Top 10 Jerkiest Heroes of Gaming
When you need someone to save the world, you shouldn't expect your hero to be polite as well as courageous. The characters forced onto these life-threatening missions tend to have plenty of emotional baggage; otherwise they wouldn't have built the strength to fight against the worst the world offers. So while they may be great people, they're certainly not nice people, and they can be downright abusive towards anyone in their way. Here are ten of gaming's greatest knights in not-so-shiny armor.
10. Niko Bellic, Grand Theft Auto IV (PS3 / Xbox 360)
It's hard to call any GTA protagonist a hero, since the whole point of the game is to indulge in criminal excesses. However, unlike most of his predecessors, Niko has his sympathetic moments. He's loyal to his family, a gentleman to his lady friends (provided you play him that way), and generally doesn't want to kill people. He'll even apologize when the player makes him kill pedestrians. Having grown up in Yugoslavia during the Bosnian War, Niko has a tragic backstory, and he really wants to find a new life in America. Unfortunately, the kinds of work he does to achieve the American Dream isn't that different from what he did on the battlefield, making him either a hero with corrupt moments, a villain with kind moments, or something that defies either moral absolute.
9. Dark Pit, Kid Icarus Uprising (3DS)
The angel Pit is so kind and pure-hearted that even his literal dark side is prone to heroism. Though Dark Pit is rude, short-tempered, and picks fights with his predecessor simply because he can, he always comes through when it matters. Also, while the black-winged angel doesn't have the original Pit's absolute devotion to the goddess of light, he makes up for it with a more skeptical, independent outlook on life. When Pit is put out of commission due to a life-threatening injury (endured in order to save Dark Pit's life), Dark Pit gets a glorious opportunity to tell off all the gods, blaming their petty squabbles as the cause of all this suffering.
8. Zero, Mega Man Zero series (GBA / DS)
Many gamers, even those unfamiliar with Mega Man, know Zero thanks to the viral "What Am I Fighting For" clip. However, while Mega Man X's trusted partner may be given to melodramatic (and badly dubbed) whining and crying in that series, he's much more dignified (and harsher) in his own spin-off. The resurrected Zero is harsh, dismissive, and aloof, openly doubting the optimism of his allies and rudely dismissing the crackpot ideologies of his enemies. He knows that he's only good for fighting, and he doesn't have any interest in any other way of life. Nevertheless, Zero still puts himself in danger to fight for both humanity and robotkind, because if he doesn't, who else will?
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Neil Kapit is a freelance writer, cartoonist, and "La Li Lu Le Lo" agent based in Los Angeles. His work can be seen on www.therubynation.com.
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