Heroism. It’s easy when you’re controlling a video game character from the indent of your sofa, with the only posing threat a diminishing supply of Skittles.
But behind every digital champion lies a good wingman, someone who, if asked, would willingly defuse a bomb by eating it and even lie on hot coals while the protagonist stomps across their back to claim the Princess. So join us as we salute these most sacrificial of video game buddies…
Heavily based on Richard Crenna’s iconic ex-commander from the Rambo films, Roy Campbell basks in the role of mentor to a renegade only he can tame. Solid Snake would be hapless at infiltrating terrorist groups were it not for this man’s intel, and if you’ve ever died during a mission in MGS and heard Campbell’s instinctive howling cry then you’d know much he cares for his man - and probably wondered if their partnership was purely platonic.
The Arbiter - Halo
The Master Chief is not only one letter omission from being a TV cookery show, but also one ally from being on the losing side. Thankfully, in the sequel, the sleek yet almightily dangerous alien Arbiter defected to humanity’s side and consequently stopped its demise. And being voiced by Keith David - best known as Cameron Diaz’s overfamiliar stepfather in There’s Something About Mary - he’s undoubtedly the complete cohort package.
Max – Sam & Max
Rather understandably, the gaming genre of anthropomorphic private investigations is a small niche – just Sam & Max, actually - but when you consider the dynamics of their partnership it’s an alcove of brilliance. On his own, Sam is an easy-going canine in a suit who is perfectly likeable. Yet it's only when you’ve a hyperactive, antagonistic rabbit for company, like Max, that your gameplay is sure to see some ACME-styled street justice.
Diddy Kong – Donkey Kong series
Fashioning jetpacks from coconuts isn’t an easy task, but Diddy Kong has proven to be somewhat of a jungle MacGyver when playing the impish sidekick to Donkey Kong. But he’s much more than an inventor, setting the tone to the game series by providing a laugh track to DK’s brutishness. We’re still unsure of his shameless product placement, mind - he’ll have plenty of bananas in the bank for that Nintendo logo on his trademark red cap.
Miles ‘Tails’ Prower – Sonic series
Anyone who has a pair of tails which grant him the power of flightcan be forgiven for going by a moniker. And this aerial prowess has saved Sonic from many a certain spiking – and maybe even in the rohypnol sense, because he’s that good a wingman.
Luigi – Mario series
While it’s unclear how proficiently Luigi can unblock a u-bend, the inner workings of his family plumbing business have never needed to be probed - not when imperiling his svelte frame to save his fuller-figured brother from death by a volatile Koopa and never getting the Princess. Alongside Top Gun’s Goose, he’s the ultimate mustachioed wingman.
Victor Sullivan - Drake’s Uncharted
‘Sully’, a globe-trotting treasure hunter and close associate of resident hero Nate, is a boozehound, a notorious womanizer, and someone who claims to have once ripped off Pablo Escobar in a drug deal. So for some he’s a controversial character, but because he’s taken his fair share of bullets for the game’s lead man maybe some people should just lay off him.
Marcus and Dominic – Gears of War
On the face of it, the second most prominent character in the Gears of War franchise is a pretty useless partner. He often sits motionless as you have to blow holes through skirmishes of Locust Horde, and mopes about a lot when evoking his missing wife. However, due to the clumsiness in battle, it actually makes our own intergalactic grunt look even more heroic. Not a bad thing.
Leonardo Da Vinci –