Throughout gaming history, there have been a large portion of main characters that don’t talk, aka silent protagonists. It is interesting that games are practically the only way of successfully portraying these mute heroes. In a movie or book? No chance. And it is interesting that sometimes, unspeakable characters can actually be identified with better than the speaking variety! This list shows the top ten characters that don’t speak or speak very little, and can still pull off a believable performance and make a great game.
Also in most cases, the game would probably not be as fun if the character spoke. ( I will abbreviate Silent Protagonist as SP.)
#10: Will: Illusion of Gaia (SNES)
Squaresoft certainly has a thing for SPs. There’s 3 on this list alone, and Will is probably the most vocal of the three. Well… it depends on how you define vocal, I guess. Will doesn’t talk, but he does think in text to himself a bit, mainly to state obvious things like “The party headed towards the Angel Village”, when you’ve just selected the “Go to Angel Village” option. B
ut besides that, he doesn’t talk. He’s an awesome character, too. He can turn into a Dark Knight with much more powers than his boyish frame, and even become a demi-godly Aura Being or whatever near the end of the game.
#9: The Angel: Soul Blazer (SNES)
The Angel, servant of the Master, the supreme deity of Soul Blazer’s world. This angel never says a word, although like many SPs, he may answer a multiple choice question. This heroic character single handedly saves the entire world, one piece at a time.
He travels throughout massive dungeons, killing monsters to save individual humans, plants, and animals, with nothing beside him but his trusty sword. Without speaking, he rescues kingdoms and countries, and even gets a girl to fall in love with him.
#8: Prince of Persia: Prince of Persia (SNES)
You’ve gotta feel for this guy. All he wanted was to lounge around with his girlfriend, the princess… until he got thrown into the absolute deepest dungeon that could possibly exist in ancient Persia. And he doesn’t even complain, as he spends hours climbing out through the deadliest traps and battling the most skillful swordfighters, with shoving a few skeletons off a ledge for good measure.
I would be screaming my head off by now, or at least yelling at the guards, but the Prince doesn’t even mumble, although he’ll grunt a bit when he falls face first onto a bed of spikes. What a guy.
#7: Kirby: Kirby series (various platforms)
While other SPs could probably have the ability to talk if they WANTED to, Kirby physically CAN’T talk. He can say the cutest “Hi!” you’ll EVER hear, and maybe copy a “Falcon Punch” sound, but for the most part, Kirby can’t talk.
This little pink puff ball doesn’t need to, though. His cuteness speaks for itself. And in Amazing mirror, there’s four times the… um… muteness! The game would suffer if Kirby spoke.
#6: Sonic: Sonic the Hedgehog series (various platforms)
He talks more in his newer games, but his original incarnation doesn’t speak. If he did speak, we probably wouldn’t hear it anyway; he’s breaking the sound barrier when he runs, I’m sure. The oddest thing is that Sonic seems to perpetually be rescuing cute animals from Dr. Eggman. Dr. Eggman doesn’t speak either, now that I think of it.
#5: Link: The Legend of Zelda series (various platforms)
Link’s probably the oldest SP on this list that has REMAINED an SP. Since game one, he’s never said a word, although he does a bit more yelling when he’s in 3D. There have been many different Links, but they all share the same role: (insert name of land here)’s only hope! From Hyrule to Holodrum, Koholint to Labrynna, Clock Town to the Gerudo Valley, Link’s saved it all.
His age varies a bit, also, and he can be anywhere from a kid to an adult. By far, his kid form is the most courageous, because Link never lets his small form stop him. Sometimes, saving the world even requires getting smaller… if you know what I mean. Wearing his trademark floppy green hat and wielding his sword, Link goes through countless dangers and comes out unscathed, all without muttering more than one syllable (assuming his 3D sound effects are all one syllable). Definitely an SP to love.
#4: Samus: Metroid series (various platforms)
A character from back in the NES days, when MOST characters didn’t speak, even in text. Samus talks a bit more nowadays, as in Super Metroid when she introduces the game, and in Fusion, when she talks quite a bit more.
