Behind many successful video game heroes are an essential but over-looked support system: the sidekick. Yes, these unsung associates accompany a video game’s hero, lending a helping hand while not getting the full shine of the spotlight. Now is their time to take center stage as we look at the four best video game sidekicks ever.
Game: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
System: PC /Xbox
HK-47’s attitude and demeanor can be best summed up by the following quote: “I’m 98% percent sure this miniature organic meatbag wants you to help find his fellow miniature organic meatbags. The other 2 percent is that he is just looking for trouble and needs to be blasted, but that might be wishful thinking from my part.” HK-47, aside from having some of the best dialogue lines in the entire game, is a fanatically loyal reprogrammed assassin droid who is also skilled in combat, making him a valuable part of your team. His starkly amoral outlook offers a sardonic and refreshing breath of air into what had been a simplistic good or evil setting.
Game: Super Mario World
System: Super Nintendo
When the Super Mario series made the technological leap from 8-bit to 16-bit in Super Mario World, it brought another innovation: an honest to goodness sidekick under the player’s control. Yoshi was a dinosaur that could eat enemies, gain new abilities like spreading fireballs, flight, or earth shaking stomps. Most minions could be eaten for points and coins. Riding Yoshi would give you an extra hit; instead of losing your power-up, you’d simply be knocked off Yoshi and have to hop back on. Yoshi would even make the ultimate sacrifice to help out Mario: if you needed an extra boost, you press the jump button twice to spring off the back of Yoshi while the poor dinosaur plummeted straight down.
Game: Fallout 3
Even in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that is Fallout 3, a dog is truly man’s best friend. Dogmeat is quite hardy– you find him guarding his territory near a minefield. If you manage to befriend Dogmeat, he will be extremely loyal and extremely useful. He’ll leap into the the fray to attack enemies, sniff out hidden items, distract enemies in fights, fetch you needed supplies and even function as a sort of four-legged security alarm. However, Dogmeat is loyal to the very end… and if Dogmeat dies, unlike other RPGs, he can’t be brought back to life. Ever.
Game: Sonic The Hedgehog 2
System: Sega Genesis
With the introduction of Tails, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 became a true two player game. If you plugged a second controller in, you could play along with someone playing as Sonic. Aside from allowing simultaneous play, Tails was also useful if you just left him up to be computer controlled. He could defeat enemies, collect stray rings, and was invincible. If he bumped into a spike trap or was otherwise defeated when computer controlled, he’d spring back to life a few moments later. Now that’s staying power!