Games that truly succeed usually owe their success to the characters involved, whether said characters be playable or not. Memorable casts become ingrained within the minds of video gamers everywhere because of the chemistry they usually exhibit and their well-founded background stories. The more renowned games that exist within the video game industry almost always demonstrate both characteristics. These characteristics typically allow the player to become somehow emotionally attached to either one person in the cast or multiple parties. By the game's end, if it has succeeded in mesmerizing the player, the player will most likely genuinely desire for the attached character to achieve his or her goal whether it be positive or negative. The following games definitively incorporate the essential characteristics which lend their weight to the ultimate goal of the playable party. It should also be noted that the following descriptions do in fact contain small spoilers for the game mentioned.

Though rare to many people, Star Ocean: The Second Story is a very unique Role Playing Game for the Playstation, and its cast is no exception to this. The game starts with the option of two protagonists: Claude Kenni, an Earthling that became lost in space, landing on the Planet Expel, or Rena Lanford, a young girl with strange magical powers and a past she doesn't even know about. Considering both protagonists, they meet with ten other characters (though some characters can only be recruited depending on the play through and the main protagonist) that help you along the way. Among these are a treasure hunting sorceress, Celine, a swordsmen struggling to exorcise a two headed dragon that fused onto his shoulders, Ashton, and the three-eyed aliens Opera and Ernest, as well as several more. This creates one of the most diverse casts of any Role Playing Game. By doing private actions in each of the towns, you can learn about the various pasts and relevance of each character. After the large plot twist in the game, the number of characters in the game doubles, and the main villian is realized. The cast of Star Ocean: The Second Story is one of the greatest Role Playing Games of all-time.

Nintendo is smart with Super Smash Bros. Melee. Take some of the best (though, only some) Nintendo characters of all-time and have them collide with each other in a large brawl. Twenty-five characters ranging from classic Mario characters, even to Marth and Roy from the Fire Emblem series are included. This number alone makes the cast great for the number nine spot, as it influenced Fire Emblem into making an actual appearance in North America two years following its release. Taking the various renowned Nintendo characters and having them fight together, or against each other, creates high variety in fun. The cast of Super Smash Bros. Melee is one to remember and will remain unrivaled only until Super Smash Bros Brawl comes out.

While Final Fantasy IV is the lowest ranked Final Fantasy game on the list, it certainly set precedents for later games one of which being cast. It boasts the second largest group of playable characters in Final Fantasy with a total of eleven. Each and every character contributes an unique aspect to the overall storyline: from Kain's betrayal to Tellah's attempt to avenge his daughter's death. Just when the player adds together these contributions and has the main villain figured out, Squaresoft executes what has since become a "turning point" plot twist.

Suikoden III proves to have an impressive cast that shows many different sides to one single story. Both the 108 Stars of Destiny and the Trinity Sight System allow the player to be able to see a war against the Harmonian Empire in five, yes five different perspectives. Each of these perspectives obtains some of the 108 Stars of Destiny in the game. Much like other Suikoden games, the characters are of great variety and have their own significance to the plot, however far it stretches. The characters that join together are unlike what many could imagine, as enemy and ally truly join together to fight off the Harmonion empire. Whether it is the Knights of Zexen, their misunderstood enemies, the "barbaric" Grassland warriors, or residents of Harmonia that despise what is happening to their country, they all join together to fight. Many of these characters are battle ready, useful in general, or storyline relevant. Involving fighters, chefs, or plain entertainment, the cast of Suikoden III is fascinating in everyway, as all of it must tie in, one way or another.

While Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword may be the only handheld exclusive game included, the support system it uses to reveal chemistry and background is the most unique and time consuming of any cast related method mentioned. This is by no means a negative aspect. In fact, it only adds replay value. Players can learn the nuances between the relationships of both playable and non-playable characters by having units stand next to each other for a certain number of turns. If this system was not utilized for example, the player would never uncover the immense storyline behind the second-last character that can be recruited, Renault. Furthermore, the bosses in particular are as unique as the main party itself. Almost every boss has a relationship with the real threat, Nergal. Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword most definitely produces the largest chemistry between seeming villains and the heroes themselves.

