Video games are often known for their heroes journeying on an epic quest to battle evil and save the world. These heroes are often some of the most memorable and iconic characters in fiction, like Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog. However, many of these heroes wouldn’t be what they are without a little help from their sidekicks. Sidekicks in video games are often just as important as the protagonists since they help the player during gameplay, assist with moving plot forward, and are typically who the main characters interact with most.
Sidekicks have become some of the most memorable characters in some games, so let’s celebrate that with a list of the 15 greatest video game sidekicks.
Fox McCloud is the galaxy’s greatest pilot in Star Fox, but he’s nothing without his crew. Falco is easily Fox’s best teammate, as he’s a skilled pilot and isn’t afraid to put the members of Star Wolf in their place. He may be cocky and brash, but he’s always got Fox’s back. His crude dialogue and helpfulness when gunning down enemy ships have made him one of the most beloved characters in Star Fox. Plus, he’s a fan favorite in the Super Smash Bros. series.
The only real problem with Falco, other than coming off as uncooperative at times, is that he can get in the way of your shots and then yell at you for hitting him. He’s thankfully nowhere near as bad or annoying as Slippy, though.
14) Coco Bandicoot
Coco is Crash Bandicoot’s highly intelligent sister. She’s smart enough to rival the evil scientists set on taking over the world that she and Crash often do battle with. She aids her brother with her computer-hacking skills and by providing him with nifty gadgets on his quests. She even kicks butt using self-taught martial arts. Let’s not forget she can ride a tiger along the Great Wall of China and dodge bombs while on a jet ski.
What’s a little strange is that she could probably do a better job at saving the world than her reckless brother, but allows him to take the lead anyway. She would do well if she ever decided to step up as the lead in her own adventure.
Spyro the Dragon doesn’t go anywhere without his little dragonfly buddy, Sparx. Sparx is one of the few sidekicks that’s by the hero’s side for just about all of the gameplay. Sparx is handy to have, as he serves as Spyro’s health indicator, points out where hidden collectables are, and even gets to be playable during his own minigames where he shoots fireballs.
Sparx is a great friend to Spyro and serves as a protector, making him a solid sidekick to have. It is a little messed up that Spyro isn’t really affected by Sparx taking so many hits for him, but he always comes back, right?
Atreus is Kratos’s son in 2018’s God of War, and serves as his assistant during combat throughout the game. At first, adventuring with Atreus feels like you’re on an annoying escort mission. However, he grows into a formidable fighter throughout the game. He uses his bow to take down enemies and can be used for fun team attacks, like distracting enemies for Kratos to be able to give the final blow to.
Atreus is vital to both the heart and the story of God of War, and serves as one of the primary driving forces for the game’s plot. He’s useful and has the powers of a demigod, but does the overpowered Kratos really need any help when it comes to combat?
Kazooie lives in Banjo’s backpack throughout the Banjo-Kazooie video game series, so she’s always close by. She’s wisecracking and sassy as she insults most people she talks to, providing some hilarious dialogue for the player to read. However, she never insults her best friend Banjo. She literally has Banjo’s back as they go on world-saving adventures. She helps Banjo on their quests by using various abilities that Banjo could never survive without. She can fly, climb steep slopes, and shoot eggs at foes.
Kazooie is a really unique sidekick, as it feels like the player controls Banjo and Kazooie simultaneously as they use her abilities. The bird and bear are truly an iconic duo of heroes. Perhaps Kazooie could be a little nicer to those around her, though, and not cheat at poker.
Elizabeth is especially helpful to Booker DeWitt throughout Bioshock Infinite. She can pick locks to open new areas, crack any message written in the Vox Cipher, and provides Booker (and the player) with health and ammo during combat. Honestly, that’s as useful as a sidekick in a first-person shooter can get aside from helping you gun down enemies. The story of the game literally couldn’t happen without her due to her ties to both the main hero and villain. She’s also one of the most beloved and memorable elements from the whole game.
