Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The best sidekicks in the business

Main characters get all the breaks. From Batman to Sherlock Holmes, all of the little guys are lesser known and far less popular. Robin and Watson deserve to be in the limelight, don't you think? Just as there are sidekicks in television shows and books, there are too sidekicks in video games. And now is their time to shine.

Game: The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (GBA)

Ezlo is one bizarre little creature. He takes the form of a green hat with a duck-like head, and he can't get around all that well. Thusly, he rides along on Link's head. Unfortunately for the green-wearing hero, Ezlo often leaves crumbs in Link's hair, pecks at Link's head (As seen above) and routinely berates the lad for not walking fast enough or being too short.

If Ezlo's such a bother, why keep him around? Mainly for the fact that he holds the power to shrink Link down to an incredibly small scale. By standing on certain rocks, jars, tree stumps or panels, Link can shrink and enter the world of the Minish. The Minish (Also called Picori by humans) are a very diminutive race of mouse-like people. They are the stuff of legends, and are rarely seen. In fact, many people believe the Minish are nothing but folklore, and simply tell the story to their children as a fairy tale.

Link can also take advantage of his new-found shrinking abilities to enter tunnels and holes far too small for him to fit through at his normal size. Sometimes entire dungeons take place in an area no larger than Link's full size!

Ezlo is certainly important to completing the adventure, and his story unfolds nicely throughout the game. Although he may start out looking like nothing but a silly, duck-billed hat, he later becomes a core part of the game's story. Don't dismiss Ezlo as a throwaway sidekick.

Games: Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy (PS2), Jak II (PS2), Jak III (PS2), Jak X: Combat Racing (PS2), Daxter (PSP)

Out of all the sidekicks on this list, Daxter has appeared in the most games by far. From Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy, all the way to his own, self-titled spin-off on the PSP, Daxter gets a surprising amount of credit for being a sidekick. Nonetheless, I don't feel he gets all he deserves.

Daxter is an Ottsel: A bizarre mix of an otter and a weasel. He is turned into an Ottsel at the beginning of the first game, and changing him back into a human becomes the main focus of the adventure. Sadly, Daxter never does get turned back into a human, as he's still an Ottsel in all the other games. Eventually he comes to grips with the fact that he'll probably never turn back to normal, and eventually accepts his new, smaller, fuzzier form. Although he does miss wearing pants.

Why is Daxter such an amazing sidekick? First and foremost, he's downright hilarious! Even as an Ottsel he's as funny and quick-witted as ever. Good thing, too, as Jak doesn't really like to talk much until Jak II.

Players will often control Daxter instead of Jak throughout the series, and these sequences are really quite fun. Running around as an Ottsel in a human's world is really something, especially since he's all but defenseless against the super-sized foes that are all-too common.

Daxter's a great character for so many reasons, and I don't think I can say much more without spoiling the entire trilogy for you. Let's just say that Daxter's new form isn't all that bad after all.

Game: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii, Gamecube)

And of course, how could I forget Midna? The mysterious, cat-like creature that hides in Link's shadow throughout most of Twilight Princess is an incredibly well-written and designed character.

Link and Midna first meet when the young Hylian is turned into a wolf, captured and thrown into a prison in the dark and foreboding Twilight Realm. She laughs at the pitiful canine that sits before her, taunting him through the iron bars of his cell. She tells him that if he can escape his cell, she'll help him get out of the prison. So Link breaks off his chains and squeezes through a break in the bars. Midna lives up to her word, and kindly escorts the boy-turned-wolf back outside.

From then on, Midna lives in Link's shadow (Literally), popping up to give him hints and command him around. See, in return for setting Link free, Midna expects the young man to run some errands for her. She needs Link to get her a mysterious power that somehow relates to the Twilight Realm that's slowly engulfing Hyrule.

Although she seems to treat Link like a slave at first, Midna slowly grows to respect the warrior and even thanks him for doing these things for her. It's one unlikely friendship, that's for sure.

What makes Midna awesome has to be her amazing powers. She can teleport through solid walls, disappear into shadows and (Later on in the game) turn Link into a wolf at will.

Also, Midna just has a great attitude. She's the kind of person who can only be described as a lovable jerk. She makes fun of Link all the time, but you can always tell that, deep down, she really cares.

Finally, Midna has some incredible strength hidden within, but if I went into detail here, well, that just wouldn't be fair, now would it? She can do some serious damage, and that's all I'm going to say.

Okay then! A group of sidekicks finally get their due! It's only fair, really. Often sidekicks contribute just as much to the game as the main character, if not more. Ezlo, Daxter and Midna are just a handful of the many amazing sidekicks out there, and I'll be sure to give them their due in future installments. Until then, keep on gaming, folks!

The Duck Has Spoken.

1 comment:

NaomiKnight said...

You know what? You forgot something very, very important about Midna.


I have no idea why, though. It is a mystery of the Zelda universe.