Friday, May 28, 2010

Question of the Week: Hardly Heroic

By GM Staff

This was a fun one. Our answers, after the break...

Kirk: Cole McGrath, the hilariously repellent protagonist of Infamous. Okay, to start with: His name is "Cole McGrath." He's this hunched potato-face-looking guy who speaks only in pissed-off grunts; he's operating at about an 85% clench throughout the entire game. He spits his lines with a venomous mixture of disdain and anger, but his delivery doesn't even work for the evil side of the game's morality system. He just sounds like he hates everyone, which actually isn't much of a surprise since the game also features some of the most wretched, grating NPCs I've ever encountered. If you can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps, then I can tell that Cole McGrath totally sucks as a human being.

There's his asshole buddy who looks like Fat Elvis and his horrible girlfriend who's just so totally horrible that don't even get me started and the mean FBI lady and some guy in a helicopter and then... the big twist ending. After running around the city doing tasks tasks for jerks and fighting against bigger jerks, it turns out that the big head honcho jerk behind it all is... Cole McGrath from the fucking future. This guy, I swear to God.

David: Kirk hates Cole, but I was down with Cole. Yes his sidekick is a goof, but we'll have to cover bad sidekicks at another time. I personally have nothing but hatred for Crash Bandicoot. He looks like a bad shirtless team mascot. I can visualize someone hating their life dressing up and working in a giant Bandicoot costume, maybe at a game, maybe standing on a street corner holding a sign advertising a new housing development nearby. Crash was such a desperate attempt to create a marketable protagonist. Everyone wants their own Sonic or Mario and I can appreciate that, but Bandicoot misses the mark by a long shot. The very thought of him makes me want to go tackle someone in a mascot outfit. I think I need therapy.

Dan: David hates the ’Coot, but I didn’t mind him so much (to say nothing of the games themselves). He wasn’t as slick as Sonic or as cuddly as Mario, but I couldn’t help but get into the weird, off-kilter character design. No, the protagonist that best provokes my ire is none other than Nintendo’s Kirby. The legend behind the little blob has it that he was created as a placeholder for a character design that hadn’t yet been finished, and that by the time they were ready to drop in the real deal, the programmers discovered they had become attached to the little guy.  It’s a  charming tale I guess, and I’m hardly one to get macho about video games. But at the end of the day, Kirby is hardly a protagonist worth rallying for—small, pink, mostly quiet, something you could probably punt pretty far.  In a way, he’s exactly what he always was: a negation of what a protagonist ought to be; a collection of pixels where the real protagonist should go.

Annie: I would have to say, after careful consideration of every protagonist that's rubbed me the wrong way, including several folks from the Final Fantasy franchise, both Mario Brothers, and the long straight piece from Tetris (Look what you made me do! What were you waiting for?!) I'm going to go with Fayt Leingod from Star Ocean: Till the End of Time. So first of all, yes- I am admitting that I've played it, and for the record, I didn't hate it. However unrealistic it may be to crash on a series of planets with levels of technology that increase chronologically with each landing, the effect of traveling through time is actually kind of satisfying.

Unfortunately, this is not due in any part to the false bravado, overconfidence a general dumbassery of Fayt "I'm in love with someone who is probably my cousin" Leingod. It also does not help that after every single fight, he cockily declares, "That was easy", as if to remind everyone that he was not phased in the least. And yet, he's afraid of the dark and spends half the game getting bailed out by various members of his party. Combine that with his rich parents who've obviously spoiled the bejesus out of him, and you have one snotty, entitled frat-boy-to-be.

9 comments:

The Sonia Show said...

My least favorite video game protagonist is the character I created on Rock Band. Man oh man, she sucks at guitar and drums.

Jason K said...

He's not really a marque, Mario-type character, but the very thought of Tidus from Final Fantasy X moaning about his daddy issues and Blitzball gives me hives.

vanlandw said...

Yesterday I made it though a third of Bionic Commando (XB/PC/PS3) and Spencer in that game is horrible. He sounds to be similar to Cole where he's always pist off and has absolutely no reason at all to be doing what he's doing. During all this head while murdering people he will display bouts of glee it's just odd.

It's a shame because the swing mechanics are great and it could be a good game if the protagonist's drive could have been fixed.

Sparky said...

My answer to this would have been different a few weeks ago, but after finishing Resonance of Fate, my least favorite video game protagonist ever is Zephyr from that game, with his pals Vashyron and Leanne coming in second and third. To support my case I submit one fact and one quote. Fact: Zephyr committed a school shooting. Quote: (after a battle) "Like crushing a bug: Squish!"

Tim Mackie said...

I'm going to have to agree with Jason here and say Tidus. How I wish that character design was just a bad dream...

Jay said...

I played most of Infamous with the volume turned down low and the subtitles on because I could not stand that goddamn whiny, scratchy, nails-on-a-chalkboard voice coming out of Cole. He sounded like he was going to have an asthma attack any second. There was no trace of anything that could be considered a redeeming quality in this dipshit. The only reason I even finished the game (even after it got INSANELY repetitive) was because of the gameplay mechanics that reminded me of Crackdown.

Fuck Cole McGrath. Worst. Character. EVER.

iidebaser said...

Not the protagonist but a protagonist-- I thought Issun from Okami was about the most irritating character conceivable. That game was so spectacular otherwise, I wonder if we'd all be playing Okami 2 if not for that annoying little bug.

Jorge Albor said...

What!? How could anyone hate Crash or Kirby?

While I am tempted to say the straight line from Tetris, I would go with Alex Mercer. Who is pretty much Cole from infamous, who is pretty much every other short-haired protagonist I have come to hate.

Kirk Hamilton said...

Glad I'm not the only one who feels the Cole McWrath. It really speaks to the quality of that game that I actually liked it enough to finish it in spite of the awful characters. Plus I heard they re-cast Cole's voice actor for the sequel, so there's reason for hope.

Hey Sparky, good to see ya! I saw your post about Leanne when they reposted it on TBH... Good Lord, what an unbelievable amount of character fail. Though it did make for a pretty hilarious (and, one would hope, necessary) takedown. Other readers, I recommend checking it out if you haven't seen it yet.

Sonia - yeah, the first drummer I made in Rock Band was kind of this total chotch, too. Big stupid sleeveless shirts, always rushing his drum fills and blowing it for everyone.