Top 10 Computer Game NPCs

Written by Joe Martin

July 18, 2008 // 7:10 a.m.

Tags: #best-ever #npc #top-10

Two – Jeanette Voerman

Featured in: Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines

Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines had a lot of problems, not least of which was the unwieldy name and double-helping of bugs included when the game shipped. Sales were predictably disappointing, which was a shame considering that the game was later patched into shape.

If the original release had one saving grace though then it was the title’s iconic character, Jeanette.

Though she appears to be nothing more than a slutty vampire-schoolgirl designed to lure pre-pubescents into dropping some pocket money, in-game Jeanette is a lot more complicated than that.

Introduced as the co-Baron of the Santa Monica region of the game, Jeanette has a firm grip on the province…and a number of other things too, though only a weak clasp on her sanity and morals.

Top 10 Computer Game NPCs Top 10 Computer Game Characters -Two, One
Jeanette Voerman is a woman worth enlarging this picture for...

As players jump through the hoops laid out by her and twin sister Theresa, there are a few hints dropped which indicate the depth of Jeanette’s insanity. When the big reveal does come in one of the earliest quests in the game, players are blindsided by some of the larger details. Let that be a lesson to all – spend too long focusing on the issue of vampires who were molested as children and you’ll be unprepared to harvest the maximum amount of XP.

It’d be disingenuous to say that Jeanette’s sexy, uh, presentation doesn’t add to the appeal and keep the vixen memorable, but that is just the surface of things and there is a chance here to really invest some time in exploring Jeanette’s character.

Defining Moment: When you first see her on the box and decide that, no matter what your girlfriend says, you will buy this game.

Don’t Mention: Anything she doesn’t want you to. Jeanette may look harmless but she’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing and will put you down if you step out of line.

One - Alyx Vance

Featured in: The Half-Life series

When in comes to the Half-Life series there are so many well-developed and memorable supporting characters that narrowing the choice down to just one person proved to be quite difficult.

Do we choose Kliener, the bumbling professer who’s inept headcrab first kicked things off in Half-Life 2, or Eli, who bears the distinction of being one of the few black and disabled characters in a computer game?

Introduced in Half-Life 2, Alyx may be a relative newcomer to the series when compared to the likes of the G-Man or Barney, but she’s more than made up for that lack of screen-time in recent games and as the series goes on she’s become more and more of an important figure in the franchise.

Top 10 Computer Game NPCs Top 10 Computer Game Characters -Two, One
Alyx's ability to remain believable is central to the on-going drama of the Half-Life series

What makes Alyx such a popular supporting character is how believable she manages to be even in the utterly sci-fi world of Half-Life. There may be aliens on every street corner and weird men in blue suits watching from every window, but through it all Alyx manages to keep the action grounded and on a relatable level, while also acting as comic relief and guide when needed.

The fact that Alyx is so realistic despite it all is as much an artistic achievement as a technological one. The brilliant animation of the character combines with the fabulous voice acting and witty script to create one of the most important characters in a computer game, ever.

The really great thing about Alyx though is the empathy she manages to bring to the game, acting as a contextual guide as to how the player should be feeling throughout the game. When Alyx is afraid, players know something bad is happening. When she jokes, we laugh and take a rest. And when she cries, we feel her pain.

Defining Moment: When Alyx first introduces you to D0G and the three of you play catch with the gravity gun. It’s a rare moment of relaxation and a great insight into Alyx’s world.

Don’t Mention: Stalker-rape. Or Garry’s Mod sex-poses.

Think you can make a better list? Fine! Let us know your thoughts in the forums!
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