The Best Grumps With A Heart Of Gold
If all protagonists were nice, and all antagonists were mean, fiction would be pretty boring, wouldn't it? That is where the long-running grump with a heart of gold archetype comes in. These characters are, on the inside, lovely human beings, but that doesn't get in the way of them being surly, antagonistic, and generally a source of grouchy remarks.
Some of these characters have played starring roles in some of our favorite games. Others are stalwart allies who balance loyalty with grouchiness. Bad vibes aside, these characters have a place in our hearts.
10 Cranky Kong – Donkey Kong Country
Here we have it. The OG himself. The original Donkey Kong. However, age has caught up to him, and the once giant ape is now a little more diminutive in stature in the Donkey Kong Country games. Cranky Kong sure lives up to his name. He is never short on barbs and has zero chill – TNT is not an appropriate response to a boombox being too loud, Cranky.
He still clearly cares about his family, as he does look out for them and tries to guide them with useful advice. Heart of gold may be a stretch with Cranky, but when push comes to shove, he does come out of retirement to help fight the Snowmads and take back the island in Tropical Freeze, so Cranky deserves some credit at least.
9 Victor Sullivan – Uncharted
For the Lethal Weapon fans out there, Sully has what can only be described as being a Murtaugh aura to him. Basically, he complains about everything, is annoyed by everything, but is just a big loyal, softie. Sully is hard to pin; at first, you are probably on the lookout for that inevitable heel turn, but it never comes.
Sully stands strong behind Nathan and is a consistently positive figure in his life. Throughout the Uncharted games, Sully is that friendly face you are always happy to see again, even if said face is frequently accompanied by a healthy helping of grumpiness.
8 Tellah – Final Fantasy 4
It may be unfair to refer to Final Fantasy 4's Tellah as a grump, as he is having a pretty rough time when you encounter him. However, it is impossible to separate the image of Tellah from the man who angrily assaulted Edward and referred to him as a "spoony bard".
Tellah is generally in a constant state of anger. His anger fuels him; it is his primary driving force. However, he is also inherently good. He helps whenever he can, and he sacrifices himself for the greater good.
7 Chris Redfield – Resident Evil
So, it is unquestionable that Chris has had a tumultuous career, but this dude only has three facial expressions, and all three are just different types of scowls. Chris is a guy who clearly cares about the people around him, though he could stand to use his words better – just talk to Ethan, Chris, you would have avoided the whole mess that is Resident Evil Village.
Still, Chris spends most of his time barking commands, and existing in a seemingly frustrated space at all times. We wouldn't have it any other way.
6 Hades – Hades
If there is one person who you can be certain is not a ton of fun at parties, that person is Hades. Nearly everything he says is acerbic. He has hundreds of lines of dialogue, and damn near every single one is grumpy. However, underneath that grumpy exterior, there is a man who loves his son.
A man who wants what is best for him and is concerned for him; even if he has a funny way of showing it. Hades is a big part of what makes the game great, as he is a character that works on a number of levels. And hey, have you met his family? If we had to contend with that lot we may be pretty grumpy too.
5 Falco – Star Fox
This is one belligerent bird. Falco is frequently sullen, always irritable, and generally not a friendly bird. However, he is dependable, and he has a good heart. He considers Star Fox his rival, which is probably tied to his grumpiness, as it kills him to recognize the interstellar fox.
However, throughout the Star Fox games, Falco is always ready and willing to help. He will almost certainly complain about it, but he always shows up – and that's what counts most of all.
4 Barret – Final Fantasy 7
Say what you will about Barret, but that man is really putting in an excellent effort. He is the type of guy who takes responsibility and carries a lot on his shoulders, so it is unsurprising that he can be a little on the ornery side. He is trying to save the world, all while raising a daughter single-handedly (pun intended). He has a lot on his plate.
Despite his extremely rough exterior, throughout the course of Final Fantasy 7, Barret is shown to be extremely caring. He is loyal to his friends, and as shown with an outsider like Cloud, he opens up to people pretty quickly (despite pretending not to). When all is said and done, Barret is just a big teddy bear… with a gun on his hand… and a foul temper.
3 Geralt – The Witcher
To be honest, if we spent all our time doing people's dirty work, and our primary reward was everyone hating us and cursing our name, we would probably be pretty grumpy as well. Geralt's grumpiness is only made better by the cast of characters he has around him.
Every new companion, more lively than the next, provides another foil for Geralt's bitter remarks. However, when it all comes down to it, Geralt is a true hero and has a knack for doing the right thing. He just mutters to himself as he does it.
2 Arthur Morgan – Red Dead Redemption 2
By the time we meet Arthur, he is already a seasoned outlaw. With that experience comes a certain level of grumpiness. Arthur is a man who will get the job done, and he is extraordinarily reliable, but he will be muttering under his breath while he is doing it. He is also, fundamentally, a good man.
Sometimes he is at odds with his own innate goodness, but eventually, over the course of Red Dead Redemption 2, Arthur fully embraces it. Arthur is far from a perfect person, and he is responsible for some sordid business, but he ultimately comes through for the people who matter, and he does his best to make amends with the people he has wronged.
1 Sojiro Sakura – Persona 5
Sojiro doesn't make a great first impression. In a game that doesn't seem to be particularly fond of adults, Sojiro is just another condescending, antagonistic voice in the crowd: until you get to know him, that is. Because once you have spent some time with this crusty coffee connoisseur you start to see that he cares deeply.
He constantly puts his own skin on the line. And, when push comes to shove, he is willing to sacrifice everything to do what is right. Sojiro is easily one of the best characters in Persona 5. He is the emotional core of the game.
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