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

Gamography: GoldenEye 007 (and a whole lot of other games we're not talking about)
Details: James Bond is the coolest spy around, with his cool gadgets, way with the women, and license to kill. And if that wasn't enough, he is also an amazing shot, full of witty on-liners, and can drive better than, well, anybody. He's one smooth operator, which is probably why he's managed to be in so many movies and games. In GoldenEye 007 James was able to prove that he was not only a great action star, but an amazing first-person hero!
Street Fighter 2 - T. Hawk
Cyril Lachel: Now before we get too confused, the James Bond in question is the one from GoldenEye 007. There are a lot of different James Bond games, each with their own take on Bond. For the sake of this review I've decided to narrow it down to the GoldenEye 007 bond, which would make Pierce Brosnan our hero of the hour. Pierce is a fantastic actor, and his Bond is definitely the strongest of all of the recent Bonds (better than Moore, Lazenby, and Dalton), but was trapped in terrible Bond movies. This is a great Bond game, and this is 007 at the top of his game. The weapons are cool, the gadgets are hip, and it really put you in the shoes of Bond ... something everybody has always wanted. The Bond from GoldenEye 007 is easily one of the best first person heroes!

Lee Miller: Pierce Bond would be my favorite Bond if all his movies wheren't straight up action movies. That goes for games as well, Goldeneye is an awesome FPS and one of the greatest film games of all time. That doesn't change the fact that that's not what James is supposed to be. That said, he uses all sorts of awesome weapons and gadgets in the games, far more then we get to play with these days. So I'm split, I hate that Bond is a rocket launching action star in this game, that's not right, but if I ignore that this is supposed to be Bond, he kicks a large amount of ass.
Gamography: Half-Life (All) and Half-Life 2 (All)
Details: Gordon Freeman is an unlikely hero; he was a 27 year old scientist from Seattle, Washington that got caught up in an experiment gone terribly wrong. In the sequel Gordon wakes up to a world conquered and occupied by the trans-dimensional Combine Empire, hardly the news you're looking for early in the morning. Gordon suits up, grabs a weapon, and yet again fights for the sake of humanity. With two of the best FPS' under his belt, Gordon Freeman is an easy fit on this list of first person heroes.
Street Fighter 2 - Zangief
Lee Miller: Gordon is the ultimate first person hero; he's an everyman (albeit a genius) thrown into a situation far beyond anything he'd ever expect. Somehow with him, the unlikely hero story never seems too outlandish. Maybe it's that he sometimes needs help, maybe it is that he doesn't immediately have a huge weapons like in so many games. He's got that crowbar, that crow bar is like a metaphor for Gordon; small, wiry, and unassuming, yet able to kill. What I think is so endearing to me and millions of gamers is he is a lot like us, yet he is out there kicking ass. Rock on Gordon!

Cyril Lachel: There is no doubt that Gordon Freeman is a great video game character, one of the all time best ... but he's not better than Bond. Perhaps it's just my bias for the 007, but James Bond is just the perfect first-person shooter character. On the other hand, I do like the everyman aspect of Gordon, and the adventures he gets into are some of the best of any character in any game, regardless of genre or generation. I also like his look, Gordon ends up looking pretty beat down by the things he has to do, he's really a strong attribute to this series.
Gamography: Metroid (NES), Metroid II (GB), Super Metroid (S-NES), Metroid Fusion (GBA), Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA), Metroid Prime (GCN), Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GCN), Metroid Pinball (NDS), Metroid Prime: Hunters (NDS), Super Smash Bros. (N64), and Super Smash Bros. Melee (GCN)
Details: Samus Aran is a bounty hunter who wears an extensible body suit with a number of advanced technologies built into it. The original Metroid intentionally led players to believe she was male until the very end of the game, making a statement about gender roles in video games at a time when heroes were predominately male. Although most of her fans will remember her 2D days, there is no doubt that these days she is a first-person hero.
Street Fighter 2 - Balrog
Cyril Lachel: For some people putting Samus in this article is pretty controversial. Metroid is on a game franchise that is best known for its amazing 2D adventures; the NES and Super NES games are often regarded as some of the best games ever made. It's only recently that Samus has become a first-person action hero, but it's clear that this is her current and future point of view, and thus relevant to this list. You never really get to see much of Samus in any of the Metroid games, she's always enclosed in a huge body suit. Lately the art department made some strange choices (such as enormous shoulders), but she does have a unique look that is hard to deny. She also has some cool patented moves, like that ball she can roll up into. How does she do that? Even with the huge suit, Samus is a great character that's appealing in any point of view.

