It’s Valentine’s Day, and you know what that means. It means it’s finally time to take the plunge and ask out that lovely individual you’ve been stalking lately. It also justifies slipping love letters under the bathroom door while they’re showering or sliding one under their pillow while they sleep. It’s not creepy if it’s Valentine’s Day, I always say. After you’re done with that you should read this list I’ve compiled of men who went to through hell — both literally and figuratively — in order to save the woman they love.
I suggest you grab that special someone in your life, snuggle up real close and enjoy this list. I guarantee it will lead to whatever it is two adults do when they like each other a lot. (I zoned out during that “birds and the bees” chat, something about pollinating flowers and storks).
Mario & Peach — (Almost) Every Mario Game
If repeating the same act over and over again expecting different results is the definition of insanity than I’m not sure who’s crazier: Bowser or Mario? Bowser has been kidnapping poor, unsuspecting Princess Peach for decades now, and every time Mario comes in and saves the day. That’s one tenacious dude, if you ask me. On the other hand, from what I’ve seen, Peach is lacking any sort of personality. She doesn’t come off all that bright, or capable of doing really anything on her own, and no one in their right mind picks her in any Mario spin-off she co-stars in, so I have to ask… why is she in the middle of this bizarre love triangle between a plumber and a mutant turtle when there’s a delicious little mushroom man you can fit in your pocket?
Dante & Beatrice — Dante’s Inferno
I’m not sure who I respect more: a man who’s willing to save the same woman over and over and over again, or one who’s willing to battle his way through the nine circles of hell in order to save his love from a gropey and particularly well-endowed Lucifer. Dante may have a leg up on the competition for Most Loyal Man In Video Games if only because of all the horrifying crap he had to go through to get to Beatrice. I mean, come on… that giant witch creature that spawned enemies from her nipples? I would’ve died on the spot after seeing something like that.
Garcia Hotspur & Paula — Shadows of the Damned
Poor, poor Paula. She had a rough time in Shadows of the Damned. The first time you meet her she has a zombie burst out of her back, then she’s taken by a man with a massive penis-shaped head. I’m not sure if I’d say the things Garcia went through were at the same level as Dante’s terrifying experience, because Garcia had a sidekick to help pick up the slack. They also had quite a bit of fun, and really, why go through the hassle of making a trip through the bowels of hell if not to have a little fun?
Alan Wake & Alice Wake — Alan Wake
At the very beginning of the game we learn a few things about Alan and his wife, Alice. The first thing is Alice has a fear of the dark, and the second is that there’s some tension between the two. These two are easily one of my favorite video game couples, because they feel real. When Alice goes missing, Alan stops at nothing to find her. There’s obvious love there, and even though she only had a few brief scenes in the game — including a rather fantastic flashback sequence — she felt like a real person. Sadly, that’s a rare thing to see in a video game.
Jackie Estacado & Jenny Ramano — The Darkness II
As great as Alan and Alice are, Jackie and Jenny are truly special. The Darkness is one of the best story-driven games I’ve played in some time, and a great part of that is because of those two. Jackie has an obvious dark side, and he has definite potential to become a soulless killing machine (which he eventually does), but the one thing that tethers him to reality is Jenny. When she’s murdered right in front of Jackie’s eyes — one of the most heartbreaking scenes I’ve ever seen in a game — he loses it, and for the rest of the game and its sequel, he seeks vengeance as well as a way to save Jenny from a hellish realm where the Darkness is keeping her.
Wander & Mono — Shadow of the Colossus
What I liked the most about Shadow of the Colossus is how it managed to say so much without really any dialogue. It’s a game about a boy turning to an ancient power to save a young maiden. The only way he can do this is by slaying several colossi spread throughout the game’s massive world. With the help of his horse, Agro, Wander sets off to take each and every one of them down. Once he does, the girl is revived, but in doing so he pays a serious price.
James Sunderland & Mary Shepherd-Sunderland — Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 2 has one of the best story hooks in a game. You play as James Sunderland, a widower, who receives a letter from his dead wife beckoning him to the town of Silent Hill. Obviously, nothing good awaits him in that foggy town, but he continues on in search of his wife. Of course, because this is a Silent Hill game, plot twists abound as we discover that James actually suffocated his wife with a pillow when she was ill three years prior. So yeah, there’s that.
I also wanted to write up a list of women who went to/through hell for their men, but coming up with enough to justify a list was a little difficult. I know it’s happened, though unfortunately, there just aren’t enough female leads in games these days. If you have any ideas for such a list, feel free to share them in the comments below!