Posted on 23rd Feb 2008 at 10:00 AM UTC

PC Gaming's Best, And Worst, Characters

Feature: Ten tops and ten bottoms

The humble PC has given life to countless imaginary people. But which could have leapt from the pages of a far-fetched George Eliot novel, and who was the creation of a lonely coder sitting in the dark with a half-concealed erection?

As we count down the 10 best and worst characters in PC gaming the only rule is we're only allowed one character from each game (or else Half-Life 2 would take over, and this issue of PC ZONE would become a complete Valve love-in). So join us as we praise the worthy, and damn the emotionally void.



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Carla Valenti (Fahrenheit): The plot goes off on one in Fahrenheit, but the subtly acted charms of NYPD investigator Carla never fade - whether she's sparking dialogue off detective partner Tyler or pacing around her flat brooding on an unsolved case.

Her steady, believable nature holds the game together as affairs get progressively loopier - only stalling when she gives in and jumps the bones of a killer who's literally stone cold. Still, one of the few ladies of the videogame world who you could take home to meet your parents.


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Psycho (Crysis): Who thought that Call of Duty 2, with its potato masher-obsessed cockneys, could be beaten in terms of pure Brit-accent wrongness? And why another Londoner? What's wrong with a supersoldier from Dudley?

Psycho is the worst of the clich�s on show in Crysis, narrowly beating the gruff general and Prophet the even gruffer squad leader, in terms of pure bloody-minded naffness. Just who needs this barrage of 'bollocks!' from a resident East End barrow boy? And what does he do that's so 'psycho' anyway? While he's bitching we're the ones running around throwing Koreans into the sea...



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Garrett (Thief series): He's a quiet man by nature, but when master thief Garrett cracks open his yaw it's usually to let slip a wonderful piece of situational sarcasm. A medieval Sam Fisher of sorts, his attitude is cynical, and his pre-level monologues are rife with dry, smirking humour that marks him firmly in our books as a cool dude.

Outside of this, his ability to stash so many candelabras and paintings under his cloak is admirable. And he's got a mechanical eye too, and he's amazingly modest about it. If we had a mechanical eye we'd probably tell everybody, all the time.


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Marcus Fenix (Gears of War): When you're some of the last remaining humans on the planet Sera capable of stopping the deadly Locust Horde, the last thing you want is to be bothered with is grumpy whining.

Marcus Fenix is a mish-mash of Deckard from Blade Runner and Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, constantly lamenting the situation and grumbling at any levity and delighting only in the occasional profanity. Desperately in need of a hug, or maybe a tug, Fenix is the least likeable hero since Billy Zane played The Phantom.



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LeChuck (Monkey Island series): Guybrush Threepwood and Stan the Used Ship Salesman were stars, but it was the evil Pirate LeChuck who became the poster boy/ghost/zombie/demon of the Monkey Island series.

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20 comments so far...

  1. Waste_Manager on 23 Feb '08 said:

    Now I remember why I subscribe to PCGamer instead.

  2. Mogs on 23 Feb '08 said:

    Great feature. :D I particularly liked this part:

    There'd also be a lack of idiots thinking that saying "the cake is a lie" makes them as funny as the game, but you take the rough with the smooth.

    Spot on. :lol:

    Very well considered choices and I agree with most of them. Having not played the System Shock games, my vote goes with Andrew Ryan for best. His philosophy almost convinces you and his sense of morals and integrity is tangible and real - shockingly so. Sander Cohen was great too (as were all the characters in Bioshock), and the Fort Frolic part of the game was my favourite, but as a character, Ryan is the best in my opinion. A complex man that you just get.

    Worst...Jack of Blades from Fable. Nuff said.

  3. gothchild on 23 Feb '08 said:

    Now I remember why I subscribe to PCGamer instead.

    Haha, me too, but it wasn't so bad.

    I do love the additions of Psycho (he was a dick, wasn't he?) and Marcus Fenix, even if it will have all the 360 fanboys screaming "but hes BADASS!"

    Alyx Vance really should have been higher though :(

  4. twistedfiend on 23 Feb '08 said:

    Hattie Jaques? A sex kitten? Are they mad? And I loved the last series of 24. Can't argue with the characters though, even if the logic is a little screwed :D

  5. Anonymous on 23 Feb '08 said:

    im a little surprised everyones favourite beacon of originality in master chief didnt make the list. for good or bad, but most likely bad.

    other than that i would've moved alyx ahead of the bioshock guy, but id say its a pretty good list either way.

  6. Anonymous on 23 Feb '08 said:

    Simon the sorcerer voiced by Chris Barie should be up there.

  7. darthmelly on 23 Feb '08 said:

    Enjoyed that. Good to see Morte and the HK robot in there... personally would have had JC Denton from Deus Ex in there...