Lee Miller: Cyril, I love Samus like a sister, as opposed to a female character like Lara Croft who I love as a sex symbol. She is definitely an anomaly, a female character that isn't meant as a sex object. Sure you see her in a bikini at the end of some games but only by a small factor is her body a selling point. I love and respect that. Plus her moves, like you said, are amazing. (she must have memory problems though) I too love the ball mode, rolling her around is more fun then it should be. Plus, she's never been in a bad game, never.
Gamography: Doom (All), Doom II (All), Final Doom (All), and Doom 3 (All)
Details: In Doom you play a nameless space marine. We're talking about a guy who needs to get his butt out of trouble. A guy who battles some of the freakiest enemies known to man. A guy who knows how to wield a chainsaw! He can do all that, but is not given a name? How am I supposed to detail this guy? The least they could have done is call him Guy so I had something to work with.
Street Fighter 2 - Blanka
Lee Miller: I've heard a lot of people bitch about our marine lacking a name. I disagree, his namelessness let's you pretend you are the marine. At least that's what I did when I was ten (don't ask why or how I was playing Doom back then). Aside from him being anonymous or personal, depending on your preference, marine is bad ass; most of the guys on this list fight aliens and other people. Marine fights the legions of hell. You can't top that.

Cyril Lachel: The namelessness doesn't bother me, but the overall lack of any character development does. It would be nice if there were at least one or two characteristics that set this Nameless Marine apart from all the other characters on the list. From time to time it's nice to have a hero of few words that jumps in and saves the day, but that kind of action star gets boring real quick. The Marine's look is fine, but it's nothing you'd remember long after you saw the box or played the game. Perhaps the games lack of a story and character development is part of the reason the Doom movie failed to be anything more than a live-action video game.
Gamography: Far Cry (PC) and Far Cry Instincts (Xbox)
Details: Jack, an ex-marine offers his services as a freelance charter boat captain. He is employed by a reporter named Valerie to take her to a mysterious island. Before the boat can reach the island it is destroyed by artillery from a militia occupying the island. Upon being washed upon shore he is contacted via radio by a man named Doyle who appears to have vast knowledge of the island, and the foe's Jack is up against. As Jack attempts the rescue of Valerie who has disappeared after the attack on his boat; he uncovers a major scientific operation to create the ultimate super-soldiers using a powerful mutagen being developed and guarded on the island.
Street Fighter 2 - Vega

Cyril Lachel: Jack Carver is having a bad vacation. He just wanted to have a peaceful trip to an island resort, but now he's stuck in the middle of a giant battle for his life and his body is changing in good (and bad) ways. Life sucks. But at least he looks good. Jack Carver has a unique look, some cool special abilities, and a couple of weapons worth talking about. His adventure isn't always top-notch, but he looks good doing it. Jack Carver is a good character, and it's easy to see how he could make for a good movie hero ... too bad its Uwe Boll directing the film adaptation.
Lee Miller: Jack has one trait that puts him ahead of 90% or more of all game characters; he swims. Besides that though, his physical changes make for a great plot point, the mutation into a superhero like-being has been played out before, but how often do we get to experience the character before he's massively powerful? I like that we see him at his weakest. You can imagine he's going through quite a bit of emotional trouble as all this happens, is he happy that he can survive on the island? Or sad that he is no longer human? I agree, great movie stuff.
Gamography: Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter (All)
Details: Mace Griffin is the lead in, well, Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter. We're really scraping the bottom if we are including Mace Griffin. Now here's a character that most people barely remember, a hero that didn't even make it to the GameCube. Let's see if our reviewers remember Mace Griffin.
Street Fighter 2 - Cammy
Lee Miller: Hah, Mace Griffin that's a good one. Oh, we're really doing him? Crap. What is there to say about Mace? Well, he's got an uber-clich? story; he's a former soldier framed for the murder of a fellow soldier. So he becomes a bounty hunter in order to find information to catch the real killer. He's also kinda generic looking; he's gruff and wears body armor. There really isn't much to say about Mace ... He's just sort of there. Oh, and his game blows.

