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Player Select
Our Favorite First Person Heroes
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on January 25, 2006   |   Episode 2 (Show Archive)  

            
After Street Fighter II it wasn't easy to come up with a second game to talk about. Sure there are thousands of games out there, but how many are going to top Capcom's 2D fighting game? We could do another fighting game, but we've done that it's time to move on to something completely different. And then it hit me, why not focus on first-person shooters? These days first-person shooters are all the rage, games like Half-Life 2, Halo 2, Fear, and Doom 3 are all tearing up the sales charts, selling better than just about any other genre on the market. The only problem is that most shooters don't have enough memorable characters to fill up our second episode of Player Select. With all that shooting going on you'd think we could find at least one or two games that feature characters we can talk about, but think about it, how many characters do you remember in Halo 2? Not that many, so why spend a whole episode talking about boring minor characters that you've forgotten about minutes after playing the game!

So instead of looking at one specific first-person shooter we've decided to take the shotgun approach, we're going to hit just about everybody at once. This episode of Player Select will be a little different from episode one, we're going to be going from one first-person title to another, who cares if the games aren't connected in any way? Cyril Lachel joins this week's guest critic, Lee Miller, as they let you know what they think about nearly every popular first-person hero, from Samus to Master Chief to Joanna Dark. Will you agree? Probably not, but you'll never know if you don't read both pages of this long overdue episode of the Player Select
JOANNA DARK
Gamography: Perfect Dark (N64, GBC) and Perfect Dark Zero (Xbox 360)
Details: Joanna Dark is the female protagonist in Rare's popular Perfect Dark series. Her name is derived from Joan of Arc. Joanna Dark goes under the codename Perfect Dark, in honor of her flawless performance on agent training tests. Her weapon of choice is the fictional Falcon 2 handgun with silencer.
Street Fighter 2 - Ryu
Cyril Lachel: At one point I was really into the direction Rare was going with the new Joanna Dark. They had a sexy anime agent taking down the corporations, ready to kill anybody that looked at her wrong. But I guess that agent didn't test well, so Rare decided to go with a more "realistic" Joanna Dark. This new Joanna features multi-color hair, sexy fingernail polish, and a lot of attitude. But I don't like the new look. The hair looks like a wig to me and the outfits remind me of what Nina would wear in Tekken. Where is that sexy anime agent we were teased with?
VERDICT:
C+

Lee Miller: Joanna Dark is certainly a legend now, starring in two very good first person shooters. Thing is though, Joanna herself has never been a huge part of the popularity of the games as someone like a Master Chief or a Samus is to their respective games. Hell, a lot of people have a lot more love for the bots in the death match, can't say I blame them, Joanna is a fake looking punk sex symbol out for revenge, sorry, that doesn't intrigue me very much, it comes off as simply tryng to latch onto a cultural clich?, a clich? that I happen to dislike.
VERDICT:
D+
MASTER CHIEF
Gamography: Halo (Xbox) and Halo 2 (Xbox)
Details: John, Spartan-117 (alternatively known by his rank, Master Chief; to the Covenant, as the Demon) is a fictional character featured in the Halo series. Although his official military designation is SPARTAN-117, he is most often referred to simply as the "Master Chief" or "Chief", short for his rank of Master Chief Petty Officer, the highest enlisted rank in the United States Navy. The traditional rank of Master Chief is a purely administrative position, but the protagonist of Halo is more like an action hero. (
Street Fighter 2 - Ken
Lee Miller: Let's get one thing straight off the bat; I think the Mjolnir armor from Halo 2 is up there with the best looking outfit in FPS history. Aside from outer appearances we don't know much about the chief, we don't even know what he looks like, and if you haven't read the books you don't even know where he came from. (I won't be factoring the books into my score, but if you like Halo you owe yourself to read the first one) Part of his draw has been his mysterious aura, I was drawn into that aura from the first time I played Halo, I'll admit it. I think a lot of what makes us love John is that his game rocks, I think we're more likely to like a character who is in a good game. Until the games flesh him out some though, I can't honestly say he's a great character, just above average.
VERDICT:
B

