GameFAQ’s character battles almost need no introduction. Every few years, the famous website has gamers vote for their favorite characters in a series of rounds. The voters eventually crown the best video game character. So far, there have been 10 Character Battles, which means that a lot of characters have had the honor of being voted Best Video Game Character! Character Battle X did take place in 2018, but I felt like it was more interesting to take a look at the best characters according to GameFAQ’s Character Battle IX from 2013. After all, its final outcome caused so much drama that the Character Battles were put on hiatus for a few years— so you know it’s going to make you stop and think.
Moreover, many of the Character Battles often have similar (and predictable) winners, such as Link or Mario— with a few exceptions, like 2007’s Character Battle (I’ll talk about the winner of that battle a bit later!) These iconic characters didn’t rank as highly in Character Battle IX, however, and this prompted me to look at IX’s ranking for this article.
The inclusion of these characters make sense considering when the Battle took place; in other cases, the characters are iconic enough that their presence in the top twenty still makes sense today. And, finally, in a few other cases still, the ranking of some characters had us scratching our heads in confusion. Without further ado, here are some of the top 20 video game characters according to GameFAQ— and 10 that they got completely wrong.
30 Completely Wrong: Mario Should Have Been Higher
Mario won many of GameFAQ’s battles, but in this one, he didn’t even make it to the final rounds. Nintendo’s iconic Italian plumber is probably one of the most famous video game characters there are, so it seems aberrant that the voters eliminated him early on.
He lost in the second round to Vivi from Final Fantasy IX, who then lost to Pokémon Trainer Red in the next round, much to people’s astonishment. Mario really should have been higher up in the rankings!
29 Top 20: Draven
Draven, the Glorious Executioner from League of Legends, came out on top of Character Battle IX. This reckoner from Noxus is a famed warrior with a flair for the dramatic and a thirst for glory is quite popular among fans—popular enough to beat Solid Snake and Samus Aran in the Character Battle final.
He’s League of Legends’ most popular AD carry and is typically played by the most skilled of players, as he’s very powerful when played right, but also very unforgiving if you lose with him.
28 Completely Wrong: Draven’s Controversial Win
Draven may be a powerful character, but his win in Character Battle IX was controversial, to say the least. Voters were so unhappy with the results that they asked for a second poll…which Draven also won. After this, GameFAQ’s Character Battles were put on hiatus for a few years, which gives you an idea of exactly how unhappy people were with his win. Considering that he was against Solid Snake and that characters like Mario or Sonic didn’t make it to the final, that’s hardly surprising.
27 Top 20: Solid Snake
Solid Snake is a fan-favorite Metal Gear character who unsurprisingly made it to the final round of the Character Battle along with Samus Aran and Draven. His real name is David, but he’s almost always known as Solid Snake— or sometimes “Old Snake” or just “Snake”. He’s a legendary character both within the game and among its fans and is known as “the Man Who Makes The Impossible Possible.” He makes appearances or is referenced to in many other games, such as Littlebigplanet or Super Bomberman R.
26 Top 20: Samus Aran
Samus Aran is the main character of popular game series Metroid, but that’s only one of the reasons she’s a well-known video game character. She’s a fearsome fighter, is almost always represented wearing her impressive Power Suit, and is famous in her own right within the Metroid universe.
However, in the real world, she’s also known for being at the center of one of video game history most iconic plot twists: early players didn’t find out Samus was a woman until the end of the first game.
25 Top 20: Mewtwo
Mewtwo is a genetically engineered clone of legendary Pokémon Mew, and perharps one of the most powerful early legendary Pokémon there are. He serves as the primary antagonist for Pokémon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back and is of the few Pokémon who possesses the ability to speak. He appears in many Pokémon games, but also makes guest appearances in other franchises such as Super Smash Bros. In short, this humanoid/cat hybrid is an incredibly powerful Pokémon, and one of the most iconic early Pokémon characters.
24 Completely Wrong: Mewtwo Beating Bowser And Sonic
Still, all this doesn’t explain how Mewtwo beat so many other characters in Character Battle IX, including but definitely not limited to, Link, Mario (as I mentioned earlier), Bowser, and Sonic. It’s already odd to think that Bowser beat Mario in a Character Battle, but the fact that Mewtwo beat all of them is astounding.
Not only that, but one of four Pokémon characters to make it to the final 9—the others being Pokémon Trainer Red, Pikachu, and Squirtle. Pikachu’s high ranking makes sense, as he’s well known even among non-Pokémon fans, but Mewtwo’s? Not so much.
23 Top 20: Sephiroth
Sephiroth is a main antagonist in the now cult game Final Fantasy VII, designed to be protagonist Cloud Strife’s archenemy. Well, in this Character Battle, he did beat Cloud, who only made it to the Division Final. He’s incredibly powerful (his full abilities are unknown) and is usually recognized as an amazing villain by fans of the series. Sephiroth also appears in Kingdom Hearts as an optional (but incredibly hard to beat) boss. In short, as far as villains go, he’s pretty iconic.
