Right, another game topic. Name your top "most awesome game characters"!.. so this is about the characters themselves, not the games. For instance, I really love playing Gran Turismo, but my driver doesn't count. I enjoy Elder Scrolls Oblivion and Mass Effect; but a lot of the character is built by myself. I guess my choices aren't very original, and I am sure people will say "you don't have X, he/she is awesome" but that is only good, because it would give me a reason to look at a new game or discuss. I personally chose characters who, to me, are deep and I connected with in the sense that I could not put the game down because of the story. Also; I usually play (j)RPGs and more action/adventury games such as MGS, Uncharted etc, not shooters or GTA like games, personal preference and I am sure there are characters I forgot about.
1 & 2. Cloud Strife and Sephiroth
I doubt I am very original, but still, numbers 1. and 2. are both from Final Fantasy VII. It was the first game I got absolutely addicted to and totally immersed myself in. I finished it 6-7 times and managed to get everything in the game. I still play it every now and then for nostalgia's sake. The story was amazing, I really loved the gameplay (and the jRPG genre was very new to me and this made it accessible), the music was great and it contained a battle between two of my favourite game characters; Cloud Strife, the main protagonist of the story; great character building, not-perfect and a badass big-ass sword. Then on the other side Sephiroth, the main antagonist, evil but with some reasoning, intelligent, strong, powerful. I absolutely loved the scene where he walks through the flames. And what I like about that story line is that Squaresoft (and later Square-Enix) created additions to this story which, to me, only improved it (Crisis Core, Last Order, Advent Children) and showed a lot of background to their characters psyche. Great stuff. I was also thinking about choosing Auron, from FFX (which wasn't nearly as good, but Auron is an awesome character; again with a massive sword... perhaps I am compensating for something)
3. Solid Snake (or Naked Snake?)
The second game on my PS1 I completely played to death and it's pre/sequels on PS2 and PS3, Metal Gear Solid. I played the original Metal Gear's before, enjoyed them but they weren't the sneaking-game revelation that Metal Gear Solid was. Aside from great gameplay it had an amazing story, a story that gripped me from the start. I love the character Solid Snake and whilst writing this I am realising I like him more than MGS3's Naked Snake; who eventually turned into Big Boss (which is also a great story line by the way, and Peace Walker was an amazing PSP game and I believe is coming to PS3). But Solid is inherently good, everything for the good of the country and he feels closer to me than Big Boss, so I am choosing Solid Snake. To be fair, MGS4's version of Raiden comes close to this too.
I had to think about this for a long time. There are plenty of games I enjoy playing and some that have really affected me, but not all of them had characters that were close to me. I have been playing games for many years now and started with the original NES system (although I only got it when it wasn't for sale new anymore). The series I have played most over the years was the Final Fantasy series, which has become less good now and characters haven't been nearly as cool as they were. I now own a PS3 and that has some brilliant games too, but I find it difficult to think which character I like best. Anyway, I went with Nathan Drake. The Uncharted series was my biggest game-suprise of the last years and I have absolutely loved it. Similar to the games above this game had both a great gameplay and a great story + an awesome lead-character. Nathan Drake's character is great, life like, funny, charismatic and easy to connect with and therefore in my top 5.
5. Lara Croft
Difficult one here, but I went for Lara Croft. She caused a revelation in gaming when Tomb Raider came out and she is still around. I loved the games and loved Lara. I even remember uncles and even my grandfather talking about her. I remember going to my friends place because he had TR1 on his PC. It was my first PS1 game. Nowadays I am less interested in it, but it meant a lot for me in the past and I think Lara Croft is definitely a gaming hero. I guess I cheated a little because her character was less interesting to, but still she is an all-time "awesome game character".
Runners-up; FFVI, Kefka; FFVIII's Squall; FFXs Auron; RDR, John Marston; Assassin's Creed II/BH, Ezzio di Auditore; MGS1, Psycho Mantis; Zelda, Link; GoW, Kratos, Mario; Mario and of course many others.