Chrono Cross's rather low place on this list is solely due to a lack of individual back story. While truly great games almost always distribute chemistry and back story throughout the entire cast equally, Chrono Cross succeeds by relating the above characteristics only to a certain portion of the cast. The game itself uses a possible total of over forty playable characters. While the majority of these characters will most likely remain unused throughout the game, Chrono Cross revolves its storyline around approximately ten characters. The characters which the story does focus on are definitely illustrated in depth. The members of this portion of the cast include Serge, Kid, Lynx, Harle, Glenn, and Norris among others. Not only do they have chemistry, each contributes small subtleties to the overall focus, a focus which changes even though the villain might.

Despite being the second Final Fantasy game on the list, Final Fantasy VI may be the most deserving title included. Not only does it boast the largest cast of any Final Fantasy game, each playable character shares his or her unique purpose with the job system incorporated. Perhaps its greatest strength is diversity. Playable members of the main party range from a ninja with a faithful canine to a yeti. It only lags behind one other Final Fantasy game in that not every playable character's background is revealed. The player never learns any additional information about characters such as Umaro and Gogo. It should be noted however, that the game attempts to compensate for this fact by fleshing out other characters to a greater extent. The party as a whole shares a unified hatred for the empire, while the twisted Kekfa embodies the empire's wrongdoing. Although storytelling doesn't account for chemistry, it certainly cements the traits of the individual stories into the player's mind.

The cast of characters in this game truly exemplifies the greatness of the Suikoden series. It boasts 108 Stars of Destiny, each with his or her own story. Sure some characters may have little or no reason to fight along side of the player, but at least half of these 108 characters have their past explained in great detail. Furthermore, a detective can be hired to seek additional information about said cast. Characters such as Viktor and Flik show their raw power and ability to help, while at the same time, Apple and Shu develop strategies for the war against the Highland army. Topping that, one can obtain a chef to cook some meals, someone that can lose to the player in a game of dice, and acrobats that have a grudge against Highland. Each character that can be obtained has her or her own significance. Meanwhile it is not just the allies, but the enemies that have their own moment to shine. The villains include the player's best friend Jow, who must stay loyal to his country, even if that means killing the player, and Luca Blight, an essence of pure evil that must be stopped. In no other game will you find a more maniacal villain than Luca Blight, and in few games can you find a more memorable cast.

While the cast of Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear Solid may not be the most difficult to emulate, it has certainly had the largest influence of any game previous or since. This game truly demonstrates that a game's cast involves more or less every character, taking into consideration the fact that Solid Snake is the only playable character. After reluctantly accepting his mission to infiltrate Shadow Moses Island, Solid Snake is aided by an entire team of individuals via codec ranging from leader Roy Campbell to proverb expert Mei Ling. While using stealth espionage, Snake makes new allies while uncovering unusual identities. The player soon learns that the main villains, Revolver Ocelot and Liquid Snake, are there for him or her to love hating. Perhaps next time one plays Metal Gear Solid, they will consider the possibility it is not Solid Snake's stealth tactics that transform the game into a masterpiece but the uniform effort of the cast as a whole. One may say, "Thanks Roy Campbell," not "How did Snake manage to do that?"

Although additional debate concerning its legacy has recently surfaced following the additions to the Final Fantasy VII universe, its cast succeeded on a level which has proven difficult to match. On the surface, Cloud Strife appears as the typical male protagonist. He seems superficially athletic and soon after the game's opening quest, the player learns that he is also an ex-soldier. As the game progresses, his close-sighted goals change while he gains unlikely allies ranging from a robotically engineered toy to a permanently age altered former Turk. Each member of the playable party has his or her own rather tragic back story explained at some point in the game, with the exception of Cait Sith. Furthermore, Final Fantasy VII introduces perhaps the most renowned villain in video gaming history: Sephiroth. Not only does he more or less remain the predominant threat throughout the game, his affect on Cloud and Vincent are stories within themselves. The chemistry between Cloud's group and those surrounding them, most notably the ShinRa Organization, has never been matched. Final Fantasy VII thus ends the "Top Ten Most Memorable Casts." Although some games are parts of a specific video gaming series, each game executes either one of both of the aforementioned characteristics chemistry and back story.

Final Fantasy VII thus ends the "Top Ten Most Memorable Casts." Although some games are parts of a specific video gaming series, each game executes either one of both of the aforementioned characteristics chemistry and back story. Those executing both, logically deserve higher ranking on the list than those that only focused on say chemistry, such as Super Smash Bros. Melee. Lastly, this Top Ten List would was made possible by the input of fellow GameFAQs member lostthefire.

List by MDucks (07/17/2007)

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