Since the dawn of video games companies have been trying to create mascots for their brands. For many years Pac-Man was not just a star for Namco, but he was like the icon for arcade gaming as well. Whether one tried to create these icons for a series, or to create awareness for a console, the 80s and 90s were full of them.
Some are great like the ten below and some are not so great that still somehow manage to crawl up from the grave they so desperately need to rest in. We’re looking at you Bubsy. So without further delay let’s see which of these great stars are not only the most iconic, but also the strongest.
10 Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot is one of those unfortunate mascots from an era where players only could get hit once. It plagued the arcade scene just so companies could get quarters from eager gamers. True, if one dies a lot, Crash can get help from his mask pal, Aku Aku, or from finding him in random boxes, but regardless of that he is still pretty vulnerable compared to a lot of his fellow platforming stars on this list.
9 Sly Cooper
Sly Cooper, for most of his games, primarily can also only get hit once. There is a big difference between him and Crash though. Sly’s games are all about sneaking around on thieving missions. The strength of a thief is in their slow, but careful maneuvers. Sly Cooper has a lot of class and knowledge to get through a job. Plus that hook of his is pretty handy. That doesn’t mean the one hit deaths aren’t frustrating though.
8 Donkey Kong
How can Donkey Kong, a giant guerrilla, be weak? Well, one might be tired of hearing this, but it bears repeating since this is a ranked list. While agile and strong for his size, Donkey Kong can only get hit once for most of his Donkey Kong Country adventures. This applies to his family members too. Using them, like Diddy Kong for example, to represent a health bar was a brilliant mechanic. Unfortunately it also made Donkey Kong pretty weak compared to Nintendo’s other big time star, which we will assuredly get to later.
Sonic has speed by his side, but that’s about it. He too suffers from the one hit death syndrome although he does have a handy backup. If rings are in his possession then he can take a hit. It was actually a clever mechanic that put the typical golden collectibles to use besides just granting extra lives. As fast as he is though, for a platforming mascot, he certainly isn’t that great at jumping. Slowing down his momentum to clumsily jump through hurdles never felt right to us.
Rayman is certainly a weird fellow. Every piece of his body is floating above his purple jellybean of a torso. This comes in handy for many reasons though. No one can trip his legs, or grab his arms since they don’t exist. On top of that the lack of limbs also allow him better distances for punching, or jumping and he can glide too. He isn’t the strongest, or most robust star on this list, but despite his series being more niche, he is among the toughest of mascots.
What’s better than one platformer mascot? Two! Banjo-Kazooie is our first duo on the list. Including them both in the game was a stroke of genius for many reasons. It gave Rare, the developers, a reason to include so many different kinds of powers for both. Banjo was like the standard mascot of the game while Kazooie got the cooler abilities like being able to dash around with Banjo on his back along with being able to shoot eggs. Do not mess with this bear and bird combo.
Spyro is a dragon. He is a baby dragon, but a dragon is still a dragon. He can ram enemies with his horns, or turn them into ashes with his fiery breath. He can also fly, or more like glide.
With the help of magical rings he can take to the skies for elongated periods, but the point is Spyro is a dragon and that should be proof enough even though he is still blooming.
3 Jak And Daxter
Jak And Daxter started off pretty mediocre. Their debut game was great, but Daxter was the true star as Jak was silent. The sequel cranked things up to eleven with a gritty fast-forward into the future. Now they had guns and Jak had an angst-ridden voice. On top of the duo gaining access to hardware, they could also jack hover cars. How many mascots get to drive in their own game, discounting things like Sonic’s various racing spinoffs?
2 Ratchet And Clank
What’s better than flying around in hover cars in futuristic cities in an apocalypse? Flying around the galaxy in one’s own starship. Ratchet and Clank have it all. They are the quintessential platforming mascots for Sony despite the duo not being around any more.
It was one of those problems where Insomniac, the developers, released too many games too fast on an annual basis for a long time. Despite the fatigue, every game is fantastic and there is no denying how powerful these two are what with their spaceship and arsenal of whacky guns like one that’s turns enemies into sheep, or the one that makes them dance to disco music.
This last pick may be obvious, or boring but Mario is THE icon of multiple generations. It’s not just about the games being good either. Mario is a versatile dude. He is a platforming legend with tons of cool power-ups that grant him everything from elemental powers of fire to raccoon tails that allow him to fly. On top of that he is great with virtually any sport he picks up and is also a doctor somehow. How he does it no one knows, but the fact remains that no one can beat Mario at his own game: platforming.