Top 7 Asskicking Assassins In Gaming

Top 7 Asskicking Assassins In Gaming

What qualifies as an Assassin in gaming these days anyway?

A target is a requirement, clearly. But what else?

Is it attitude? the shyness of public speaking? a tendency to wear face-concealing clothing?

Let’s have a look at what it’s not:

It’s not the death toll:

Any space marine with a boomstick and a plasma rifle could fill the top spot, in that case, some of gaming’s best assassins have a relatively small body count of only a few dozen or so.

It’s not the clothes:

Many of today’s gaming protagonists dress like a ninja, move like a ninja, and wave fancy sharp things like a ninja….but they’re hardly the most stealthy or tidy of killers. In fact, the majority of gaming ninjas leave a river of blood in their wake and generally exit a building with an explosion on their tail.

It’s not purely stealth:

Some survival horror games demand that you remain unseen or avoid your enemies to survive. Abe from “Abe’s Oddysee” would surely die when confronted with any of that game's enemies. Are these guys assassins? In most cases (aside from the obvious lack of the main target), they’re not.

No, the best gaming assassins have something special.

They have style.

The ability to approach unseen, blend in with the environment (in most cases), and then.. with a flash… dispatch a foe with grace and speed. Returning to the anonymity of the crowd or darkness, all within a fleeting moment.


7: Agent 47 – Hitman

Top 7 Asskicking Assassins In Gaming

Cold and calculated, Agent 47 was engineered in a lab to be an Assassin.

He’s the epitome of a shady agency spook and not exactly the deepest character on this list, but personality is not why he’s here.

The beauty in a Hitman-style kill is all in the elaborate setup, like a game of mouse-trap where each level is a set of small steps leading to one massive pay-off.

Disguise, poison, bugging, or old-fashioned strangulation – 47 has myriad ways to approach any level. This opened-ended approach is one of the reasons the fifth installment is highly anticipated and maybe here by Christmas if we’re lucky.


6: Travis Touchdown – No More Heroes

Top 7 Asskicking Assassins In Gaming

Travis is an odd one.

He’s both an ultimate loser and an ultimate badass.

Travis Touchdown lives in a crappy apartment in a crappy town with his cat, his otaku t-shirts, and his anime paraphernalia.

He also has a lightsaber, a bike that is like Kaneda’s in Akria with a rocket attached to it and he has a penchant for random swearing and bizarre insults.

His only goal in life is to be the best Assassin out there, by murdering his way to the top….or at least We think that became his goal after he ran out of money to buy computer games.

Yes, there is a reason Travis became an instant hit.

Travis IS the guy who loves games like this. Travis shares many traits with a lot of us gamers, and the fact that the game regularly parodies modern gaming culture and Star Wars only added to the instant recognition a lot of gamers found with the world presented here.

Killing your way to the top is a bloody and hilarious affair, the duels with your main targets, in particular, are usually the bizarre stars of the show


5: Rikimaru – Tenchu

Top 7 Asskicking Assassins In Gaming

The only actual ninja on this list, Rikimaru is unique in the ninja-gaming world in that he actually does what it says on the tin.

He sticks to the shadows, stalks his prey from the rooftops, and performs brutal execution-style kills in silence.

I could have just as easily picked his faster counterpart Ayame, but for me, Rikimaru represents the quintessential ninja assassin.

Armed with a sword, throwing stars, and one of the first 3d uses of snapping to cover – 

Rikimaru faced enemies that were (in fairness) thick as a plank and would eat anything you placed on the ground in front of them.

(“is that RICE on the ground?….YUM!”)

Good thing stealth gameplay has come a long way since then, a shame that the Tenchu series hasn’t.

The series has really fallen by the wayside this generation;

Tenchu Z was derivative and repetitive, there was a Wii entry that we personally enjoyed but we long for the day when they’ll bring a modernized and updated Tenchu to the table.


4: Ezio Auditore – Assassin’s Creed

Top 7 Asskicking Assassins In Gaming

Tough to decide between Ezio and Altair, but ultimately a game character is only as good as the world built around him. In this case, the world of Italy in the 1400s was much more fully realized, and Ezio’s character was much more fleshed out than Altair’s.

Hiding in plain sight is the draw here. Being able to blend with the crowd while tracking an opponent (or losing a tail) was a joy in the first game and has been greatly refined since combined with the climb-anywhere gameplay it’s easy to feel invincible at times.