For the most part, though, she is a true SP. And you gotta admire her – in most games, she’s going to an alien planet, with no backup, no way to contact someone if she gets stuck deep inside the planet, and nothing to defend herself with but what she brings in and what she finds. Samus is a truly courageous person, and if she spoke even a bit, I’m sure it would take away from her appeal.
#3: Mario: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (SNES)
I wasn’t going to put Mario on this list at all. I’ve already covered Nintendo’s other bigs (Link, Samus, Kirby), and a main character of a platformer doesn’t need to speak anyway. Besides, he voice talks quite a bit in his more recent games. But then, I realized I had forgotten SMRPG:TLot7S. Mario pulls off one of the greatest SP roles in the history of videogaming.
It was very hard to place him at only 3rd. Now, to explain why he even got third: He can’t talk. “Sure,” you say, “This list is ABOUT guys that can’t talk.” But Mario handles his speech impediment in a totally awesome way: he ACTS OUT what he wants to communicate. For instance: Mario is trying to explain to the Mushroom Kingdom Chancellor that a Sword has crashed into Bowser’s Castle. He acts out THREE parts at once, disguising himself as Peach or Bowser when he needs to, and acts out what happened at Bowser’s Castle. The Chancellor gets Mario’s meaning instantly, of course (kinda like Lassie).
I simply cannot describe how FUNNY it is to watch Mario do this. This and shaking his head are the only ways he communicates. Later, when he gets more party members, they help him out in his acting. When Geno is trying to explain to Gaz, the kid in Rose Town, how wishes are granted, Mallow and Mario act it out while Geno narrates. It’s just awesomeness that I can’t describe. This element of an already perfect 10 game just makes it even better.
#2: Crono: Chrono Trigger (SNES)
You probably saw Crono coming up somewhere on this list. What you probably DIDN’T see is that he didn’t make number one. I had a hard time choosing the top three, but I think I’m justified to put Crono in second. Anyway, Crono is probably my absolute favorite SP from RPGs. He doesn’t even have any SOUND EFFECTS, for crying out loud! Most other SPs will at least have grunts when they take damage or whatnot, but Crono doesn’t seem to even have a larynx.
It’s also interesting that the “mute” status will stop Crono from using magic… Crono is a truly awesome SP, and delivers a very dynamic performance. He endures everything, from getting tossed in a dungeon for a crime he didn’t commit, to getting thrown into the future where he realizes the world will be destroyed, to decide to take down this world destroyer (Lavos), and finally get KILLED by Lavos when he finally confronts him! Has that EVER happened in another game? What would Final Fantasy VII be like if Cloud DIED when he fought Sephiroth? What would Ocarina of Time be like if Link got killed by Ganon? Crono, luckily, gets brought back to life, and gets a second chance at taking down Lavos.
Can you imagine what must’ve been going through his head? He’s already died against this thing once, and he’s going back for another try, without so much as a “Oh good, I’m alive again!” Truly an awesome character that would take up too much space to describe here. I think the game also would’ve been worse, had Crono talked (although he says a few words in one of the 15+ endings).
#1: Gordon Freeman: Half-Life series (PC)
Who ELSE could I put here? Gordon is just so awesome BECAUSE he doesn’t speak, something not a lot of other SPs have going for them. In HL2, the NPCs even crack JOKES about Gordon not speaking! That’s just awesome. Gordon was an average scientist at a top-secret U.S. research facility. Something went horribly wrong, and aliens from another dimension started coming through portals and overrunning the base!
While other scientists got killed or hid, Gordon grabbed the only available weapon – say it with me – a Crowbar – and went out to stop the aliens. He never says a word. Ever. He just coolly tramples anyone who gets in his way; aliens, the military, and finally ends it by going to the alien’s home turf and bumping off the overlord of the aliens. Gordon doesn’t need to crack wise or chat with his cowardly colleagues. He’s a man on a mission, and he doesn’t need words to express that.
The One Free Man himself is the ultimate Silent Protagonist.
In conclusion, I would like to say: …………………………………………………..
[GameFaqs List written by The_Mighty_KELP, republished with permission.]