Sidekicks are an important part of every game. They’re often the unsung heroes as we celebrate the hero who slays the villain, foils the plot, saves the world, and gets the girl. We’ve discussed the sidekicks that bring us to rage in the past…
Today we take a look at some of our favourite junior partners in the world of gaming.
Kazooie – (Banjo Kazooie)
My favorite sidekick in game thus far would have to honestly be Kazooie from the Banjo-Kazooie series. I already have immense love for these games and she makes the game even more entertaining.
Let’s start with the obvious reasons. She helps Banjo even as the big bear carries her around in his backpack. Honestly, some of the most useful and best moves in their arsenal belong to Kazooie. Banjo wouldn’t be able to fly, fire eggs or charge enemies with Kazooie’s beak if she wasn’t strapped to his back.
Aside from the practical pluses she offers, my other favorite part of her is her sense of humor. She makes wise cracks and sarcastic remarks to many of the games that are actually funny and even made me laugh out loud.
My favorites are her exchanges with Bottles, the duos mole mentor in the first game. I can’t really remember why the two would go at it, but listen to Kazooie bust Bottles chops was always a treat.
Dogmeat – (Fallout 3)
When it comes to sidekicks in games, they should be judged on their usefulness in gameplay and how likable they are in general. Fortunately, Dogmeat has both of those traits in spades.
The first time I played Fallout 3, I found Dogmeat when I was about level 22 or so as he savaged a bunch of thugs that had just murdered his owner. Soon after, Dogmeat became my loyal companion as I wondered the wastelands in search of adventure.
It’s important to note Dogmeat’s health, defence and strength is scaled to your own level. So by the time I found him at level 22, it seemed he had fur made from a combined alloy of Mithryl and Adamanitium since I never saw his health drop below 2/3 despite being shot at point blank range in the face with a triple-shot plasma rifle by multiple foes. Not only was he essentially invulnerable, but he easily murdered Death Claws in moments with his teeth and claws, no doubt blessed by the Gods of Asgard.
But of course, what makes him the perfect sidekick (besides being a merciless killing mission hell bent on protecting me with his life) is the fact he is a dog. An adorable pup from an indistinct breed that made me wish I could feed him treats and tell him he was a good boy.
Tails – (Sonic Series)
The two-tailed fox with a degree in engineering has been Sonic’s faithful friend since Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and his role in games has expanded since then. Outside of the obvious advantages that he offers from a mechanical perspective (flight, invincible ally in the earlier games), Tails has special significance.
Being a mutant fox born with two tails, he was mistreated in his youth. I seem to remember early stories mention he was abandoned by his mother but I can’t find anything to support that now. It was amazing to see how much hardship was endured by this cute little fur ball and that it was present in a game like Sonic.
Tails’ story has always resonated very strongly with me. Sonic was the first game I ever played and that only heightens my favour for Tails. Besides, he’s also adorable.
The Weighted Companion Cube – (Portal)
I, along with so many other portal players, killed my weighted companion cube. Something which I regret to this day. As a companion, what better companion could there be than the weighted companion cube? Look at it, it loves you. But it’s entirely possible that in your hunt for cake (There is no cake – Ed), you killed it.
For those who don’t know Portal’s weighted companion cube, I can only describe it as the single most useful sidekick I have ever had in a game. It’s the inanimate carbon road 2.0 and it makes itself useful in all the most peculiar ways in all the most peculiar scenarios. 10/10 for useful.
I’m marginally close to seeking therapy for this but also, despite never talking throughout the entire game, because it’s an inanimate cube, it somehow developed a personality.
Plus, as I’ve mentioned before, it loves you.
Lydia – (Skyrim)
I realised very quickly I don’t really like sidekicks. They’re needy, they get in your way, they force external human(ish) contact upon you.
If my character is so bad ass why do I need some creepy green hatted younger brother following me around, trying to sneak peeks of the princess and I during equally weird post abduction celebration.
But if I had to choose a favourite, I would go with Lydia from Skyrim.
Early adventures across the frozen Nordic tundra can be brutal (as long as you’re not playing on Adept like a pussy) and Lydia’s assistance right after your first foray with a dragon is invaluable. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty, will wear and carry anything you want (now THAT sounds creepy) and shares my dislike for dogs and elves.
The best part is that when you’re sick of her cramping your style (possibly because some buxom Breton is offering her own sidekick services… you disgust me) you can tell her to head on back to wherever you call home. If you’ve decided to force her into marriage (I’m starting to see issues with this game) she’ll even cook you delicious meals and give you pocket money.
Better yet, if you’ve had enough of her, send her to her death. Hell, murder her yourself if that’s how you swing. There’s no punishing restart requirement, no judgement. That’s life in Tamriel baby.
You’ll even get rewarded for her death with a few hundred septims left to you in her Will. Which really makes you wonder about how much you were paying her.
Shame on you.
Luigi – (Mario Bros)
I have to say I have a soft spot for the much maligned and forgettable plumber. I’m not even sure that Luigi is my favourite sidekick, I just feel sorry for him. So much so, that every single time I chose him, the slight differences in performance made me wish I had opted for the more famous titular brother.
It just bugged me- Why not Luigi? To this day, I’m busting out the emulator and trying to make him work. But I can’t, not to the point of a full play through with him without loads more frustration. That said, he seemed to have a bit of extra bulk in early Mariokart incarnations, which seemed to aide me when I took on a good friend of mine, who had always favoured Bowser, and took the tact of barging all and sundry out of his way in order to win the race, thus Luigi seemed to have more resistance than Mario, or (god forbid you chose) Toad.
So I can’t say he was useless in that context, but he just never seemed to quite cut the mustard in many other places, as I’m sure many of you may also attest. This having been said, my ten cents sure doesn’t sound like a lauding applause for the taller green guy, but it is out of so much frustration and failure that he sticks out as my favourite gaming sidekick.
So frustratingly inadequate- but entirely usable for the better gamers than I (Have I mentioned I’m actually a terrible gamer?), Luigi set the stage for sidekicks for the modern age- he was always there, if you dared take on an entirely new approach to the game.
*Honourable mention to Diddy Kong for being the first truly useful sidekick I had.
Tatl – (The Legend Of Zelda Majora’s Mask)
My favourite video game sidekick is Tatl from The Legend Of Zelda Majora’s Mask. Tatl is Link’s fairy companion who helps him travel through the land of Termina, she offers the same helpful advice as Navi but with the sassy attitude of an annoyed older sister.
Tatl gives Link tips for fighting enemies and completing dungeons but has her own agenda. Tatl hopes by travelling with Link that she will eventually be reunited with her brother Tael although she does end up caring for and respecting Link by the end of their adventure together.
Did your favourite sidekick make the list? Who is the best sidekick? Tell us in the comments below.