- 1+ 26- 13
First appeared in: Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic (2003)
Set some 4,000 years before the events of George Lucas' canon saga, BioWare's XBox/PC RPG epic Knights Of The Old Republic is arguably the best Star Wars prequel to date (Genddy Tartakovsky's Clone Wars 'toons come a close second). Among its many charms (dual-wield lightsabers! Go Sith!) is its smart characterisation, particularly among the rag-tag crew your character gathers around him/her.
This is best exemplified by the brilliantly twisted HK-47, an assassin droid who joins your team (the name being a derivative of two gun names: Heckler & Koch meets AK-47, although HK also stands for 'Hunter-Killer'). In a wonderfully perverse twist, he's built like a Threepio-style protocol droid and shares that line's politely articulate butlerish speech mannerisms (wonderfully vocalised by Kristoffer Tabori), with which he dryly expresses sociopathic sentiments, including a distain for organic life perfectly summed up by his repeated use of the word "meatbag". Oft imitated (not least by BioWare themselves: see Dragon Age: Origins' prissy golem, Shale), never bettered.
- 2+ 30- 17
Glados Added by: RankerZ
First appeared in: Portal (2007)
GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disc Operating System) is the feminine artificial intelligence that acts as your guide through the Aperture Science's Enrichment Centre in Valve's superbly inventive Portal. Spurring the main character on with the promise of cake, GLaDOS initially takes the form of a benevolent overseer - albeit one that makes slightly anomalous and threatening remarks. It's not until she demands the incineration of your much cherished Companion Cube that the player begins to suspect that the screws in this demented AI are quite literally coming loose.
Yet, for all of her malicious HAL-like conduct, as she begins to lose control of your portal-jumping ways, her increasingly demented, robotic taunts - and often, by her own admission, lies - become a constant highlight, with some of the psychotic asides being nothing less than comedy gold. While she appears to have been destroyed at the game's climax, the inspired end-credit song "I'm still alive" bodes well for her triumphant return in Portal 2.
- 3+ 14- 8
First appeared in: Grim Fandango (1998)
Picture the scene: LucasArts' Tim Schafer is pitching his latest point and click adventure game after the successes of Full Throttle and The Monkey Island Series. "It's a puzzle game based in a sort of Mexican purgatory where it's the Day of the Dead and everyone wants to get on a gold train to go to the Ninth Underworld. And it's a film noir. And almost everyone's a skeleton. Sound good?"
Bonkers though it may seem on paper, Grim Fandango is universally regarded as being among the greatest games ever made, and that's in no small part down to one Mr Manny Calavera, your host in the Land Of The Dead, your Humphrey Bogart in this undead Casablanca. Suave, passionate, boney, and capable of solving increasingly tricksy puzzles (occasionally involving beavers) Manny is the man.
His speed demon driver, Glottis, deserves a mention for being so big and orange and crazy and all, but for representing just how iconic, beautiful and bizarre Grim Fandango was, Manny wins by a non-existent nose
- 4+ 15- 10
Pac Man Jr.
First appeared in: Pac-Man (1980)
He may be the son of Pac-Man, but that doesn't mean he is any better.He may look like an indecisive pie-chart, but the sight of the original om-nom-nommer is as recognisable as McDonalds' Golden Arches or Darth Vader's helmet - the definitive symbol of his medium. And though playing through to the infamous 'broken' level of 256 might seem a little too much (and a little too hard) for some, his unstoppable chomping is as addictive as old school arcade gaming gets, even now inspiring thousands to meet up for the world championships in New York.
- 5+ 9- 4
Cortez Added by: Hero
Sgt. Cortez is the main character from the Timesplitters series.
TimeSplitters is a series of first-person shooter video games created by Free Radical Design. The games are often compared to Rare's shooters GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark since Free Radical Design was founded by a group of ex-Rare employees who developed these games. As the title suggests, each game features a time travelling element which enables players to battle in a diverse number of locations set over the span of several centuries.The look of the series is substantially more stylized than most modern first person shooters with character models and expressions emphasizing more cartoon-like qualities and comic book-inspired design. Many of the characters represent instantly recognizable parodies of established pop culture stereotypes (such as the aristocratic English explorer or the suave secret agent).
You can also play against a number of bots in a splitscreen style arcade in addition to your human competators. Not to mention the wide variety of weapons and playable characters like a Ninja Monkey who throws Bricks.
- 6+ 19- 15
Sam & Max
First appeared in: Sam &; Max Hit the Road (1993)
You don't see enough anthropomorphic animals in gaming these days. Nintendo and Sega used to rattle off hedgehogs and gorillas with giddy aplomb, but there's a marked lack of talking badgers and bandicoots these days. Still, among the entire talking menagerie there's something special about Sam & Max. Maybe it's the well-crafted dialogue, voice acting, and total insanity of it all, or it could be just because we're suckers for dogs wearing hats, and rabbits driving cars. Either/or really.
Rare for this list in being a partnership instead of just one character, we'd have liked to have separated them, but what with Max being a bonkers "hyperkinetic rabbity thing" we got scared and kept them together. They're like Rodney and Del Boy, Bogart and Bacall, Mario and Mushrooms. Practically inseparable, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
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