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The 10: Side Characters That Stole the Show

Posted on May 20, 2012 AT 10:21pm

A lot of games have great characters, it’s true. But sometimes, the characters that blend into the background, or at least, the periphery, end up stealing the spotlight from the main focus. The following list contains ten of these such characters, and in my opinion, the best of them.

The following article has very minor spoilers pertaining to most of the games, except for number one which has a major spoiler involving the ending of the game.

10. Pigsy – Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Pigsy is a morbidly obese fellow with the mannerisms of a pig (shocking you this early on in the article, it’s insanity.) He grunts and moans, jiggles and wobbles, but when it counts, he is freaking THERE for you, man. Using a robotic hand not unlike the kind you’d find in a claw machine, he swings around the environment and provides sniper support for Monkey and Trip. His attempts to woo Trip come off embarrassingly, creepily, but most of all, hysterically. With a Napoleon Complex strong enough to conquer the Lollipop Guild, Pigsy earns his spot on this list.

9. Leonardo Da Vinci – Assassin’s Creed II/ Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

When first meeting Leonardo, Ezio is not impressed. It is not until after he takes up the assassin mantle does he learn of Leonardo’s various talents. He is responsible for providing you with not just one, but two hidden blades, not to mention a small firearm tucked into your gauntlet. However, Leonardo does not simply provide aid in the way of mechanisms or deciphering old maps, but is Ezio’s constant emotional support. He is consistently cheery and always welcoming, even when he is aware the city is in chaos due to his friend’s wrath. Leonardo and Ezio may have perfected two different art forms, but it does nothing to hinder their friendship. Without Leonardo, Ezio would still be wandering around Italy unsure of his goals.

8. Dogen – Psychonauts

Dogen is an adorable little child at camp (for psychics, mind you,) who seems to be a bit of a loner. When Raz first speaks with him, he is surrounded by a group of squirrels, shouting at them that no, he will not ‘kill everyone.’ He then proceeds to blow up each squirrel, quite innocently. He appears again throughout the game, and every time he steals the spotlight. He wears a tinfoil hat so he does not explode people’s heads. The vacant look in his eyes and his slow speech are quite charming, though you can never shake the suspicion that he might be a massive danger to everyone in close proximity. Still, he wears red footie pajamas, so how bad can he really be?

7. Sullivan – Uncharted Series

Though many people find Drake’s character to be charming and fun, in truth, he’s kind of a sociopath. But, his one shining trait, his snarkiness, was definitely inherited from his best friend, Sully. Being a considerably “older” gentleman, he is still spry enough to hang with Drake on his adventures, and has on more than one occasion saved his younger companion. Let’s not forget how much of a flirt he is, often reminiscing of his time with multiple ladies. One cigar chomping hunk of man, if you ask me.

6. Sandal – Dragon Age: Origins

Enchantment? … Enchantment! And thus, a legend was born. Sandal is the savant dwarf who stays at the Warden’s campsite with his adoptive father. With all of the amazing characters in the game, it’s hard to really put a finger on a standout. But then, there’s Sandal. He’s such a goofy addition to the game, and actually a well thought out explanation for two clashing aspects of the lore (dwarves and magic.) He is, obviously, there to help enchant your weaponry and armor so that you can more properly separate darkspawn heads from their bodies. He’s a lot like the Rainman, except instead of counting toothpicks, he can fold the magical substance around him and imbue it into objects. So, sort of the same…right?

5. Sheogorath – Elder Scrolls Series

The Deadric Prince of Madness, Sheogorath gets his rocks off by just messing with people. His realm in the planes of Oblivion is known as the Madhouse, or the Asylums, but most likely, you’ll know it by Shivering Isles. His entire slice of Oblivion is split in half, with one half being mania and the other being dementia. Sheogorath is known to be unpredictable – jubilant, nonsensical or violent, all within the span of a few sentences. Even better, in Skyrim, he’s actually you from Oblivion, seeing as how you take his place during the events of the Shivering Isles. This is made even more fantastic by his commentary, including his being present for the whole Oblivion Crisis, or that he is now blind after promising to rip out the player’s eyes in Oblivion. I feel he is easily the most interesting character in the Elder Scrolls universe, and brings a great range of humor and anxiousness to the game.

4. Captain Qwark – The Ratchet & Clank Series

It’s hard to imagine the Ratchet and Clank series getting where they are without Captain Qwark. The role-model-turned-enemy-turned-ally-and-back-again is really a bumbling fool with cowardly tendencies. He likes to make himself appear a hero to the general public, but whenever faced with danger, he hides (sometimes literally) behind Ratchet. He has the stereotypical space hero captain voice, which just makes it funnier when he begins whimpering. He’s the kind of loser you end up rooting for, even though he continually gives you reasons not to. One of the few characters in gaming to actually cause me to ‘lol,’ he ends up being one of the main reasons I enjoy the Ratchet series.

3. Sander Cohen – BioShock

Rapture is a breeding ground for psychopaths, but few come as close to the brink of sanity as Sander Cohen. A Renaissance man, he is involved with various forms of art, which he holds as important over all other things. As with most characters in BioShock, the direct contact you have with Cohen isn’t what defines him. It is, instead, the ruin left in his wake. Throughout Fort Frolic, his home, there are many sculptures and displays of art, surely a sign of his commitment to his trade. But, soon, things don’t seem quite right, and you stumble upon a trio of “sculptures” sitting down at a table for a meal. The father, at the head of the tables, has opened wrists with blood pouring out. That’s when you realize – none of them are sculptures, but real people encased in some sort of paper mache. His audio diaries prove his insanity further, with demented poems and the like. Truly, art is not dead, at least not in Rapture.

2. Augustus Cole – Gears of War Series

Marcus and Dom are cool and all. They’re bros and whatnot. But the highlight of the series is the man who is used to making the sports highlight reels. Augustus Cole, AKA, Cole Train (WOO WOO) is the kick-in-the-ass comic relief a macabre series like Gears needs. Always upbeat and ready to rock, you have to believe that Cole is probably one of the reasons anyone still has a shred of hope. His awesomeness really comes to a head during the second game, where he hops on a megaphone in the locust’s base and completely ruins the queen via trash talk. He never comes off as too silly, but always as a guy desperately trying to keep heads raised. A very admirable and passionate guy, what’s not to love?

Spoilers for Fable II below.

1. Reaver – Fable Series

Ah, number one. Reaver, the Hero of Skill from Fable II and consultant of the king in Fable III. Reaver is blessed with eternal youth, which has splintered his personality into two different states. In the privacy of his journal, he reflects on his actions and shows remorse, but outwardly, he is a sociopathic, promiscuous, and clever man. He was a notorious pirate known for his marksman skills, as he could make any shot no matter the distance. In fact, the further he was away, the quicker the crew is said to surrender. But it’s not Reaver’s interesting backstory, aloof personality or bloodlust that makes him number one on this list. It’s that he ACTUALLY steals the spotlight from the player. In the final moments of Fable II, when finally confronting the man that ruined your life, Reaver will actually kill him if you’re not quick about it. Everything you have been working up to was just stolen. It’s a move so bold and crazy that the gaming community went ablaze with hatred. I, on the other hand, loved it and all it did was make Reaver even better to me.

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