  8. SoulChimera on 23 Feb '08 said:

    I do love the additions of Psycho (he was a dick, wasn't he?) and Marcus Fenix, even if it will have all the 360 fanboys screaming "but hes BADASS!"

    Marcus Fenix was crap. Just another generic "hard man". I think that was why I got bored with the single player mode so quick. There wasn't anything that drew you into the story. I just found myself wanting to finish it just so I wouldn't have to play it again.

  9. froz1_uk on 23 Feb '08 said:

    Grace Nakamura from Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within is probably the most cringeworthy character ever!

    My guess is that not many people actually have a clue as to who she is though - put it this way, when you take control of her parts of the game, you have to look around Wagner museums!?! for information on werewolves.

    Why no love for Tex Murphy though, was the 6 cds needed to play Under A Killing Moon too many for most people?

    Just think how cool an HD quality FMV game like the Tex Murphy games would be today - Hang on a minute, I've just found a good way to fill a couple of those blu-ray disc thingies!

  10. dahsif on 23 Feb '08 said:

    What about the roach in Bad Mojo?

  11. sgib1967 on 24 Feb '08 said:

    if DMC4 was out in time on pc for tht list then NERO would definetley be in my top 3 for best.Whoever plays his voice was just incredible.without soundng gay lol..he really got the emotion out of the character

  12. Shirt wearer on 24 Feb '08 said:

    Where the hell is Murray THE (second) EVIL DEMONIC SKULL ?

  13. Get Over Here on 24 Feb '08 said:

    If you did a similar list for console games I'd put any of the cast from Silent Hill 2 (James, Maria, Eddie etc.) and Farah from the first Prince Of Persia on PS.

  14. chiun on 25 Feb '08 said:

    :lol: I can understand the Sam Fisher thing. I am still a big fan, but them trying to make him interesting has sort of spoiled it. Why not give him more places and routes to explore to gather info then use the night stuff for doing a mission.

    I still think of Garrett as my favourite. Nothing quite like playing a bit of thief with old Garrett to cheer yourself up :D

  15. humorguy on 25 Feb '08 said:

    To choose non humans as the top two, and in fact all the other non humans in the list, is just one big cock-up and travesty!

    Quite simply, 40 million miles above any of the characters mentioned in this article, is April Ryan, the main character in The Longest Journey, released in 2000. Maybe she was left out because she appeared in a point and click adventure, but if that was the case, it was the biggest crime in gaming!

    April Ryan was the first and perhaps last REAL human character in a game. Who changed through the things that happened to her through the game, to the concerns and worries and growth of her character, having to deal with amazing things in a ordinary girls life. In most other games she would have been a born hero. In TLJ she was just born, grew up in a dysfunctional family and was an average teenager that have thing thrust upon her, that as a regular young human female, she had to deal with.

    Why this game and this character can be so ignored and treated so badly I will never know. Even FunCom, with the follow-up did not have enough confidence to continue with April as the main character. That fact alone was a huge reason for the utter failure of Dreamfall.

    PC gaming. You have been around long enough to know the history of TLJ. You know April Ryan. You know you made a huge mistake in not including her at No.1, or certainly above any skull, robot or AI.

  16. Trahildar on 25 Feb '08 said:

    The cake is a lie lol (sigh)

  17. palancas7 on 25 Feb '08 said:

    Oh come on, Psycho is alright. :(
    Made me laugh by failing to be funny. :lol:

  18. Anonymous on 26 Feb '08 said:

    Having not played the System Shock games, my vote goes with Andrew Ryan for best. His philosophy almost convinces you and his sense of morals and integrity is tangible and real - shockingly so.
    I've played BioShock and System Shock 2, and I can confirm that Andrew Ryan and SHODAN are the same character. (Not surprising as BioShock is SS2 with a few bits cut off.) Except SHODAN is far more frightening. And interesting. And memorable. And has a better voice. And she doesn't lecture you. And you don't get her confused with the other Big Bad in SS2.

    I mean, if the start of SS2's intro doesn't send a chill down your spine, you don't have a spine�

    - Richard

    (And yes, I am the only member of the PC Zone team who doesn't think BioShock is the dog's dangly bits.)

  19. jvgp100 on 29 Feb '08 said:

    Great list, i'd agree with most of it.

    If I had to add one, it would be Reverand Ray from Call of Juarez. Best voice acting in any game, ever. Imo.

  20. Jezcentral on 5 Mar '08 said:

    Where's Kerrigan from Starcraft? Bah! The UK PC Gaming crowd don't seem bothered by the second best sellling game in PC history. It didn't even feature in the top 100 games PCG did last year. And anyone from Jim Raynor/Zeratul/Tassadar could have appeared in the heroes section. I'm clearly getting too old. :(