Top 10 GTA sidekicks and NPCs
The Grand Theft Auto franchise is nothing if not controversial, but that pursuit of the edgy style comes paired with some incredible narratives and truly memorable characters. It's easy to give credit to the main protag-- err, anti-heroes, but too often ancillary characters are left by the wayside and forgotten when we look back and fondly remember series history.
Consider this our way of righting those wrongs. Here's to the sidekicks and secondary characters, good or evil, that have won our hearts in the years and installments since 2001's GTA III. They may not be playable, and they may not directly influence shocking plot twists and endings, but we can't help but smile every time they reappear to light up our playthroughs with goofy personalities or remarkable intrigue.
The first friend you encounter in Grand Theft Auto III really needs no explanation. From the first knock-out punch he delivers in a prison van escape, we knew we'd get along with 8-Ball just fine. His explosive personality is matched only by his penchant for explosives. This habit is shown off in triumphant fashion in the final mission of Act 1, where you watch from the lens of a sniper rifle while 8-Ball blows up a cargo frigate with thousands of pounds of narcotics onboard. He stays by your side, too, always ready to rig up your car with an undercarriage bomb.
GTA: San Andreas' resident hippy is the source of heaps of hilarity throughout CJ's Californian odyssey. Two of the game's most memorable missions - stealing a farming combine capable of chewing up pedestrians and burning an entire field of marijuana - come courtesy of our paranoid friend. His distrust of the government eventually grants you the game's coolest item - on The Truth's word, CJ sneaks into Area 69 to steal a fully-functional jetpack. Of course, the same distrust also puts him at odds with government spook Mike Toreno, but more on that in a bit.
Lance's inclusion on this list owes a lot to the diabolical way in which he betrays main character Tommy Vercetti very late in the GTA: Vice City timeline. After serving as your loyal sidekick and token emotionally insecure gangster for much of the game, Lance has enough when Tommy begins mistreating him and begins claiming much of their criminal empire as his own. In a move of unprecedented late-game villainy, Lance sells Tommy out to Tommy's old mob boss Sonny Forelli and storms their mansion with dozens of Forelli's goons. Tommy wins out in the end, but victory does not come without loss, and we're forced to say goodbye to our favorite sidekick-turned-backstabber.
Salvatore Leone's right-hand capo may run one hell of an Italian restaurant, but that's not why's here. Rather, Toni Cipriani is the first man of real power you encounter as GTA III's silent protagonist, and is responsible for instigating war with the Triads and placing you right in the middle of it. His difficult missions helped prepare us for the game's cutthroat gameplay, but as a side character, he's also uniquely special - Toni received his own game in the form of GTA: Liberty City Stories, and his rise to power as a Mafia capo is a thrilling journey full of cameos and compelling character development. No, he may make a mean lasagna, but his place in our hearts is won through being the most fleshed-out side character in franchise history.
Our first pick from the GTA IV era happens to be a hardened thug seasoned by prison life. We think he's a softie. Through the course of several missions and opportunities to go on "friend dates" with Dwayne, you discover that he wishes to regain a shred of the criminal empire he ran in the past and needs your help doing it. As you complete these missions, the layers of cynicism and dread peel away, revealing a man who desperately WANTS to have a positive outlook on life. He gains just that by spending more time with Niko, and as a result, becomes one of the few characters in GTA IV to actually undergo a true redemption. That is, if you decide not to betray him under Playboy X's order. Dwayne is a perfect example of Rockstar's push for mature storytelling that began with the ... (continued on next page) ----