Cyril Lachel: There's no doubt that Halo is a fantastic game, but the Master Chief isn't what makes Halo so damn cool. The fact that you are essentially a nameless killing machine is fine, but it doesn't lend itself well to any character development. The events that the Master Chief keeps getting put in the middle of are breathe taking, but again I have to say that they would have been just as cool with almost any other character. Having said that, I do plan on giving the Master Chief a good score, but he's really not that unique of a character and isn't what is so great about Halo. Some characters simply define a game (like Kratos did with God of War for the PlayStation 2, unfortunately the Master Chief just isn't that interesting of a character and thus ends up getting a low, but still positive score. I do like the armor, though.
VERDICT:
B+
JACK WALTERS
Gamography: Call of of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (Xbox)
Details: Jack Walters is the private investigator in the recent Call of Cthulhu game for the Xbox. He's a private investigator who had a run in with some other-worldly beings and spent some time in the funny farm. To make matters worse, throughout Jack's adventure he finds himself losing his sanity, which leads him to some terrifying locations in the dark corners of the Earth.
Street Fighter 2 - Dhalsim
Cyril Lachel: This may seem like a strange entry in an article about first person shooters, but Jack Walters is the lead character in Call of Cthulhu, one of the creepiest games of 2005. In fact, it was the only genuinely scary game last year, an impressive feat in a year with a Resident Evil game. But alas, Jack Walters is a pretty dull character; he's a private investigator who likes to talk to himself. His look is pretty dull, his acting is standard stuff, and his story is certainly not the uplifting romp you might hope for. If anything by the end of his journey you'll be happy it was just a game for you. All in all, he's a pretty uninteresting hero.
VERDICT:
C

Lee Miller: I definatley disagree on this one Cyril, I think Jack is a refreshing breath of air in gaming. He seems real, he doesn't all of the sudden know how to shoot every weapon on Earth. The best part is that his experiences really get to him, all the monsters he encounters effect his mind, he slowly goes insane, in fact his shot gets worse as the game goes. I love the characters that are real people, in any medium of entertainment. It's good to see gaming get a real character, even if it is based off a book that's been out for a long, long time.
VERDICT:
A-
DUKE NUKEM
Gamography: Duke Nukem (PC), Duke Nukem 3D (All), Duke Nukem II (PC), Duke Nukem Advance (GBA), Duke Nukem: Land of the Babes (PS1), Duke Nukem Time to Kill (PS1), Duke Nukem Total Meltdown (PS1), Duke Nukem 64 (N64)
Details: Duke Nukem has had a long history in the video game world, he first showed up as a 2D shareware action game. But there's no denying that he's now a first person hero, a character with big weapons and an even bigger attitude. At times Duke Nukem feels like a retreat of Bruce Campbell's character in Army of Darkness, but fans of this series are fine with that just as long as he's kicking ass and loved by the ladies!
Street Fighter 2 - E. Honda
Lee Miller: Duke is the prototypical action hero, sorta like Van Damme in "Desert Heat", he enjoys all the regular sins of the flesh, especially the ladies, in fact quite a few missions are in strip clubs, which is mildly amusing. One might assume that his hard living and big muscles are attempting to make up for something though. Our friend has been AWOL for a while, I think he got drunk and passed out somewhere. The tits in those games aren't his though, so he can't get points for them.
VERDICT:
C

Cyril Lachel: For a lot of people Duke Nukem is kind of a love him or hate him kind of guy. A lot of people find his antics funny, while others would rather play a serious first person shooter with more explosions and weapons. My problem with Duke is that his appeal gets old real quick. Some of what he says is funny (and completely ripped off of Bruce Campbell), but after awhile it just grates on my nerves. If they were to get fresh writing, a great plot, and villains we can care about, then maybe we would have a game ... but that would involve me believing that Duke Nukem Forever will eventually come out, and you and I both know that will never happen.
VERDICT:
B-
XIII
Gamography: XIII
Details: The hero of the game. XIII wakes up on a beach in New Jersey with a mysterious tattoo on his shoulder of the number thirteen in Roman numerals. XIII learns that he is being targeted by a hitman called The Mongoose and his army of mercenaries. He is also wanted by the F.B.I. for the murder of the president of the United States, William Sheridan.
Street Fighter 2 - Dee Jay
Cyril Lachel: You hate to be suckered into something just because of its style, but that's exactly what happened with XIII. When I first saw XIII at E3 I thought it was one of the best things, but that opinion was based entirely on its unique look and storytelling. Who knew that the finished product would be such a bore? When they roped David Duchovny to play this lead character I thought it was going to be great, but lo and behold he was just phoning it in. XIII is a pretty dull character; the whole amnesia gimmick is just too played out and the ending was pretty underwhelming. The game suggests that there may be future adventures for XIII, but looking back on him now I have to wonder if anybody should care. This is one character you won't mind forgetting.
VERDICT:
C-

