It's strange how sidekicks are often the most memorable characters of a franchise.

The main protagonist is usually a blank slate - a deliberately general character, so that the player can easily step into his/her shoes. The sidekick, by comparison, is weirder and more eccentric, and often gives the game its heart.

Sidekicks can also texture a gaming experience - sure, they provide humor and additional perspective, but their most important function is to support the main character. Whether guiding you through the tutorial or helping you pass a tricky level, sidekicks are the unsung heroes, ever faithful and ever useful.

We're counting down the greatest video game sidekicks of all time -our virtual best friends in times of need.

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