Mario, Link, Sonic, Solid Snake. These are names we've all likely heard about a billion-and-three times each in the past four hours alone. These guys have earned their recognition -- there's no doubt about that. But sometimes, their achievements can overshadow the success and character of other heroes who step up to the plate and take one for the team against those nasty villains (no, not the Yankees). Whether it's saving the world from some crazy super bad guy, trying to get through summer camp unscathed, or just plain kicking some Generic Dude butt, these guys need some attention. There are undeniably a lot of names out there that should get the praise they deserve, but here are the top ten ones that just don't get enough lovin'.

Truth be told, Ryan isn't really the sole hero of River City Ransom (also known by its foreign title, "BEST GAME EVER"), but you can play as either him or Alex, and frankly, Ryan just plain looks cooler. That, and his girlfriend is the one who that stupid douchebag Slick kidnaps after he takes over his local high school, despite the totally effective efforts of the extremely-competent Japanese cops. Ryan doesn't like having his girlfriend kidnapped, and he makes every gang in the whole freaking city know it by just kicking the queen mother of all god-awful crap straight out of their asses. You run at Ryan? You're going down 'cause you just got rocked by a hurricane. You drop all your quarters after he brings you an inch from death before massacring your Generic Friends? Time to get some new quarters because now they're Ryan's. Stomach feeling upset after the knuckle sandwich he gave you in exchange for all your money? That's just BARF! Case in point, kidnap Ryan's girlfriend, and he'll mess you up, big-time. Kidnap Alex's boyfriend, and he'll probably mess you up too.

We all want to be like our childhood role models. For some of us, it's Batman. For others, it's NASCAR driver Ward Burton and his "wayell the dadgum cawr juss dinin wanna run all thagoodaday" accent. For one kid living in the astronomically BORING town of Burg, it's Dragonmaster Dyne. Most of us don't follow after our role model's footsteps, but Lunar's Alex does. He loves the guy. He does everything he can to be like the armored old fogey. The extents he goes to are unlike what the majority of us would pull (the typical trip-around-the-world, for one thing), and while that might make him sound like ten pounds of cuckoo in a four pound clock, Alex does it in good taste. Even his friends go along for the wild ride to see him make this happen, and he makes the ensuing adventure a memorable one with his intensity, willpower, and impressive focus. And hey, he even plays the ocarina. If only most teenagers were like him, and didn't blast their hokey rap music loud enough for my brains to want to explode out the top of my head.

Raz is a big mixture of everything a good hero is. He's cool, as evidenced by most of his fashion sense. He's got a touch of heroism to him, as he's willing to look out for the little guy at camp, however weird or crazy they might be. He's got an air of dorkiness to him, given his interesting head attire and slight awkwardness. He's funny, which you'd know if he played the game, and odds are you didn't, given its sales compared to the staggering awe-inspiring excellence of Jaws the Revenge (shame on you). And, he wants to be a Psychonaut, which is just about the coolest job ever constructed by the human intellect -- next to evil ninja professor and "football-playing king in space." All things considered, he's just good enough to pull off his dream, too. Raz is just plain fun to play as.

No, not Teo. I'm talking about the player, "Tir," as he's known throughout Suikoden fandom (the name is widely mistaken as being canon material). The son of one of the most kick-ass Generals in the Scarlet Moon Empire, McDohl realizes just how crappy things are with these guys in charge. He discovers first-hand that things really bite the big one with Big Cheese Barbarossa leading the way. It's like how democrats feel about President Bush and his desert-camouflaged AT-ATs, but the difference here is that McDohl doesn't sit around whining about it. He sets out to make things right, even against the might of his own father, and even at his young age, he eventually becomes supreme commander of the Liberation Army, which rapidly grows in numbers throughout the game. People don't like this Empire. It's McDohl's job to make them do something about it, and he frankly does one FINE job at it, at that. He's sharp and competent. He leads them into massive army battles (with a freakin' STAFF), and often suffers losses of many kinds, but he knows what the heck he's doing, and he keeps the good fight going. It's impossible to not like the kid. Even though he doesn't really say much, he's an all-around terrific hero, and that earns him a spot here.

This guy is just badass. B, a, d, a, s, s. It's that plain, and it's that simple. I'm sorry if you don't agree with this opinion which is actually a fact that is forced to be subjected to looking like an opinion because of elitist dolts who don't agree and wonder why Master Chief isn't on my list, but the Stranger would just kick the crap out of your run-of-the-mill heroes like it was nobody's business, and then he'd probably say something cool, like, "rrrgh." Or something really cool, like, "you suck," or, "your grandmother gives bad head," or something. Then he'd sell you to the long arm of the law for about a nickel, and come back later and ask how you're likin' prison, jailbait. If a game hero that is the furry world's Clint Eastwood (and still manages to be totally cool) doesn't get any recognition from the gaming public, you KNOW something is wrong. Must be all those casual gamers, and the Goths. It HAS to be.