Lee Miller: Cyril, I was shocked by the voice work in this game until I heard Area 51 and realized that David sucking was no fluke, disgusting! I totally agree that the amnesia thing is WAY too played out, how many times can we have a cut scene where the guy says he can't remember? Now, I can't blame the game people too much, they where trying to stay faithful to the source material after all (a European graphic novel). So I'm going to blame the comic writer for creating this dull, completely forgettable character. All I can say for XIII is he isn't an annoying overly muscled man, I guess that's worth something.
VERDICT:
D+
CORTEZ
Gamography: TimeSplitters 2 (All) and TimeSplitters 3: Future Perfect
Details: Cortez is the bone headed, ripped bod lead from the Timesplitter series. He travels through time to put an and to the threat of the evil Timesplitter race that is tring to destroy humanity by traveling back in time.
Street Fighter 2 - Chun Lee
Lee Miller: I don't see how you couldn't fall in love with Cortez, several characters in FPS' try to be funny to moderate success, but to me, none are as funny as Cortez. A testament to that is that his funniest moments are when he comes across himself in time paradox, not other characters. I can't even begin to do these meetings justice; you really do have to see them. His humor is magnified by the overly done facial animations that characters in this series have. Great stuff, an awesome character, even if EA is producing the discs now ...
VERDICT:
A

Cyril Lachel: I'll admit, I was pretty surprised by the story in TimeSplitters 3. I knew it would be silly and over the top but I had no idea to what quite the degree the developers would go. From the jabs at Resident Evil to the encounters with your future self, TimeSplitters 3 is a good time with a LOT of funny dialog and plot points. The story is ultimately bigger and sillier than Cortez ever will be, but he does make for an interesting character that you want to fight with throughout the entire game. In a lot of ways the people he meets are better characters, but Cortez does a great job of providing a bone-head lead that looks like the type of person you would see in a movie. Speaking of which is it just me or does he remind you of somebody? Oh, I'm sure it will come to me sooner or later.
VERDICT:
B+
CATE ARCHER
Gamography: The Operative: No One Lives Forever (All) and No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way (PC)
Details: Cate Archer is exceedingly competent, fiercely intelligent, and stunningly attractive. Perhaps because she has had to work so much harder for recognition and advancement than her male colleagues, she is a sharper, more intuitive agent. In the space of several years, she went from a scrawny, impoverished waif to a successful, prosperous young felon.
Street Fighter 2 - Fei Long
Cyril Lachel: No One Lives Forever is not the only game on this list that tackles spy drama in the first-person, we've already talked about Perfect Dark (and I'm sure James Bond is on this list somewhere). But No One Lives Forever gets that 1960's spy movie feeling just right, and Cate Archer is a compelling character that has a couple of fun adventures to brag about. But not only is she a top notch spy, but Cate is also the sexiest person on this list. With some great fashions and a cool outlook on life, it's easy to say that this is one character with a lot of intrigue. Forget Joanna Dark, Cate Archer is the real super spy!
VERDICT:
A-

Lee Miller: Cate and her game are odd, how often does an awesome first person shooter go under the radar, even after a sequel? That just doesn't happen, it's a shame really. As a kid, Cate's dad killed himself and she became an orphan. We all know there is only one profession for orphans in entertainment; thief. After she mugs a secret agent, she gets a job as a spy. Now, if this game took it's self seriously, I wouldn't score Cate to high, but since it's done in the style of a corny '60s spy movie, I'm ok with that background. She's that sorta girly, yet deadly movie style character, she'd break into an evil organization, kill everyone and come out just in time to hit the JC Penney's 4 hours sale.
VERDICT:
B+
SERIOUS SAM
Gamography: Serious Sam: the First Encounter (PC), Serious Sam: the Second Encounter (PC), Serious Sam II (All), Serious Sam Advance
Details: His name is meant to contradict what his jeans and white-tee self really is; and over-the-hill goofball. He's an overly chiseled man with an over-the-top voice. His dialogue consists of stupid, but usually funny, one-liners. He often refuses to take his situation seriously, his leaders can't expect him to defeat near endlessly spawning enemies can they? Of course Sam can run full speed with a cannon barrel and aim it at the same time to, he wouldn't let the laws of nature slow him down.
Street Fighter 2 - Guile
Lee Miller: I'm fan of what Croteam did with Serious Sam, even if he is a bit of a Duke clone. Sometimes a goofy FPS is just what the doctor ordered after playing an all too real game of Rainbow 6. The situations he gets in are far from Duke material though; He fights insane alien enemies with sometimes equally insane weapons (Bomb strapped to a parrot) I feel he needs to be graded differently that these other characters, he achieves exactly what is intended, he's meant to be a joke, he's meant to be a moron, and I'm all for that.
VERDICT:
B+

Cyril Lachel: I agree with you, Sam is meant to be a joke and is kind of a Duke Nukem ripoff. I don't dislike Sam or his games, but he does get old kind of quick. In this way he's a lot like Duke, you can only take so much of his "charm" before you just want to go back to a serious first person shooter. Thankfully Sam has a lot of colorful worlds to fight through with a bunch of unique characters. At the end of the day Sam is a good character, but don't look for much in the way of development.
VERDICT:
C
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