Top 5: Badasses

Top Badasses

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do?

Some games are all about characters getting in touch with their sensitive sides. Characters who’d rather talk it out and like to play by the rules. And then there’s games that feature some absolutely full-throttle, balls-to-the-wall badasses, and are proud of it. Today, we celebrate the rebels, the characters who’ve ventured off the beaten path, the characters who kick some ass first and ask questions later.

Regardless of whether they’re fighting for good or bad, are our protagonists or their arch nemeses, are the game’s title character or some bonus NPC tucked away in a hidden room in a DLC pack – if they’ve shown the intestinal fortitude required to get the job done no matter the cost, they’ve earned a spot on our list. Join us for the Top Badasses of Gaming!

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5. Scorpion (Mortal Kombat)

Hamlet may be the best literature ever written. However, Hamlet’s revenge ended with his death. He didn’t come back from the grave to dish out vengeance as an undead ninja with a flaming skull. I’m just saying.

4. Sunny Smiles (Fallout: New Vegas)

Any number of Fallout characters qualify as badasses, but Goodsprings’ resident ranger Sunny – who pretty much introduces you to the Mojave wasteland and hands you your first rifle – makes it clear with her nonchalant attitude about killing geckos and signing up to defend a wounded fugitive that this is just another day for her.

3. Oerba Yun Fang (Final Fantasy XIII)

While the FF series has had its share of impressive warriors, Fang manages to up the ante, being from the game’s equivalent of Australia (aka Everything-trying-to-kill-you-land) with an accent to match. Fang is the best straight-up fighter (Commando) in the game. And proves that there’s no reason a badass can’t be smokin’ hot.

2. The Silencer (Crusader: No Remorse)

It’s not necessary to say much to be a badass. The Silencer even dispenses with pithy one-liners and lets his guns, phased plasma rifles and spider-bombs do the talking.

1. Kyle Katarn (Star Wars: Jedi Knight)

Look at Kyle. You’d sooner beat a Wookie at space-chess than tangle with this Sullustan barrel of kickass with a Bryar pistol. Luke Skywalker is pretty much the only other Star Wars character who is such a consistent thorn in both the Empire and the Sith’s sides. Katarn has been called the Chuck Norris of the Star Wars universe. This is ludicrous, of course. Chuck Norris’ beard isn’t Force sensitive.

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Hmm, tough choices here, gonna go all eclectic.

5. Chibiterasu (OkamiDen)

This pint-sized pup is still ready to face down the horrors of an ancient evil reborn, but isn’t even the direct reincarnation of a goddess. For guts, perseverance, and cuteness, you can’t beat this one!

4. Alex Mercer (Prototype)

Fueled by an iron determination to figure out just what happened to him, he’ll let nothing, be it the Army or mutated abominations, stop him from his goal. The ability to morph his body into all kinds of weapons of destruction doesn’t hurt.

3. Commander Shepard/Wrex (Mass Effect)

Shepard. Wrex. This line still brings a smile to my face as both of these two, one a human badass of the highest order, the first Human Spectre, the other a long-lived warrior chief of an entire race of warriors, share their earned battlefield camaraderie.

2. Chelle (Portal)

For destroying a crazed, homicidal AI, inadvertently resurrecting said AI, and then demonstrating beyond a doubt that it’s easier to give her what she wants, Chelle wins a place in this list!

1. Yuri Hyuga (Shadow Hearts)

Yuri starts by being the only survivor in a train car attacked by a nigh-invisible demon that ends up slicing off one of his arms. He slaps his arm back into place, and proceeds to punch his way through the demon and a few others, until this scene takes place.

He only gets more badass from there, ending in pimp-slapping Lovecraftian eldritch horrors back into the far beyond they sprang from.  Just remember, when Cthulhu comes knocking, Yuri is there to send him packing.

