Sidekicks are types of characters very few people want to be. I mean, whoever wanted to be Robin? Or C3PO? Or Samwise Gamgee? Totally not cool. There’s a lot of heroes who contribute to the goal, but not all of them can have their own place in the spotlight. Some of them are in the background, doing their best to help and support the main characters. But it doesn’t mean these guys, girls, and assorted animals aren’t just as useful as the protagonists. No matter how strong, tough and able main characters are, they still need someone to back them up as they complete their missions. The better supports they have, the bigger their chances of success are. In this article, we’ll mention the best people who wholeheartedly help protagonists and who are happy for them grabbing the glory, while they do their job from the sidelines. Here’s to the sidekicks, people who help heroes be heroes.
Agro (Shadow of the Colossus)
When people talk about the most famous gaming horses, few names come up. There’s Geralt’s Roach, Link’s Epona, Shadowmere, but most people would agree that the best equine of them all is Agro from Shadow of the Colossus.
Wander’s adventure takes him across huge distances, and it would have been much more difficult for him to trek it had it not been for Agro. The faithful steed even helped Wander in the slaying of the Colossi, and a lot of the time you would rely on its speed and climbing ability to avoid their attacks and flank their vital points.
If that wasn’t enough, remember that (spoilers ahoy) Agro even sacrificed himself just to keep Wander alive. The scene of Agro falling into the ravine made a lot of gamers cry their hearts out.
Did Epona ever do that for Link? Didn’t think so.
Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect)
This Turrian with a sharp tongue and even sharper combat skills is one of the favorite characters of the entire Mass Effect franchise. He usually serves as the voice of reason in the group, being ruthless toward criminals, even willing to break the rules to serve justice. If it weren’t for Captain Shepard, Garrus would certainly make for an excellent protagonist.
His skill set also makes him one of the most sought-after members in any squad. With his sniper skills, tech abilities and access to Concussion Shot, he’s virtually guaranteed a slot on any squad the Commander puts out. Also, he straight-up shrugs off a mech-powered rocket to the face. It helps that he’s around in every Mass Effect game – you can be sure that both the Commander and the Normandy would have suffered a lot more punishment had Garrus not been around with his calibrations.
As you go further in games, you can feel Shepard and Garrus gradually became closer. By the third game, they develop a considerable level of companionship. If you choose female Shepard, Garrus is usually the first choice in romantic interest. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some mods that allow male Sheppard to do the same.
Hal “Otacon” Emmerich (Metal Gear Solid)
Imagine the guy whose code name is the abbreviation for an otaku convention. Now, that’s some unprecedented level of nerdy. Despite that, Hal Emmerich, or Otacon, is the guy you’d like to talk to the most over an earpiece while stealthing through military bases. With someone named like that, you’d expect some wimpy and useless nerd, but, given the circumstances, Otacon is one of the mentally strongest characters in the series.
When we first see him, he definitely doesn’t seem like that, given the fact he soiled himself the first time he met Solid Snake. But, once he got his shit together (in every possible meaning), he became more than useful to our protagonist. Snake wouldn’t have lasted half as long as he did without the help of his trusty tech support. Otacon has guided him through missions and procured equipment that is almost always absolutely invaluable.
But there’s another thing. Otacon somehow manages to keep himself together through all the hardships he faced. His family history isn’t exactly peachy, and he gets to see many of his love interests die over the course of the games. But he always gathers himself up and always gets back to business backing up Snake – and that’s what makes him so awesome.
Cortana is an AI program, made to assist the protagonist of Halo games, Master Chief. And she does her job flawlessly, going way above and beyond her mission briefing, all to protect humanity. Being an AI, she gathers all the crucial tactical information about the enemy, sent by Master Chief. Without those, Earth would be doomed and glassed by the Covenant or zombified by the Flood.
Cortana was even captured and tortured by Gravemind in order to spill information, but she didn’t give absolutely anything, proving she’s as tough as a Spartan. To top it all off, Cortana is the only person in the entire series that Chief showed any emotional bond to. That’s especially obvious in Halo 4 when Cortana vanishes. The Halo series just isn’t the same without the iconic AI lady, and hopefully Chief will find a way to restore her in the next installment of the game.
Luigi (Mario Bros)
And now for the quintessential sidekick in the gaming industry. Luigi is something like the perpetual number 2, the sidekick more iconic than Bruce Lee’s. He constantly exists as the Player 2, sometimes even robbed of his own name, sometimes called Green Mario. The only game in which Luigi is in the spotlight has him scared to death by ghosts.
Situations like that would have most of the sidekicks go rogue, turning to the dark side, but not Luigi. Even 30 years later, he never fails to back Mario up during their extraordinary feats, and given that he plays almost as much as his older brother, one couldn’t ask for a better partner.
When he gets his own chance to let loose, he’s not equally good as Mario, but even better. We all remember Luigi Death Stare meme from Mario Cart or his destruction of opponents in Super Smash Bros. Maybe Nintendo keeps Luigi in the shadows so he doesn’t outshine his poster boy of a brother.
Sidekicks are a necessity in video games because they often provide necessary help and support to main characters so they could complete their missions. Be it younger brothers, AI entities, tech support, fellow combatants or even a mount, these characters are important and precious, despite being overlooked. We’ll be forever grateful for all supporting characters because without them heroes would have a much harder time.