5. Player 2 (Streets of Rage)


Picture this: You and your best bud just finished fighting your way through Streets of Rage, battling crime & corruption the only way that makes sense: by kicking brightly-dressed street punks in the teeth. It takes a lot of work to dissolve a criminal syndicate using only your fists, and you've grown to rely on one another. Trust one another. Work as two halves of the same ass-kicking whole.

So you take your crime-busting judo all the way to the top floor of the evilest building in town, where the final boss lives. The Boss offers you the standard choice: join him, or die. "Never!" you cry, a million eagles of freedom screaming in your soul. And that's when it hits you. The betrayal you never saw coming.

Even though it came from your friend Gary, who is a toolbox, so obviously you should have seen this bullshit coming. While you were busy being a paragon of virtue, he accepted the boss's offer. Now you two have to fight to the death before you can move on. With luck, you'll take him down like you would any other miniboss. Worst case scenario, he wins, you both get the "bad" ending, and the conflict graduates to actual, real-world face-kicking.

4. Hero (Good Guy: Diablo; Bad Guy: Diablo II)


The plot of the Diablo series hinges on ancient soulstones that were created to contain the three prime evils; Diablo, Baal, and Mephisto. The first game ends with the hero slaying Diablo, picking up his soulstone, and ever-so-gently jamming it into his own head. The idea was to contain Diablo, but of course the sneaky devil (GET IT!?) slowly corrupts him.

Diablo II opens with a cinematic in which the fallen hero loses control of his body, raises the dead, and destroys a tavern quicker than a gaggle of drunken frat boys. You play as a new hero, following this "Dark Wanderer," eventually facing Diablo and the other two prime evils. After defeating Mephisto and obtaining his soulstone, Deckard Cain reveals that soulstones can be destroyed in something called the Hellforge. For some reason, Cain neglected to mention this to the first guy, which would have saved him a lot of "slowly turning into the devil" headaches. To be fair, he probably should have asked more questions before shoving an evil rock into his head.

3. Big Boss (Good Guy: Metal Gear Solid 3; Bad Guy: Metal Gear)


This is a weird one for a few reasons: One, Big Boss was introduced as a villain in the original Metal Gear, but since his good-guy role in MGS3 is a prequel, he was technically a hero first. Secondly, you play through Metal Gear as his clone, so I guess he was also the hero in that game? Third, the epilogue of MGS4 suggests maybe he wasn't such a bad guy after all? Fourth, patriot philosopher's legacy FOXDIE Zanzibar ocelot? Whoa, sorry. Thinking about the Metal Gear plotline for more than five seconds triggers a hard reboot in any human brain.

Following the plot of this franchise is like trying to solve the Riemann hypothesis. It's essentially impossible, none of your friends want to hear you talk about it, and keep at it too long and you'll leave your sanity behind. I got into this series to snap necks & eat snake meat. If I wanted to enjoy a complex, multi-tiered plotline, War and Peace wouldn't be propping up my TV stand.