Ten Of The Most Iconic Outfits In Video Games
As the old adage absolutely does not go, clothes maketh the game character. The way a character is garbed can make or break their personality as well as their appearance. Deciding how a character is uniquely clad is like a PR move in itself, presenting the character as the sum of their parts.
Inspired by the release of Bayonetta 2 and the titular character’s one-of-a-kind outfits, we’ve compiled a list of outfits and accessories that truly define these game series and their characters. With the help of the items and getups found on this list, these games will be indelibly imprinted on gamers’ minds for generations to come.
[Editor’s note: This list was compiled and written by Jason Dafnis, Sam Stewart, and Matthew Stolpe.]
Link's Hat and Tunic – The Legend of Zelda
Although Miyamoto admits Link’s green outfit was inspired by Peter Pan, we think the Hero of Time has gotten much more mileage out of the look. Whether Link starts the game in his trademark outfit or the player has to earn it, you know Ganon shakes in his boots when he sees that green clad warrior coming his way.
The Bandana – Metal Gear
Worn by several of the Metal Gear series’ protagonists, the bandana holds different meanings to each of Naked Snake/Big Boss, Solid Snake, and Raiden. It also adopts a supernatural effect in some of the games, giving the protagonist infinite ammo capabilities. While Big Boss relinquished his bandana at the end of Peace Walker, we have yet to discover whether or not it’ll make a stealth appearance in The Phantom Pain.
Mario's Hat and Suspenders – Super Mario Bros.
From his debut on the NES all the way up until his appearance in Super Mario 3D World Mario, Mario has never changed his signature look. While he has experimented with other outfits over the course of his career (Dr. Mario, Frog Suit, Flying Squirrel) he always comes back to his tried and true overalls, gloves, and famous hat.
The Assassins’ Hoods – Assassin’s Creed
These eagle head-shaped hoods serve the dual purpose of concealing the identity of the Assassins who wear them and making them look badass in the process. Being the Assassin Order’s tailor must not be an enviable position, what with its sheer number of members, but the end result is worth it. This iconic hood strikes fear into the hearts of the Assassin’s targets , which any uniform of a culty group of justice-seeking hitmen should do. But with such standardized outfits, one does have to wonder why Templars can never pick Assassins out of a crowd.
Big Daddy's Diving Suit – BioShock
You never forget the first time you see a Big Daddy up close in BioShock. As the hulking brute burrows through a splicer with his drill, you can’t help but notice his haunting figure. Rust speckles his metal frame and crimson lights shine out from his helmet. His drill whirs at a rate that belies its heft. What monstrosity lies inside this decrepit suit? While the BioShock series never reveals the true appearance of the Big Daddies, their diving suits are enough to leave a lasting impression… and maybe a few nightmares.
On the next page: ninjas, soldiers, and spies
Ryu's Red Headband and Karate Gi – Street Fighter
Every fighting game series has its trademark hero, but few are as widely recognized as Ryu. In fact his look is so iconic that many other fighting games of the time created their own Ryu clones, but none can match the fame of the Hadouken-slinging superstar of Street Fighter.
Scorpion/Sub Zero's Ninja Garb and Face Masks – Mortal Kombat
When Mortal Kombat first released the developers might have believed their martial artist character Liu Kang would end up being the face of their franchise. Little did they know that the ninjas Scorpion and Sub-Zero would end up being the most beloved of all their fighters. Eventually two ninjas became ten, each wearing a different color, but Scorpion and Sub-Zero continued to be the favorites. Although their designs have diverged to make each ninja more unique, they still both sport their trademark colors and face masks.
Commander Shepard’s N7 Armor – Mass Effect
Commander Shepard can wear various suits of armor in the Mass Effect series none quite as memorable as the N7 armor. The armor’s smooth metal plating gives Shepard an almost nimble appearance on the battlefield, and the slick red and white stripe down its right arm might as well be the call sign of a natural born leader. This is the uniform of a person who is destined to save the galaxy and wants to look good doing it.
Master Chief’s Helmet - Halo
The cold, intimidating visage of Master Chief’s MJOLNIR lets John-117 dominate alien hordes without fear of cranial damage. More importantly, its influence extends beyond the screen: obscuring John’s face, the helmet allows players to more fully assume the role of a Spartan, making it a strength of both the armor and of the character.
Sam Fisher’s Multi-Vision Goggles - Splinter Cell
Sam Fisher’s goggles may not be the most logical piece of equipment – its three bright bulbs are somehow invisible to enemies, even in pitch blackness – but its design is rooted in real-life technology. It serves different functions based on the title it appears in (including night/thermal/sonar vision and EMF detection), always helping Fisher turn the tide of combat in his favor. As an added bonus, its activation sound effect is among the most recognizable in all of stealth gaming.