Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Top 10 Most Inept Heroes of All Time

Heroes are the bread and butter of our great video games. In one way or another, they fabricate that bond between the player and the game. Yes, video game heroes can reach legendary iconic status, while others may slip into obscurity. Though some on this list maybe famous just as they are obscure, they all share a common bond; Their ineptitude. Here's a look at the most inept heroes over time (according to me of course.)

#10: Donkey Kong

When Donkey Kong Country was released for the SNES in 1994, it was met with critical acclaim. The big kahuna went on to establish himself as a main event player alongside the likes of Mario, Link and Samus. Now I'm not bashing the big guy, as I'm sure we all have a soft spot in our hearts for him. But what poses the seemingly unanswerable question is as follows. How is it that Donkey Kong, the star of the series only appears as a playable character in one game if his name stars in two separate sequels? I'll tell you how. Donkey Kong somehow manages to keep getting kidnapped by the same dude. Good ol King K.Rool (Known as Kaptain K.Rool in DKC2 and Baron von K.Roolenstein in DKC3.) You'd think a massive gorilla capable of upper cutting an obese crocodile king out of a fighter jet would manage to avoid getting kidnapped TWICE. (And even more so if you count the Game Boy sequels.) But oh no. One would surmise that DK lacks a little strength in the brain department. This consistency lands him the number 10 spot of the most inept.

#9: Pit

Poor Pit. To sum it up, Pit is pretty much the red-headed step child of Nintendo mascots. In many ways, Metroid and Kid Icarus were very similar. Both had similar concepts and level designs. The music was similar. Both were blisteringly hard. The only difference is Pit never gets missiles. While his older brothers and sisters rose to the "favorite" spot, Pit seemed to have gotten brushed aside. Its not that he doesn't try. He really does! Armed with Palutena Sacred Bow, Pit fights the evil Madusa to take back Angel Land! Its a shame however, that anything and everything kills Pit. To purple snakes to flying eyeball monsters and even the grim reaper, Pit can't seem to stay alive long enough without uttering "I'm done for!" Sure he shares his traits from the rest of the family (can jump high like Mario, collects items like Link, and can shoot like Samus) but it’s all just wasted talent due to his utter weakness.

#8: Sexy Silvia

Its not uncommon for Superheroes to have sidekicks. Batman has Robin. Green Arrow had Speedy, and Viewtiful Joe has Sexy Silvia. What better sidekick to a Superhero than your own girlfriend? Silva rushed on the scene of Viewtiful Joe 2, with her Pom-Poms of doomand cyber pistol things to boot. So what went wrong with Silvia? How could someone with two pistols be so inept? Well for one, Silvia lacks Joe's fast forward VFX power. (Which stands for Viewtiful Effects.) In place, she has instant replay which is nearly not as cool and actually worse. (Imagine yourself taking damage three times in instant replay!) VFX aside, Silvia fights her enemies with her Sonic Pulse guns, which do absolutely nothing. I mean nothing. They're weak. I mean they're really weak. You know you've got a weak character when bullets are weaker than fists. Somehow, this turquoise vixen manages to bog down the blindingly fast paced side scrolling action with her lack of martial art techniques and her general surplus of suckitude. And might I add that there is absolutely NOTHING sexy about a cheer leader with a power ranger helmet.

#7: Cloud Strife

I assure you, this isn't for shock value. While he remains largely positive by the gaming community, Cloud has his fair share of ineptitude. I don't recall playing a game in recent memory when the main protagonist is almost always confused about every single thing that he does. "Why do I fight? Who am I fighting for?"If Cloud spent less time worrying about not fighting and more time worrying about actually fighting, then he would have saved everyone a good portion of time. Here we are, the universe is at danger and Cloud sufferers somuch confusion and general unwillingness to fight for the sake of the world that he somehow finds himself confined to a wheel chair due to overwhelming ineptitude. And in case you're wondering or somehow forgotten, you don't even play that quarter of the game with Cloud. That honor goes to Sid. For a man as popular and as "cool" as he is, he certainly is whinny. In retrospect, it’s easy to see how Cloud has become so popular considering our society have growing more and more like Cloud. But being this horribly inept wasn't the only thing he's created, as he is what single handedly sparked a wave of androgynous whinny heroes. From Final Fantasy X's Tidus to whoever the main protagonist is in Final Fantasy XII. Cloud ranks up there pretty high.

