The most bad ass commando on the list, the Doom Guy says nothing and carries the biggest stick. A man of vicious action, the Doom Guy represents the best a gaming commando can offer. His penchant for combat is immortalized by his fluidity in the field and his ease of use with a manner of weaponry. His OG space marine power armor is perfectly complemented by his classic double-barrelled shotgun. The legacy he leaves behind is one littered with demon corpses and bullet casings. From the advent of gaming to the contemporary age, the Doom Guy has always been there, blasting his way through the hordes of hell and reminding us all what it feels like to be the ultimate bad ass.
Even though Solid Snake is technically the protagonist of only two of the five 3D Metal Gear games, more if you count PSP titles, he is far and away the most badass. Big Boss is to moody to be cool and also he’s a villain and Raiden is only cool as an NPC and in a non-canon sequel. Snake fights and defeats some of the most memorable and iconic bosses in gaming history, in Metal Gear Solid at least. The boss fights in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots on the other hand were more interesting in terms of gameplay than truly memorable, but Snake still completes his mission. Who else could shoot down a Hind-D in a blizzard with just a few Stinger missiles?
4. Emile-A239 (Halo)
Saying a Spartan is a badass is like saying water is wet. Each one contains all the necessary components of being a true commando, but there are some that stand out above the rest. Spartan Emile-A239 is one of those Spartans. A member of Noble Team during the fall of Reach, his bravery and badassery is well accounted during his final days. Sporting a shotgun, skull-faced helmet and huge combat knife, Emile is someone you want on your side during a fight. He has a hardened outlook, moreso than most Spartans, and favors an aggressive approach to combat in the aim of breaking the enemy’s will to fight. Even with death knocking on his door, Emile still answers with the intent to kill. The Masterchief may have won our hearts as gaming’s most iconic commando, but Emile-A239 stands out as Halo’s most bad ass.
3. Samus Aran (Metroid)
Some commandos are defined by their skills in the field. Some are known by their armor or loadout, and some simply thanks to their machismo. Samus Aran, Nintendo’s interstellar bounty hunter, is known for all of those and more. Her puffy shoulder pads and arm—occupying laser cannon easily differentiate her from other space commandos, but her wide range of abilities are what make her so effective at taking down space pirates and parasitic space brains (not to mention iron-clad space dinosaurs). From a multi-functional primary weapon, to grappling hooks and augmented abilities, to being able to turn into a tiny little ball- Samus Aran proves that being one of gaming’s few female icons is no hindrance when it comes to being an absolute bad ass.
2. Commander Shepard (Mass Effect)
There is no denial that Shepard is a badass. Whether playing female or male, renegade or paragon- Shepard gets it done. Already before the start of the first game Shepard had become an accomplished soldier and a leader in the Alliance forces. Shepard graduated from the N7 program, a clear sign that they are at the highest level in special forces. They also became the first human gain the rank of Spectre, making them a recognized authority throughout the Milky Way not just among the human race. While the titles and labels all point out Shepard’s abilities, we know it is more than that. Leading a diverse group of aliens to combat threats the world tried to ignore. And succeed in taking out an ancient race that threatened to purge all intelligent life in the galaxy.
When the day needs saving… When the forces of evil have amassed against you, and all hope seems lost… When you need to kill, like, a million bad guys and stop the end of the world, you need… A COMMANDO. Commandos are the ultimate soldier; an unstoppable military force that looks damn good doing it. We’ve gone through a slew of action titles to curate the most kickass ass-kickers we could find. Here are our Top 10 Most Badass Gaming Commandos.
10. Nathan “Rad” Spencer (Bionic Commando)
He’s buff, he’s tough, he’s… even got a robot arm! Originally released in 1987, the platformer was the first game to sport a grappling hook in the form of Spencer’s robotic arm. With multiple sequels and iterations down the line, the Bionic Commando has proven himself over the years to be one of gaming’s oldest and most iconic bad asses, and damn does he rock the hell out of that robot arm.
9. Adam Jensen (Deus Ex)
Like others on this list Jensen, was already well accomplished and an all around force to be reconed with well before he was introduced in Human Revolution. Even when he was not augmented, he worked primarily alone to combat the terror attack on Serif Industries. The augmentation that came as results of his fatal wounds only made him more sturdy and capable to get revenge on those who attacked him in the first place. He doesn’t work well with others, but he can when needed. With ability to not only take down enemies in physical combat, but talk them out of rash decisions.
8. Cayde-6 (Destiny)
One of the things that defines a good commando is the ability to operate alone without support from other soldiers. In the world of Destiny the hunters are the lone wolves among the Guardians of the last human city, and among the hunters Cayde-6 is the most reluctant of leaders. In fact playing through Destiny sometimes even felt lit the slightly worse sequel to a game about Cayde-6; one where they took the cool main characters and made them all NPCs. I’m looking at you, here, Borderlands 2. Ultimately, Cayde-6 is the Lando Calrissian of the Destiny universe; incredibly capable at what he does but just smooth enough to be ever so slightly slimey.
7. Bill Rizer & Lance Bean (Contra)
Bill Rizer and Lance Bean are by far the the most acrobatic commandos on this list. There is no obstacle, no enemy, no barrier that these combat gymnasts can’t effortlessly somersault over. Who else but Lance and Bill would go in battle in nothing more protective than tank tops and jeans. For those who haven’t played the original Contra from back in the 1980s, this was a time when players needed to imbue game characters with the personality that the games didn’t. For example, in my household growing up Bill was known as a filthy thief because the person who hogged controller 1 was the kind of person who would steal lives when playing co-op, a mechanic the Contra series thankfully abandoned.
6. Soldier: 76 (Overwatch)
Delving into the story of Overwatch, Soldier: 76 was originally Jack Morrison. A man with a rural upbringing and the son of farmer, Jack was destined to more than the rolling hills of country life. Jack Morrison became the first official commander to the Overwatch task force. He was believed to have died in an explosion, but his body was never recovered from the wreckage. He soon became Soldier 76 and after gaining the Overwatch tech he needed we got the badass gun wielder we know and love today. Soldier 76 is a versatile character. His main weapon is a heavy pulse rifle that, as a bonus, can shoot rockets for greater damage. Then his biotic field can help in healing himself and his squadmates. Lastly, an ultimate that makes it damn near impossible to miss foes.