Top Ten Unforgettable Undead Protagonists in Video Gaming History

Jeremy Smith


Top Ten Unforgettable Undead Protagonists in Video Gaming History

Blurring the line between life and death, video games have long introduced us to unforgettable characters that mesmerize and intrigue us. One of the most fascinating types of protagonists is the undead, characters who have somehow transcended the boundary of mortality to live (or unlive) again. More than simple reanimated corpses, these characters often possess intriguing backstories, unique abilities, and complex motivations, which significantly enhance the overall gaming experience. Let's embark on a journey through the annals of video game history to discover the ten best undead player characters.

1. The Nameless One - Planescape: Torment

In the mystical realms of Dungeons & Dragons, Planescape: Torment's Nameless One is a memorable figure. This immortal protagonist, despite bearing the wounds of thousands of years, rises again and again after each defeat. His immortality is a key element of both gameplay and storyline, with his constant resurrection leading him on a journey of self-discovery as he pieces together the fragments of his forgotten past.

2. The Chosen Undead - Dark Souls

Dark Souls takes the concept of undeath and weaves it into an intricate tapestry of narrative and gameplay. As the Chosen Undead, players defy the odds, surviving the terrors of Lordran and avoiding the fate of going hollow, which has befallen their less fortunate counterparts. The Chosen Undead's relentless spirit and unyielding determination have made them a beacon of hope in the foreboding world of Dark Souls.

3. John Marston - Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

In a peculiar twist, John Marston, the protagonist of the Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare expansion, transforms from a living hero to an undead revenant. Upon his demise, Marston rises in a newfound state of undeath, a change that significantly alters the gameplay and narrative dynamic. Players are given the unique opportunity to traverse the open world as this iconic character in his undead form.

4. Gabriel Belmont - Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

From god-chosen warrior to the infamous vampire Dracula, Gabriel Belmont's transformation in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is nothing short of dramatic. Belmont's transition into undeath is a sympathetic one forced upon him by circumstances beyond his control. His descent into darkness, however, forms a compelling narrative arc that adds a layer of depth to his character.

5. Auron - Final Fantasy X

Auron in Final Fantasy X offers a unique twist on the undead protagonist, as an Unsent. In the world of Spira, the Unsent are souls who refuse to move on to the Farplane, choosing instead to linger in the mortal realm. Auron embodies this concept, staying true to his promise to protect Yuna despite his demise. His secret undead nature, revealed later in the game, is a powerful twist, adding depth to his character.

6. Dr. Jonathan Reid - Vampyr

Vampyr's protagonist, Dr. Jonathan Reid, is a complex figure. Reborn as a vampire, he grapples with his newfound bloodlust and the conflict it presents to his former life as a compassionate physician. This struggle between man and monster forms the core of Vampyr's narrative, with players having the freedom to shape Reid's moral journey.

7. Talion - Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

The partnership between the human soldier Talion and the elven wraith Celebrimbor is the heart of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. After being slain and subsequently reanimated as a wraith-like revenant, Talion uses his newfound powers to recruit an army of orcs, bringing an intriguing dynamic to the game's narrative and combat mechanics.

8. Scorpion - Mortal Kombat

Scorpion stands as one of Mortal Kombat's most iconic characters, renowned as a ninja and a zombie. While largely relying on his rope dart in battle, Scorpion's undead nature is intrinsic to his characterization. His quest for vengeance adds a poignant depth to his character, making him a fan-favorite in the Mortal Kombat franchise.

9. The Prisoner - Dead Cells

In Dead Cells, players control an amorphous mass known as the Prisoner, who possesses dead bodies to navigate through the game. Each run ends with the Prisoner's current body perishing, only to take control of another one. This novel concept, coupled with the unfolding narrative of the Prisoner's true identity, makes the game an engaging journey.

10. Ethan Winters - Resident Evil 7: Biohazard & Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil's Ethan Winters breaks the mold of the franchise's virus-infected zombies to become a genuine undead. After dying early on in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, he is reanimated by the Mold, granting him extraordinary resilience and regenerative abilities. The revelation of his undead nature towards the end of Resident Evil Village adds a dramatic twist to his character arc.

In conclusion, these undead protagonists have brought a unique depth and complexity to the world of video games. These characters, with their fascinating backstories and unique abilities, have not only enhanced the gaming experience but also enriched the narrative landscape. They remind us that even in the realm of the undead, there can be life, resilience, and a compelling story to tell.