Over the past two decades and a half, Konami has been bringing us games with many cool, unique, eccentric main characters... at least, in Japan. In other countries, not many of the company's famous characters are that well known. Only true hardcore fans will recognize an opposum sporting blue armor and spiky hair, while most casual fans would only know a spy who's got a hankerin' for a smoke. In this list, you'll find characters you MIGHT know about... or maybe characters you've never even heard of! Without further delay, I bring you my opinated list of the Top 10 Konami Protagonists, in no order!

No doubt some of you folks are scratching your heads, wondering just who the devil Upa is. Well, I must tell you that Upa is an infant. Yes, you heard it right. Upa is a baby, but with a surprising twist... he carries a rattle that can make things swell up and float, giving Upa the power to jump on them. How does he beat bosses? He inflates the enemies shot by the bosses, then knocks them into it. He's also made an appearance as a superbly powerful playable character in Gokujyou Parodius. Watch out, Angelica Pickles. You don't wanna mess with THIS crawler.

For the spinoff parody of the popular Gradius series, Parodius games often had Konami Characters to be selected to go through zany Gradius-style levels. Takosuke was the original character. He's an eight-armed sea creature that has the laser power of Ripple and his shield "O-Trap." He was indeed a popular character, but suffered a tragic end in Sexy Parodius, in which he gets crushed by a half-naked woman's buttocks. Let's face it, what guy wouldn't want to die like that? RIP Takosuke.

Solid Snake sure has come a long way, hasn't he? His crazy adventures have always been a blast, from the original MSX game, to the abysmally-translated NES version, to Metal Gear Solid, the smash hit where he became way more well known. Solid Snake is every future agent's idol. Take note of the camaflaged clothing that's handy for forest missions, a cigarette that never goes out, and a spiffy bandana. It's no wonder people freaking love this guy. Another reason would be that his future appearance in Super Smash Brothers Brawl for Nintendo's current white hot console will be rejoiced as one of the greatest special guest appearences from a non-Nintendo franchise of all time. Never change, SNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!!

At first glance, he might look like a Rambo wannabe. Once you get him down, he's a runnin', gunnin' maniac, that's for sure, and he's gunnin' like he's never gunned before. Joining forces with Lance, Player One, he aides him in the quest to stop an alien invasion. For a few games, Bill's Player Two, but in Contra: Shattered Soldier, Bill becomes Player One, as his buddy's now the antagonist who's back from the dead. Needless to say, Bill is slightly more popular than Lance. End of story.

Sparkster was part of the rodent invasion of the early 90s, beginning with Sonic the Hedgehog. He might be one of the better rodent characters trying to be like Sonic. The concept of this character was outstandingly original. Sparkster is an opposum that can launch into his enemies with his trusty sword, which can also shoot laser slices. He sports fancy blue armor and he, like a normal opposum, could hang by his tail, which is helpful when the situation is warrented. His game got a sequel, Sparkster (Rocket Knight Adventures 2), and he was better than ever. This rodent has made several cameos in other Konami games like Snactcher (SEGA CD), Ganbare Goemon 2 (Super Famicom), and even Contra: Shattered Soldier (PS2.) Here's hoping that he will blast his way onto another game.

Alucard is that guy. You know, that guy you just want to be for Halloween? I mean... look at him! He's the son of Dracula, and he's out to destroy his father while sucking the blood of his defeated enemies. In Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse, he could shoot fireballs and change into a bat. Neato, right? But in Symphony of the Night, he does so much more. He could make himself into Mist, or turn into a wolf OR bat, plus he could wield swords and many crazy projectiles. Have you ever seen a character that makes an afterimage while turning and jumping? Didn't think so. That's another reason why he's swell.

Simon, Richter, Trevor, Christopher, Sonia, Juste, Julius, Leon... all part of the same family, kicking ass and taking names with the Belmont Family Whip, the Vampire Killer. Every hundreds of years, Dracula gets resurrected, and when he does, a Belmont will take care of him. Each Belmont has a unique look to him (or her, for Sonia), you would easily recognize them if you were a true Castlevania fanboy. After all, who wouldn't like playing as a hero who can whip it good?

Words cannot describe just how awesome the ship "TwinBee" is. He's a blue ship with big fists that can shoot and punch (at least, in Pop N' Twinbee and Rainbow Bell Adventure.) Piloted by a young man named Light, he blazes through difficult waves of enemies and crazy robots. Like Vic Viper (see below, sorry for the spoiler!), he can have option-like helpers alongside him. Okay, he's pretty much like Vic Viper, but instead of a Laser, he's got a 3-Way. Unique! Shamefully, only one TwinBee game saw the day in light of the US, an NES game called Stinger, which was supposedly the second game in the series. Europe got a few more than us, but oh well.

Also known to some as Kid Ying, Goemon is one of Konami's best. A character based on the japanese thief, Ishikawa Goemon, Goemon is a hot-blooded man of Edo, with a strong sense of justice and will right whatever wrong there is in front of him, like a real ninja. He arms a japanese smoking pipe and can throw gold coins, and sometimes bombs. Words can't describe how awesome Goemon is... let's just leave it at that.

Our last stop is Vic Viper, of Gradius fame. It's a white, blue-striped spaceship equipped with the works to do battle... in SPAAAAAAAAACE! Does somebody pilot Vic Viper, or does it have a mind of its own? Nobody knows truly. Since 1985, Vic Viper flew into our hearts, and to this day, he still does. In the Parodius games, a second player can choose "Lord B" which is different from Vic Viper... but no non-starship spaceship can beat the Vic Viper. We salute you!

There's alot more cool Konami characters out there, like Kid Dracula and Pentarou. But these guys are amongst some of the best... at least, in my opinion.

List by One Crazy Horse (07/25/2007)

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