Behind every great video game hero is the video game hero applicant that didn’t make the final cut, so they had to be the hero’s sidekick instead.
Captain John Price (Call of Duty series)
Start any new Call of Duty game, and it’s only a matter of time, explosions, and increasingly improbable plot twists until Captain Price turns up on the scene with a cigar. Although some fans will tell you that the Captain Price who appeared in the first two games – set approximately 70 years before Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – must have been his grandfather, those of us who’ve seen Price take fifteen million rounds to the face in a single mission without so much as blinking might well suspect otherwise. The man is obviously immortal, and quite possibly a vampire. I mean, have you ever seen Captain Price during the day? You have? Then he is a more powerful vampire than you could ever imagine.
Alyx Vance (Half-Life 2)
The real hero of Half-Life 2, because if she hadn’t saved Gordon Freeman from the Civil Protection goons at the beginning of the game, none of that other stuff would even have happened and Gordon would probably be working in a mine somewhere, digging up that black stuff the Combine uses to build everything. Think about it.
Weighted Companion Cube (Portal)
According to official Aperture Science Laboratory testing protocols, the Weighted Companion Cube cannot speak, but if it could, I bet it would tell you how much it loves that special way you use it to hold down buttons. You complete the Weighted Companion Cube, and then you burn it. Just like a real love affair.
Max (Sam & Max)
The Freelance Police’s “hyperkinetic, three-foot rabbity thing” might easily have been the subject of a Freelance Police investigation, but he managed to get in there first. With his total disregard for personal safety, psychopathic tendencies, attachment and co-dependency issues, serious attention deficit disorder, and exhibitionist streak, I’m not sure if Max makes a better friend or enemy – but then again, I’m not sure anybody really wants to find out.
Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect series)
The scars, the self-deprecating cynicism, the calibration skills – this former C-Sec officer has it all. After Shepard died (and got better), Garrus rejoined the Normandy versus the Universe cause, and even developed a bit of a crush on Shepard. Assuming Shepard is a woman, anyway. He-Shep gets no love from Garrus, which is why I got him killed in Mass Effect 3. I hurt you because I loved you, Garrus.
Lydia (The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim)
Oh, Lydia. Dragonsreach’s shieldmaiden is one of the first companions you’ll pick up in the game, and she’s sworn to carry your burdens. She’ll also keep reminding you of that, which is as good a reason as any to heap her with all the heavy miscellaneous junk you find lying around Skyrim. Her dismal ineptitude at pretty much everything makes her a convenient distraction for enemies, and when you’re done using her as a sword magnet, you can even marry her. Or not. Those mammoth tusks won’t carry themselves.
Mortimer “Morte” Rictusgrin (Planescape Torment)
What he lacks in body, Morte the floating skull more than makes up for with a seemingly endless supply of insults and ineffable charm. Besides, not having any vital organs is an instant advantage in combat, where vital organs are traditionally the big difference between life and death. \
Dogmeat (Fallout series)
There’s a reason they call dogs “man’s best friend” – it’s because, no matter how many children you’ve murdered, or how many innocent people you sold into slavery for some quick cash, or how many pornographic films you made that one time in New Reno, Dogmeat will still take a super-mutant’s sledgehammer blow to the legs for you. He’s like the Lassie of the post-apocalypse, but without all that totally unrealistic do-good stuff. In fact, there’s absolutely no way to get rid of Dogmeat once he’s started following you around, suggesting he probably likes all the bad things you do. Go on, that’s your excuse.