Hey, look, isn't that the guy who was basically the first big RPG hero? "You mean Cloud Stri--" No, I do not mean damn Cloud Strife. "... Uh. Oh, I know. Link, right?" That isn't even an RPG hero. I'm talking about the guy who was the protagonist of the NES' first great role-playing game. "Oh. You mean Fighter. But you could also be Thief, or Black Mage. Black Mage is my favorite." No, you heathens. This guy traversed a deadly world all by himself filled with monsters to reach his goal, and he finally fought an evil dragon lord at the end and saved a princess! It was one of the greatest feats a hero can pull! "... Ohh, okay. But that doesn't LOOK like Mario." You people depress me.

You know what would royally suck? If you basically saved the entire planet from hell and damnation itself in the form of crazy-bad ancient beasts, and then you didn't get any friggin' credit for it. Instead, your good buddy who is actually kind of a jerk is the one getting the praise of the common dolt five zillion years later, when you had to suffer through countless random battles with enemies that wanted to rip your Squire face off your skull. Not to mention the armies that tried to undermine your efforts, including some close to your heart. Infuriating, yes, but Ramza takes it all in stride. He just wants to do what's right, and couldn't care less about getting thanks. Well, here's some right here, old bean. Keep up the good work.

Splinter Cell came out about a year after Metal Gear Solid 2. Despite this, Solid Snake still manages to get more praise than Third Echelon's best operative. Does Sam care? Probably not. In his line of work, the less attention he garners, the better, but he's really lucky to get any, since he's even better at sneaking around and remaining unseen than your beloved Snakey. FBI offices, the mall, Microsoft headquarters, you name it -- he'll get in whether you like it or not. He could be sitting right behind you while you sit there reading this list eating Cheetos, and you wouldn't even know it until he wraps his big, manly hands around your wrists, pulls you out of your chair, and interrogates you as to the location of your treasured Dr. Pepper stockpile while keeping his knife at your throat.

Say you're a god, and the world you look over has gotten itself knee-high into deep crud. You need to find a way to get down there and kick some tail, but if you rush, you're gonna bring attention to yourself, and you don't want to be some weak little human in the face of danger, anyway. Most humans don't have the power level of NINE THOUSAND that you require for this little operation. Instead, you take the form of a slick white wolf, and lay the smackdown on the foo's who dare screw with your world. Yeah, you could have taken the form of Mr. T, but the Big T don't need no one stealing his thunder, and you treat your demigods right. The only thing that sucks is that you have that "dog smell," but a lot of humans do too, so it's okay.

Where I live, my house has a great view of some giant mountains to the north. Now, I've never sat down, looked off at them, and thought to myself, "I wonder what it would be like if I could kill those mountains with something other than an atomic device, like my fingers?" Maybe if I borrowed some of your brother's crystal meth, that would happen, but I don't even need to now that I've played Shadow of the Colossus. The fellow you play as basically gives up everything his own life stands for, and he sets out to do something that no one in their right mind would ever try to attempt. He just says, "screw it," and starts picking fights with these walking, grumbling creatures that make the Sears Tower look like a block of LEGO. Naturally, most of them totally hate his guts, especially when he sets foot on their turf, and they go about trying to poke him with their feet, which basically has the same result as a meteor or Rosie O'Donnell slamming into your home at top speed. But he perseveres, and starts climbing up them like he's trying to be Spider-Man, as if he weren't insane enough by making these things slightly unhappy. And then he freaking stabs them in the FACE, or wherever they don't particularly like having swords jammed into them, and they just get even MORE pissed off until they realize they're screwed. It's just utterly mind-bending what this person does throughout the game, and when you play this one-of-a-kind experience, and you see the results of your success at it, you realize that the borders around you might stretch a little bit further than you previously thought. Wander is a hero who puts seemingly impossible situations into perspective, and for that, he gets the top spot on this list.

These are just some of the heroes out there who deserve more love for their acts of patriotism. Do them a favor by endorsing your local salvation army, where they're probably working by now thanks to the lack of press they got after Barbie earned Stupid Moron Gaming Monthly's Hero of the Year award for her efforts in Barbie Horse Adventure. Sad indeed. Fight this odd means of terrorism by getting out there into the world, and give these heroes the attention they deserve! Spread the love.

List by Darth Rustito (03/06/2007)

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