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The DAGERS Hall of Fame is a running article that profiles prominent disabled characters in video games. Our goal is to create a complete database of these characters. In order to be inducted, characters must have an evident disability. Characters do not necessarily have to be protagonists, or even primary characters in the games. Any character with any noticeable disability deserves consideration, and we hope our readers will help us by using the comments to nominate their favorite characters to be inducted into our Hall of Fame. (Warning: This list may contain spoilers for the twists and endings in games.)
While not disabled in the traditional sense, the Helghast deserve a spot on this list because most of them are dependent on their iconic breathing masks to survive off their home planet. The harsh world of Helghan has forged a militaristic people with technology that is the terror of the galaxy. Throughout three extrasolar wars, the Helghast have sought to dominate the earth forces of the ISA and the UCN. In the first game, players are ISA soldiers tasked with an impossible mission: hold out against the overwhelming tide of Helghast soldiers seeking to conquer the plant Vekta. In the second game, players get a much closer look at this terrifying enemy as they go behind enemy lines to capture the Helghast military leader Scolar Visari. And in the direct sequel, Killzone 3, players must then fight their way off a planet whose whole population is bent on destroying them. Throughout all three games, the player comes to know the Helghast as a brutal enemy who lives by the creed, “Violence has its own economy. Therefore be thoughtful and precise in your investment.”
The leader of the Terran dominion forces during the second Zerg invasion, General Horace Warfield was an accomplished soldier who defected from the Terran confederacy to aid Mengsk in his rebellion. Credited with securing the psi-emitter, Warfield had a storied military career under Mengsk until he retired shortly before the second Zerg invasion. His retirement was short lived, however, as he was reinstated by the emperor to lead the Terran forces against the infamous Queen of Blades. During the climactic battle in StarCraft II Wings of Liberty, on planet Char, Warfield was shot through the arm by a hydralisk but managed to kill his attacker with his bare hands. After being saved by rebel Jim Raynor, Warfield retreated to have his arm amputated and replaced with a mechanical one. This arm game him gave him a distinctive tactical advantage, however, as it could convert between a hand and a cannon at will. After deinfesting Kerrigan at the battle of Char, Warfield parted ways with Raynor to finish purging the Zerg from their home world, only to be killed weeks later by an enraged Kerrigan seeking revenge for Raynor’s death.
Rahm Kota is one of the largely unknown heroes of the rebellion against the empire. Trained by Jedi Master Yoda, Kota served as a general in the clone wars, commanding a militia instead of clone troopers, which he believed inferior. As a result, Kota survived order 66 and fled with his militia, beginning a guerilla campaign against the empire. Hoping to draw the Dark Lord, Darth Vader, into direct confrontation, Kota assaulted the TIE fighter production facility orbiting Nar Shaddaa. However, instead of meeting the Dark Lord, Kota was forced to fight Vader’s secret apprentice. That battle, which he lost, left him blind and barely able to use the Force. After taking solace in drink, Rahm Kota was rescued by the man who had blinded him, who was now seeking to rebel against the Emperor. He went on to lead a storied career in the rebellion and is arguably one of the most influential disabled characters in the video games.
Born with Vrolik Syndrome, which causes extremely brittle bones, the pilot of the Normandy can barely walk. But what he lacks in mobility he makes up for in his piloting skill. Joker is singlehandedly responsible for flying the Normandy through some of the worst situations in the universe, whether it be chasing down Saren or taking on the reaper threat, Joker has been through all of it. On top of all this, Joker is an incredibly well-rounded and likable character. Voiced by Seth Green, Joker has a degree of likability not possessed by many characters in games. He is perhaps one of the most popular disabled characters in games, because he shows that a lack of mobility does not equal a lack of ability.
In Fallout: New Vegas, the House always wins. More correctly, Mr. House always wins. He’s the mastermind controlling the post-apocalyptic Strip, and because of his extreme old age he lives in a cryogenic pod with his brain wired into the various computers that control New Vegas. He is also the character that provides the player with one of the most interesting and tantalizing choices in an open world RPG. A player can either side with him and help him control New Vegas or side with his enemy and help overthrow him. Or the player can kill both parties and take control of the city themselves. No matter which one they choose, the player is left with the distinct impression that the man on the green TV screen is an all-controlling demigod that bends the world around him to his will.
Sagat is the Muay Thai fighter of the Street Fighter series. Born in poverty, he literally fought his way to the top becoming a national hero for his skill in martial arts. While defending his title of Emperor of Muay Thai, his left eye was badly damaged by the challenger Go Hibiki whom he subsequently killed in a fit of rage. Even though Sagat’s disfigurement has ruined his depth perception and peripheral vision, her has learned to adapt using monocular cues and is still one of the most formidable fighters in the Street Fighter pantheon.
