The Ryan Lambie column: are these the worst videogame characters ever?

Gaming has given us icons such as Lara Croft. Such as Master Chief. Such as Samus. And, er, it's also given us this little lot...

Miles "Tails" Prower

Even in the world of video games, the law of opposites applies. Name one well-designed, likeable character, and you’ll almost certainly think of an equally annoying one – for every Solid Snake, there’s a Raiden, and for every Sonic the Hedgehog, there’s a Tails. Here’s a brief list of some of the lamest, dullest and generally dislikeable characters of all time.

Bentley Bear from Crystal Castles Platform: Arcade Year: 1983 Not the worst game ever by any stretch of the imagination, but its protagonist was about as charismatic as turnip, and only slightly more animated. There’s little to be said for Bentley Bear other than that he was obsessed with gem collecting and wearing stupid pointy hats. Ultimately, Bentley’s unprepossessing sprite was secondary to the (then) jaw-dropping isometric 3D graphics, which in turn did much to disguise what was essentially a derivative Pac Man clone.

Navi from Zelda: Ocarina of Time Platform: N64 Year: 1998 One of the best games for the N64, and in my opinion the best Zelda game in the whole series. Its classic status doesn’t change the fact that Navi, Link’s glowing fairy guide, was often very, very annoying. Her constant exclamations of ‘Hey! Listen!’ were a niggling distraction from what was otherwise an exemplary action adventure.

Bitmap Kid – Magic Pockets Platform: AmigaYear: 1991 The Bitmap Brothers were heaped with praise for late 80s/early 90s masterpieces Xenon, Speedball and their sequels. Their foray into the cartoon-like platformer territory was less successful, despite high expectations from fans and media alike. Bitmap Kid was a smug, soulless creation, and a prime example of the kind of lazy character design I hate: stick a backwards baseball hat and a pair of shades on just about anything and you’ve instantly got a new gaming protagonist or company mascot.

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Natalia Simonova from Goldeneye 007 Platform: N64 Year: 1997 The epitome of a digital bimbo, Natalia would follow Bond around with the unblinking expression of a shop dummy, apparently unaware of the screaming fire fights raging all around her. The dainty, pained leap she made when you shot her in the backside relieved the frustration, but only a little.

William Guile from Street Fighter II Platform: Arcade/Various Year: 1991 Not only did Guile’s cheddar wedge haircut make him look like a complete pillock, he was a fantasist to boot; he claimed to be a Vietnam war veteran, but if his age was correct (thirty-something in 1991) he’d have been tramping around Hanoi with his M16 at the age of about seven. The lying swine.

Mei Ling from Metal Gear Solid Platform: Playstation Year: 1998 Before technology caught up and the MGS series got bogged down with hours of indulgent, overlong cut-scenes, Hideo Kojima’s iconic sneak-em-up related much of its plot with hours of melodramatic, overlong Codec radio conversations. Particularly grating was the aural assault you had to sit through everytime you found yourself on the receiving end of a bullet; lose the game, and you’d be subjected to Mei Ling screaming ‘Snake? SNAKE? SNAAAAAAKE!!!’ A simple ‘Game Over’ would have sufficed.

Midna from Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Platform: Gamecube, Wii Year: 2006 An annoying, Imp-like character that would buzz round Link’s head and generally make a nuisance of herself, Midna made Ocarina of Time’s Navi seem almost pleasant by comparison. Bizarrely, a quick search on Google reveals that Midna’s got her own fan forum, so I’m bracing myself for some hate mail for including her here..

Miles ‘Tails’ Prower from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Platform: Sega Megadrive Year: 1992 The sequel to Sega’s all-conquering 1990 hit, Sonic 2 introduced the utterly useless twin-tailed squirrel Tails. Sadly, my youthful prayers that some American fur trapper would make a hat out of him went unanswered.

Croc from Croc: Legend of the Grobbos Platform: Playstation 1 Year: 1997 This largely forgotten 3D platform game starred a crocodile that, according to the manual, liked to eat buckets of peas. Boringly designed and animated, Croc was accurately described by a friend of mine as a ‘crock of shit.’

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Ryan Lambie writes his gaming column every Thursday at Den of Geek; read his last one here.