My Ten Favorite Game Characters of 2004

Before I start this list, let me note three things.

First, there are a couple of spoilers here, although they're all rather minor (nothing towards the end of the game or something said or done somewhere else in the game that causes a 180 in the plot).

Second, only characters I was introduced to in 2004 will be eligible for this list, even if the game they're from was not released in 2004, I played the game in 2003 but the character didn't show up until some play during 2004, or I may like a character I was introduced to previous years more. So Paul Luther and Raja? Sorry, buds.

Lastly, I will only post the game I first played that included them. If they were in two games I played this year, I'll only list the first one I played.


#10 - Kratos (Tales of Symphonia)

Starting this list off is a cliche badass who sees the game's main characters as something he scraped off his shoe yet the player still loves from the alleged RPG of the year. I say alleged because I haven't played enough Tales of Symphonia to develop an opinion (I got kind of bored and put it away for the time being after completing the Fire Temple). Kratos is a swordsman who mysteriously appears at the beginning of the game, claiming to be a bounty hunter, wanting to escort the "Chosen One" to her destination. I honestly don't know his true intentions, and I don't want any e-mails saying what they are. I prefer my games fresh and unspoiled. While I was still able to enjoy it, I know I would have liked Sweet Home 10x more if Encyclopedia Obscura hadn't blown what was up with the mansion thirty seconds after making me aware the game existed. Whatever his intentions, Kratos has a cool voice, cool look, and as I just said, I have to like him.

This picture alone says what Lost Vikings 2 is like.  Scary vikings, awesome werewolf, stupid dragon.

#9 - Fang (Lost Vikings 2)

I loved Lost Vikings so much that when I found out there was a sequel, I scrambled to find a copy. And when I finally had a copy in my hands, I was happy as a video game junkee who just found a complete copy of Panzer Dragoon Saga at some record shop for $40. But the minute I loaded up the game, my joy faded away and was replaced with an upset stomach. What was going on with the vikings?! Are they cyborgs now?! Thankfully no. They just beat up one of Tomator's men and stole his stuff. And Olaf suddenly gained the ability to let out this big, green fart that propels him upward a short distance, something that I could have happily gone my entire life without seeing. Sound? Nonexistant. Gameplay? Boring and frustrating. Norse by Norsewest? Lost Vikings 2 with ugly graphics (Baleog scares me in this one) and unresponsive controls. But there was one saving grace for this game - Fang the werewolf. Fang could slash foes, slide down walls, wall jump, had a nasty attitude... and he's a friggin' werewolf! And some of the dialogue about being a badger was kind of funny.

Oh, and Scorch can kiss it.

This picture is difficult to make fun of.

#8 - Spider (Mega Man X: Command Mission)

Okay, I admit. Spider's also the cliche badass of the RPG he was in, but Command Mission wasn't the alleged RPG of the year (although in my book it was). Plus, I just liked Spider more than Kratos. Spider debuted in the game as an "I'm all that matters, now keel over and die so I can get paid!" jerkoff who tries to kill X, but promptly changes when he realizes was happened to an old friend of his, and why. I just don't know what much about Kratos. And Spider fought with cards instead of a sword. He can shoot them rapid fire like a machine gun out of these Yu-Gi-Oh duel disc knockoffs on his arms. It's like Gambit, only in a tuxedo... and a weird hairdo.

Adventures of Lomax = PETA's worst nightmare.

#7 - Lomax (Adventures of Lomax)

Oh, come on. You saw this one coming. Don't deny it. He's already appeared in my comics, and has taken center stage right next to Lemmy. Lomax had to single handedly save all of Lemmingland from the curse of Evil Ed, went through ghost ships, fought zombies, and trudged through the deep canyons of the Great Lemming desert, and ended up pretty much unrewarded. Now that's a trooper.

And he's a lemming! In a knight costume!

Run for your lifeski!

#6 - Alundra (Alundra)

So yeah, at first glance Alundra is a total knockoff of link. They're both elf-people who went on quests against the servants of evil and their servants, but Alundra can enter people's dreams... and he fought an alien! Plus, that movie at the beginning of the game is a hundred times more badass than anything I saw in Ocarina of Time (and definitely Wind Waker, barfaroni). I mean, battling a dragon of magma with rocks raining on him, outrunning a statue that's smashing the bridge as it moves along, and smashing moblin-like things left and right with a giant flail. But, like I said, Link's a classic...

...maybe I should just quit straining my brain and give the award to Jak... although he's not worthy of it... *slams head into desk*

Eh, sorry, it's the best picture I could find.

