Since the conception of Robin by DC Comics in the 1940s, sidekicks became an archetype representing loyalty and support to the protagonist. They aided the hero with an unwavering devotion yet paled ever so slightly in comparison to the grandeur of the protagonist.
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There is a reason the ensemble of Big Bang Theory always fought over who cosplayed as Frodo for Comic Con. The loser being left to take Sam (although real LOTR fans know Sam is the real hero). Sidekicks are number two, second best, yet there are a few who outshine the protagonist. Some even become the face of their series.
7 Elizabeth – BioShock
The companion to Booker DeWitt in this FPS game, Elizabeth is the sidekick who became the shining star in the BioShock series. Despite being held captive since an infant in the flying city of Columbia, Elizabeth’s spirit remained strong. Even with the ability to manipulate tears in the fabric of time, this is not the only reason Elizabeth stands out.
Her personality is entertaining as she contrasts Booker by contributing sarcastic and biting remarks. Despite starting off as quite childish and free-spirited, Elizabeth undergoes a character development, maturing as the story progresses. This depth is what gives Elizabeth life and makes her shine.
“Well, I want a puppy, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get one.”
6 Yoshi – Super Mario Series
Yoshi is the beloved green dinosaur who first appeared in Super Mario World back in the ’90s. Since then, he has appeared in many more Mario games and has become a fan favorite. While Mario is iconic for the series, Yoshi outshines the Italian plumber with his adorable personality and useful abilities.
His long tongue shoots out to grab and eat enemies and objects which he can then spit back out at enemies. Not only is this incredibly useful in comparison to the series’ hero who is pretty passive, but using Yoshi’s tongue makes for very fun gameplay. In many of the Super Mario games where Yoshi is the sidekick, you can ride on his back. His cheerful and bright personality makes for the best company.
5 Cortana – Halo
Usually AI sidekicks feel very monotone and robotic, but Cortana in Halo felt everything but that. As an advisor and assistant to Master Chief John 117, Cortana is the talkative foil to the quieter protagonist. Cortana is the best example of how artificial intelligence based characters can become so adored by the fans due to the depth and humanity written into their story.
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Cortana has a witty and playful personality laced with some sarcasm. She is neither arrogant nor modest, possessing a kind of objective perspective unattainable by humans. Her amusing commentary lightens up the gameplay when you need it.
“Don’t make a girl a promise… if you know you can’t keep it.”
4 Tails – Sonic The Hedgehog
This anthropomorphic two-tailed fox deserves all the love in the Sonic series. While many recognize the speedy hedgehog, Tails is the sidekick that really steals the show. Though he was a victim of bullying in his youth, Tails came out of his shell upon meeting Sonic, becoming more confident.
Fast like Sonic, an aerial pilot, and a mechanical genius, Tails is a multi-faced ace of the team. Less cocky than Sonic, Tails is a wholesome, curious fox that brightens up everyone’s mood. He is a loyal and devoted friend to Sonic, but his personality is what makes him bigger than just a sidekick.
“This is like trying to find a hedgehog in a haystack.”
3 Midna – The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess
While Zelda may be the princess the series is named after, Midna is the princess that stole everyone’s hearts in Twilight Princess. She is Link’s companion in this game, miles better than the infamous Navi. She can be seen riding on Wolf Link’s back while in her Imp form. Fitting with her dark nature, Midna displays a sardonic, mischievous sense of humor.
She is cynical to start with, bossing Link around, and dismissing him. Despite this tough exterior, Midna warms up to Link eventually and displays care for not only him, but also Zelda and the people of the Twilight realm. In the dark atmosphere of one of the best Zelda games, Midna’s snarky remarks and one-liners eases the tension.
“What? Say something! Am I so beautiful that you’ve no words left?”
2 Ellie – The Last Of Us
This may be cheating a little since Ellie is one of the protagonists in The Last Of Us. However, since you predominantly play as Joel in the first game with Ellie assisting you, this technically puts her in the realm of sidekicks. The 14-year-old is one of the most realistic portrayals of a teenager in media. Her foul-mouthed, rash, and cheeky behavior is entertaining to witness whilst accurately showing the temperament of a child her age.
While Ellie may come across as older than her age, maturing as the series progresses, she is still a child. Her vulnerability and fear of being alone, revealed in an intimate argument with Joel, speaks to the fact that she is still just a kid. She is resourceful and not someone that needs babysitting. She makes that very clear. Ellie’s depth, personality, and back-and-forth with Joel is what makes her stand out, and Joel is a pretty tough character to outshine.
“I shot the hell out of that guy, huh?”
1 Pikachu – Pokemon
This list would not be complete without the mention of the sidekick who outshone the protagonist so hard that most forget he is simply a companion. Pikachu is the yellow electric-type rodent synonymous with the Pokemon series. This adorable furball is the face of the series, even garnering him his own film.
Pikachu is the childhood favorite of everyone who grew up playing and watching Pokemon. Despite his voice lines being limited to “pika”, his personality is enormous. He is curious, smart, loyal to his friends, human and Pokemon, and determined. Refusing to evolve, Pikachu taught us from an early age that we should strive to become stronger just as we are.
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