Gamings’ Deathliest

Somebody annoys you or betrays you. Maybe even, heavens forbid, trolls you. You want revenge but just who should you go to for vengeance. Who are the game world’s deathliest assassins?

8. Lucian Lahance: The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion

Speaker of the Black Hand of the Dark Brotherhood Lucian Lahance is your recruiter and for many of the missions in the Dark Brotherhood quest line he’s also your handler. He also owns Shadowmere, the best horse in the game, and is even good enough to give it to you later on.

Okay so I recall correctly he never actually killed anyone in the game but perform the Dark Sacrament to the Night Mother and by Sithis Lucian will get the job gets done one way or the other. It may be also be a good idea to avoid house parties in Skingrad…

While the Dark Brotherhood quest line never featured anything quite as dramatic as say killing an emperor Lucian had the benefit of not being Cicero.

That is a good thing by the way.

7. Zevran Arainai: Dragon Age Origins/Dragon Age 2

Another Bioware killer Zevran is an elf with a taste for death. Trained by the legendary Crows of Antiva since the  humble age of seven Zevran excelled at both assassination and seduction. Yes he may be a treacherous bastard, what with being sent to kill you, then joining you, then potentially deciding to kill you again (based on your actions and relationship in DA:O) before slaughtering the leader of the Crows in the period before you meet him again in DA2.

Decidedly skilled with his twin blades Zevran is someone you really need to watch out for because even if he works for you there’s no guarantee he won’t try to slit your throat.

He’s also clearly seen Full Metal Jacket; “you meet interesting people and then you kill them,” which you know, is interesting and stuff. Not a reason to hire him as an assassin maybe but it’s certainly interesting. Comparisons to Puss in Boots are also reasonable.

6. Jaffar: Fire Emblem Rakka No Ken

Sleeping among a pile of dead bodies is how Jaffar was discovered by Nergal, a Dark Druid. Impressed with Jaffar’s obvious skill Nergal decided to train the boy. In time Jaffar infiltrated the Black Fang, an infamous league of assassins. His natural talents, combined with Nergal’s training, allowed him to rise swiftly in the organisation eventually displacing Jerme, The Death Kite, as one of the Four Fangs, the leaders of the organization.

Another remorseful assassin Jaffar attempts to atone for his sins after Nina’s confrontation with her mother Sonia. Regardless he remains a formidable killer, yes his HP and defense stats are low but his high strength and speed more than make up for that.

5. Letho of Gulet: The Witcher 2

There are assassins and then there are Kingslayers. Letho is introduced in a stunning cinematic at the start of the Extended Edition that quite nicely relays the fact that while this assassin is a big man he’s lithe on his feet and knows a thing or two about magic as well. It later becomes clear that the Kingslayer is a Witcher from the School of the Viper.

Letho is the type of assassin that will let you live if you saved his life at some point in the past, otherwise don’t expect mercy. You can also expect a dramatic cut scene when someone important dies but more importantly if you’re planning a little regicide this is the guy to go for.

4. Thane Krios: Mass Effect 2/Mass Effect 3

Thane is the most skilled murderer in Council space. This assassin has developed a unique kill method for humans, asari, turians, and krogan. You can bet he probably has strategies for members of the other species.

Krios is so lethal that even in his dying months he’s able to take on the Cerberus enhanced operative Kai Leng and almost single handedly save the salarian councillor (okay Shepard helps a bit). With his flawless memory and capacity for pointing out the most minute of details – the Citadel’s 14 security flaws for instance – you don’t want him as your enemy.

Thane even uses Shepard in Mass Effect 2 as a diversion so that he can take out his target, the asari Nassana Dantius. He does so with a pistol at point blank range. That’s the type of killer he is. If you want your assassin to inflict a close quarters, personalised, kill this is the guy to go for. He’ll even be remorseful for you, praying for the sin of taking a life. A weight of your mind so to speak.

3. Altair ibn La’ Ahad: Assassin’s Creed/Assassin’s Creed Revelations/Assassin’s Creed Bloodlines/Assassin’s Creed Altair’s Chronicles

He’s seen the future. He’s spent decades studying the Apple of Eden. Even as an old man he can still be deadly. Though Altair may not be as smooth as Ezio nor as charming the Master Assassin built many of the tools his eventual protégée would use. His legacy would live on into at least the 18th Century with recent footage from the Assassin’s Creed 3 gameplay teaser suggesting that Connor will bear a flexible hidden blade.

Altair created the Assassin’s order as it exists to this day and has tremendous power with the Apple. Plus he’s pretty dedicated taking more a decade to combat the Mongol threat. Now if only the gaming press would stop confusing Altair and Ezio (I’ve seen them confused twice now. Here and here).

2. Ezio Auditore da Firenze: Assassin’s Creed 2/Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood/Assassin’s Creed Revelations/Assassin’s Creed Discovery

A suave killing machine and the go to guy whenever Leonardo da Vinci was looking for a test dummy Ezio left behind his quest for revenge long ago. That only makes him all the more dangerous. Even the humble conveniently placed haystack isn’t safe if Ezio is around.

Ezio is different to the other assassins on this list in that he is a student as much as a teacher, learning from the best of the age (Machiavelli, da Vinci) as well as from the secrets that Altair left for the future and being the mentor for Desmond today. He stands out because he is conflicted, not in the way that Thane is, but because he is a tool of Those Who Came Before and he knows it too. This master assassin’s path is as much about understanding his place as it is about death, something you may want to consider if you hire him.

Guns, hidden blades, the hook blade, bombs and broomsticks, yes broomsticks, all are lethal weapons in Ezio’s hands. You might not want to be around Ezio if you’re a musician though. Maybe he worked out his stress by beating them up in Revelations… Don’t count on it.

1. Agent 47: Hitman Codename 47/Hitman 2 Silent Assassin/Hitman Contracts/ Hitman Blood Money/Hitman Absolution

Agent 47 is no Ezio. In every game, the player’s maneuverability is constrained; he cannot jump, scale walls, or mantle up ledges. There are a few pre-scripted moments when he can jump from one balcony to another, but these are very rare.

Yet 47 stands out as one of the best killers in gaming. Where else can you beat a guy up put on his suit and perform a hit dressed a chicken? If I recall correctly you can even put a bomb in a chicken and blow it up. And then there’s always that officer growing through an underwear drawer…

For inventiveness, if not agility, there are few better hit-men than Agent 47. Also the movie never happened.


Ed. Note: A list with assassins and killers cannot be completed without at least one mention of Artemis Entreri. Although he is prominently featured in the Legend of Drizzt book series, he was playable in some Baldur’s Gate games. Carry on.