Video game characters, though they might swear and be the master of unlocking locks, are usually not badass, mainly because they’re so stiff and run-of-the-mill. But then, there are exceptions, such as this list below, which is a compilation of characters so badass that they can even make YOU feel badass while playing as them, that’s how cool they are. Sadly, though, I’m pretty sure none of them have wallets that say “bad motherfucker” on them. Oh, well, I never said that they were Samuel L. Jackson badass, now did I?
10. Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII
Though you never play as the silver haired villain, Sephiroth solidified himself as the ultimate badass at the end of the first disc when he single-handedly took Aeris out of your party (Even if you DID get her to her final limit break) by stabbing her straight in the back with that long ass sword of his. Whenever Sephiroth was on the screen, you knew there were going to be trouble. And no matter how strong and stacked your party was, Sephiroth could kill your entire party with a stare. He didn’t take shit from anybody, and that’s exactly why you feared him.
9. Grown-up Link from The Legend of Zelda series
Sometimes playful and childish, and other times a full-fledged man, Link loses some cool points for appearing in terrible CD-i games wearing what looks like lipstick. He also loses some cool points for being in that terrible TV series where his catchphrase was, I kid you not, “Well, excuuuuuse me, princess.” But when Link is all grown-up and badass, as seen in The Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, he’s not a guy you’d want to mess with. Being deft with a sword and a shield, there’s not a single moment you feel that Link can’t handle himself in any given situation. And that’s saying a lot for an elf.
8. Alucard from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Though Alucard might not have been all that intimidating in his first appearance in Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, he sure becomes quite the badass in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night where he goes on to commit patricide by killing the ultimate vampire, his papi, Dracula. Many people complain that the voice acting in this game is pretty terrible, but I beg to differ, at least on Alucard’s part. His voice has the perfect tone to it, and sounds just as deeply prissy as possible, which I think is what Konami was going for. Or maybe not. Even so, carrying a sword instead of a whip is also a nice departure for the series. Alucard makes the Belmont family look like punks. There, I said it.
7. Master Chief from the Halo series
Don’t get me wrong, I hate Halo. But I have to admit that the mostly mute Master Chief is pretty badass. With that green armor and that yellow visor, (not to mention the fact that you might see him hurdling in the air hundreds of feet above you only to shoot you dead in an instant) Master Chief is a character about as iconic as one can get for the next generation of consoles. Some people have gone on to complain that he’s too generic to be a good character, and that being so quiet makes him less likeable, but I beg to differ. I actually feel more at home with a character who isn’t babbling on and on and on about what’s going on around him. Take it from Clint Eastwood: the quieter you are, the more deadly you probably are.
6. Sagat from the Street Fighter series
Even with a scar blazing across his chest from a shoryuken, and an eyepatch wrapped about his bald head, Sagat never looked that intimidating in the original Street Fighter 2, he just looked tall. But when it came to revamping him for the Alpha series, that lanky figure turned into a hulky mass of muscle, and that dreaded tiger uppercut of his turned into a chaining combo uppercut, making him just as dangerous on the ground as he is in the air. While some of the other characters in the game might look sadistic (I mean, Akuma even has red eyes for God’s sake), Sagat looks entirely calm, but also looks like he’d derive true pleasure from kicking your head in with a well placed tiger knee. Even his victory stance (When he’s not crossing his chess and laughing manevolently) where he contemplates his win by holding his chin is pretty badass—Very old sport like. Of all the characters in the SF universe that I’d dread fighting in real life, Sagat is definitely the one.
5. Sabrewulf from the Killer Instinct series
Werewolves in video games can often times be a disaster (Just look at that one animation in Altered Beast when your character morphs into a werewolf. How laughable is that?). But Sabrewulf is one of the few opportunities where one was actually gotten right. Though his backstory might be lame—his real name is Count Von Sabrewulf, and it’s said that he’d get a cure for his lycanthropy if he won the competition sponsored by Ultratech—his character animations and the fact that he can howl mid-combo is pretty badass. Add to the fact that he looks almost as intimidating as the final boss himself, and you have a character who fits right in to be called one of the most badass characters in the history of video games.
4. Tommy Vercetti from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Voiced by the Goodfella himself, Ray Liotta, Tommy Vercetti is probably the closest the video game world will ever get to replicating Tony Montana, outside of the actual Tony Montana from that terrible Scarface game. And while Tommy may not look all that badass wearing that laidback blue Hawaiian shirt and all, he eventually goes on to run an entire empire and seems the most fitting out of all the GTA protagonists to cut you in half with a katana blade in a crowded shopping mall. The series has matured since Vice City and the heroes in later GTA games have become more realistic or human. Tommy was the one who could truly strike fear in the hearts of digital men.
3. Scorpion from the Mortal Kombat series
You had me at, “Get over here!” The yellow-clad doppelganger of Sub-Zero, had something up his sleeve that made him stand apart from the rest of the monsters and freaks from the Mortal Kombat universe—a spear on a rope. Though it may not seem like much, that curly rope could pull pretty much anybody to his cold dead hands, including bosses and other much larger characters. Add to the fact that underneath that yellow mask was a skeleton’s skull that would burn his victim’s to a crisp, and you have one badass demon from hell.
2. Samus Aran from the Metroid series
I know it shouldn’t matter, but the fact that Samus Aran, underneath all that cold steel, is a beautiful woman makes her all the more badass, mostly because it could be anybody under that suit. But it’s not just anybody under that suit - it’s the coolest bounty hunter this side of Boba Fett. What makes Samus so badass though is that no matter how big the boss is, or how intricate the tunnel is, you never for a second think that Samus can’t surpass it or that it’s too daunting for her to complete. Whatever the obstable, you always feel that Samus can somehow handle it. Only one character could possibly be more badass than her.
1. Kratos from the God of War series
Kratos has made such a name for himself that both the gods and the titans fear what he might do to them. Kratos is the only character in the history of video games that I have, from the very start, thought I could beat the entire game with right then and there after only a few seconds of gameplay. He’s just so damn menacing and powerful that if I were a god myself, even I would fear those dreaded Blades of Chaos that he swings around from his forearms as if they were mere yo-yo’s.
The coolest thing is, he seems to get more and more badass with every sequel he’s in. While Kratos exhibited some real badassery in the first GOW by single-handedly clawing his way back out of hell, it was in the second game that you truly felt that nobody, not even the king of the gods himself, could ever have a chance against him. That one scene where he tears off Icarus’ wings was the true clincher for me. So there you have it, the top 10 most badass characters in gaming history. Did yours make the list? If not, then angrily write in your favorite below.
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.