Throughout the span of the console generation there have been few video game characters to inspire, shock, and amaze as only a person with religious fervor can do. After an intense search to find the most outstanding religious video game characters of our time and times past, I present to you the Top 10 best preachers, monks, and religious leaders in video games.

The main function of a pastor is to serve the community as a teacher, counselor, and close friend. In Harvest Moon 64 the easiest friend to make is the parson who will gladly marry you off to the woman of your dreams. He also teaches the children that live in town as well as serves as daily inspiration to passerbys. The Parson also loves tomatoes and will advise you in the ways of tomatoe recipes. He is the ideal community leader in the small world of Harvest Moon.

Now here is an exact opposite of what a man of the cloth should be like. Reid is not your everyday preacher and his status as a minister could be highly debated. Reid is actually a symbolic character of corrupted power in the Old West and your introduction to his evil ways is quite apparent when he signals an ambush by tomahawking a prostitute. Reid is the most antagonistic character of Gun and seeking vengeful justice against him is what drives this game forward.

When the underworld starts leaking its darkness out into the streets of the real world there is no better person to be closer to than one who possesses a higher calling with a cross-bow. Father Esteban is a very fun character to play in this four player cooperative hack and slash. Whether it be zombies or any other creature of the night you will appreciate Fr. Esteban's undying will to slay every demon on site.

You may be very familiar with this religious leader. Noah is sent by God to collect every beast of the earth two by two and while many argue that this is an irrational and possibly untrue story from the Bible, the NES game Bible Adventures gives us some incredible insight into just how Noah collected all of the animals two by two. Noah has some very powerful strength and stacking abilities and can carry many different species of animals on top of his head to be placed in the ark. Hey, with God nothing is impossible, so stack a giraffe on top of a hippo and haul them back to the boat!

Now poor Kung Lao just cannot get any peace. The descendant of a great Mortal Kombat tournament winner just wants to be able to live his ascetic life peacefully and not have to go out and save humanity every few years. Kung Lao even goes so far as to let Liu Kang take all the responsibility for saving humanity in the first Mortal Kombat game. Kung Lao is still a great monk not for his failed attempts at trying to live peacefully as a Shaolin monk, but for that sweet razor blade hat of his-very handy stuff.

Humanity has made idols out of just about everything found in the world, but Confessor Cromwell takes the cake. In post-Apocalyptia, a small town makes its foundation around the center of an undetonated nuclear bomb. This is probably irrational, but in a pool of radiation water stands a man next to this bomb claiming the miraculous wonders of Atom. Not only that, but this guy has also started a cult church to worship this undetonated bomb in the middle of town. Our world saw Jonestown and the Heaven's Gate cult, but post-Apocalyptia wins #5 with Confessor Cromwell and his ability to form a cult of the atomic bomb.

The world's favorite monk makes it into this list for being much more liberal about saving the world than his friend and fellow monk Kung Lao. Liu Kang's moves are memorized by all who have played the Mortal Kombat games and he and Kung Lao even got to share a game together. However, Liu Kang is the main protagonist of the series and being a Shaolin monk, he is also at the top of the world after having defeated just about every immortal being that the Outerrealm worlds have to offer.

Just when you thought the Resident Evil series was over something wonderful happened. Somehow a man by the name of Osmund Saddler formed a religious cult in Spain, but not just any crazy religious cult, he made a zombie religious cult. It is every kid's dream to have his own army of zombies and Saddler is somehow able to turn a bunch of them into 19th century man hungry wanderers. Not only is Resident Evil a very creepy game, but Saddler himself sports some ungodly biological features of his own.

It takes a lot of guts to make friends with a hitman. It takes even more to hear his confessions and allow him to sleep in your garden shed. Father Vittorio becomes Agent 47's only link to ever connecting to a peaceful, normal life and his counseling allows Agent 47 to take a vacation and think things over. Fr. Vittorio is a very pious man and takes Agent 47 under his wing, but in the end Agent 47 cannot escape his life as a hitman and the only redemption Fr. Vittorio can ultimately teach him is that he cannot ever live a normal life and must continue to do what is right by assassinating those who would do evil.

My number one pick for the top video game characters of the cloth is hands down one of the most entertaining and fun characters to play as. Reverend Ray is all that is to religion. His past life includes plenty of vices that ended when he put his pig legs up and took up the Bible. When unfortunate events unfold in the town of Hope, Reverend Ray decides to seek out his nephew who he believes has killed his brother and with the Bible in his left hand and a pistol in the right hand you will deal out Bible verses as well as bullets to any who oppose the wrath of God. Reverend Ray's role in this game is ultimately one of seeking truth and being offered a chance for redemption and as if the opening scene of this game isn't enough the ending is just as gratifying and awesome with the center of this whole game focusing on the good Reverend Ray himself.

Just because you believe in a higher power doesn't mean you have to give up video games, or in this case, give up being in them. These ten characters give us some added depth to the story lines of the games they are in and provide a lot of entertainment as well as intellectual value to video gaming. Some show us the downsides of false worship as others show us the need and value for the redemption of humanity while others are just there to do what they do. It has been a hard search, but hopefully we will see more characters professing a faith to see how it affects their choices in games.

List by DandyQuackShot (11/18/2008)

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