5. Ellie (Left Behind DLC)
Ellie is easily one of the best characters in gaming, nevermind one of the best possible sidekicks you could ask for. And I don’t just mean that metaphorically; Ellie saved my ass in The Last of Us on multiple occasions. While technically not her own game, the Left Behind DLC provided gamers with an interesting and gripping prequel narrative explaining how her and her friend Riley became infected. Personally, I found the small time playing as Ellie in the standalone game to be one of the best and most intense parts, so being able to play as her again while also getting the chance to explore more of her backstory was a treat. Here’s to seeing how she’ll hold center stage again when The Last of Us: Part 2 drops in the (hopefully) near future.
4. Zero (Mega Man Zero)
There are few sidekicks that manage to become cooler than their protagonist. Zero is one of those sidekicks. Introduced in 1993 on the SNES classic Megaman X, his immediate role was to show players just how strong they could become. Players gravitated towards his kickass bravado and sleek character design, and not long after, the red-suited cyborg became the star of his own series: Megaman Zero. The series was lauded for its challenge and narrative, and successfully launched four games before running out of the steam. While not as legendary as the series that spawned it, the Megaman Zero series managed to at least stand on its own legs, and there’s no denying that Zero is one of the most badass sidekicks in gaming. And let’s not forget the hair.
3. Daxter (Daxter)
Quick-witted, smart-mouthed, a bit of a drinking problem and the ability to fit into tight spaces? Gotta be Daxter. Easily my own favorite sidekick in all of gaming, Daxter represents some of the best qualities one could ask for in a faithful companion. He says what’s on everyone’s mind when Jak is given yet another life-threatening task, he cracks jokes when you’re knee-deep in snarling monsters, and he charms the hell out of the lady Ottsels (see above). It was obvious he deserved his own game, and the PSP was the perfect platform for him to fit on. The game takes places during the two year gap that Jak is imprisoned by Baron Praxis, with Daxter finding work as a metalhead bug exterminator (random, but hey, an Ottsel’s gotta pay rent). With a focus on platforming, the game quickly became a must-own on Sony’s first handheld, and to no one’s surprise, Daxter easily held his own as the star of the show.
2. Luigi (Mario is Missing/Luigi’s Mansion)
Probably the most iconic sidekick in all of gaming, the tall awkward brother of everyone’s favorite platforming plumber had been seen in multiple Mario games before earning a game of his own. That is, after the 1992 release of Mario Is Missing, a geography-based game that offered slower, less challenging gameplay in favor of a more child-friendly and educational approach. It wasn’t until 2001 that Luigi would get to star in his own game again, this time with the Gamecube classic Luigi’s Mansion. Whoever thought that Luigi would make the perfect Ghostbuster? His timid and clumsy personality makes for great humor in a ghost-filled mansion, and the 3DS follow-up Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is just as fun as the original (albeit a little more repetitive). Luigi has stood the test of time as one of gaming’s most beloved sidekicks, and the character has managed to become almost as iconic as the Mario himself.