Barret Wallace is the unintentional Mr. T homage in Final Fantasy VII. He is the leader of the eco-terrorist group Avalanche, whose mission is to prevent Shinra Electric Power Company from using Mako, thereby saving the planet Gaia. Despite his gruff exterior, Barret is an engaging character driven by his own personal demons and the love of his daughters. When he lost his right hand during the battle for his hometown, he replaced it with the gun arm, an attachment that allows him to use multiple weapons in place of his severed appendage. Different game designers have imagined the gun arm in different ways. Originally, he was designed to have a weapon in place of his right hand. In later versions, such as Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, he was shown having a mechanical hand that could morph into different weapons.
Nathan Spencer was one of the top Special Forces operatives in the Federal States of America—until he lost his arm to a grenade. While in the hospital he volunteered to be part of cybernetic research, and was given the codename Research And Development #1, or RAD #1. As a result of the experiment, he was given a fully functional bionic arm that has become the namesake for the Bionic Commando series games. In the games, Rad’s arm gives him a distinct advantage, allowing him to grapple and swing over large distances as well as increasing his punching power to an inhuman level. Even though he has a disability, the bionic arm that compensates for that disability turned Nathan Spencer from an exceptional soldier into a super-soldier.
Harman Smith is a very hard character to define. While he himself is wheelchair bound, he is a master assassin capable of manifesting seven different personalities, each with distinct characteristics and assassination styles. While most of these personas are able-bodied, the main controlling character Smith remains confined by an unexplained disability. But even in his wheelchair bound form, he is still not defenseless since the chair is fitted with an anti-matter rifle that can vaporize anyone who is foolish enough to go against Smith.
Nicknamed Jack the Ripper for his vicious fighting style, Raiden is one of the most beloved characters in the Metal Gear universe. As a child soldier, he was forced to undergo extensive cybernetic experimentation, leaving him dependent on his robotic body. But that does not mean he is weaker. Raiden is one of the most terrifying swordsmen in the Metal Gear universe. His skill with the sword is such that he was not only able to defeat the three mercenaries known as the Winds of Destruction, but he was also able to save the US from entering a costly war by killing a cybernetically enhanced senator bent on starting another world war. Throughout the events of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Raiden exhibits his skill with his electrified katana by using it to dissect enemies and remove their cybernetic electrolyte glands to replenish his health.
Adam Jensen was a SWAT sniper in the Detroit Police force. After quitting his job, he became security chief at Serif Industries, one of the world’s largest producers of augmentations. Because of experiments done on Jensen as a child, he is the only person in the world who can be augmented without becoming dependent on anti-rejection drugs. However, Jensen had no wish to become augmented, but was nearly fatally injured in a terrorist attack on Serif Industry headquarters, resulting in both his arms and legs being completely replaced with augmented hardware. But Jensen’s disability comes with some pretty sweet perks. His arms house massive blades which make him lethal in hand-to-hand combat, and his augmentations give him ten times the strength and senses of any normal man. However, throughout the Deus Ex series, Jensen must come to grips with the fact that he was augmented against his will, and he must get used to his new body.
Bao-Dur was a Republic soldier during the Mandalorian War, the events of which surround the Knights of the Old Republic series. A gifted engineer, Bao-Dur quickly rose through the ranks of the Republic Army. Bao-Dur’s greatest invention was the Mass Shadow Generator, which won the Battle of Malachor V at the cost of the lives of countless Republic troops. Realizing that he had been responsible for their deaths, these events haunted him for the rest of his life. At this battle, Bao-Dur also lost his arm, which was replaced with a high-tech prosthesis. Throughout KoTOR 2 he is a useful party member, with technical knowhow and a strong moral compass. He also is accompanied by a battle remote, a robotic orb which floats above his head and provides suppressing fire when needed. But the most impressive thing is that, in addition to being disabled, Bao-Dur is an incredibly well-rounded and sympathetic character.
Bentley the turtle is the mastermind behind Sly Cooper’s many heists. Confined to a wheelchair after being crushed in the jaws of the robot, Clock-la, Bentley continues to use his superior intellect to plan extremely elaborate heists, aimed at enriching the team and foiling their enemies. Bentley’s wheelchair is often depicted with special features such as rocket boosters and grappling hooks. In addition to planning heists, Bentley is also the one that provides Sly and Murray with up to date assessments and advice in each level. But his most important role, by far, is designing the gadgets and tools that help Sly in his many quests.
Garret is a master thief who wants only to get rich quick. However, fate has something much grander in store for him. He gets entangled with the trickster god who rips out one of Garret’s eyes to complete a device that would allow him to take over the world. Garret then has to move from simply acquiring wealth to saving the world as he spends the rest of the original Thief undoing the plans of the evil trickster. In later games, Garret would also have to contend with the fanatical Hammerites and machinists and their various plans to destroy the City. Although Garret has only one real eye, after the events of Thief: The Dark Project, he was given a mechanical eye that allows him to function normally. Garret’s skills include stealth, lock picking, and the ability to infiltrate even the most heavily defended castles. Throughout three games, Garret is thrown into one scenario after another where he must confront his past as a Keeper and save the inhabitants of the City.
