Archers have been a staple of video games since Kid Icarus appeared with bow and arrow in hand way back in the mid 1980s. The power of gaming systems has grown considerably since then, but the basic aim-and-shoot mechanics have ruled the day from then to now. In this list of the top 5 legendary video game archers, we take a loot at the most popular icons that have emerged from the pack over the past 35 or so years of gaming.
Lara Croft is perhaps most recognized for her use of two handguns in the early Playstation games, but recent entries into the series (from 2013 and beyond) have her using the bow and arrow just as much. She separates herself from other formidable archers in that she has no special bow enhancing her shooting abilities. Her first archery weapon in the Tomb Raider reboot (2013) was crafted using sticks and sinew like the archers of old, and she survived countless life-or-death encounters with this rudimentary hunting bow before any upgrades. In the sequels Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, she had graduated to recurve and compound bows as her archery skill reached legendary status.
Link: Legend of Zelda
Link, the protagonist of Nintendo’s epic Legend of Zelda series, received his first bow in the entrie’s first title of the same name (1986). That same bow was used to defeat the series primary antagonist, the dark wizard Ganandorf, using a magical silver arrow. Link’s use of the bow would continue up to the last entry called Breath of the Wild, a 3D title where archery is a prominent skill that Link uses throughout to solve puzzles and defeat enemies.
Aloy: Horizon Zero Dawn
Aloy is the heroine of the modern adventure title Horizon Zero Dawn. She can be credited with reviving the Artemis archetype – that of a female huntress who uses a bow and arrow with god-like precision. She spent 12 years of her youth training as a hunter in a post-apocalyptic world where machines had destroyed most of humankind and fashioned animal-like robots to police the land. The bow is her featured weapon throughout the epic adventure, which is used for defeating enemies, creating traps, propelling grappling hooks, and solving puzzles.
Pit: Kid Icarus
Pit is the protagonist of the aforementioned Kid Icarus video games. He is modeled partly after Cupid, and partly after mercury. Pit’s bow is assembled from two swords and he does not have a quiver for arrows, and the arrows themselves are generated in a magical way. His place on this list is less about story or prowess, but about his place as a foundational character for introducing archery to video games and propelling the platforming genre forward in terms of projectile-based gameplay. You can watch the Evolution of Pit (1986 – 2018) in this Nintendo’s video.
Connor Kenway: Assassin’s Creed
Connor Kenway, also known as Ratonhnhaké:ton, is one of many protagonists in the Assassin’s Creed series. Like his ancestors and descendents, Connor possessed natural gifts that gave him superhuman hand-eye coordination. Unlike the others, he was trained by Native Americans who used the bow and arrow as their primary weapon, so this natural ability was enhanced by master-level training from his youth onward. In the game, it is said that Connor could hit any target he could see, limited only by the range of the bow he was using. This came in handy as the world began to use firearms, which took much longer to load and ruined the element of stealth that was vital to an assassin. Connor uses a hunting bow throughout the game, which is upgraded with various parts like animal horns and sights until it becomes a near-perfect silent weapon.
What is your favorite list of games in which the gamer can become an archer?