Heroes are meant to be tough. They’re supposed to be able to overcome any challenge, face any foe, survive any insurmountable odd. That’s the point of being a hero. To be someone people can rely on to save the day. But there are those who are tougher than most, who can make us feel just that bit more tougher as we play as them. And since games are generally a male dominated media, this list is dedicated to just those heroes, The Top 10 Toughest Men You Can Play As.

Jedi are awesome. Not only do they have cool powers, but they have lightsabers as well. Dark Jedi are even more awesome, because they have showy, impressive, death dealing powers and aren’t held back by honour. On the downside they tend to be killed by Light Jedi because of this. So where’s the medium? Meet Kyle Katarn, former gun toting soldier, mercenary and Jedi hero, now vengeful and determined and fuelled by the Force. A Jedi Outcast. He’ll do everything from saving lives and doing good deeds to hurling bolts of Force Lightning and killing hundreds be destroying Imperial star cruisers. And throughout his quest he doesn’t care about the light or dark, he just wants to get his revenge. Sure revenge is kinda seen a as a Dark Side thing, but then he’s going after a Dark Jedi himself, so the whole thing seems kind of just. This moral ambiguity allows Kyle to cleave a path through countless villains and Dark Jedi with his shining blue blade to seek his revenge. Don’t believe he’s tough? Just watch the scene in the cantina when he uses his lightsaber to intimidate the barman, without even turning the damn thing on! That’s tough.

How do you kill a target without being suspected? Well you could disguise yourself as a chef, hide a knife in a roast chicken and then personally deliver the “chicken surprise” to him yourself. Or you could gain access to the light rigging and plant a charge to drop a chandelier onto the target below, making it look like an accident. Or how about cutting the hot water supply to the house, forcing the young woman taking a shower to head downstairs and switch it back on while you slip through the hidden door behind the mirror in the bathroom and into the target’s bedroom where you smother him with a pillow while he sleeps. Phew, sounds tough doesn’t it? Not to 47, because he’s tough enough to handle any situation. He’ll even cheat death once his health hits zero, provided you get in a few well placed headshots before you fall. And he won’t even bat an eyelash as he’s ending countless lives for the big fat pay cheque. 47’s not only tough, he’s cold.

Can anyone think of anything more terrifying than staring down at a horde of Aliens swarming towards you, wanting to devour you in a mess of blood and chunks? How about a Predator to track your movements while being completely invisible? Ooo, no wait, what about taking both of these things and throwing them into a military instillation where they’ve taken over and it’s in such a state that you’ll unload a whole clip on a falling power cable because you think it’s an alien tail? Welcome to Frosty’s world. He goes through all this and more on his own, with nothing but a freaking tiny shoulder lamp and some of the best weaponry mankind has to offer, and STILL he comes third to the Aliens and Preds. But this doesn’t even phase him. Why? Because he’s Frosty – cool under pressure. Tougher than most.

Whoa wait a minute, a movie franchise game? And one based on a Vin Diesel character? Those of you shunning me for this inclusion have never played Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay. And you’ve no excuse, you can find dozens of copies of it in bargain bins everywhere, and there’s a remake of it now. Escape From Butcher Bay is quite honestly one of the greatest games I’ve ever played. Lets talk realistically here, where are the world’s toughest men these days? That’s right in prison, because to be tough usually means to crack someone’s skull open. And that is where this is set, in a Triple Max Slam with some of the Galaxy’s toughest. And Riddick? He’s just passing through. The whole point of the game is to overcome some of the burliest, meanest, and toughest inmates and prison guards so you can make your escape. And you’ll do this in some of the most brutal and vicious ways possible. From blasting holes in guards with guns, to beating inmates to a bloody mess with your fists in ring fights, to hiding in the shadows to sneak out and snap a few necks or ram a shiv into someone’s sweet spot (left of the spine, fourth lumbar down, the abdominal aorta, for your information). And to be quite honest, Vin Diesel makes sure all of this is accomplished perfectly, not only by doing a great job of voicing the character, but by owning the company that made the game. That not only makes Riddick tough, but downright cool as well.

Every character in Diablo 2 has the potential to become the toughest. So why the Barbarian? Because he already looks like the toughest. Standing on his own he’s about twice the size of every other character. While you’re trying to boost your Paladin’s strength and dexterity so he can wield that awesome looking two handed sword you picked up a few areas back, this guy is already cutting down masses of monster with two of them. Two! Not only that, but in Lord Of Destruction you travel to the homeland of the Barbarian. Dozens of the world’s strongest warrior race in one place, and you out tough them all! And let me ask you, in reality, who wouldn’t wet themselves if they saw a Barbarian mid flight, executing a leap attack and bearing down on you with a giant battle axe in each hand and screaming a bloody war cry? That’s what I thought, now go change your pants.