22 Top 20: Pikachu
As I mentioned when I was talking about Mewtwo, Pikachu also made it to Character Battle IX’ Final 9. This little electric mouse is Ash’s companion throughout the series, and without any contest the most well-known Pokémon there is.
Within the Pokémon universe, Pikachu has quite a bit of a reputation, and Team Rocket is constantly attempting to take him. In the real world, however, he’s nothing short of an icon, recognizable even by those who have never watched the series or played the games.
21 Completely Wrong: Pikachu Should Have Made It To The Final Round
Because of this, I believe it’s fair to say that Pikachu should have made it to the final round. After all, the fact that not one, but four Pokémon characters found their way to the Final 9 is a testament to the franchise's popularity, and if Mewtwo and Squirtle made it so high, you could have expected Pikachu to rank a little higher. However, I should probably mention that both Pikachu and Squirtle lost to Solid Snake, which does sort of explain why everyone’s favourite electric Pokémon didn’t make it any further in the Battle.
20 Top 20: Squirtle
Being one of the most well-known starter Pokémon, Squirtle earned his place in this Battle’s Final 9. After all, you have to pick between him, Charmander and Bulbasaur in the region of Kanto at the beginning of no less than five Pokémon games: Pokémon Red, Green, Blue, FireRed, and LeafGreen. This cute little turtle was part of many of our childhoods and was many people’s favourite starter Pokémon— not to mention, his evolutions were quite powerful. In short, he’s earned his place in the Top 20!
19 Top 20: Mega Man
Mega Man is another iconic video game character, and we would have been very surprised had he not been in the Top 20. After all, with over 130 titles, the Mega Man franchise is one of the gaming world’s most popular franchises. Mega Man games are playable on 29 different platforms, and fans continue to love the little robot to this day. In fact, he’s so popular that Capcom included a Mega Man Easter egg in Devil May Cry 5!
18 Completely Wrong: Rayman Should Have Made It Past The First Round
With over 44 titles released across multiple platforms, Rayman is one of Ubisoft’s best-known franchises, and a fan-favorite character among players of platform games. He’s really quite popular, so it’s baffling that he didn’t make it past the first round of this Character Battle.
After all, fans all over the world remember him for his magical adventures, his distinctive lack of limbs and his ability to use his hair like helicopter blades. He’s one of many characters (like Corvo Attano from Dishonored, for instance) who fans were sad to see eliminated early on.
17 Top 20: Pokémon Trainer Red
Red is one of the Pokémon franchise’ most popular characters because, well, he’s the playable character of many Pokémon games, and the hero of the story. He’s the game counterpart of protagonist Ash Ketchum in the anime; they both come from Pallet Town and go on adventures to become “the very best” Pokémon trainer.
Along with his rival, Blue, Red is probably one of the most memorable human characters from Pokémon. As such, it’s unsurprising that he’s in the Top 20.
16 Top 20: Link
Link has won many of GameFAQs’ Character Battles, so it came as a bit of a surprise when he was eliminated in the Division Final. After all, he’s the protagonist of The Legend of Zelda franchise, one of Nintendo’s most iconic game series along with Mario. Link is part of a universe with a rich lore, where he’s the legendary Hero and represents one of the three parts of the Triforce. His trademark green outfit, pointy ears and blonde hair are recognizable anywhere, and he’s one of many people’s favorite video game characters.
15 Top 20: Commander Shepard
When he advanced to the Final 9, Draven beat both Link and Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect series. Shepard’s gender and appearance are customizable, but he/she still remain an iconic and easily recognizable character thanks to his/her armor.
As the player character in a famous video game franchise, Shepard is, of course, well known within the gaming community, and it’s hardly surprising he made it to the Division Final. The default male version of the character was used a lot in marketing campaigns for the game, too.
14 Top 20: Sonic
Sonic the Hedgehog should probably have been a lot higher in this ranking, but at least he made it past the first few rounds, unlike Mario. The blue hedgehog from Sega made a name for himself as one of video games’ most iconic protagonists.
He’s a main character in over 66 games, which is a testament to the franchise’s success. Sonic’s signature moves, the villains he faces, and the oh-so-satisfying “ding!” when he collects a ring became well-known all over the world.
13 Completely Wrong: Kirby Should Have Made It Past The Division Final
Like Mario and Link, Kirby is a world-famous Nintendo character, recognizable even by those who haven’t played his games. His ability to absorb and mimic his enemies’ powers by swallowing them makes him a pretty powerful character, and he’s become a bit of an internet sensation. He appears in over 30 games, including the Super Smash Bros series, has also starred in several memes, and has his own emoticons. In short, he probably should have made it past the division final.
12 Top 20: Bowser
As Mario’s archenemy, Bowser is easily one of the gaming world’s most well-known villains. He’s also a playable character in many games, such as the Mario Party games, the Mario Kart games, and Mario Odyssey. He’s famous for his thundering roar and his obsession with marrying Princess Peach, who Mario then has to rescue.
Bowser is the final boss in many Mario games and a fan-favorite among cosplayers, too. Though it’s astounding that he beat Mario himself, it’s no surprise that he’s in the top 20.