#5 - Forte (Shining the Holy Ark)

Shining Force was Fire Emblem ripoff with lousy AI, graphics, sound... basically everything. What's really scary is before I played Shining Force I didn't realize it was possible for an RPG to have bad controls. Shining in the Darkness was even worse than Shining Force, as I at least bothered to complete Shining Force. With Shining the Holy Ark, I FINALLY found a Shining game worth playing for the 50 hours it took to finish it. And the Shining series was finally able to beat Fire Emblem in one area - a cool dude with blue hair. Forte is a sorceror who gets possessed at the beginning of the game, but when you get him back he's incredible (unless you made the mistake I did and defeated Rilix after going to all three Shrines instead of just the South Shrine like Sega made you unaware that you were SUPPOSED TO). And the first time I ever cast his Spark 4 spell, I almost peed my pants. What's sad is what amazed me about the spell is a random effect... so crap...


#4 - Slayer (Guilty Gear X2)
There's various reasons why I feel Guilty Gear X2 is better than X. The graphics were noticeably better, the controls seemed more responsive, and there were many more play modes (although the dialogue for story mode was the work of either a drunken hobo trying to interperet another drunken hobo's writing, or a five year old). The only thing X2 didn't have over X was the music, which was duller than in X. I guess compensation for that was attempted with the addition of new characters, although the only one I liked was Slayer, who roxx0rs boxx0rs. Slayer's a vampire who enters the fight with his girlfriend, who he promptly (and disgustingly) sucks all the blood out of, then tosses the withered corpse aside. Readers have told me the girl is immortal, and regenerates to get her blood sucked again the next battle. Ah, love...

Woah, that's a camera?  I thought it was a Super Soaker.

#3 - Taro (Sweet Home)

If there's one thing I had to choose that Sweet Home was lacking, it was character personality. Well, okay, it was a 1989 Famicom game that had to be fan translated because of Nintendo's heavy censorship policies of the day, and somebody's unwillingness to port it to the GBA, so I guess I can forgive them. That still doesn't mean Capcom doesn't need to get their heads out of their asses and port this to the GBA and release it in America, or even include it as an unlockable on some future Resident Evil. Playing the game, I found myself taking a liking to Taro, the camera guy. Okay, so it's Emi who's occupying my Instant Messenger Buddy Icon space as I write this, but it's not like I didn't consider Taro. He was the first to reach Lv. 20, and got the only Pitct Fork (way to translate, Gajin. I think the word you were looking for was PITCH Fork.), seeing as how I couldn't figure out how to get Kazuo out of that one room with the second.

Oh, just the apocolypse.

#2 - Vanrose (CIMA: The Enemy)

CIMA was a very overlooked Gameboy Advance game that I managed to get three people at Flying Omelette's to buy. One thing that really stood out to me was the lovable characters. They ranged from little a little boy who worships the ground you walk on to an old blacksmith who hates your guts, but has every reason in the world to. Even the jerks were likeable... except Rick's girlfriend, whatever the hell her name was. I'd have thrown Rick into this list, but one character per game is enough, and so Vanrose stands alone. He stood out the best out of not just the jerks, but all the characters. Okay, I wouldn't call him a "jerk", persay, just overly wary of stranger. But he was the best friend you could ever have if you managed to make him one.

On a peculiar note, while I was reading Les Miserables (the 1,200 page unabridged version, mind you, even though as it turns out the teacher wanted us to read the 400 page abridged version) I pictured Jean Valjean as a gray-haired Vanrose. Could be because while I was reading Les Miserables, I played CIMA during my breaks. And about reading the extra 800 pages of bull that had nothing to do with the story? It didn't go to waste. My parents bought me the Alien Quadrology for reading the whole thing.


#1 - Axl (Mega Man X7)

The first time I ever heard of Axl, it was when Command Mission was still in the works. I read something like "Battle as X, Zero, and Axl in this all-new RPG adventure!" "Who the hell is Axl? They're not talking about that stupid flower from X5, are they?" I replied. Well, Mega Man X7 was released, and a year went buy before I finally bought it through a Toys 'R Us Buy 2 Get 1 Free sale (I was hoping to get X7 for free, but as it turns out they had an unmarked $10 price cut on Maximo 2). Despite his irritating voice (they got a woman to voice him in X7, and the result was closer to Ash Ketchum than Bart Simpson) Axl made himself a nice burrow in my heart and won't be leaving anytime soon. He's a robot with an awesome look, awesome transformation ability, awesome personality, awesome everything. If anybody needs proof that Capcom is still saner than Square, here it is!

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