#6: Mega Man

Most kids today won't recognize good old true blue, but many a classic gamer know his face all too well. Mega Man in his heyday was a surely iconic character as he stared in nine games in the past twenty years. The blue bomber made his triumphant return in classic form with the release of Mega Man 9, which further fuels my argument. (In a moment.) However, I think it’s mainly important that we remember why these games were so successful back in their heyday. Sure, it might have been for the revolutionary level select at the time, but we all know it was about the challenge. Mega Man is a classic case of irony , as he's anything but Mega. His life bar is nothing more than a stack of toothpickslined up horizontally. And metaphorically speaking, I sorely believe that his lifebar is a wonderful representation of the character. As far as the previous eight games go Mega Man couldn't shoot diagonally and he actually never learned how to. Sure he only learned how to slide three games into his life and maybe learned how to charge his shot a game initially after that, but he hadn't actually learned how to shoot at a 45 degree angle. Ever. Which is pathetic considering Samus's 1986 debut in Metroid, she could at least shoot upwards. Unlike all of the hideously useless heroes and heroine on this list, Mega Man could at least acquire the powers of his felled foes. Of course, good ole Mega gets the worse version of the weapon, but nevertheless I don't see anyone else imitating the guy. For example, Mega Man will duke it out with the tenacious TopMan. The guy will throw three Dreidels at you for some reason, and tackle you head on with a vicious spin attack. Mega Man beats him, and what power does he get? The power to ballerina spin into enemies. I wish I was making this up. But I'm not. Mega Man is simply that weak. Though in his the defense, the last boss of Mega Man III (Or Wily using Gamma) can be destroyed with a single spin. Wow.

#5: Eddie "Skate" Hunter

When you have something good on your hands, the general idea is that you don't fix what ain't broke. While the jump from Streets of Rage to Streets of Rage 2 was simply phenomenal, it wasn't exactly what you call perfect. This single blemish would be the swapping of the almost unruly badass character Adam to the unruly useless kid brother, Skate. Now let me tell you, never in the history of swapping out a character for another has there been such an outrageous downgrade. Its like switching an iphone for one of those old Nokia phones. First of all, who greenlit the idea of putting this utterly weak character in the game? Really? He's throws weaker punches than Sexy Silvia (who doesn't throw any punches at all, mind you) and all, ALL of his attacks are abysmal. The only redeeming quality is his speed and the ability to dash, but even that's pushing it. Because mostof the time, his ability to dash would be shut out by a fierce anti-air uppercut by a Donovan crony. This decision truly baffles me, because Adam wasn't a character who was inept by any means. He had the range, he had the ability and the strength. He was who you picked if somebody picked Axel.

And now you have the option of choosing this horrendous excuse of a character over Blaze and Max. (Not that Blaze or Max suffer the same ineptness) It appears as though as this a growing trend, as Max was replaced with the robotic professor from the future Zan in the follow up sequel. Skate, unfortunately, lived to see another sequel.

#4: Miles "Tails" Prower.

