In many ways an RPG can live and die on the likability of its cast of NPCs. One annoying party member can drag a player's entire gameplay experience into the muck. Sometimes, however, there's one character that is much cooler than the game they appeared in; a character that, frankly, deserves to be in a better game. So in a move in no way stolen from Japanator, I present my RPG character rescue project.
1. Auron from Final Fantasy X --> Planescape: Torment.
Auron is, hands down, the coolest thing that arose from the weird awkwardness that was the tenth Final Fantasy. Auron was a bad-ass, (sorta) undead swordsman amid a bunch of impractically-clad, underwater foosball-playing teenagers. The game's plot could have been vastly improved by having Auron as the main character, bitch-slapping the hell out of everyone else, saving the day and then screwing Lulu six ways from Sunday. A character that awesome deserve to be in a game as awesome as Planescape: Torment. A revenant swordsman would fit right in with the rest of the oddballs that made up the game's cast.
2. Minsc and Boo of Baldur's Gate I & II --> the Pokémon series.
I love the Pokémon games, but the characters are entirely forgettable. However, everyone who played the Baldur's Gate games remembers Minsc and Boo even twelve years after the game's release. And it's not as though they'd be out of place it a cock-fighter seizure monster match "Go for the eyes Boo!"
3. The Gundam X characters from Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden --> MS Saga: A New Dawn
This one is kind of a cop-out for using an cast of an anime that appeared in a game, rather than a game proper, but I'm playing MS Saga right now and I could not care less about the game's characters. The plot and setting of the game is essentially the same as Gundam X and would be much improved by that rise above the cliché cardboard cutouts that inhabit MS Saga. Also, Gundam X is really cool and should be in more video games.
4. Bard and Narrator from The Bard's Tale (2004) --> Any Dragon Quest game.
This one is an inversion of the premise of the article, using characters I like to improve a game I don't care for. Dragon Quest has become the definition of the cliché Japanese RPG, and what makes horrible clichés far more amusing? The MST3K treatment. Who better to do that than the pair who spent a whole game skewering the RPG tropes. I would consider trying a new Dragon Quest game if it featured Cary Elwes and Tony Jay arguing about how a slime carries coins.
5. Any characters from any game --> Diablo franchise.
I like the Diablo games. I really do. The gameplay is excellent, but nothing else from the game is that memorable. Any character that I care about would make a great game that much better. Clicking on demons until they die is fun, but clicking on demons until they die even cooler if the character you're playing is more than just my avatar for clicking demons and the reason for my demon-clicking is because I care about the NPC not just for the sake of the game.
6. Prinnies from the Digaea franchise --> every game ever.
Absolutely every game could be improved by the presence of exploding demon penguins. It's just some sort of universal truth at this point. How much cooler would Final Fantasy be if the chocobos were replaced by Prinnies? Way cooler, dood. How about Jade Empire? Prinny transformation style! Knife an arrogant kung fu guy, then explode in the face of a Jade Golem. It would be totally sweet dood!
This is starting to sound less like an argument for cool characters in better games, and more like fan fiction. So I'll leave you with question of what characters do you need rescuing and what game would you like to see adopt them?