Sometimes determining the Hero of a game is simple – the overwhelmingly good character that fights for what is right. Other times, there isn’t a true Hero, but instead a messy Anti-Hero. Then there’s the Villain that, in context of the story, may be good – for now. Especially when you factor in any revenge plots.
Depending on your interpretation – you may just feel the protagonist is the Hero by default – there are a lot of odd and peculiar Heroes lurking in the game world, especially the undead realm. From the righteous to the morally dubious, at the end of the game the Hero gets their way in a satisfying conclusion, at least until the sequel.
12 Jack Skellington (Nightmare Before Christmas 2: Oogie’s Revenge)
The direct sequel to the 1993 animated movie, Nightmare Before Christmas 2: Oogie's Revenge is an action-adventure hack and slash released in 2004. Jack Skellington maintains his movie persona of the somewhat grumpy but totally lovable Good Guy, searching for meaning and purpose in life.
You play as Jack, also known as the Pumpkin King, defending Halloween Town from Oogie and Dr. Finkelstein who tried to reinvent the town in Jack’s absence. The skeletal Hero also prevents Oogie from murdering Santa Claus, cementing his status as True Good.
11 Stubbs The Zombie (Rebel Without A Pulse)
A 2005 release, you play as Stubbs the Zombie, aiming to overtake the town and create an army of the undead. Your goal is to cause as much damage with chaos and havoc as possible, all while accumulating more and more zombie followers.
If you find this game now, it’s heavily dated, but full of sharp dystopian humor. Stubbs is an honest Bad Guy by definition, but in the context of Rebel Without A Pulse, his chaotic ways are actually restoring some level of leadership and order, making him a Hero to the zombies in his ranks.
10 Cervantes De Leon (Soulcalibur Series)
First appearing in the 1995 game Soul Edge, Cervantes tends to fight with either his Longsword or his Pistol Sword. A Spanish pirate in life, he carries on his pirate ways in his ghost life. He’s driven by greed and his inflated ego.
Though Cervantes is the true blue Villain for most of the Soulcalibur series, he does evolve into an Anti-Hero. His actions remain dubious, but he seeks the powers that control his bloodlust in death, looking to end them and return to his pre-death state of general callousness and debauchery.
9 Demitri Maximoff (Capcom’s Darkstalkers Series)
Demitri’s first appearance in the Darkstalkers games was in 1994. Despite being a villainous vampire similar to Dracula, he’s a playable protagonist of the game. He has superhuman strength and highly skilled fighting abilities, though he does have the classic sunlight aversion of all vampires in modern lore.
What makes him a Hero is that he is determined to elevate the status of vampires over humans. You play as him as a Vampire Savior, so while he’s a traditional bad guy for humans, he’s the good guy for his kind.
8 Mileena (Mortal Kombat Series)
Mileena from Mortal Kombat is similar to Demitri Maximoff in that she’s truly one of the baddies by morality standards, though depending on your gameplay and what world of Mortal Kombat you’re in, she’s one of the good ones.
A mutant clone of her ‘twin sister’ Kitana, Mileena was made to be the Princess of the Netherrealm. She was to seek and destroy Kitana and all the good she stood for among the worlds. Those who follow Shao Khan and his militia see Mileena as a true Hero and representative of how the world should be.
7 Kain (Legacy of Kain)
Another vampire, Kain from Legacy of Kain isn’t on one specific side. An Anti-Hero in the start, he shifts as the game progresses to the antagonist. He’s been classified by some as a ‘protagonist villain’ because of his ambiguity and murky morale.
Game developers intentionally made Kain this way because they wanted you to make your decisions as the protagonist while everyone sees you as evil. In this sense, some of Kain’s morality is placed in your hands as the player.
6 Scorpion (Mortal Kombat Series)
Scorpion takes on the role of Bad Guy, Good Guy, and everything in between throughout his appearances in the Mortal Kombat series, dating all the way back to the original in 1992. A flaming skeletal undead being, he’s the evil to Sub-Zero’s righteous in the first few games.
As the series continues, however, he becomes a Hero of sorts, as Bi-Han (Sub-Zero) dies at the hands of Evil Scorpion and becomes the Villain, leading Scorpion to align himself with the young Sub-Zero to correct the imbalance created by Bi-Han. Ultimately, his status on the morality scale depends on where Bi-Han’s Sub-Zero stands.
5 Noob Saibot (Mortal Kombat Series)
Mortal Kombat's Noob Saibot is an honorary mention because he is a True Evil character, but for multiple reasons fans tend to see him as a morally ambiguous character with potential to be fully redeemed. He’s the resurrection of Bi-Han after Scorpion killed him, whose motivation is to rule all of Netherrealm.
Despite his selfishness, Noob fans point out that he does kill the mainstream villains of Mortal Kombat – like Goro. He frequently attacks and plots against the likes of Shao Khan, and in the side story game Mythologies he helps Baraka fight for good – both unlikely for the task.
4 Auron (Final Fantasy 10)
Pure Good in life and death, Final Fantasy 10's Auron was a warrior monk of Yeron, as well as the Guardian of Summoner Lord Braska. He was also Titus' caretaker and mentor. In death, he becomes a mentor for all the people he encounters, offering guidance and reassurance on their paths.
He emits a fatherly aura with his strict but witty and caring demeanor. He promotes doing the right thing above all, and fights against all things Evil and Sin.
3 Ashen One (Dark Souls 3)
Nameless other than ‘Ashen One’, he’s the playable protagonist from Dark Souls 3 who rose from the grave to defeat all members of the Lords of Cinder. While some fans think he was actually a member of the Lords, the Ashen One always fought against them, never with them. In life, he wanted to end the Undead Curse plaguing the world, but ended up dying in The Fire, turning him to ash.
A knight in life, his afterlife is guided by those principles with the strength of everyone who has ever connected to The Fire, giving him the ability to continue his war against the Lords of Cinder and the Undead Curse.
2 Ethan Winters (Resident Evil Series)
Introduced as a playable character to the series in 2017 with Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Ethan is a mutant being able to withstand unbearable injuries that would kill a human in minutes. It’s questionable that he’s even able to be killed – at least conventionally – because of the high tolerance he has for severe damage.
His driving force is the desire to save his wife and children in the Resident Evil world, which is filled with Undead, other mutants, and general hazards throughout.
1 Undead John Marston (Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare)
In Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare, when John Marston was killed by Edgar Ross, in a different area Seth is stealing the Ancient Mask. This mask causes the curse that reanimates all the dead – including the recently murdered John.
Unlike the rest of the Undead, however, John was buried with Holy Water, and that allowed him to come back with his soul intact. Having had a True Good soul in life, Undead John Marston sets out to help the living stay alive instead of help the Undead overtake the remaining population.
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