Five Best and Worst Escort-ees from Video Games

Five Best & Worst Escort-ees in Games

It’s a fact that gaming is more fun with friends.  Sharing the action magnifies the resultant sense of accomplishment when you and your buddy are completely in sync, pulling each other through to a common goal adds a whole new dimension of drama to the experience.  So much so in fact, that it’s common for game developers to try to replicate that experience with an AI controlled ally.  The result is what is commonly called an ‘escort mission,’ a simple concept that sends chills down the spine of all gamers, because when it works, it’s great, but when it fails, it fails hard.

The Top Five

 

Alyx Vance

Game: Half-Life 2

Bio: The only daughter of Gordon Freeman’s ally Dr. Eli Vance, Alyx grew up on the alien infested Earth world that Gordon and her father’s actions created at the start of the original Half-Life.  Raised at the technological heart of the resistance, Alyx is a natural soldier and scientist, a great complement to Gordon’s mission.

Game over if KO’d?: Yes

What makes him/her/it great:  Cutting edge ally-AI makes Alyx an asset anytime she is available for assistance.  When she is not doing typical escort activities like opening doors or fixing machines, her use of weapons and her durability makes you glad she’s along for the ride.

 

Ashley Graham

Game: Resident Evil 4

Bio: The First Daughter of the United States, Ashley’s kidnapping sends Raccoon City survivor Leon S. Kennedy to Spain to uncover a plot to use an ancient parasite to conquer the world.  

Game over if KO’d?: Yes

What makes him/her/it great: While her panicked screams can get on player’s nerves, Ashley’s initially fragile health can be upgraded. She can be accurately directed to move out of the way or even hide if necessary and if you have to point your gun in her direction, she’ll quickly duck out of the line of fire.  Best of all, for plot reasons, she’s completely absent from your side for about half the game.

 

Miles "Tails" Prower

Game: Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Bio: Tails, an anthropomorphic fox and best friend to franchise star Sonic, uses his twin tails as a helicopter to keep up with his speedy friend.

Game over if KO’d?: No

What makes him/her/it great:  In his appearances in the classic Sonic games, Tails is not only effectively immortal (any damage he incurs renders him intangible for a few seconds), but he can be controlled by a second player and attack, giving you an useful weapon when Sonic has lost all his rings.

 

Martin Septim

Game: Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Bio: The illegitimate son of the Emperor Uriel Septim VII came of age ignorant of the fact that he would soon be the last of an ancient bloodline that maintained the barrier between his world and the hell dimension known as Oblivion

Game over if KO’d?: No

What makes him/her/it great:  Thanks to his status as a plot necessary character, Martin is tagged by the game’s code as practically invulnerable.  When he is traveling with you, he’ll behave as any allied NPC does by aiding you in combat, but if he is struck down, he will pop back up to his feet as soon as the danger has passed.  This, combined with Oblivion’s free roaming game play, means that instead of taking him on the short jaunt to a safe hiding place, you can experience the entire game’s non-critical path with an immortal meat-shield by your side.

 

Weighted Companion Cube

Game: Portal

Bio: The product of Valve Software’s research into the psychology of isolation, the Weighted Companion Cube is presented to the player as an ally by the Artificial Intelligence system GLaDOS to complete one of its test chambers.

Game over if KO’d?: No

What makes him/her/it great: The Weighted Companion Cube is the perfect subject of an escort mission: it doesn’t talk (or if it does, you shouldn’t listen to it), it doesn’t get in the way, it stays where you tell it to and when you are done, it  is completely disposable.  Every escort mission should end the way the Weighted Companion Cube’s does.

The Bottom Five

Yorda

Game: Ico

Bio: The daughter of an evil Queen, Yorda was doomed to have her life stolen by her mother’s evil magic, at least until Ico stumbled upon her.

Game over if KO’d?: Yes

What makes him/her/it terrible:  As part of the ‘game experience’ created by the developers, Yorda innate helplessness serves to forge the bond between her and Ico.  Though her inability to defend herself or even manage simple physical tasks without Ico’s help tempts frustrated gamers into letting evil win, if just this one time.

The Survivors

Game: Dead Rising

Bio:  There are dozens of people trapped in the in a Willamette, Colorado shopping mall of all ages, genders, sizes and physical conditions.

Game over if KO’d?: No

What makes him/her/it terrible:  The Dead Rising survivors seem to possess an un-death wish, charging headlong into danger, running into walls, failing to follow the simple commands you are able to give them and even turning on you after you’ve saved their lives.  It’s a wonder they survived as long as they did.

Automated Warhead Transport

Game: Blast Corps

Bio: A truck carrying two nuclear missiles is leaking radiation and barreling on an automated course towards Armageddon.  It can’t be stopped, and any jolt will set the warheads off.  It’s up to the Blast Corps to clear a safe path by demolishing anything in its path.

Game over if KO’d?: Yes

What makes him/her/it terrible: The Automated Warhead Transport, like death itself, is inexorable.  It keeps up its steady pace no matter how frantically you work to prevent it from coming into contact with the slightest bump, oftentimes using tools poorly designed for that purpose.  You will see it explode, laying waste to the world around you, again and again.

Baby Mario

Game: Yoshi’s Island

Bio:  He’s the infant form of legendary gaming hero Mario.

Game over if KO’d?: Yes

What makes him/her/it terrible:  Yoshi, and by extension the player, is vehemently encouraged to retrieve the infant Mario when he is jarred from the dinosaur’s back by the sound of him crying.  It is not the normally annoying sound of a baby crying. This is an ear-shattering wail that is crosses the border of punishment for poor game play and into an argument for putting Mario up for adoption.

Little Sisters

Game: Bioshock

Bio: In the underwater dystopia of Rapture, (mostly) orphaned young girls are genetically modified and brainwashed into retrieving a bio-reactive fluid from corpses strewn around the streets after a civil war.

Game over if KO’d?: Yes

What makes him/her/it terrible:  In a lamentable sequence late in the game, the player is tasked  with keeping at least one of the Sisters alive. Normally this would not be a problem, as througout the game they are nigh-invulnerable thanks to their generic tampering.  Unfortunately, the Sisters involved in this plot critical sequence are not so lucky, and keeping them alive as they blithely skip around while bullets, lighting bolts and explosions fill the narrow passageways becomes a controller-flinging chore.  

Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments section! Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments section!

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