Although games filled with terror had already appeared in the early 80s, they gained true popularity in the second half of the 90s, with the creation of the survival horror sub-genre.
What significantly brought the popularity to these games were not just the terrifying monsters and eerie settings, but the protagonists themselves. The characters that players embody and accompany during their fight for survival. It is precisely the depth of these characters that has made and continues to make some titles iconic!
Understanding the Horror Game Protagonist
As you can easily see, protagonists in survival horror games differ significantly from those known from films. In cinematic productions, we typically have indestructible heroes protected by what’s known as “plot armour.” They usually possess supernatural luck, endurance, perfect marksmanship, and their missions usually lead to absolute success.
In the case of games, our characters are typically much more “vulnerable” and less combat-trained. Player cooperation with the character and the “joint” decisions they make have an impact on the story’s development.
Additionally, gradual character improvement through limited resources allows players to deeply connect with the character, immerse themselves in the game world, and become engrossed in the unfolding story. Anticipating the approaching Halloween, today, we’ll present to you a few unforgettable, best horror protagonist ranked from 1 to 10!
The Silent Hill Legends
The Silent Hill series is a true legend, existing in the gaming market for 24 years. Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to follow the stories of many protagonists, but three of them have left an indelible mark in our memories!
1. Harry Mason
The protagonist of the first game, an adoptive father to Cheryl, and later, Heather. He was a writer and an unseasoned man in combat, for whom encountering monsters was a genuine nightmare.
Nevertheless, his love for his daughter gave him the courage to embark on a rescue mission, disregarding obstacles and his own fears.
2. James Sunderland
James is the main character of the second Silent Hill game, and he has a very complex and dual nature. He is both very pleasant and caring, while also hiding a dark side. During the shared adventure with this protagonist, players experience many strange and dangerous situations, reinforcing the belief that something very wrong is happening with James.
Eventually, we find out that he “helped” his terminally ill wife to leave this world, although he was never able to accept this fact. Both the protagonist and the story told in Silent Hill 2 make him an unforgettable character.
3. Heather Mason
This character from SH3 is the second daughter of Harry Mason and the reincarnation of his first child, Cheryl, as well as Alessa, who possessed psionic powers. For 17 years, her father, fearing the cultists and their plans for Heather, kept her hidden by altering her appearance and identity.
Despite dealing with numerous problems, she eventually discovers her true identity and manages to overcome her tormentors, breaking free from the curse that loomed over her.
The Survival Expert from Resident Evil Series
Resident Evil is another legendary game series that has been around for quite some time. Among many other characters from various instalments, these two have proven to be the most unforgettable:
4. Jill Valentine
The protagonist of the first game, one of the two characters available to players. Jill is a highly skilled individual and a key figure in the series. She personally knows or knew most of the important characters in the entire universe and participated in most of the pivotal events.
She is also a co-founder and member of the Bio-Terrorism Security Assessment Alliance and one of the operational officers in the special S.T.A.R.S. unit in the Raccoon City Police Department. Furthermore, she’s one of the few who survived the Raccoon City Destruction Incident. She’s truly a tough character and an unforgettable one!
5. Leon S. Kennedy
The main protagonist of Resident Evil 2 and 4 is an American federal agent in the Security Department and also an officer in the Raccoon City Police Department.
He also worked in US.STRATCOM as a member of a special B.O.W. combat team. He is a cool, calm, and collected character – Leon Kennedy is one of the most beloved protagonists in the series and a true “cop action hero” archetype.
F.E.A.R.’s Point Man
F.E.A.R. is a game series which began in 2005. These titles combine the first-person shooters and survival horror elements and are another epic series beloved by players worldwide.
6. Point Man
The sixth character on our list is a protagonist known by the pseudonym “Point Man”. This character is a member and First Lieutenant of the U.S. Army First Encounter Assault Recon special forces.
Exceptionally well-trained, having served in the army since the age of 17 and being part of ATC’s Project Origin, Point Man boasts superhuman speed, reflexes, and psionic abilities. Although players don’t even know his real name, they love this character for his intriguing abilities and the mysterious atmosphere that surrounds him.
The Everyman: Ethan Winters from Resident Evil 7, 8
Mentioned earlier, the Resident Evil series can boast yet another cool character.
7. Ethan Winters
The protagonist, whose face we’ve never had the chance to see, brings a new and entirely fresh aspect to the RE series. The hero of the seventh and eighth installments is an ordinary man, a systems engineer, who is faced with a challenging twist of fate.
When his wife goes missing, and he receives a message from her, he immediately embarks on a journey to find her. Players appreciate him for taking matters into his own hands, despite being an untrained in combat everyman.
Alan Wake and the Power of Literature
Alan Wake is another intriguing psychological horror game that captured players’ attention back in 2010. Besides its interesting mechanics, the true strength of the game lies in its eponymous character.
8. Alan Wake
The eighth character on our list is the titular Alan Wake, a writer and author of best-selling novels who has been suffering from writer’s block. When his wife takes him to a small town to rest and find his creative spark, strange things start happening.
The picturesque surroundings are transformed into a nightmare… straight out of his own books! Alan is a resourceful, deep character, with an interesting personality and an unconventional sense of humour that lingers in memory.
Sebastian Castellanos from The Evil Within Series
The first Evil Within is regarded as one of the scariest and best-written survival horror games of recent years. It quickly gained recognition from players due to its excellent plot and memorable protagonist.
9. Sebastian Castellanos
Sebastian, a former Police Sergeant and KCPD Detective, is another interesting and beloved character by players. Once happy, full of energy, and deeply in love with his wife and daughter, he is now shattered and traumatized after losing his wealth and family.
He’s a compelling protagonist who captured players with his strong character, determination, and a sensitive soul. When he learns that his daughter is alive but trapped in a virtual world, he decides to rescue her at any cost. He is another example of an awesome dad in our ranking.
Amnesia’s Daniel: A Journey of Forgotten Horrors
Amnesia, released in 2010, combines elements of survival horror, adventure, and exploration. The game is highly acclaimed by players for its atmosphere straight from an H.P. Lovecraft novel and its intriguing protagonist, whose story may bring to mind Christopher Nolan’s “Memento” film.
The last protagonist on our list is an incredibly interesting character about whom, from the beginning, we don’t actually know much, except that he had a difficult childhood, was once an archaeologist, and is deeply afraid of the dark. We start the game in Brennenburg Castle, which our character explores, gradually uncovers the plot and, in doing so, his own past by finding notes written by himself.
Daniel suffers from amnesia, which, interestingly, he induced in himself. The entire atmosphere and setting of this character make players consider him as one of the most intriguing in gaming history.
Do you know all the characters we’ve mentioned? Or perhaps you haven’t had the chance to play those games, and the stories of their main characters have piqued your interest?
These are truly remarkable, determined fathers searching for their children, brave and unyielding girls, and characters who have created their own worlds. From this entire list, we can’t choose our favourite protagonist, as each of them is truly unforgettable!