PETA beware! Dead to Rights: Retribution hits the streets this month. This means that players, as Jack Slate, will once again be sending out their loyal attack wolf-dog to get shot, kicked, and whacked with a newspaper. Shadow is a pretty tolerant dog to put up with these suicide runs, but this time around he's a key element in the game (even able to take out enemies with, uh, "testi-kills").
Of course, the canine killa is only the latest in a long of integral gaming companions; players' in-game buddies have evolved over the years to be everything from steeds to boxes to maybe-lovers (should our slashfic come true and a Delta Force happy hour get extra-frisky); we've developed strong attachments to the following characters. Which is why we never needed real friends.
YOSHI, SUPER MARIO BROS. SERIES
Complex Says: If your childhood fantasy was to pretend that you were a pre-diabeti Italian mustache daddy who rode around on a green dinosaur tongue-lashing enemies, then Yoshi was glad to help make your freaky little dreams come true. And yes, he's back for SMG2.
ALYX VANCE, HALF-LIFE 2
Complex Says: One of the Half Life 2's greatest successes was giving you a meaningful relationship with an AI companion about whom you actually cared. Plus Benson is her dad—what's fucking with that? Even after Valve carefully crafted a post-apocalyptic scenario that allowed for the blossoming of a genuine character connection, a lot of you still decided that "lol n00d Alyx mod" was the way to go. It's actually a pretty good mod, though. What? It is! We played it for, uh, the interviews..
OTACON, METAL GEAR SOLID SERIES
Complex Says: CAN love bloom on the battlefield? WE don't know. Snake, even if he knew the answer, probably wanted to punch Otacon in his emo mouth more than once. That said, the geek (Freudian issues and all) was fiercely loyal to Snake, all the way to the grisly end. Make sure you watch the WHOLE ending to MGS4.
DOMINIC SANTIAGO, GEARS OF WAR SERIES
Complex Says:The bromance between Marcus and Dom is one of the strongest in gaming history. They wear matching Affliction shirts underneath their ridiculous armor. They knock back Coors while watching PPV UFC matches. They engage in debates on why having a neck is overrated.
DIDDY KONG, DONKEY KONG SERIES
Complex Says: Donkey Kong's nephew stays with you throughout Donkey Kong Country — but only because he lost Donkey Kong's bananas. Otherwise he'd probably be off somewhere, ripping off rappers and getting rich off his dead homie's memory. Rest in Peace Biggie Kong!
TAILS, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG SERIES
Complex Says: We're sure Sega meant well, but Tails unwittingly became a part of the videogame legacy that spawned a generation of furries. God Help Us All, Kill It With Fire, etc.
WEIGHTED COMPANION CUBE, PORTAL
Complex Says: We can't remember the last time we fell in love with a box (ahem), but once again we managed to develop an attachment to an inanimate object. How do we know the Companion Cube has Tetris'd its way into gamers' pixilated, blocky hearts? Because, CAKE!
SHEVA, RESIDENT EVIL 5
Complex Says: Not gonna front here: we ran through RE5 twice to get all of the BSAA emblems... just so we could unlock Sheva's bikini costume. H4WT.
PEY'J, BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
Complex Says: You know how most of us have that one cool uncle who was down to buy you your first Playboy when you were 12? Pey'j, a talking boar/pig thing, is Jade's uncle, and he flies around with fart-powered rocket boots. So, y'know, not quite.
CLANK, RATCHET AND CLANK
Complex Says: Props to Ratchet for keeping Clank as an adventuring companion. If we had Clank, we'd rename him "Jeeves XJ90" and he'd be picking up our empty Dorito bags, cleaning dog poo off our sneakers, and scrubbing our toilets. He's literally an illegal alien from another planet, so he couldn't report squat to the authorities. Yay for intergalactic labor exploitation!
AGRO, SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS
Complex Says: Yeah, we know some of you are into the whole "Agro-surfing" thing, but haven't any of you seen The Neverending Story? We could never snuff Agro after having that swamp scene seared into our heads.