This is by far the hardest list I’m going to make in this series.
The supporting cast, in my opinion, are not only of import when driving the story forward, they also allow you to explore the inner being of your hero. There is discussion, argument and even a little romance from time to time. All of this adds life to an otherwise imaginary world.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in. And fair warning: spoilers abound.
3. Sheik (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
Sheik is the alter ego of Princess Zelda. Link meets him/her shortly after awakening from his seven year slumber. At first, he is unaware of who the young man is, (Sheik is referred to as a man in-game), but he is willing to help Link on his quest to stop Ganondorf and save Hyrule and its denizens.
As it turns out, Sheik is actually Princess Zelda. She had been trained in the ways of the Skeika (a ninja clan, native to Hyrule) by her caretaker, Impa. She adopted a portmanteau of the clan’s name as her own and began her crusade against Ganondorf, most of which is revealed in the Ocarina of Time Manga.
Sheik made this list entirely because he represents the beginning of my understanding of video game narrative. He sparked discussion and arguments between my friends and I on the playground as we swapped theories as to who he was.
My personal favourite theory was Sheik turning out to be an alternate version of Link, my reasoning being if the Link I was playing as was from “the past” there must also be a Link from the “present”. As they were both blonde and built relatively the same, it was a short jump in logic for my 11 year old brain to make.
He still makes an appearance in the Smash Brothers games, though decidedly more feminine, to the point of having curves and a bust.
2. Ghost (Destiny)
Peter Dinklage took a lot of crap for his supposed stiff performance as Ghost, your omnipresent floating light bulb in Destiny. I, however, enjoyed his performance and continue to enjoy Ghost’s company.
Ghost is responsible for your resurrection the beginning of the game, infusing you with the Traveler’s light. He is your constant companion, your confidant and your toolbox. He helps you hack computers, open locks and will even bring you back from the grave should you fall in battle.
He is charming to a fault, and I find nothing wrong with him save he isn’t in the game enough, but when he is I feel like his lines are pure gold. The adequately express how I feel about a situation my Guardian (player character) finds themselves in, and this leads me to believe we are supposed to identify with Ghost more than our own avatars.
If the upcoming expansion, House of Wolves, features the return of Peter as Ghost? I’ll be very happy to give Bungie my $30.
1. Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect trilogy)
Garrus is a Turian. An avian race which evolved a long ways away from Earth on the planet Palaven. He is a soldier, a police officer, a vigilante and Shepard’s best friend. He is also one of two members of the cast who appears as a squad member in all three games.
Garrus is interesting due to having a massive character arc you, as a player, have a hand in directing. He looks up to and out for Shepard, and you can respond in kind or start to mold Garrus into a more selfish personality.
He beings the journey as a sort of Dirty Hairy character, feeling constricted by the laws of the Citadel where he is a police officer. He joins Shepard’s crew to get a sense of the freedom the SECTREs (an elite military force, of which Shepard is one) enjoy when conducting their investigations. He hates red tape and feels about bureaucrats getting in the way of justice.
He then becomes a mercenary, and his entire platoon is killed, save for another Turian who has turned traitor. You can either help Garrus assassinate the offending member, or talk Garrus down and help him rebuild his broken psyche. Either way, Garrus is now used to doing things his way, and only seems to trust you as a confident.
This continues into the last phase of the trilogy when the war against the Reapers really gets heated. He takes his position aboard the Normandy, and begins calibrating her guns again.
He sticks by Shepard through thick and thin, reminding them to take a break from the war and enjoy life while they still have it.
In addition to being the most steadfast ally Shepard has throughout the course of the game, he is intelligent and witty, willing to offer a snide remark or a dark quip when the need arises.
He is also “charmingly befuddled” (to borrow a phrase) when placed into a social circumstance. He would rather stay by himself in his weapons room or just spend time one-on-one with his friends.
This is even more apparent when he is approached romantically by a member of the opposite sex, culminating in a brilliant romance scene if the player is a female Shepard in the second game.
All in all, there is no one I would rather have by my side when the shooting starts, and the first person I’d turn to when the need to drink arises.
So these have been my top three supporting characters. Of course, there are others I could talk about, honourable mentions if you will, and perhaps I will at some point.
In the mean time, leave me a comment, or send an e-mail! Who do you enjoy journeying through your adventures with?