Top Badasses


Man, I really wanted to incorporate characters like Marcus Fenix, Enslaved‘s Monkey, Killer 7‘s wheelchair-bound Harman Smith, and Fallout 3‘s Fawkes, but in the end, there can only be one (five).

5. KOS-MOS (Xenosaga series)

Being an android capable of wiping out entire galaxies using her vast array of armaments is enough to place her on this list. Her cold and calculating logic and her superior battle prowess make her the default tank in most situations, and she is the one who ultimately destroys the final Gnosis menace. But in reality, just watching one of her mega-transformations in the first game is enough to cement her in fifth place.

4. Vulcan Raven (Metal Gear Solid)

I was torn between putting The End from Snake Eater on here, which has to be my all-time favorite (and simultaneously most hated) MGS boss fight. But Vulcan Raven takes top honors here, because, well…he walks around with a freakin’ Vulcan cannon! With his shamanistic powers, he’s like a juiced up Marshall Bravestar (take that, obscure ’80s references!). And he must have been a favorite of Hideo Kojima’s as well, given his “cameo” in MGS2.

3. War (Darksiders)

This guy is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Do I need to go on? He’s outfitted with pieces of metal all over his body, rides a fiery steed that rises from the depths of hell at his command, and slays angels and demons left and right. I’d say don’t get on his bad side, but you’d be out of luck – all of his sides are bad. Bad-ass.

2. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)

This spot was going to originally go to General Leo from FFVI, but being too much of a do-gooder (albeit an extremely powerful do-gooder) excised him from this list. Instead, perennial favorite Sephiroth makes his required appearance, and who can blame me. After literally being in awe and fear of the guy sight unseen for a good chunk of the game’s early parts, purely based on everybody’s reaction at the mere mention of him, his role as homicidal maniac (with an obscenely long katana) just got more and more pronounced during the remainder of the game. Plus, say what you will about Advent Children (which I personally liked), but it’s hard not to be impressed by Sephiroth’s total and utter mastery of badassery after that 30-minute final battle.

1. Kratos (God of War)

The Ghost of Sparta had blades, forged in the foulest depths of Hades, seared onto his arms. That, and a complete and utter disregard for all life – even the gods’ – put him right to the top of the pile when it comes to badass. I don’t think there’s a single appendage that Kratos hasn’t been known to rip off someone’s body with his bare hands. If he sees something he wants, he takes it. If he sees something he doesn’t like, he kills it. Simple, neat, and tidy. Except for the rivers of blood and guts, that is.

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5. Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell series)

Armed only with goggles, a knife, a pistol and sometimes a gun, Sam Fisher can get the job done not only quietly but also in a really cool way. From climbing narrow hallways so that he is above the enemy to using his gadgets to distract, disarm, knock out or kill, Fisher can destroy a whole compound or steal valuables and you wouldn’t even know he was there. His sneaking abilities give him the upper edge in any situation and that alone is enough to give him a spot in the badass list.

4. Solid Snake (Metal Gear series)

Do you need a giant mechanized tank with the ability to launch a nuclear weapon taken down? If so, call Solid Snake. Just like Fisher, Snake is a one-man army who must sneak in to locations where he is easily outnumbered. In addition to fighting multiple iterations of Metal Gear, Snake must also take on some of the strongest, smartest and sometimes strangest villains in the world. Pitted against impossible odds, Snake can take them on and save the world from nuclear war.

3. Niko Bellic (Grand Theft Auto IV)

This is a man who is out for blood. Haunted by death and war, Niko Bellic arrives in Liberty City to start a new life and find the one who betrayed him. Along the way, he meets some shady and weird characters. Some of these people may be on Bellic’s bad side. That’s not good, especially when he is on a killing spree, gets to the boss and shoots him with a shotgun at the roof of a high-story building. Negotiation is not his game so be careful if you make him angry – you’re waking a European killing machine.

