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.