Cyril Lachel: Mace Griffin? Are you serious? We must be getting to the end of our list. How is it that somebody was able to turn the idea of being a bounty hunter into something so boring? This should be a recipe for an exciting game, just imagine tracking down different people in different locations all around the world. But that's not what Mace ended up being, and his character design is beyond foolish. The fact that we're even talking about Mace is a testament to how few true first person heroes there are.
Gamography: Wolfenstein 3D (All)
Details: William Blazkowicz is the unlikely hero of Wolfenstein 3D. In the first few chapters BJ is simply trying to fight his way out of a Nazi stronghold, but by the end of his experience he is doing his part to destroy the German army and take out Hitler. His looks vary depending on which system you are playing Wolfenstein 3D on, but all that is a heroic story well worth bringing up ... if only it were true.
Street Fighter 2 - Sagat
Cyril Lachel: Wolfenstein 3D is among the very first first-person shooters ever made, so its characters and stories aren't real defined. All you need to know is that you play a soldier who needs to get out of a Nazi castle. Why do you need to get out? Well, did you not hear the part about the Nazis? And not only are these the same people who decided to exterminate an entire race of human beings, but they also experimented with technology that they're not afraid to throw at you. All this leads to a surprisingly enjoyable video game experience. But who is this soldier? What's his back story? Why should we even care? And why does this castle not have any ceilings? This is a great game but a fairly inconsequential lead character.

Lee Miller: Half of me doesn't really mind him not having a back story, what I do care about is that he is a pioneer. He was here first; he fought the Nazis over a decade before Patterson stormed Europe in Medal of Honor, over a decade before Call of duty launched the new Xbox. He is far from recognizable though, I'm sure the majority of gamers couldn't tell you the lead character from Wolfenstein 3D, I think part of that stems from the fact that he has a real name, not some action hero name like Joanna Dark. Half of me does care that he isn't much more then a vessel for your eyes, that he has no character, no story, nothing. Kind of lame really, but like I said; points for being there first.
Gamography: Halo 2 (Xbox)
Details: In the events of Halo 2, the Arbiter's role is filled by the "incompetent" Elite supreme commander of the Fleet of Particular Justice, the fleet that followed the Pillar of Autumn to Halo. Because the Elite commander failed to protect the "Sacred Ring" from the humans, he was branded with the Mark of Shame and sentenced to be hanged by his entrails, and his corpse to be paraded through the holy city of High Charity. However, rather than have him slain outright, the Prophets of Truth and Mercy gave him a chance to regain his lost honor and serve the Covenant again.
Street Fighter 2 - M. Bison
Lee Miller: Guest: Oh boy, here's a character that has polarized the Halo Community. He has an interesting back story I guess; sort of a Dirty Dozen-ish plot; he's a convict alien sent on a death mission. Too bad it put a huge dent in my Halo 2 experience. To me, the arbiter flat out sucks, you do not take my time playing as the big bad chief and tell me "Hey look! The bad guys have feelings now, you have to play as them now" And another thing! Elites aren't cool when they are speaking English instead of in Worts. They just aren't .

Cyril Lachel: Halo 2 was a disappointing game. The story switching over to this character is just one of the problems I have with the overall single-player campaign. But that doesn't make me hate the character. I feel that if the Master Chief stuff had played out to a satisfactory conclusion nobody would have minded playing as a different character. In fact, as a side segment to the game it would have been fine, a lot of people would have been excited about it. But that's not what happened. And Halo 2 suffers because you start to resent this character, when in fact you should be happy to see the battle from another point of view. Let's hope Halo 3 doesn't make the same mistake!



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