Caution: Spoilers are throughout this post, but if you haven't played any of these excellent games by now you deserve to have them spoiled for you.
Would Star Wars have been Star Wars without Han Solo? What would The Lord of the Rings have been like without Golem? In my opinion they would have been missing that special something that takes the ordinary story and add that extra layer that makes it a true classic, the interesting and compelling supporting characters. All of the classic tales have them those characters that add that little extra life to a story and makes the main charcter(s) struggle that much more interesting. These characters vary as nemisis, comic relief, or just that character that moves you through their hardship and sacrifice to the main plot of the story. It is these charcters I find most apppealing in movies, books, and of course video games.
So I thought for my first monthly musing, I would dedicate it to these unsung and sometimes overlooked characters who capture our imagination, and make the epic story in which we play through that much better if not even possible. With that in mind I thought I’d share with you some of the most memorable “second fiddles" I've ran across in my gaming experience. Characters who helped shoulder an excellent story ,and without them the story may not have been the same, or in some cases ever told.
The G-Man (Half Life Series)
Half life was one of the first games to make me feel like a rat running a maze rather than a free roaming hero, and all of that feeling was due to the presence of the G-Man. From the first time we ever saw him to now he remians shrouded in mystery leaving the player knowing only that he is the one pulling Gordon's strings and setting the events of the series in motion. With his "men in Black" style wardrobe mixed with his "Twin Peaks" weirdness he tops the list of my all time favorite supporting characters.
When I first bought "Knights of the Old Republic" I expected the charcters that I would interact with to have that "Star Wars" feel to them, and by and large the game didn't dissappoint. From a brash pilot to a Twi'lek with a Wookie sidekick the game screamed "Star Wars". Then came the sociopathic protocol droid with amnesia, and a disdain for organic "meat bags". Everything about HK-47 was the antithesis of a "Star Wars" type character. With quotes like "I think he is making fun of you, Master. Shall i proceed with wasting the Meatbag?" HK-47 quickly became a permanent member of my away parties as well as one of the best comic reliefs I have ever seen in a video game.
Kai (Heavenly Sword)
"Heaveny Sword" is a pretty typical martial arts tale of good vs. evil with a mythical weapon in the mix, but it was when the character of Kai was introduced that the story became a little less ordinary. With her childlike innocence mixed with her lethal repeating bow (not to mention that she eats worms) Kai was that quirky supporting charcter that stole the show for me. I found myself more interested and drawn into her story than I did the main story most of the time. Now that the sequel to "Heavenly Sword" is in question I have to admit I was disappointed as I was hoping that the second installment would have featured Kai wiedling the "Heavenly Sword" as well as promoted this "second fiddle" into the lead.
Sgt. Avery Johnson (Halo series)
The "Halo" trilogy is easily one of the best IPs to come out of the consoles. Playing the iconic "Master Chief" through the trilogy is an epic and extremely fun undertaking that I would reccomend to anyone. From playing this trilogy I can say that it would not have been the same without the off the wall comments of the battle-hardened Sgt. Avery Johnson. What makes him one of the greats to me is that he was always there in the story as this half crazy motivational speaker with a firearm, and when he was killed in Halo 3 a little part of me went with him. I have to wonder what Halo 4 will be without Johnson in there spouting off some order or off the wall comment. Although I'm sure the writers will create a replacement it just won't be the same without Sgt. Johnson.
Sgt. Paul Jackson (Call of Duty 4)
Although you never really see Jackson's face through out the time you play him in the game he is by far one of the most powerfully scripted supporting charcters I have ever played. In "Call of Duty 4" Jackson is the soldier you play through the Middle East portion of the game with. Although he has no speaking lines in the game what makes his character so powerful is that you get to play his death in the game. I remember playing through the game the first time, and after playing through Jackson's death the first two words out of my mouth were "f*ck me." It is one of the best examples of a charcter reaching out through the monitor and reminding me what is happening to American soldiers right now in Iraq, and that not all heroes get to come home alive.
Deckard Cain (Diablo Series)
The Diablo series is truly one of the best in all of gaming in my opinion, and much like any series it needs that supporting character you can rely on to be there to go through it with you, and who better than the crusty old scholar Deackard Cain. Sure he can get annoying telling you the drawn out history of the Horadrim and the such, but that's what makes him great in my opinion. He's like my Grandpa was at family gatherings. Always wanting to tell you something important that you deem as trivial. Yet through all of his ramblings he's the first character you want to know is coming back when there's a new installment of the series. Diablo just wouldn't be Diablo without Cain. In the end I hope the writers find a way to make Cain responsible for the whole mess and make him some uber bad ass that you have to fight in the end all the while you are fighting him he tells you some long drawn out story or just says repeatedly "Stay awhile and listen."
Well that's it for my list of my favorite supporting characters. In the end I find these charcters to be the foundation that a strong lead character and story are built on. I look forward to what new "second fiddles" I'll be introduced to in the new games to come. If you have a fond memeory of any of the characters mentioned above, or have a favorite "second fiddle" of your own please share it below. I always find it fun to hear other gamers memories as well.
Until Next Time.