By James Hawkins in Lists!
Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 10:00 am
5. Chris Redfield & Jill Valentine
Resident Evil Series
The Resident Evil games have produced many great teams, but none as dynamic as Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. Their relationship was pretty groundbreaking for video game narratives, as their perspectives were very different, but their experiences were wrapped around a common story. They took the lead in the first Resident Evil game, and their plot thread is an important part of the larger Resident Evil lore.
The master of unlocking, Jill Valentine represents the more intellectual protagonist -- the kind that survives on a sharp mind, a thrifty expenditure of resources, and sheer cleverness. And her cerebral approach contrasts perfectly Chris Redfield's machismo. He is a battering ram; the kind of hero that faces obstacles with a hot round -- the kind that forges his own path. The two of them together make a force that cannot be slowed by even the most sophisticated undead forces.
4. Donkey Kong & Diddy Kong
Donkey Kong Series
Donkey and Diddy have been known to roll together, though they don't really have a complex emotional relationship. They are just two persistent-ass apes who want to collect some bananas, stomp some rats, and run rampant over the Kreglings. If they can occupy a barrel or two, so be it.
But, as simple as their relationship is, it defined a whole generation of video game heroes. The Donkey Kong games served their time like a low-down Super Mario, playing poster-boy and moving products. Fortunately, though, Donkey and Diddy were far more than set-pieces -- they starred in a dozen first-rate games and some spin-offs. And, in the Nintendo world, that can take you all sorts of places.
3. Gordon Freeman & Alyx Vance
The stars of Half-Life 2 have had a profound impact on the video game culture. Gordon has never really said a word to Alyx, but they have formed a bond that ranks with the greatest in all of gaming history. That relationship includes some of the most tangible sexual tension ever witnessed on a screen.
These two single-handedly execute a powerful offensive against the Combine -- one that expands far beyond any scope possible without their leadership. Gordon's toughness is mollified by Alyx's ingenuity, and Alyx's uncertainty is fortified by Gordon's sureness. For those that have played the game, knowing the integral part that these two play is understanding the rebellion at its fullest -- and that rebellion is a monumental one.
2. Cloud Strife & Tifa Lockhart
Final Fantasy VII
Not only are these two characters extremely attractive, they have some personality to boot. And they happen to be fighting one of the greatest villains of all time, Sephiroth, which makes them all the more interesting.
Cloud is a pretty unenthusiastic dude sent into a situation that requires extreme enthusiasm. Tifa is his opposite -- a passionate, spirited individual who can kick ass and keep an eye on those around her. These two battle the most definite of all evil, and it is in their friendship that good is able to succeed. Not a rare feat in video games, but one that is never exemplified in such a compelling way.
1. Mario & Luigi
Super Mario Bros. Series
What other pair could possibly claim this spot? Mario & Luigi have defined a hell of a lot more than just duos -- they've become the quintessential team for all of video gaming. And considering what gaming has produced over the years, that is a monumental achievement.
Mario & Luigi have appeared in games as friends, enemies and as independent protagonists, yet their impact on the gaming culture has made them inseparable. They are kings in the gaming royalty, and have both benefited from being part of the lore surrounding the Super Mario Bros. games. Because, despite the popularity of those early titles, it really has been the massive cultural sweep that has solidified them at the top of the list.
Honorable Mentions: Jak & Daxter, Snake & Raiden, Banjo & Kazooie, Soap MacTavish & John Price, Ken & Ryu