It’s well documented that Sonic the Hedgehog burst on the scene in an unprecedented fashion. No one expected the blue spikeball to gain as much success as he did in the early 90's and onward. Going back on what I said previously however, it appears as though that the popular trend is to saddle a dominantly awesome character with a weak simpleton who pales in comparison. While that may or may not be a direct shot to Sexy Silvia, Tails is no slack when it comes to fitting this description. In case you've never played a Sonic game in your life, the action is pretty intense. As his name implies, Sonic is extremely fast. He blazes through hoops and hills and practically anything in his path. (Provided you don't run into an enemy, or a bed of spikes.) That's why Sonic the Hedgehog became such a hit. It gave players something new and fresh at the time. Blazing intense 16-bit goodness! Of course, by Sonic the Hedgehog 2, leave it to Sega to try and tamper with the formula. That leaves us with our loyal subject of this evening, Tails. Tails plays exactly like that annoying little brother or that kid in the group of friends you had that always wanted to tag along for everything, but was way too freakin' slow and a general letdown in particular. To play as Sonic, you basically reem through all of these levels without a thought. But with Tails (and the person you're playing with) you've got to wait up for this bumbling buffoon as he foolishly gets himself impaled in spike traps, enemies, and of course triggering that trap door in the second part of the Mystic Cave Zone. Tails couldn't do anything right. He was an extra body that slowed the action down. (Sound familar?) Sega, being a company to never do the same thing twice (I'll pretend that Golden Axe 2 never came out for the sake of this argument) added some skills to the golden fox by the third entry in the series. However, guided by an unskilled player and that spells even more certain doom. Tails gained the ability to fly Sonic for a short period of time. This would great for conventional means, but we forget one thing. Tails is a friggin idiot. By thinking he's helping, Tails would commonly hover Sonic right above a Spikebed. Or directly into a pit of baddies. Say you're swimming. You've got a couple of seconds left before you drown and you need that air bubble! Well, Tails selfishly grabs the air bubble that he CERTAINLY doesn't need by the less, and carries away from the stream underway, effectively drowning you. I could drone on and on about this particular jerk butt, but I wouldn't want to beat a dead horse now.

#3: Arthur

It would be an utter crime if I somehow left out the star of Ghouls and Ghost fame. Arthur might be the weakest character on here. No joke. People who have read my posts in the past know that Super Ghouls 'N Ghost holds a very special place in my heart for being the single hardest game I've ever played. The real star of the show however, is Arthur.

So what makes Arthur so special? Well for starters, he wears armor that protects him from absolutely nothing. Have you ever heard of armor that doesn't armor you!? Have you!? For some bizarre reason, Arthur can be only hit once before he's stripped down to his nitty gritty. His boxer briefs. He doesn't even sport chain mail! What's wrong with you man!? Luckly, Arthur can upgrade his armor by finding numerous and occasional treasure chests that hold green armor, and the gold armor. These plates beef up Arthur to the max, and allow for some interesting and devastating weapon attacks. Unfortunately, Arthur's armor (yet again) protects him from NOTHING! So the Ultra Pimped out Gold Armor that you have that allows you to fire homing dragons? That can be instantly taken away by a purple clam's eyeball. Wonderful. Okay, nevermind his choice of fashion. Let's just talk about the man. Unless it’s a side scrolling beat em up, the general idea is that you can sort of go against the physics of nature and choose where you want to land when you jump. You want to know who conveniently disregards this act against gravity? That one! As in Arthur. When he jumps, it’s a commitment. If he were to jump into a meat grinder, he wouldn’t have the option to change his landing, like Mario or Sonic or any normal platforming hero. Oh but don't worry, he has a second jump; A second jump that will more often kill you more times than save you. Trust me. It will. There's nothing like the feeling of overjumping a single platform because you thought that maybe, just maybe Arthur might be about to land on that platform with a little extra kick. But no. He can't do that right either. Arthur is apparently, a lightning rod of suck and the downright worst person for the job. You should have at least called Mario for the job—at least he has firepower.

#2: Bubsy

Now here’s a character I wish we all could have forgotten. I didn’t put him here on the list because he dies after one hit or everything seems to kill him. No, no no. Bubsy represents everything wrong with the videogame industry then and now. Look at him. The developers behind this guy wanted to cash in on the popularity of Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario. So they decided to come up with this piece of work. I want to say for the record that there are no redeeming qualities about Bubsy. They say he’s a bobcat with an attitude. I hate that. I want to punch him in the thorax. What kind of idiot wears just a shirt with an exclamation mark? I can understand a single tie, and wearing shoes without pants or a shirt, but for God sakes, what kind of self respecting mascot wears a bloody exclamation mark T-shirt and a smile like that? Really? How could you like him? How is that a likable character? How on earth is that supposed to be a marketable character? Where’s the innovation? Making a bobcat that jumps like Mario and shares the personality of Sonic? That’s absurd. Downright absurd. That’s not innovating. That’s riding two separate coattails at the same time. And it’s sickening. Who ever thought that a mix between two successful characters would give you an overwhelmingly unlikable knave like

Bubsy? Luckly, Bubsy didn’t really catch on, and eventually faded into obscurity after pretty much the second game. And I couldn’t be happier for that. Really.

