With Top Gun: Hard Lock now available to buy – and the title almost suggesting that insistent, but never quite explicitly explored homo-erotic subtext, and because the game itself features way too little topless, oily beach volleyball and “macho” high-fives we got to thinking about the best video game bromances out there in the big bad joy-stick world.
And without too much further ado, here they are. I would have loved to feature Maverick and Goose, but there is yet to be a Top Gun tie-in which features two military “friends” navigating the perilous road from self-discovery to social acceptance, via the disgusting obstacles of ignorance and misplaced outrage. Sort of like Double Dragon, but with more bigot-slapping.
8. Jak & Daxter
They beat Ratchet and Clank to the final spot here because Clank is pretty much just a robot, and has only simulated feelings that flesh and blood will always trump, even if it is the flesh and blood of a weasel like creature. Best friends before Daxter was turned into an obnoxious bipedal rodent-thing, the strength of the relationship between silent type Jak and motor-mouth Daxter is so strong that they’re still obviously close after the transformation. If it were me, facing threats all around in a hostile world, I’d have just eaten Daxter.
7. Elliot Salem & Tyson Rios [Army of Two]
Some might say the Army of Two are gay, but I’m willing to accept the developers’ collective denial, and just agree that Salem and Rios are just very good friends, united in their willingness to beat the shit out of terrorists before going home together to watch Bad Boys and The Rock. Big Michael Bay fans. Probably.
6. Ken & Ryu [Street Fighter]
I probably completely imagined this one – but my earliest memories of Street Fighter were all about Ken and Ryu and the strange backstory that made them wear the same pyjamas. Secret pyjama club? I’d like to think so.
5. Kane & Lynch
Thrust together by crime and an opportunist prison break-out, and bonded together by the kind of bonkers action movie plot that Jean Claude Van Damme might have turned down as too over-the-top, the criminals with a motive of vengeance have a dependable, if slightly volatile relationship. Lynch backs Kane in his quest to rescue his wife and child, and for his part, Kane never judges Lynch for his murderous violent psychosis: it’s what all good relationships are based on.
4. Billy Lee & Jimmy [Double Dragon]
Growing up on the unforgiving streets together makes for strong bromance ties – sometimes through desperation (there is no way a prosperous Artful Dodger would bother with whingeing drip Oliver) and sometimes through genuine affection, wrought through adversity (Aladdin and Apu), and this kung-fu kicking duo are probably the best example of that particular brand of bromance. They work hard by day – and kick tail together at night despite knowing that only one will ultimately realise the tender affection of their mutual love interest Marian. Ah romance, the typical enemy of bromance: if there is anything to learn from Double Dragon, other than that meatheads shouldn’t wear headbands, it is that the old adage of Bros Before Hos is a load of old tripe.
3. Marcus Fenix & Dom Santiago [Gears of War]
Gears of War is almost as charged as Top Gun. Almost. Seriously, think about it: it is so painfully macho there has to be some sort of over-compensation going on. But seriously, of course the relationship between Marcus and Dom is no bad thing – they might be amped up broskis, who have clearly spent too much time high-fiving one another in front of the gym mirror, while stealing furtive glances at over-powered glutes and biceps, but they have genuine love for each other. The kind of war they’ve seen does that to any soldier – and there’s no shame in the love between two straight men.
2. Sonic & Tails
The way some gamers would paint it, Tails is the much maligned sidekick, infatuated by Sonic’s cool factor, sort of like the tragic Millhouse to Blue Spiky’s Bart. But that isn’t the case – Tails is genuinely Sonic’s best friend (always handy to have a mechanic in your rolladex, even if your main means of transport is blistering self-propulsion). And it is very unlikely that someone as obviously bad-ass as Sonic would allow a comparatively wimpy fox with a silly name to follow him around if he didn’t dearly love the blighter.
1. Mario & Luigi
Actual brothers for the win. Mario’s relationship with Yoshii would have made an equally compelling argument, but it is something of an extension to consider a man’s relationship with what amounts to his pet a bromance. That is almost on a par with those crazy women who refer to their cats as their “babies”. Plus, Yoshii’s dedication to Mario is only as strong as the plumber’s strength in holding on to the hungry dinosaur, as every time he gets a knock he runs off whimpering. If it hurt that much, he shouldn’t be able to bloody sprint!
What do you think, did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.