to skills like turning into a submarine, or enabling Megaman to jump higher using a spring on his back. Also, the dog is so damn cute…
10. Cortana (Halo series)
Halo was the franchise that put the Xbox in the map and thanks to its several incarnations, each more popular than the previous, characters like Master Chief became prominent members of the videogame pantheon of super stars. The game, one of the most frenetic shooters in the market with sci-fi and futuristic aesthetics was an instant hit amongst players who couldn’t get enough of the action.
Master Chief would be nothing without Cortana, the AI that provides him with missions, backstory and tactical information. Cortana is as deep as beautiful (well, her holographic form, at least), and plays a key role in the franchise, and is single-handedly responsible from saving mankind from annihilation hadn’t the Halo installations been stopped.