The lights are on
This month, we’ve been celebrating the coming arrival of Grand Theft Auto V, but we also want to take some time to look back at the characters that helped make the series the blockbuster franchise it is today. Read on to find out who we picked as the ten greatest characters in Grand Theft Auto history. From the ridiculous to the ridiculously badass, this list is a great reminder of how Rockstar has created some of the most memorable characters in gaming.
10. Frank Tenpenny
Frank Tenpenny is as low as they come. The corrupt cop was Rockstar’s commentary on the scandal-ridden LAPD of the Daryl Gates and Rodney King era. Though cloaked in the colors of the law, Tenpenny’s just as much a criminal as any of the Grove Street Family in San Andreas, and proves to be a formidable enemy for CJ throughout the game. Upon his arrival back in San Andreas, CJ has a run-in with Tenpenny, who instantly gains the upper hand by threatening to frame the ex-gangbanger with the murder of a cop unless he does his bidding. He’s not the enemy you love to hate – you just hate Tenpenny. However, we can’t deny that he has a certain amoral flair, which is enhanced by a menacing voice-acting performance by legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson. He remains the ultimate GTA bad guy.
9. Ken Rosenberg
Ken Rosenberg is a lying, gutless, two-faced, backstabbing cokehead who doesn’t have an ounce of morality. So, he’s basically exactly who you’d want for a lawyer if you were a drug runner in Vice City. Ken, heavily based on Sean Penn’s character in the classic film Carlito’s Way, is one of Vice City’s most beloved characters. He never shuts up, and we love him for it – especially when he’s threatening the cops with lawsuits if they don’t let Tommy Vercetti out of jail immediately. Despite his shady ways, Ken is one of the few people Tommy can rely on in Vice City, and he helps Tommy win out in the end when faced with long odds and a serious betrayal by a supposed friend. An older and more desperate Rosenberg appears as part of CJ’s saga in San Andreas, but we’ll always prefer to remember him as the brash a-hole with a balding white-guy afro and terrible suit in Vice City.
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Niko shows that GTA can be a fun and mature game.
Nice, nice. I wish the wu-tang crew were in one of these when odb was still alive. They would truly bring the ruckus and such.
Well, at least I can agree with your top pick, even if the two below it make me wonder.
I just never really liked CJ like that. I loved San Andreas but CJ always seemed like a "yes man". I mean he threw in a couple "wtf's" but for the most part he just always did what he was told. I guess because of the leverage people had on him but he just never seemed to want to take control of things like Niko in IV did. Niko cut Vlad out of the picture early and in my personal opinion killing Vlad in IV had more consequences than killing Tenpenny and his partners in San Andreas would have because honestly those would have been just three more cops dead in the streats of LA.
oh~ nice article!
Trevor will soon be on this list, I guarantee it.
[Spelling police report: John Marsten is spelled John Marston.]
I would like to have seen Jacob in this list.
Lazlow is awesome, he's probably in more GTA games than any other character yet the player rarely interacts with him. It's great how a person can entertain America (I know what I said) as a voice of the generation across so many decades.
I might be wrong about this, but I don't think Niko was a child soldier.
Where's Jacob? He should have been in this list, he was an awesome character.
What a terrible list. Hurr durr better grafx=bettr charactur. Tommy Vercetti is the single greatest GTA character ever made. I love Niko just as much as the next guy, but Vercetti is just a boss.
So.... Packie should replace Brucie. I liked Packie!!!!
I feel the guy from GTA 3 should of got first, because basically, your playing you, but at the same time, your playing a italian guy that wants revenge on the person that betrayed him. The whole Mafia role was very cool. No other GTA game out there was as dark as GTA 3, I feel it gave sort of a feeling in its time that no one will forget, the feeling of a crazy, dark, and sinister game of vengence, and while its constantly raining; I will never forget the days of GTA 3, and especially the classic music while being chased by the cops. I want to make my own anime, and give it a feeling just like how GTA 3 did, at the time of this writing, I am listening to the theme music in the beginning credits.
Tommy Vercetti is my #1 Ray Liotta killed it!! Ken Rosenberg so amazing, Melvin "Big Smoke" Harris & Packie are amongst my favorite.
Tommy Vercetti's my favourite video game character ever