2. Commander Shepard (Mass Effect series)

Whether it is the Reapers, the Collectors, or a simple standoff between low-life batarian gangsters, Commander Shepard is the person you need at your side when things get tough. Depending on the personality you create for the famous soldier, Shepard can either be gifted with high morals and a silver tongue or he/she can be a determined fighter who has only one rule: to get the job done. There’s only one person you can depend on to assemble the best team in the galaxy to combat anyone and anything.

1. 47 (Hitman series)

In the search for the perfect human, scientists created 47, a hitman. His bald head, suit, red tie and signature Silverballer pistols are a deadly combination of death and money. If he is assigned a contract, then you’re pretty much guaranteed that the hit will be successful. Whether it is climbing a water tower to snipe two targets in a semi-enclosed park or walking guns blazing into a club and killing everyone, 47 is a lethal weapon. The fact that he is in such high demand because of his abilities is enough proof that he stands at the top of this list. He is the best hitman out there and no matter where the target is, he’ll find them, kill them and hopefully not leave a bloodbath in his wake. He is the ultimate badass.

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5. Duncan (Dragon Age: Origins)

C’mon, the leader of the Grey Wardens, the last remaining hope for humans, elves and dwarves, has to be an absolute badass. Despite the fact that he spends very little time actually as a part of the game, the time your character spends with Duncan is very important. Despite the fact that he is often cold, mysterious and blunt, he is definitely the game’s most badass character, and also one of the most badass characters I’ve come across in a game.

4. Paarthurnax (Skyrim)

A great dragon once said, “What is better – to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?” That dragon was Paarthurnax, Skyrim‘s philosophical badass. As one of the few dragons with any kind of morals, it’s his duty to guide the Greybeards and you, the Dragonborn, against the might of Alduin and all his allies. Although he doesn’t actually contribute much on an action-basis, he is probably the game’s greatest advisor to you, and needs to be awarded the title of “badass” because of this. Oh, and he’s voiced by Charles Martinet, who voices Mario and Luigi in Super Mario Bros.

3. Mr Dark (Rayman)

It seems that everybody else has gone for the good guys in games, and while most of my other choices follow suit, I can’t help but feel that Mr Dark is a brilliant example of badass. As a kid playing this game, I found Mr Dark to be a well-designed villain – he has a cloak, and apart from his oversized eyes, you don’t know what the heck he even looks like. He has hordes of crazy bad guys at his disposal, and with them obeying his every order, he has disrupted the world’s harmony. Yes, Rayman can and does thwart him, but it doesn’t make him any less badass.

2. Gargantuar (Plants vs. Zombies)

“Gargantuar is a giant zombie. When Gargantuar walks, the earth trembles. When he moans, other zombies fall silent. He is the zombie other zombies dream they could be. But he still can’t find a girlfriend.” This is PopCap’s perfect description of PvZ‘s Garguantuar zombie, who can crush your plants simply by stepping on them. It takes more than a few peashooters to bring this guy down, I can tell you. If you haven’t got enough plants to stop this badass, it’s game over for you.

1. Captain Price (Modern Warfare series)

Okay, yes, I’ve put a character from Call of Duty in here. Judge me all you want – CoD isn’t known for its deep and brilliant characters, but this is exactly why Captain Price deserves to be included in this list. Because we know nothing about his past or personal life, and because Infinity Ward just want to make characters that can deal with needless violence, Price is perfect. He is badass, insensitive to brutality, and he pretty much single-handedly wins the war against Makarov throughout all three Modern Warfare games. He was there from the start, and he’s there right until the moment he lights up a cigar at the end of Modern Warfare 3. Badass.

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Share Your Thoughts: Did we forget a memorable badass character you’re dying to see on our list? Let us know in our comments section!


5 thoughts on “Top 5: Badasses

      • I’m glad Tom brought Duncan from DA:O up. Of all the “Cool Old Dudes” in all the games I’ve played, Duncan’s one of the coolest.

  1. It’s also funny how the first image greatly resembles Bill from Left 4 Dead. If this was a top 10, Bill would have made my list at about #7.

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