Top Ten Silent Protagonists
10. Isaac Clarke
Game: Dead Space
Isaac Clarke’s journey across space should be a straightforward mission, but from the moment he steps aboard the floating spacecraft it’s non-stop for the put-upon engineer. An endless and thankless series of repairs await, not to mention the blood-curdling Necromorphs stalking the ship’s walkways. ‘Fix this tram, sort out that antenna, protect the ship from asteroids, eradicate this poison’ – you’d expect Isaac to break his silence, but no. He keeps his composure, never once opening his mouth, not even to complain. That is until the generic pretty-boy revealed himself in the sequel.
9. Samus Aran
Game: Metroid Series
Samus Aran may have stepped out of her armour to reveal herself as a female,but she’s yet to unveil her voice. Like Master Chief, Samus prefers the confines of her Power Suit, hiding behind its dangerous facade and allowing her weapons to do the talking. This makes the isolation of her environments feel more oppressive – out on the edges of the galaxy, completely alone, with no one to come to your aid. It’s a nice design choice that, since her first adventure on NES, has served to make Samus’s surroundings some of the most atmospheric ever explored.
Game: Chrono Trigger
The interesting thing about Crono is that when people are told he barely utters a word during the game’s 20 or so hours, they’re often shocked. Such is the care put into the characterisation of those around him, it’s easy to forget the lead character himself tends to stay quiet. Like Link, the other characters act as though Crono has spoken, but we never get to hear his utterances, which is fine. The quality of character – Marle, Lucca, Robo, Frog, Magus – is enough to make anyone forget that the person they’re actually playing keeps his lips sealed.
Game: Sonic The Hedgehog
We remember a simpler time. A time when two-dimensional platforming was all the rage and anthropomorphised hedgehogs kept their mouths well and truly shut. Then something went horribly wrong. Along the way, someone, somewhere, decided that the blue erinaceid should open his mouth. Oh how we long for the days when the speedy blur of blue spikes did nothing but run, jump, and collect rings. Now we have to put up with a hedgehog who seems to have jumped right out of MTV – an annoying little brat who we would rather see and not hear.
Game: Grand Theft Auto III
Grand Theft Auto III’s Claude is one of the only characters on this list who could actually be considered to have a physical disability. Many of the characters in the game refer to him as ‘mute’, such as CJ in San Andreas, where a younger Claude makes a cameo appearance at a racing event. Perhaps he simply chooses not to interact with the various low-life scum that inhabit the hopelessly immoral streets of Liberty City, or maybe he really cannot speak. Either way, the fact is Claude refuses to open his mouth. This is something that many consider a detriment to the game – a game that’s part of a series now famous for its character development through the likes of Grand Theft Auto IV’s Niko Bellic.