It’s also massively helpful that Ezio himself is a phenomenally skilled swordsman with a range of cool tools at his disposal. Anyone who’s mastered the games (fairly simple) combat system knows what I’m talking about, the fluid motion of Ezio’s counters: snapping bones and slitting throats as the bodies pile up around him.


3: The Wanderer – Shadow of the Colossus

Top 7 Asskicking Assassins In Gaming

Wait, this guy is an assassin?

Yes, he certainly is. Though obviously not in the traditional sense, and not really by clear choice either.

If anything, this entry represents the assassin in its purest form in gaming.

There is literally nothing else to do in this game but carry out your appointed task of slaying the 16 lumbering colossi dotted around this expansive landscape.

The entirety of the gameplay revolves around first tracking, then located, and finally outsmarting each of these opponents one after the other.

Nothing but you and the hunt.

The motivations for the assassination are intentionally vague and open-ended (resurrect a girl, but who?… a lover, a family member, a stranger?.. does The Wanderer even know?, and at what cost?) and the Colossi themselves are quite opaque.

There’s nothing to indicate there is anything intrinsically evil about your targets.
In fact several of them won't even attack you unless you attack first, suggesting they may even be benevolent beings.

No mini-games, no minions or enemies at all other than your prey.

The “less is more” style of TeamICO’s worlds leaves a definite impact on those who experience them.


2: Sam Fisher – Splinter Cell

Top 7 Asskicking Assassins In Gaming

Third Echelon’s super-spy, each game's plot plays out like a big summer action movie: the _____ (insert any terrorist group here) have a nuke and they’ll launch it at America in 5 seconds unless Sam can somehow infiltrate their base while cracking witty one-liners.

One of the reasons Sam is so memorable is undoubted that he is voiced by Micheal Ironside, who gives Sam a rough, experienced sounding edge.

While he has a no-nonsense and cold attitude, he’s not a heartless killer, and many key plot points reflect this.

What makes these games so enjoyable?

It’s a combination of compelling action-movie stakes, cool gadgets and weapons, and sticking to the shadows as much as possible.

Sam can apprehend any enemy to use as a human shield in a firefight, but more interestingly he can often interrogate his foe.

Some of the dialogue often goes like this:

Sam Fisher: [after putting the exec. in a chokehold] Nice suit. Italian?
Displace Executive: Grrgghhh… yes! Andretti!
Sam Fisher: What?
Displace Executive: Andretti; famous designer: men’s suits and tuxedos.
Sam Fisher: I’m not a tuxedo kind of guy.
Displace Executive: Grrrrgghhhh… are you a spy?
Sam Fisher: Yeah, the real kind, not the tuxedo kind. I’m the kind that makes you bleed all over your Andretti unless you give me information!
Displace Executive: Oh, God! 


1: Solid Snake – Metal Gear Solid

Top 7 Asskicking Assassins In Gaming

Snake’s been around for quite a while now, but he made his mainstream debut as a super-assassin in 1998′s Metal Gear Solid on the Sony Playstation.

With a signature grave voice, gaming's most comprehensive arsenal of weapons and toys, and an insane array of possible ways to approach a conflict – Snake has been a perennial favorite amongst gamers for many great reasons.

He’s the ultimate gaming badass but is also shown to be all too human on many occasions. There are few black and white issues in a modern Metal Gear game, and the tales are among the most complex and winding in gaming.

Of course, all of these complexities take place in a world that can sometimes be so bizarre and esoteric that it alienates newcomers who haven’t followed the “Solid” saga for the past decade and more.

This is a shame for them, for it’s hard to imagine that gamers wouldn’t fall in love with the series if they’d only give it the time it deserves.

The games are in regular danger of disappearing up their own ass with the number of in-jokes, but the initiated (me) still love it.

One moment the tale feels realistic, and the plot feels plausible with the incredible amount of detail that was poured into each story… the next, you’re combating giant mechs and enemies that can read your mind.

It’s the perfect combination of pulp-fiction and spy-thriller.

Snake himself, is almost the embodiment of the gaming action guy. Grizzled, rough, and has come a long way since his inception.

Chain-smoking his way through the series, our introduction to the “Solid” saga includes snake boasting about sneaking his cigarettes into the mission, in his stomach.

In a later mission, his colleagues have had pain-dulling chips in their bodies deactivated when one of them screams after she breaks her ankle from a fall; all Snake can do is excitedly exclaim: “Makes you feel alive doesn’t it!!”.

Yes, this guy relishes combat. He was raised on the battlefield and deserves the top spot on this list.