Ten Video Game Characters We Hate Playing As

by Jeff Marchiafava on Feb 03, 2012 at 06:02 AM

Video game characters aren't completely defined by their personalities and dialogue. Sometimes gameplay mechanics also shape our opinion of our favorite (or least favorite) protagonists. Lame gimmicks and bad controls can ruin even the coolest characters. Here are ten characters we started hating as soon as we picked up the controller.

Name: Subject Delta
Game: BioShock 2
Why We Hate Him: What's more fun than playing as one of the hulking, tank-like Big Daddies of the original BioShock? How about playing as a far wimpier version that can be taken down by a few pistol shots from the lamest splicer? Sounds like a horrible idea, right? But somehow that's the design decision 2K Marin went with: Take one of the most intimidating characters of modern video games, strip him of all his power, and...I dunno, add a multiplayer mode.


Name: Prince
Game: Prince of Persia (1989)
Why We Hate Him: The original Prince of Persia was a remarkable step forward in animation quality. A remarkable and excruciatingly slow step forward. Prince of Persia's animation-driven gameplay makes walking, jumping, and sword fighting feel like it's all taking place under water. And those are the only things you do in the game, other than dying from one-hit kill booby traps that are impossible to time. You'd think the prince would move a little faster when trying to jump crotch-first through those steel cutter traps.

Name: Michael Thorton
Game: Alpha Protocol
Why We Hate Him: Oh, Obsidian. Your spy/RPG hybrid was a game we were so looking forward to playing, but virtually everything about the "finished" product suffers from glaring flaws. Agent Michael Thorton is at the top of the list, but at least the developer delivered on its promise to allow the player to shape the protagonist's personality. Through various dialogue options, you can be a smarmy d*****bag, an aggressive d*****bag, a no-nonsense, professional d*****bag, or just a run-of-the-mill d*****bag. No matter how you play your character, Alpha Protocol's stealth game (which is far more entertaining than going the action route) is unintentionally comical thanks to a sneaking animation that makes Thorton look like an arthritic old lady.


Name: Nathan "Rad" Spencer
Game: Bionic Commando (2009)
Why We Hate Him: You'd think that having a bionic grappling hook arm would be a hard thing to screw up, but Nathan "Rad" Spencer manages to suck all the fun out of swinging around a ruined city by dying at the drop of a hat. Fire, water, and radiation all kill Spencer in a matter of seconds, as do even the wimpiest of enemies. That doesn't stop Spencer from dispensing groan-worthy taunts at his foes, but the ultimate joke is on him: His stupid wife got turned into a robot arm – his robot arm! Have fun explaining that one to the in-laws...

Name: Player Two
Game: Lego Indiana Jones
Why We Hate Him: It doesn't really matter who the second player in Lego Indiana Jones chooses – all that matters is it's not Indiana Jones. Lego Indiana Jones has 82 playable characters, 81 of which aren't the character we want to play as. Actually, we would totally play as Han Solo, but we're afraid that having two Harrison Fords in the same level would cause a rip in the space-time continuum.


Name: Bryce Boltzmann
Game: NeverDead
Why We Hate Him: A video game character that should have been aborted at the first design meeting, Bryce Boltzmann's main gameplay gimmick is his ability to have all of his limbs blown off. I could only stomach watching Matt Helgeson play this game for ten minutes, nine of which involved his limbless body flopping around on the floor like a fish out of water (the tenth minute was Matt swearing at a loading screen). As a consolation prize, NeverDead may make our list of top 10 games we enjoy watching Matt Helgeson suffer through.


Name: "Jack"
Game: Mindjack
Why We Hate Him: I can't even remember what the real name of the protagonist of Mindjack is, but Jack is good enough. This guy has the awesome ability to jump out of his own body and take control of enemy agents, robots, and cybernetic gorillas. The only problem is that moving around in ghost form is painfully sluggish, and requires you to incapacitate – but not kill – your enemy beforehand. Even worse, once you leave your body the AI starts controlling Jack, walking him straight into enemy fire without a care in the world. Ultimately, all you need to know about Mindjack is that it makes mind-controlling cybernetic gorillas not fun, which is an unforgivable offense no matter how you look at it.


Name: Jack Slate
Game: Dead to Rights: Retribution
Why We Hate Him: With a penchant for slow-motion headshots and violent finishers, Jack Slate isn't the worst video game protagonist we've ever seen. But there's no denying that his success in Dead to Rights: Retribution is inextricably tied to his canine companion. Slate's inability to take more than a few shots during combat would lead to a lot more game over screens if he didn't have Shadow to flank enemies, retrieve ammo, and pee on generators. That's right; in one stealth-oriented level, Shadow pees on generators to disable the lights in the enemy's compound. That and Shadow's ability to bite the throats and crotches of his hapless foes make him a lot more fun to play as than Slate, which lands the wise-cracking cop on our list.

Name: Superman
Game: Any Game Starring Superman
Why We Hate Him: Over the years a multitude of developers have exhibited a knack for taking one of the most iconic and powerful super heroes of all time and turning him into a complete loser. Whether you're flying through rings in the kryptonite fog-laden Metropolis of Superman 64 or fighting a tornado in Superman Returns, every modern rendition of the Man of Steel has sh** the bed. Do all of us fans a favor, DC: Give Rocksteady a boatload of money to set aside Batman for awhile and create a Superman game worthy of the IP.


Name: Any Character
Game: Resident Evil Series
Why We Hate Him: So we might not actually hate playing as Resident Evil's protagonists, but you can't put together a feature about characters that suffer from flawed gameplay without mentioning Capcom's seminal survival horror series. There you are, in the middle of a zombie outbreak, surrounded by danger, and your character rotates slower than a mall security camera. No matter which character you're playing as, they can't figure out a skill as basic as moving and shooting at the same time? Resident Evil's old school mechanics have always made the series more suspenseful than other survival horror titles, but with skill deficiencies like these, it's hard to believe any of the cast members would last more than a few minutes in a real zombie outbreak. 

Did we forget a character that was tainted by bad controls or unbalanced gameplay? Share your pick in the comments below!