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Top 5 Most Hardcore Protagonists

These kids are so hard they're stone. But who are they?

Life inside a video game is hard. From farm simulators like Stardew Valley to platformers like Mario, every protagonist has it rough eking out a living in their virtual world.

But then there are protagonists who go above and beyond. They'll use any means necessary to turn their situation around, often pushing the boundaries of morality, sanity, and even what it means to be a hero. But none of those things matter to them, as they've got a job to do.

So today we're going to talk about some of the most stone-cold, ruthless, and hardcore protagonists video games have to offer. Let's get serious.

5. Mega Man (Mega Man - NES)

You may not really think about it while you're playing, but Mega Man is a pretty ruthless guy. Sure, he's a cute, blue do-gooder, but how exactly is he doing good? By murdering his own kind in cold blood. Or oil, or whatever. Throughout the Mega Man series, you charge forth and slay Robot Master after Robot Master, always pressing on, never hesitating.

In the games, it's made pretty clear that the Robot Masters have something resembling free will and emotions, but Mega Man just takes them out without a second thought. Sure, they're evil, but in Mega Man and Mega Man 9, the Robot Masters are actually a part of his family. And he doesn't seem bothered even a little bit. I guess justice runs deeper than blood. Hardcore, man.

4. Kisuke (Muramasa: The Demon Blade - Wii, Vita)

Kisuke, one of the two main characters of Muramasa, is a ninja so he's hardcore by default. But, in addition to being a ninja, he does a lot of other stuff that makes him worthy of the title.

When he's fatally wounded defending the woman he loves, he fuses his soul with that of the spirit of a swordsman to learn the terrifyingly powerful "Oboros Style." When he's forced to kill his former ninja allies to make an escape, he wears their skulls around his waist as a memorial to them.

When his aforementioned girlfriend needs a distraction so that she can enact her plan, he proceeds to take down an entire castle. And, when she (possibly) dies, and the god-like Buddha refuses to resurrect her, Kisuke just straight up tells Buddha off like he's a child. That's pretty hardcore.

3. The Lone Wanderer (Fallout Series - Xbox 360/One, PS3/4, PC)

The Lone Wanderer is actually just from Fallout 3, but for this list they're going to sub in for every Fallout player character.

Anyway, the wastelands of the Fallout series are not for the weak-willed. Almost everything is out to kill you, and even when you're at your strongest, there's a good chance that they actually will.

To survive, you're gonna have to scrape together weapons out of junk, master combat, fight giant mutants, and take lots and lots of drugs -- don't do drugs guys, you might turn into a Ghoul. Many of these drugs are injected with a needle -- the Wanderer's willingness to inject themselves using Stimpacks is reason enough to include the them, I think.

But, regardless, survival in a nuclear deathtrap isn't child's play. It's hardcore.

2. Raiden (Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance - PS3, Xbox 360, PC) 

Raiden's reappearance in Metal Gear Solid 4 was amazing. He'd gotten so cool since Sons of Liberty -- he's a cyborg now! But, in Rising, he's even cyborg-ier? The only part of him that's still flesh is his head. Raiden goes into bullet-time to chop other cyborgs' limbs off, and once he's fully dismembered them, he rips out their spines and crushes them to absorb their nanomachines. 

It's kind of crazy, actually. Even crazier is the fact that his wife was apparently okay with all those upgrades. Actually, maybe she's the hardcore one here.

1.Sasha (Severed - Wii U, 3DS)

Sasha, the hero of Severed, might actually be too hardcore for this list. When her family is kidnapped and taken to a nightmare dimension full of demons, Sasha -- bloodied, barefoot, and missing an entire arm -- immediately goes after them.

Wielding a living sword and wearing armor made from parts of vanquished boss monsters, Sasha traverses this terrifying world using only the skills she learned from her mother.

Not only that but, like Raiden, Sasha can enter bullet-time to cut her enemies to pieces and later use their parts for upgrades. I mean, just imagine that. A warrior from another dimension, clad in horrifying armor, carrying a knapsack full of monster limbs on her back. And, she eats their hearts and brains to boost her stats.

If that's not hardcore, then I don't even know what that word even means anymore.

Which characters do you think are super hardcore? Let us know in the comments!

Published Oct. 26th 2016

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