Elizabeth has one of the most unique abilities for any video game sidekick. She can manipulate tears in the space-time continuum that show possible scenarios, causing objects, weapons, and parts of the scenery to enter the world from other timelines. She can also use this to transport herself and Booker to other time periods and realities. This is an ability that makes the game infinitely more fun to play. However, she is also one of the few sidekicks to technically cause the death of the game’s hero, sadly.
9) Donald & Goofy
One of the most fun aspects of the Kingdom Hearts series is traveling to different Disney worlds with the beloved characters Donald Duck and Goofy. They’re not just the silly characters you grew up with either. They’re heroes tasked with helping the Keyblade wielder, Sora, save all worlds from darkness. Donald is a mighty mage who blasts foes with magic while Goofy is a courageous knight who does battle with his trusty shield. They are almost always fighting side-by-side with Sora, constantly proving helpful during combat as they take out their fair share of Heartless and other enemies.
Having both Donald and Goofy back you up throughout the game is not only fun, but super helpful as they can heal you, help restore your magic gauge, and perform team attacks with you. They aren’t true Guardians of Light, but they’re willing to be with them every step of the way during the war with Xehanort. They’d be slightly better sidekicks, however, if they healed you at better times and didn’t get knocked out when you needed them most.
Bentley, along with Murray, has been one of Sly Cooper’s best friends since childhood. They grew up together, and now they work together as master-class thieves and even save the world together. Murray may be with them every step of the way, but he’s mostly part of the comic relief. Bentley, however, captured the hearts of gamers as we saw him get his heart broken by Penelope and overcome his disability after getting crushed by Clock-La.
Bentley helps the Cooper Gang with a wide variety of gadgets, each of which are useful in many different situations. Even though Sly is their fearless leader and the hero of the series, Bentley is the one who comes up with all of the plans thanks to his big brains. The Cooper gang would truly be nothing without Bentley.
7) Aku Aku
Another sidekick from the Crash Bandicoot series, Aku Aku was a powerful shaman who now inhabits an ancient tribal mask. Unlike Coco, Aku Aku travels with Crash through each level. He provides Crash and Coco with protection and serves as a health indicator similar to Sparx from Spyro the Dragon. He is different from Sparx, though, in that after opening three Aku Aku crates without taking damage, Aku Aku provides the bandicoots with the powers of invincibility.
Aku Aku is extremely wise and is very kind-hearted. He serves as Crash and Coco’s guide and mentor on their adventures as they battle against evil. He is also a vessel of exposition to explain the lore surrounding the Wumpa Islands. He’s both handy to have during gameplay and is important for story purposes, making Aku Aku an ideal sidekick for Crash Bandicoot.
6) Diddy Kong
As Donkey Kong’s little buddy, Diddy Kong is always ready to help take down King K. Rool and his Kremlings. Donkey Kong can literally tag in Diddy Kong at a moment’s notice to assist with tackling a situation. Diddy may be smaller than Donkey Kong, but he is faster and more agile, allowing him to help in situations Donkey Kong may not be able to deal with on his own, and ultimately providing the player with a slightly different play style. In Donkey Kong 64, Diddy can even fire his Peanut Popguns that truly pack a punch.
Diddy Kong is so popular he was able to branch out with his own game with Diddy Kong Racing and became the hero in Donkey Kong Country 2 when he needed to save Donkey Kong from the clutches of K. Rool. He also sets out to rescue DK during the Subspace Emissary” story mode in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. If his friends are in trouble, count on Diddy Kong to save them.
Ellie is a witty 14-year old in the care of Joel during the events of The Last of Us. She and Joel bond and grow a father-daughter type of relationship while on their travels through the apocalyptic landscape. She’s immune to the fungus that is affecting everyone else in the world, making her extremely important to this world and the game’s story. Because your playable character cares so deeply for her, it’s hard not to do the same as you protect her from the Infected and from human threats. She also helps with some of the game’s puzzle-solving and eventually becomes proficient with guns, a bow, and explosives.
The segment in the first Last of Us game where you play as Ellie while Joel is out of commission is one of the most exciting in the game. Ellie is such a popular character that she’s playable in the DLC for the first game and is the protagonist in the sequel instead of Joel.
