It’s tough out there for video game heroes. Often they must deal with failures a hundred times before they finally win the game. Maybe that’s why we love them so much. But of the great pantheon of video game heroes, which ones are the most fun to play as?

10. The Prince
Katamari Damacy

He may have only starred in one hit game (Katamari Damacy), but he showed a unique and potentially unstoppable power: He can roll up the entire universe. He does this to cover up the mistakes of his more important father, the King of All Cosmos. While those are impressive feats, we may have seen the last of him, as his creator, Keita Takahashi, has an intense dislike of creating video games as a corporate endeavor.

9. Master Chief
Master Chief

Star of the hit Halo franchise, he has wasted more Elites of the Covenant than any Spartan super-soldier, dead or alive. While he’s not quite at the level of Doomguy, he does have more successful games under his belt. His star is tied to the Xbox One, though, and even he may not be able to save it from turning into gruel.

8. Samus Aran
Samus Aran

If it weren’t for Samus, we wouldn’t have half of the Metroidvania platformer type. Her ability to coolly explore any alien territory—and fight off anything that came at her—made her equal parts Indiana Jones and Snake Plissken. She would be higher on this list if it weren’t for Other M, which has for the time being shattered her credibility as a character. She deserves better.#!

7. Doomguy (a.k.a. The Doom Marine)
Doomguy

When you’re pitted alone against overwhelming odds, and there’s only one clear path forward, the Doomguy is the one you want to be in control of. The ur-silent protagonist, many have tried to imitate him, but few have measured up despite him not being in a good game for nearly 20 years. Besides, it’s really hard to top someone who destroyed Hell without supernatural powers, something not even Spawn could claim.

6. Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog

Sega never really had a bigger character than Sonic the Hedgehog, not that he didn’t earn it. Unique games in their own right, Sonic’s sheer speed tested players’ limits and were a novel, exciting approach to platformers. Sonic hasn’t really made a strong transition to 3D, but he does have a legion of fans, god bless ‘em.

5. Ryu
Ryu

It’s not hard to be on the roster of a fighting game series for every single installment (just ask Yoshimitsu). What separates the wheat from the chaff is longevity and fame, and aside from Guile, Ryu has it in spades. He’s also inarguably the face of the Street Fighter franchise, as well as the originator of a few iconic moves. Now, if only the games he were in were actually fun to watch…

4. Solid Snake
Solid Snake

Snake’s rise has been remarkable. A protagonist who specializes in (mostly) avoiding direct confrontation, his adventures have gotten improbably more complex and convoluted as time goes on. Frankly, if you’re being sent into a situation where you can’t trust anyone, there’s nobody you want to be controlling more than Solid Snake. (Note: We’re not counting Metal Gear Solid 3 because no, that is not Solid Snake.)#!

3. Mega Man
Mega Man