You’d think that being the hero of your favorite video game universe would be the ultimate in cool things to happen to any avid gamer, right? Well, sometimes being the hero is far less of a good time, and far more of a nightmarish one. Here are five examples of such ill-fated heroes who you wouldn’t want to be:
5. Luigi (Super Mario Bros)
Mario could easily fit this bill. He’s spent years saving Princess Peach and foiling the generally less-than-devious schemes of his arch-nemesis Bowser, only to have to repeat the exact same process each and every game. He never really gets much reward for his feats of goomba stomping monotony. I’m pretty sure he gets a cake at one point for all his hard work, but most of the time Mario kind of gets the short end of the stick, I mean, “We’re sorry but our princess is another castle?” It doesn’t get much lower then that. Except it does. You see, Luigi has been tagging along for the majority of Mario’s adventures and what has he gotten out of it? Even less than Mario. Where Mario is considered by and large to be the hero, Luigi, over time, has been made into a second string coward. An even bigger slap in the face is that when the Princess is in trouble she calls big M. Luigi only ever really gets to rescue Mario. Lame with a capital L.
4. Link (The Legend of Zelda)
Suffering from many of the same problems as the Mario brothers, Link’s frustrations are worse in that he occasionally does get the girl, only to be cock-blocked at the very last second. Let us consider the eventual fates of Link’s various rendezvous with the titular princess Zelda. The NES days were of course poon free. In A Link to the Past and The Wind Waker, Zelda and Link are both children, making the prospect of post-game coupling both creepy and illegal depending on your country of residence. As I recall, the most Link has ever seemed to get out of this relationship was a brief hand hold at the end of Ocarina of Time, and before that could go any further, Zelda, being the prude princess she is insisted Link deserved a chance at a “real” childhood and zapped him back to the past. As if the poor fellow could ever live a normal life after having singlehandedly saving the world.
3. Jackie Estacado (The Darkness)
Changing the tone a bit, let us venture into some more serious ground. There is no denying Jackie is a cool character. I mean, even without the whole otherworldly powers induced by a demonic possession, he was still a kick ass mafia hitman, which is more than most can lay claim to. That said, he had more than his fair share of horrible stuff to deal with, too. Let us consider for a moment what he goes through during the course of this game. His Uncle Paulie tries to blow him up. Then said Uncle kills the love of his life, prompting poor Jackie to put a gun to his own head after which he is resurrected by the monstrous force of evil that has set up shop in his soul. The game then goes on to torture Jackie with a power drill, blow him up, resurrect him yet again before treating him to a final showdown in which he is rewarded for all his hard work and suffering with a single, short moment to enjoy his lover once more. Great drama, great story, great game, but I wouldn’t want to be you Mr. Estacado.
2. Kratos (God of War)
Kratos is just a cool guy to watch. Like a pissed off hybrid Hercules and Conan the Barbarian, Kratos is a brutal killing machine who has no problem stopping off in the middle of his various journeys to sleep with a duo of half naked women via easy-to-perform button-press sequences. Lacking any sort of finesse, he is simply a Spartan tank plowing through everything in his path. The problem with Kratos is that he’s kind of a prick, and his life has sucked royally. His arrogance bought him enslavement to the gods and then, betrayed by Ares, he ended up killing his own wife and child. I’m sure we can all see how this might not appeal to the average Joe. I mean I’m sure that every now and then a man might become a bit peeved with his spouse, but very few of us ever really want to kill them, let alone our children as well. Let it suffice to say that when we first meet Kratos he is more than a bit damaged, and though he eventually succeeds in killing Ares and usurping his throne, his extremely violent tendencies push Zeus to try to kill him. The God of War games are undeniably fun, but to be Kratos would suck to no small degree.
1. Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid)
On the scale of sheer coolness, Snake has a lot going for him. He’s a lab-produced super soldier, a master of stealth, and combat, and his voice, provided by David Hayter, sounds like that of a man who could probably kill you with a toothpick. All of this said, Snake’s life is a big series of lousy situations. Basically, he’s been jerked around the government since he’s been old enough to hold a gun and forced to singlehandedly resolve the sorts of situations one would normally use an entire army for. Pulling a Luke Skywalker, he has to fight the closest thing he has to a father and unlike everyone’s favorite Jedi, he actually has to off the guy in the end. Then, he’s forced out of retirement to take down his twin clone brother. If that isn’t enough, we find out poor Snake has been manipulated again into being the carrier for a genetic disease meant to kill off his aforementioned kin as well as, eventually, himself.
And that isn’t even the icing of the cake! In Metal Gear Solid 4, the already world-weary Snake finds that the government he’s served his entire life designed his body to age prematurely as a safeguard against other forces putting his skills to use. Some thanks. Snake is probably one of the coolest gaming characters ever devised, but at the end of the day who would want to be him really? Would you want to have to walk down the microwave hall? Didn’t think so.