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The Best Protagonists From Platforming Games

Who doesn't love a good platforming game? The genre has seemingly been around since the inception of the medium but became popularized through the likes of Super Mario Bros. on the NES and Sonic the Hedgehog on Sega Genesis. While these are just two examples of the genre's protagonist juggernauts, it proves that the genre has been around for quite some time with people loving these main characters.

Platforming games were especially all the rage in the 90s and early 2000s with plenty of genre mascots that still remain popular to this day with the likes of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon. Whether you are a huge fan of platforming games or not, one thing is certain, the genre continues to create some of the very best protagonists in all of gaming. Oh, and just note, these are in no particular order.

7 Mario And Luigi

Can a list of best platforming game protagonists really start off any other way? While Mario is certainly the star of the platforming genre, Luigi absolutely deserves to be mentioned here as well. These highly recognizable platforming characters need no introduction since the pair have starred in numerous top-tier platforming and adventure games.

From the likes of the original Super Mario Bros. to Super Mario Odyssey, Mario is a portly plumber with pizazz, charm, and an adventure-filled spirit. Of course, his adventures wouldn't be complete without Luigi who also happens to star in the excellent Luigi's Mansion games.

6 Sonic The Hedgehog

Although Sonic has had a fall from grace since his days appearing on the Sega Genesis and Sega Dreamcast, he is still world-renowned in the platforming genre. Sonic is one heck of a radical dude and his signature speed and style were ever-present in the 90s.

While the likes of '06 Sonic along with the numerous other Sonic and Sega missteps, his reign in the genre is deserving of mention here. This fiery blue speedball will most likely always be a part of the gaming landscape in some shape or fashion. Let's just hope we get more games like Sonic Mania and less like Shadow the Hedgehog.

5 Crash Bandicoot

Crash Bandicoot started life way back on the original PlayStation and he was meant to be a direct competition to the likes of Mario and Sonic. Fortunately, Crash, the plucky and goofy bandicoot, struck the right cords with platforming fans and PlayStation fans alike.

Steering away from the traditional 2d or 3d platforming affair, Crash Bandicoot went for a more straightforward approach with you needing to guide Crash forward or backward depending on the stage. Despite a few missteps in the long-running series, Crash Bandicoot still remains a beloved character in the genre as a whole.

4 Spyro The Dragon

Similar to Crash, Spyro the Dragon also breathed firey life back on the original PlayStation but his games went for a more traditional 3d action-platforming style. Spyro is sort of this radical, off-the-wall purple dragon character who also happens to have plenty of courage and heart.

Spyro games have come and gone all throughout the last two decades but the original three games (and their remasters) are still some of the very best the genre has to offer. It's quite remarkable to see the likes of Sypro many years later when there have been other platforming protagonists that have fallen by the wayside. Sorry Glover, hopefully you get a sequel or reboot one day.

3 Banjo And Kazooie

While Banjo, the quirky bear, and Kazooie, the sarcastic bird, are two separate characters, they really make up one lovable pair, namely, Banjo-Kazooie. The original Banjo-Kazooie was released way back on the Nintendo 64 from famed developer, Rare. This iconic 3d platformer made waves for its creative gameplay, fantastic level design, and, of course, our wonderful duo.

The whole idea of a bear and a bird working with one another throughout an adventure was necessarily unique, but it paved the way for the likes of Ratchet and Clank, Jak and Daxter, and another zany pair you might just find out more about later in the list. With the original game just released on the Nintendo Switch Online Service, now is the time to find out why so many people love Banjo and Kazooie.

2 Yooka And Laylee

Depending on what age you are, you might be more familiar with the more recent lovable platforming duo, Yooka-Laylee, rather than Banjo-Kazooie. Yooka-Laylee is very much a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, so much so that it was even developed by some of the primary former staff of Rare, this time in the form of the development team Playtonic Games.

For the uninitiated, Yooka is an adorable green lizard and Laylee is a spicy bat, harkening back to the iconic pair, Banjo-Kazooie. While the original 3d platforming outing for Yooka and Laylee didn't gain the same esteem as its N64 counterpart, its sequel, the 2.5d platformer Yooka-Laylee and The Impossible Lair, was much more beloved.

1 Lucky

Are you familiar with the simply adorable fox, Lucky, from Super Lucky's Tale? If you answered no to that question then you need to go play Super Lucky's Tale (the original game) or the updated version, New Super Lucky's Tale, right away. Lucky is probably one of the more obscure platforming protagonists on this list but he more than deserves the limelight.

Lucky started life back on the Xbox One where Super Lucky's Tale released as an Xbox console exclusive game. However, the game eventually made its way to all platforms in the form of New Super Lucky's Tale with extra content and a fully controllable camera. Lucky is just a wonderful character who will quickly put a big old smile right on your face.

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