Let me pose a question. When in the trenches of combat, the bowels of chaos, or the innards of a battle-torn wasteland, what might be the most vital tool for victory? Extra ammo could prove useful against an onslaught of foes. How about an additional health pack? Yeah sure, you can never have enough HP. While these items are undoubtedly the key to survival in a multitude of video games, I’d like to pose an even more imperative instrument. The tool of which I speak is friendship. What would Master Chief do without Cortana (probably have a much better life)? How could Banjo save the world without Kazooie? Here is a list of the most useful video game support characters in the video game world, with some integral to the story, and some just plain helpful.
Fawkes – (Fallout 3)
Fawkes is one of many potential companions in Fallout 3. Other helpers include Dogmeat the dog, Clover the slave, and Charon…the zombie man. I’m sure you can see why I chose Fawkes. This behemoth of a creature is one of the few super mutants in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that has retained a sense of civility and intelligence. And when intellect doesn’t solve the problem, his giant Gatling laser will.
Sanguine’s Dremora – (The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim)
From the get-go, Skyrim immerses players into a world rife with danger and hostility. This is no Wizard of Oz. The Dragonborn has to worry about much more menacing foes than lions, tigers, and bears. How about Dragons, Mammoths, and Draugrs? It’s always helpful to have a little backup in dire times such as these. With the use of the Sanguine Rose, players can summon their own demonic henchman instantly into battle. Helpful AND smells nice.
Sheva/Chris – (Resident Evil 5)
Chris Quote: “I’m no superhero. But together, we can end this.“
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Zombies suck, and that’s not including the other biologic monstrosities that lurk within the African landscape. Hey it’s always nice having someone to take an inventory-organizing-break with too.
Metal Gear Mk. II – (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)
What has two legs, stealth capability, a built-in taser and is controlled with a PS3 Dualshock 3? The answer is either the Mk. II or a really weird custom controller. While this robot does border the lines of cuteness, it makes up for its unassuming appearance with a multitude of helpful tools, gizmos, and gadgets. Why should Old Snake approach a band of enemy soldiers head on when he can utilize the Mk. II? Cloaking allows the Mk. II to sneak up behind unaware soldiers with ease. Its manipulator arm can emit a shock wave that knocks foes unconscious. Not to mention that this little guy can pick up items riddled across the battlefield AND it can be controlled from a remote location. If anyone hasn’t guessed, I want one for Christmas.
Navi – (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
Navi is a know-it-all. She is a floating orb of encyclopedia knowledge that often presents itself in the worst or most unneeded circumstances. While many would argue that Navi’s intrusions could be considered annoying, as an 8-year-old playing my first 3D Zelda adventure, I’d regard her inferences as a healthy mix of helpful tips and unaccommodating comments.
Donald and Goofy – (Kingdom Hearts Series)
Goofy Quote: “Gawrsh! Don’t like the looks of this place. I bet it’s crawlin’ with ghosts!“
The Kingdom Hearts series is about the weirdest idea for a video game that I’ve ever seen. Somehow the mix of Disney nostalgia and JRPG storytelling just works. I never thought that I’d be equipping some of my childhood icons with battle gear against hordes of souless monsters, but hey Donald and Goofy are surprisingly effective. What better companions could a pre-teen protagonist ask for other than real-life cartoon characters? Sora is one lucky guy.
King of Red Lions – (The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker)
The King of Red Lions is the King of Hyrule turned into a nautical vessel, and boy is he a trooper. His royal blood in no way effects his unquestionable work ethic, traipsing across a limitless ocean to help out a little boy clad in green clothes. What this boat lacks in stature, he more than makes up for in perseverance and usefulness in a world comprised almost entirely of water.
The Darkness – (The Darkness Series)
The Darkness is a double-edged sword. On one hand, yielding an all-powerful malevolent entity grants its host, Jackie Estacado a ton of badass powers including dual, soul-eating serpents. On the other hand, the longer the Darkness’ power is used, the faster it will consume and completely take over the host. Regardless, that thing saved Jackie’s life on more than one occasion, plus, having a god-like creature on your side can’t be the worst thing to happen.
Shadowmere – (The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim)
Transportation comes in all shapes and sizes in the video game world, with cars representing only the tip of the ice berg. Who wants to drive when you can ride on the back of a demon horse? Born out of a pool of darkness and sporting glowing red eyes, Shadowmere is no ordinary horse. Not only does this noble steed carry your character across one of the largest maps in the history of gaming, he is ready and willing to fight just about any creature that you can imagine. Dragon versus horse? Don’t count Shadowmere out.
Dominic Santiago – (Gears of War Series)
In the world of everything delicious, peanut butter has jelly. In Gears of War, protagonist Marcus Fenix had Dominic Santiago. Like two peas in a pod, the war buddies have been to hell and back, through thick and thin, and in the face of such adversity, the duo have saved lives and ensured the survival of the human race. Awww.
Claymore – (Call of Duty Series)
Some say the dog is man’s best friend, others say a gun is the soldier’s key ally; I say the claymore is quite possibly the best supporting character in Call of Duty’s bag of goodies. This item of destruction can be a player’s best asset on in the midst of combat, especially in Modern Warfare 2. Picture this, enemies abound, flanks at every turn, and a less than reliable team mate at your side, what are you to do? Utilizing the Scavenger Pro perk in combination with a certain explosive comrade allows for an infinite supply of Claymores and thus, a relatively impenetrable defense from enemies flanking from the rear or slipping through the cracks. Too bad they are practically useless in MW3.
Who are some of your favorite video game helpers?