Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ten Characters You’d Probably Forgotten

Remember these guys? Probably not. Take a walk down memory lane with the Top Ten Gaming Characters You’d Probably Forgotten About...

10. Ecco (Ecco the Dolphin)
The first and (to my knowledge) only dolphin-centric action game, Ecco the Dolphin saw the titular hero trying to save his podmates from the machinations of the bad guys, the sea-stealing Vortex. To do this, he goes back in time, has a confab with ‘Big Blue’ - the whale of all knowledge – and generally blasts anything and everything that gets in his way with sonar pulses. A rotorscoped masterpeice, Ecco is long overdue a return.

9. Adam, Axel and Blaze (Streets of Rage)
As the iconic cover heroes of Streets of Rage, Adam, Axel and Blaze left an indelible mark on many young gamers – not least me and my friends, as we punched our way through Streets of Rage 2. Sure, in Streets of Rage 3 things got... a little weird (the robotic old man was a bit much...), but the butt-kicking trio remained as fun to use as ever. Granted, watching Axel teabag a lamb chop to regenerate health was always a bit strange – and the enemies he fought (including BDSM dominatrixes and the world’s most camp wrestler) were a right varied bunch, the trio deserve a place in your gaming memories.

8. Jak and Daxter
Jak and Daxter’s journey was one which encapsulated gaming’s evolution in the 90s – from cutsie action in ‘The Precursor Legacy’ to the emo nonsense of ‘Jak2’, and finally the bouncy, free-roaming fun of Jak3. All three games were great fun, primarily due to Jak’s sidekick, the half weasel, half otter ‘Ottsel’ Daxter. While some critics were quick to blast Daxter as an annoying rodent, I remember him being a funny and faithful companion, even jumping into lava pits with me or getting crushed under massive tanks at the same time (that happened to me... A lot). Although Jak has made a reappearance in a HD remake of his trilogy, I don’t think he’s going to make a comeback anytime soon, which is a great shame.

7. Garrett (Thief)
Trained by a dark society to be a master thief, Garrett is an expert at infiltration - and in the first true ‘stealth’ game to take advantage of light and sound as ways of avoiding the enemy, he was perfect for the role. In later games Garrett managed to pinch himself a nifty mechanical eye, which allowed him to see through walls – but for me, the original, human Garrett was best: unstoppable, silent, deadly.

6. Crash Bandicoot
Man, do I love Crash Bandicoot. This little ginger critter gave me hours of enjoyment when I was about 13-15 years old – and even more with the release of Crash Bash’s litany of party games.
Facing off against crazy bosses such as N-Gin and Dr Neo Cortex, Crash’s spinning, jumping and bouncing platforming combined both great fun and tricky challenges into one whole package. Granted, Crash started to tail off with the introduction of far too many extra characters in later games – including his annoying little sister – the original games are still great, and Crash is long overdue a revival.