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25 Legendary Video Game Characters

The Guinness Book of World Records recently released a list of the biggest video game heroes, based on votes from 13,000 gamers. Here are the top results.

25 Video Game Legends

Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition released a list of the top 50 video game characters, based on feedback from a 13,000-person pool of gamers. Here are the first 25 entries on that list, along with a little background about each character.

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1. Mario (Donkey Kong, Nintendo, 1981)

It's no surprise that Nintendo's star took first place. From beating up Donkey Kong in 1981 to throwing down in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario has been a beloved character and hero for decades.

2. Link (The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo, 1986)

Link has defended the lands of Hyrule for years. Ever since he helped out Zelda in 1986 in The Legend of Zelda, Link has tirelessly fought to restore peace and order to a troubled world.

3. Master Chief (Halo: Combat Evolved, Microsoft, 2001)

Master Chief made his debut in Halo: Combat Evolved, where he fought his way off an alien ring floating in space while preventing the complete destruction of the human race.

4. Solid Snake (Metal Gear, Konami, 1987)

Snake is a spy, special-operations agent, and mercenary who time and again has to defeat the latest version of Metal Gear, a war machine armed with nuclear weapons.

5. Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII, Square, 1997)

My personal favorite, Cloud is a mercenary turned hero by a band of ecoterrorists struggling to save the planet from the clutches of the Shinra Corporation. He fights alongside his friends, as well as allies he picks up during the game, to vanquish the evil Sephiroth in a battle of epic proportions.

6. Pac-Man (Pac-Man, Namco, 1980)

Hugely popular since his debut in 1980, Pac-Man is a video game icon recognized around the world. Although he didn't do much aside from eating dots in his 1980 state, Pac-Man went on to have his own animated TV series, as well as a playable Google Doodle.

7. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider, Eidos 1996)

Lara Croft is a smart, athletic, and sexy archaeologist, a combination you don't see all that often. She raids tombs looking for treasure, and she fights rivals in a deadly battle over the rarest finds.

8. Gordon Freeman (Half-Life, Valve, 1998)

Known for wielding a crowbar, Gordon escaped from Black Mesa with little help from anyone, proving that against all odds a scientist can bludgeon and shoot his way out of an alien-infested research base.

9. Kratos (God of War, Sony, 2005)

In tales loosely based on Greek mythology, Kratos is a demigod who fights to avert disaster, but more often does so to meet his own selfish needs. Each subsequent game tells a little more about him and his relationship with his family and the gods.

10. Sonic (Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega, 1990)

Sonic, the world's fastest hedgehog, is an easygoing guy who combats oppression and defends freedom. Able to run faster than the speed of sound, Sonic is often impatient with slower things, but he remains loyal to his friends and woodland creatures.

11. Crash (Crash Bandicoot, Sony, 1996)

Crash is a genetically engineered bandicoot created by Doctor Cortex. Although he looks nothing like an actual bandicoot, Crash is a fearless fighter who loves danger, but he would prefer to laze around in the sun and rarely seeks out trouble.

12. 'Soap' MacTavish (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Activision, 2007)

Appearing in the hugely popular Modern Warfare series, Soap serves first as the team's sniper and demolition expert and then later in Modern Warfare 2 as captain and field commander.

13. Niko Bellic (Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar, 2008)

Niko is a cynical ex-military man who doesn't like to mess around, especially when it comes to his family and loved ones. As hardened as he may seem, he can't let go of his past, and this becomes his greatest weakness.

14. Samus Aran (Metroid, Nintendo, 1986)

Samus, with her cybernetic suit and Chozo-infused DNA, is known for accomplishing otherwise impossible missions as a bounty hunter and an occasional employee of the Galactic Federation.

15. Ratchet (Ratchet & Clank, Sony, 2002)

At the start of the series, Ratchet is a 15-year-old Lombax who's headstrong and not afraid to speak his mind. A mechanic lusting for adventure, he meets a fugitive robot named Clank, and his life beings to take off just as he wanted.

16. Nathan Drake (Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Sony, 2007)

A thrill seeker somewhat in the vein of Johnny Knoxville, Nathan is a strong-willed treasure hunter who likes to make quips and comments on the absurdity of the situations he finds himself in.

17. Captain Price (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Activision, 2007)

A member of the British SAS in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 1 and 2, Price often carries a modified M4A1. After being rescued from a Russian gulag in Modern Warfare 2, Price becomes a field commander of Task Force 141.

18. Kirby (Kirby’s Dream Land, Nintendo, 1992)

Kirby uses his unique abilities--which include sucking enemies into his mouth and spitting them out--to stop King Dedede and other evil forces from running rampant on the planet Pop Star. Starting in Kirby's Adventure, he has also been able to copy enemies' abilities by swallowing them.

19. Marcus Fenix (Gears of War, Microsoft, 2006)

Marcus Fenix, a sergeant in the COG Armed Forces, is a legendary war hero who earned the Embry Star (COG's highest military honor) in the Pendulum Wars. Fenix later helps to defeat the Locust Horde and rebuild civilization.

20. Pikachu (Pokemon Red/Green, Nintendo, 1996)

Pikachu isn't much of a hero in the video games, at least not to the degree he is in the anime series, where Pikachu is Ash Ketchum's most loyal Pokemon and friend. In Pokemon Yellow, however, Pikachu will follow you around outside his Poke Ball, just as in the TV show.

21. Yoshi (Super Mario World, Nintendo, 1990)

Alongside Mario, Yoshi is one of the heroes of Mushroom Kingdom, though he also helps to defend other lands from the evil villain Bowser. Yoshi can even speak the “human language” in certain games.

22. 'CJ' Johnson (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Rockstar, 2004)

Carl “CJ” Johnson, appearing in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, helps to restore his old gang to its former glory while working on some independent business ventures of his own. CJ also deals with other events such as the destruction of his neighborhood brought on by drugs and rival gangs.

23. Mega Man (Mega Man, Capcom, 1987)

Mega Man is a cyborg dedicated to fighting crime and supporting the coexistence of mankind and robots in society. He thwarted the plans of Dr. Wily and other villains throughout his series.

24. Sam Fisher (Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Ubisoft, 2002)

The first person to be recruited for the Splinter Cell program, Sam Fisher is a master of hand-to-hand combat and the art of stealth. When he isn't working, he lives in his townhouse in Towson, Maryland.

25. Shadow (Sonic Adventure 2, Sega, 2001)

Created by Professor Gerald Robotnik, Shadow the Hedgehog is ageless and immortal, sharp-witted, and always on edge. When he sets a goal for himself, he will do whatever it takes to accomplish it, no matter the danger. Shadow is often described as the dark incarnation of Sonic.