As one of the titular characters of the Ratchet & Clank series, Clank is a pretty big deal. He’s an adorable little robot who is hyper-intelligent and very optimistic. In a way, he’s not just Ratchet’s best friend, but he is also his greatest weapon. He can store a huge amount of weapons and gadgets for Ratchet, use propellers to fly, command smaller robots, scan technology to instantly detect problems, and he knows martial arts. He even has become Giant Clant to take on much larger threats than usual.
Ratchet may be the main hero of the series, but honestly, he’d be nothing without his Buddy Clank. Plus, Clank starred in his own spin-off game, Secret Agent Clank, on the PSP, proving how much people want to see more of this sidekick.
Super Mario’s brother, Luigi, is easily the most recognizable sidekick in video game history. Luigi may always be stuck in Mario’s shadow, but his fanbase has grown immensely over the years. He’s one of the original “player 2s” ever. He may dress similarly to Mario, but he can often jump further and higher than he can. He can also often run faster than Mario, but slides more as a result. Luigi doesn’t shy away from adventures and activities (that Mario actually invites him to), like go karting, tennis, and battling Bowser’s evil army. The only thing holding Luigi back is that he’s more cowardly than his brother. Being cowardly, though, does not mean that he’s not always willing to lend a helping hand.
Luigi is such a popular sidekick that Nintendo has given him his own video game series in the form of Luigi’s Mansion. Plus, 2013 was dubbed the “Year of Luigi” by Nintendo, where many games were released that were centered around him. In the few decades since Luigi has been around, he’s gone from “Green Mario” to a hero of his own.
Similar to Clank in Ratchet & Clank, Daxter is one of the titular characters in Jak & Daxter (even though his name is dropped for the sequels). Daxter, a human who was transformed into an ottsel, is Jak’s best friend who seems to never leave his side. Daxter rides on Jak’s shoulder, which is just plain adorable. In the original game, Jak does not speak, so Daxter serves as the main source of dialogue. Plus, attempting to turn Daxter back into a human serves as the main MacGuffin at the start of their journey. Daxter is witty, eccentric, and tons of fun to experience each game with.
When Jak was captured by Baron Praxis, Daxter spent two years searching for him and eventually rescued him. Daxter has helped Jak in other ways over the years, by catching fish during minigames, fitting into small areas Jak cannot, and by giving up his chance to be a human in order to help save the world. He’s a big enough sidekick that he also received his own spinoff game on the PSP that was simply titled Daxter. We’ve seen Daxter crack amazing jokes, ride on the roofs of cars, and use a single wish to get a pair of pants. It’s hard not to love him.
Miles Prower, a.k.a Tails, is the best sidekick in video game history. He’s best friends with Sonic the Hedgehog, and is helping him defeat the diabolical Dr. Eggman quite often. Sonic may be a courageous hero with near-unbeatable superspeed, but he still needs some help from his trusty pal Tails. Tails may just be a kid, but he’s also a supergenius who’s intelligence matches Dr. Eggman’s. Tails often comes up with gadgets to use to battle against robots or to aid Sonic and other friends in their adventures.
Tails is famous for using his two tails as a helicopter propeller to fly. On many occasions, he has carried Sonic during flight to help him reach new areas. Tails has built his own airplane, the Tornado which can help Sonic and friends get to new locations overseas. Tails has been playable on several occasions, including in Sonic Adventure 2 when he pilots a badass mech throughout the whole story. He’s even starred in a couple of his own games, Tails’ Skypatrol and Tails Adventure. He’s featured in a post-credits cameo after the 2020 Sonic the Hedgehog live action movie, in which audience members cheered upon seeing him.
Tails has developed wonderfully as a character, as he has overcome his self doubt in Sonic Adventure and became a hero on his own in a sense. He certainly has quite a legacy, as he’s been in tons of games, comic books, cartoons, and now a movie. Tails is always willing to help Sonic out with things that even Sonic cannot accomplish on his own, provides the player assistance during gameplay, has been playable in several games, and has starred in his own games. All this makes Tails the greatest video game sidekick of all time.