When the Playstation 2 was first released, video games were primarily created for kids. For some of us, it’s what sparked our interest in exploring the worlds of Paris and futuristic cities. These games made for hours of noob video gamers playing with one another, shooting down bad guys and having a great time in general. If there’s anything we remember from the video games of the early 2000s, it’s definitely the characters themselves.
Below, I will go over the five most iconic characters I’ve encountered while my brother gamed on the Playstation 2. I’ve spent as much time watching him game as he’s played the video games himself, so I’ll keep my list limited to a solid five characters.
1. Ratchet and Clank (“Ratchet and Clank”)
Ratchet and Clank are the first Playstation video game characters that act as partners in crime. The two characters have opposing personalities that work well in every dangerous situation they find themselves in, as Ratchet has his streetwise attitude and Clank has his intelligence and a hovering system. Ratchet deploys an assortment of arsenals as weapons, from an Omniwrench to various gadgets and weapons from Gadgetron, MegaCorp and many more industries that emerge as the franchise goes on.
Ratchet is the last Lombax of his kind who works as an engineer on his home planet, and Veldin. Clank is a robot created by the Blarg, an alien race that intends to destroy planets in their respective galaxies. Clank approached Ratchet first and warned him of the dictator Alonzo Drek, the chairman of Drek industries and dictator of Blarg. Ratchet agrees to help him, and together they take on the villainous businessman and save the galaxy.
Since their debut, Ratchet and Clank have remained one of the most iconic video game character duos. They’re the reason I enjoy watching partners respond to each other and the situations they’re in, despite their different personalities
2. Crash Bandicoot (“Crash Bandicoot”)
Despite the mystery of what a bandicoot actually is, I was always intrigued by the silent, goofy creature. Crash was an experiment by the evil scientist Dr. Neo Cortex, who used the Evolvo-Ray to make Crash grow. Cortex tried to put Crash in the Cortex Vortex, despite Dr. Nirtus Brio’s warning that the machine wasn’t ready. As a result, the machine failed to vilify the bandicoot, and the crime-fighting Crash was born.
Along the way, Crash made a few friends who would become his lifelong allies. He wouldn’t have gotten as nearly far in his endeavors if it weren’t for his allies, Coco Bandicoot, Crash’s little sister and Aku Aku, a witch doctor spirit who lives in a floating mask.
I remember Crash’s silliness and vibrant universe the most. I never understood how an open, colorful world could have so many blood-thirsty enemies (I never understood why many games functioned like that). For more than a decade, Crash has been spinning, ducking and sliding into enemies, carefully avoiding their seemingly poisonous touch. With his goofy expressions and his trademark “Whoa!” it’s no wonder Crash was a PlayStation icon during the early 2000s
3. Sora (“Kingdom Hearts”)
“Kingdom Hearts” is a game series that immerses users in the realm of Disney and anime style animation. The game is a head scratcher, and while there is debate on what happened in the series so far, it’s clearly a popular franchise that keeps us playing. As long as Disney makes movies, “Kingdom Hearts” will continue making games.
With the world falling under a growing darkness, Sora is the light that emerges from Destiny Islands. What I enjoy most about Sora is his endearing optimism. No matter how many times the odds are against him, Sora always follows his heart and does what’s best for him. He always knows when to crack a smile and will save the world from danger without question. Sora makes fighting Nobodies and the Heartless look like an action-packed pastime.
4. Jak and Daxter (“Jak and Daxter”)
Similar to Ratchet and Clank, these video game characters embody the “strong, silent man” and his talkative sidekick dynamic. The franchise tells the story of a boy and his Ottsel as they help the citizens of their hometown, Sandover Village.
Jak and Daxter later travel to the future, where they separate from Samos Hagai and his daughter, Keira. I would tell you more, but that would contain far too many spoilers. The pair is especially memorable for how well they contrast one another. Their teamwork reminds me of a friendship where one friend always gets into trouble and the other wants to finish the task at hand.
5. Sly Cooper (“Sly Cooper”)
Sly Cooper is a raccoon who comes from generations of master thieves. He grew up learning about his legacy through his father, who told him how they kept all their moves and secrets in a book known as the “Thievius Raccoonus.” On the night Sly was about to inherit the book, a brutish group of criminals killed his parents, ransacked their home and tore important pages out of the “Thievius Raccoonus.” Sly was then sent to an orphanage where he met Bently, who became the “brains figure,” and Murray, who became the brawn and getaway driver. Despite his background, Sly carried out his family name.
“Sly Cooper,” while not as popular as the above franchises, is the one that I hold most closely to memory. I enjoy Sly Cooper himself, as he is snarky and enjoys stealing from other crooks. As he says in the first game, “Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus,” “There is no honor or fun in stealing from ordinary people.”
One thing I have always remembered from Sly is his relationships with the other characters. From his one-sided romance with Carmelita Fox (who has been trying to bust him for some time) to his unconditional respect for his teammates Bently and Murray, Sly cares for his friends and values them as special team members. Sly recognizes that they all have different talents and knows they’re helpful in thwarting the Cooper Gang’s thieving agenda.