What’s the one thing that could make a game that plays like GTA and set in war torn Korea, where the main objective is to kill and air strike anything that moves, even more fun? That’s right, Mattias Nilsson. The wise cracking Swede voiced by the awesome Peter Stormare adds just that little bit more flavour to the game. Sure there are two other characters to play as, but they don’t seem to relish in the destruction and chaos as Mattias does. In the first game he’s the fastest merc, and in the second he regenerates health faster, making him tougher and so much more effective that the other two. Not only that, but he’s the most hilarious too. Who doesn’t find a guy cracking jokes while artillery fire reigns down around him awesome? Plus in the second game he looks like a Viking, and we all know how tough they are.

This was pretty much obvious wasn’t it? Kratos has been popping up on these lists ever since he massacred his way onto the scene with the first God Of War. And he hasn’t exactly slowed down either. The guy goes from being a blood thirsty, mad killing soldier to a chosen warrior of the Gods to actually slaying and becoming a God himself. And along the way he lays the smack down on a who’s who list of mythical Greek monsters and characters. I mean he’s got a set of chained blades fused to his arms, how much tougher can ya get? Man becomes a God by killing a God, ‘nuff said.

Countless soldiers? Check. Helicopters? Check. Tanks? Check. Super soldiers? Check. A string of nuclear armed, heavily armoured walking battle tanks? Check. And if you play as Solid Snake, you can check these things off too. We all know the story. Big Boss was the greatest living soldier, so how could they one up that? How about using his cells to genetically engineer someone superior? The results went a bit pair shaped, but you can’t argue that the most Solid of Snakes is one of the toughest characters around. Most men would rather face impossible odds with a few comrades backing him up. Snake has his support team phone in, literally. And when you get through the hours of dialogue you see exactly what I mean. He’ll wield any firearm. He’ll hide in every corner and crevice. He’ll make a cardboard box his trademark. But more to the point, he’ll do anything to get the job done. And Snake gets the job done, because he’s one of the toughest there is.

The bodies of your comrades are strewn throughout the facility. There’s none left alive, no one to help you, you’re own your own on a space facility built on one of Mars’ tiny moon. And your’s surrounded by hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of demons. What do you do? Break down and cry, probably blow your own brains out due to despair. What does Doom Guy do? Grabs the closest gun and never releases the trigger. DOOM I and II was a slaughterfest that was so thoroughly entertaining it forever changed the way we saw violence. Mainly because we never saw it as that much fun before. You, as the nameless and slightly psychotic hero, face down not only the masses of various and unique demons, but also the levels themselves, that could terrify you with tricks of light, hidden doors releasing demons, shifting pillars that block your way and lead you down different paths, and the all round creepy decorative goat heads on the walls and corpses on spikes. And of course there’s the trademark sound of the mechanical hoof beat of the Cyber demon. A sound that fills you with terror and dread, but still makes you draw your rocket launcher and gun it for glory.

I had to find a way for someone other than Doom Guy to take this spot, because honestly who can be tougher after facing everything he did? But then I thought to myself if someone really did go through everything he did, then he’d probably go insane. Killing countless demons and fighting through Hell itself, and all on your own, with no one to talk to, there’s no way you wouldn’t lose it. But Duke Nukem, now he’s a different story. He had someone to talk to. Himself. And he had someone to come back to. The Babes. And he had a reason for doing everything he did. Because he’s Duke Nukem. I don’t think you could get more concentrated machismo in any other character. The Bulging muscles coming our of his singlet top, the shades, the blonde crew cut, that voice, and all that fire power, he’s not just a man, he’s a force to be reckoned with. And the instant you blast a hole in one of those alien bastards and hear him throw out a classic one liner, you’ll almost feel as tough as he is. And he is the toughest around. As the Duke says himself “This is why I have games named after me!”

And that’s it. Hope you all enjoyed it. Sure, there are plenty of tough game blokes, but more often then not they’re so inspired by these ten that they’re generally considered as rip offs. That’s not to say they don’t have their own charm, but next to these few, it’s obvious to see who the winners are. Hail to the Kings, baby.

List by SymbioteVenom (05/05/2009)

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