11 Top 20: Big Boss (Metal Gear)
Solid Snake isn’t the only Metal Gear character to have made it in this Character Battle’s top 20. Big Boss, “also known as Jack, and formerly known as Naked Snake, Vic Boss, Ishmael, Saladin” (Metal Gear Wiki,) Solid Snake’s biological father, mentor of sorts, and eventually mortal enemy, also made it to this Character Battle’s Division Final, which shows how much of an impression he made on Metal Gear fans. And after all, it’s hardly surprising to see antagonists like Big Boss, Bowser and Sephiroth on this list, as good villains tend to be memorable characters.
10 Completely Wrong: Including Tetris Blocks As Characters
Thankfully, this “character” didn’t make it too high on the list, but it’s baffling that a Tetris block was included altogether. Sure, Tetris is a historic video game that was a part of many people’s childhoods and still has its fans to this day, but it’s a bit of a stretch to call the blocks characters. GameFAQs’ voters don’t seem too uncomfortable with that stretch, however, as back in 2007, the L Block from Tetris actually won the Character Battle against Link.
9 Top 20: Kirby
Kirby may not be as high up as he deserves to be, but at least he did make it into the top tier of video game characters. Sure, he looks cute and cuddly, but don’t let appearances fool you: this little pink character packs a punch. Did you know his original name was meant to be Popopo? And that he’s supposed to have a romantic relationship with Ribbon in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards? She gives him a kiss in the good ending and little Kirby ends up being quite flustered.
8 Top 20: GlaDOS
GlaDOS is the main antagonist in Portal and one the main antagonists in Portal 2. This sassy, all-powerful robot is the one conducting your tests throughout the course of the games—it’s later revealed that she’s addicted to testing. She’s the one who promises you the (in)famous Portal cake! GlaDOS is technically a villain, but thanks to her iconic one-liners (and equally iconic songs), she’s definitely hard to hate. Plus, she was a potato once. You have to respect that, right?
7 Completely Wrong: GlaDOS Should Have Been Higher
In fact, I believe that GlaDOS should have been a lot higher on this list. She is, after all, the reason for one of video games’ most famous citations (“the cake is a lie”) and became a truly iconic villain thanks to Ellen McLain’s excellent voice acting.
Did you know that out of all the characters McLain voiced, GlaDOS was her favorite? Portal 2 even won the "Best Performance by a Human Female" in 2011 thanks to Ellen McLain. Sadly, she and Kefka lost to Solid Snake in the division final.
6 Top 20: Kefka
Kefka is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy VI and a secondary antagonist of several other games. Because he’s a jester and somewhat of a psychopath, some have compared him to the Joker from Batman. Kefka is widely recognized as one of video games’ most evil and disturbing villains.
He’s sarcastic, sadistic, quite possibly insane, and incredibly powerful. In fact, he ranked first in a “Reader’s choice” edition of GameSpot’s “Top Ten Video Game Villains.” In short, he definitely belongs on this list.
5 Top 20: Cloud Strife
Cloud is probably one of the most memorable Final Fantasy characters. He’s the main protagonist of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and wields the iconic Buster Sword. He also appears as a playable character in several other franchises such as Kingdom Hearts and Super Smash Bros. Did you know that according to the Final Fantasy wiki, Cloud “has the most player-controlled appearances of any character in the Final Fantasy series, and the second-most appearances altogether, behind Gilgamesh?”
4 Completely Wrong: Lara Croft Should Have Been Higher
The Lara Croft franchise is twenty-two years old: the first game came out in 1996. That makes this franchise as old as I am! There’s a reason that Lara Croft games are still being made today, however: just like Mario, Sonic, Link, and many others, the character is nothing short of iconic.
Lara was part of many of our childhoods, and it seems odd that she ranked so low in this character battle. She did make it to the second round, but eventually lost to Kefka, whom I mentioned earlier.
3 Top 20: Leon Kennedy
Leon Scott Kennedy, an American agent for the Division of Safety Operations, is the main protagonist and playable character of several Resident Evil games. He’s quite possibly one of the most well-known Resident Evil protagonists, as he was the main playable character in the amazing Resident Evil 4. In fact, he quite often ranks among people’s favourite characters from the series, and he came out on top of IGN’s list of the Top Ten Playable Resident Evil Characters, so his inclusion on this list is no surprise.
2 Top 20: Sora
Sora may seem immature at times, but he’s very aware of the importance of his various missions. The young protagonist of Disney and Square Enix’s Kingdom Hearts series is a hero and a Keyblade wielder. He and his fellow protagonists grow and learn throughout the course of the Kingdom Hearts games, and, with the latest installment of the series just out, fans are happy to be able to incarnate him again. Did you know his name comes from the Japanese word meaning sky?
1 Completely Wrong: Sora Should Have Been Higher
The warm welcome that Kingdom Hearts III received (91% approval rate on Google) is a testament to the importance of the Kingdom Hearts series for many gamers. Since the first game came out, fans have been captivated by the stories and entranced by the magic of the franchise.
As the series’ main protagonist and as one of its most iconic characters, Sora should have ranked higher in this Character Battle! Unfortunately, he and Pokémon Trainer Blue lost to Pikachu in the Division Final.