And now the most inept hero on this list ever comes at the coveted number one slot. This hero is none other than…

1#: Young Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones is a badass. Who else can thwart an army of Nazis hell bent on recovering ancient artifact to rule the world?

Young Indiana Jones is just as badass, meeting historical figures in his heyday as a much younger guy in his mid 20s. Sega thought it would be a good idea to make this into a game. And thus Young Indiana Jones and the Instruments of Chaos was born.

And let me be the first to tell you, this is one of the worst games I have ever played.

So if Indiana Jones is a notorious badass, then why is he number one on the most inept heroes list? See the connection I’m gunning for?

Young Indiana Jones represents everything older, more familiar Indiana Jones is NOT. That is the following: Agile, cunning, durable, smart, likable, reactive.

I have no idea what planet Young Indylives on, because it’s certainly not Earth. The minute the game starts, you start off in Bombay, India apparently and you’re attacked endlessly by birds, snake charmers, snakes, and giant spiders. I mean giant, Donkey Kong Country sized animalistic spiders. They’re about roughly half the size of Indy, and these things all attack you ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Now naturally, with all of these different creatures to fight off, you’d think he’d come prepared, right? That’s wrong. That’s very wrong. Indy comes equipped withhis famous bullwhip, which actually has surprisingly good reach, but just about the strength of a wet twizzler. Besides his miserable wet noodle heflings around, Indy packs a classic six shooter. The problem? He only brings six miserable freaking bullets. That’s right. He has a six shooter, and he forgot to bring more than six bullets. How could someone do something so unmistakable? When engaging evil terrorists and evil Nazis hell-bent on controlling the world, you forget to bring more than 6 bullets?! How the hell does that happen? What’s the matter with you? He has the entire animal kingdom after him on a regular basis and he only packs six bullets!?!

But that’s just what the man packs. It’s funny they call him Young Indiana Jones, because he sure moves like an old man. I swear to you, Indy will vault off

a building, walk a couple feet and feel the effects five seconds later. How on Earth does that happen? I suppose in a world where giant spiders inhabit the world, anything’s possible. He has the jumping style of Arthur from Super Ghouls N Ghost, except a billion times less accurate and even a trillion times worse off. Young Indy can’t seem to get anything done but die. Die die die die. Players who’ve played this game know that I’m referencing the Antarctica stage, where most of the game’s impossibility lies. For some retarded reason, Indy finds himself in Antarctica where he most cross a sheet of thin ice by jumping platform to platform. We know how Indy is with jumping. Poor jumping ability aside, and I’m not making this up, the thing that kills Indy here the most are flying fish. You read that right. Let me give you a minute to let that one sink in. These killer fish pop-up at the convenient same exact time that you decide to jump. Need I remind you that Indy here isn't in the Super Mario Bros. universe, (where its not hard to miss that distinction when you're attacked by countless different animals and even lightning--that's right-- lighting on top of Big freakin' Ben.) but you'd think differently once you attempted to play this wretched excuse for entertainment.

Young Indiana Jones is possibly the worst protagonist in video game history. he moves like a statue, has the guile of a one legged man, and has the durability of a kitten with leprosy. Young Indiana Jones is the most inept character on this list because he represents everything that a bad game has. Horrible controls, terrible music, terrible response, and and overall highly unlikable experience. It doesn't even fit into that "so bad its good category." Young Indy sucks, and if he were a man, I'd kill him.

And there you have it. The top Ten Most Inept Heroes of all time. (according to me of course) Check out some more posts from me in the future.


Gamer Network said...

I have to add a popular character to this list because of your statement that Cloud knew nothing.

I have to add Old Snake, because if you play Metal Gear Solid 4, about %90 of Snake's dialogue is a Responsive Question. Its not a question that reveals anything, its more just repeating what the last person said, just in question form.

Otacon: "He's going to use Rex?"
Snake: "Rex?!"

I'm pretty sure we don't fight large machines on our day to day basis, so it cant be that hard to forget. Most of MGS4 has dialogue like this. I know Snake is a beloved character, but my Lord, he's just an airhead.

(Good job with the page. Swing by G.N. whenever.)