The night elf sorcerer Illidan Stormrage was banished to a lightless prison for ten millennia. It wasn’t until the burning legion had invaded and brought Azeroth to its knees that Illidan’s brother agreed to release him. Literally blinded by his desire for more power, Illidan lost his eyes, which were replaced with magic orbs which allowed him to visually perceive every kind of magic. Armed with two crescent-shaped blades and an extremely powerful set of magical abilities, Illidan was portrayed as a sorcerer with no match. Unfortunately, his unquenchable thirst for power destroyed him when he used the Skull of Gul’dan instead of destroying it, thereby becoming one of the worst villains in the WarCraft universe.
This hero of the invasion of Aiur was a decorated Protoss soldier. Alongside Tassadar and Aldaris, Fenix is one of the most memorable characters in the original StarCraft games. Early in the war against the Zerg, Fenix was tasked with guarding a strategic outpost in the Protoss province of Antioch. He also helped destroy Zerg cerebrates in an attempt to break the Overmind’s hold over the swarm. However, during the second battle of Antioch, Fenix was ambushed by a hydralisk and nearly killed after his psionic blades malfunctioned. Barely withstanding the attacks, Fenix was forced to inhabit a mechanical dragoon in order to survive. But the mechanical apparatus was enough to allow Fenix to continue his life, and even join up with the forces of Jim Raynor during the evacuation of Aiur.
Sir Hammerlock is one of the most memorable characters in Borderlands 2. A hunter and parody of a Victorian adventurer, his most distinctive features are a ridiculous hat replete with bullymong fur, and a broken pair of glasses which function as a monocle. Most importantly, he has a robotic right eye, arm, and leg. The artificial limbs were acquired to replace limbs he lost during an encounter with a thresher named Old Slappy. Sir Hammerlock lives in Liarsberg, and is the first friendly human encountered in Borderlands 2. He originally agrees to repair Claptrap's eye, but is always looking for ways to torment the annoying little robot. His main function in Borderlands 2 is as a prolific quest giver and extremely comical character.
The faceless protagonist of Crysis 2, players are introduced to Alcatraz just before his submarine is destroyed, leaving him as the only known survivor. Prophet, the protagonist from the first Crysis game, gives Alcatraz his suit in order to save his life. Because of extensive injuries to his internal organs and spine, Alcatraz must keep the suit powered at all times. In return, he is given an advanced suite of tactical powers, including short-term cloak and the ability to become bulletproof for brief periods of time. Throughout the game, players learn more about the man they are playing and come to depend on the Nanosuit not only for life, but also for that much needed edge against the insidious alien Ceph.
Sargent Frank Woods was not only a veteran of the Korean War, he also saw action in some of the darkest covert ops of the Cold War. Tasked with assassinating Fidel Castro during the Bay of Pigs invasion, Woods was captured and thrown into the Soviet prison, Vorkuta, where he spent two years trying to survive while being brainwashed by Russian scientists. After escaping with the help of Viktor Reznov, Woods went on to lead a colorful career with the CIA, serving in Vietnam and South America. Woods received the wound which crippled him at the hands of Raul Menendez, who shot him in both knees and disabled him for life. Woods plays a prominent part in both Call of Duty: Black Ops games, and serves alongside the main character, Alex Mason, from the first game.
This former KGB agent is perhaps the most memorable boss in the Metal Gear Solid series and is probably a good candidate for the toughest boss of all time. Psycho Mantis has a background as a KGB special operative. His telekinetic powers and ability to read people’s minds made him one of the most memorable characters in the Metal Gear Series. But he is considered disabled because his body was extensively burned in a fire that he himself set as a boy to kill all the members of the town he grew up in. After the KGB, Mantis joined the FBI where he used his abilities to probe the minds of killers and find out the truth about their crimes. However he reached too deeply into one subject’s mind and adopted his disturbed personality. This turned Mantis into Psycho Mantis. Players will remember him as the boss who made them switch controller ports and who could read the memory cards on their original Playstations. But in the Metal Gear universe, he is likely one of the most feared operatives of all time.
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I'm not sure why you used a picture of Screaming Mantis instead of Psycho Mantis, but whatever.
Awesome article. Reading about Mr. House really brought back great memories from New Vegas.
Tons of amputees here. Thankfully, there are plenty of robot arms for everyone.
This is fantastic! As a person with a disability, it's great to see these characters being recognized. Kreia is one of my favorite characters, since she's essentially blind.
Great read and an even greater list of some awesome disable game characters. I didn't truly think about how hard games are on their characters.
Great list. This made me realize that there's a lot of amputees in games.
Excellent list, I never thought about those guys that way. Jensen in particular is a nice fit to this list.
Incredibly well put together list and really interesting read. I would like to point out that you have a picture of Screaming Mantis from Metal Gear Solid 4 where I think you want a picture of Psycho Mantis, they're similar looking to a point, but two totally different characters. Though technically Screaming Mantis, as well as the other members of the Beauty and the Beast Unit, could be on this list due to her/their PTSD and emotional instabilities.
Have you played the game, Deadly Premonition ?
I believe that you have not might be your admission .
So says Mr. Stewart .