Over the 16 years that Xbox has been in the gaming market, a plethora of iconic video game heroes have made an appearance on the platform. But which of them rises above the rest? Here's our list of the best game heroes in Xbox history.

Whether they're noble, brave icons that inspire everyone to be the best person they can be, or simply just badass warriors that cut down armies of bad guys in order to protect the innocent, the various protagonists of the video game world have become shining symbols of heroism in the entertainment industry.

Related: Top 10 Xbox video game villains

10. Jade (Beyond Good and Evil)

Jade is a living example of the power of tenacity. Despite living in a world where very little goes her way — her planet is under siege by aliens, and she's been an orphan since her birth — Jade has managed to create success for herself thanks to her willpower and resilience.

Starting out with a mere photography business, Jade would eventually come to unravel the mystery behind the relations between the invading DomZ and the supposed protectors of the planet, the Alpha Sections.

What makes Jade such a cool character is that she never gives up. Even in the face of all the challenges life has thrown her way, Jade stubbornly comes out on top.

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9. Leon Kennedy (Resident Evil series)

When the U.S. President's daughter, Ashley, was kidnapped by the sinister Los Illuminados cult in Spain, Leon Kennedy was tasked with retrieving her. What Leon found when he reached her location was an army of humans infected by the parasite known as Las Plagas.

Facing hordes of infected humans, wolves, and other terrifying creatures, Leon somehow managed to find, secure, and ultimately rescue Ashley and evacuate the area. Despite the fact that most of the monsters he encountered would traumatize anyone (even being injected with the parasite himself at one point) Leon was able to remain cool, calm, and collected as he found a way to cure himself and accomplish his mission. His dedication to his duty and his courage in the face of terrors like these are commendable.

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8. Marcus Fenix (Gears of War series)

Marcus Fenix stands as one of the most notable examples of a professional soldier in video game history. Year after year of fighting the Locust menace, Marcus's long history of service has led to an insurmountable amount of loss. Most things that mean something to Marcus come out of the war wounded at best, and dead at worst.

This repeated experience of loss has turned Marcus into a cold, introverted individual. Despite this, though, his talent as a natural leader and his ability to push on and keep fighting in the wake of all that has occurred around him solidifies his skill as a warrior and his remarkable endurance, both physical and emotional.

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7. Carth Onasi (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)

Carth is similar to Marcus Fenix in quite a few ways. Both are part of large, drawn-out wars, both have experienced loss of some kind, and both have the strength and endurance to push on and keep serving. But where Marcus is a closed door, Carth is an open book.

Over the course of Knights of the Old Republic, you have several opportunities to talk to Carth about his experiences in the war between the Sith and the Old Republic. I always found it fascinating to see Carth's views; in Star Wars, we're rarely privy to the opinions, beliefs, and experiences of the common foot soldier.

While this doesn't make him better than Marcus by any objective measure, Carth's character nevertheless intrigues me more. When you combine Carth's willingness to speak his mind with his resilience and dedication to duty, you're left with a character that feels very much like a real person and not a fictional one.

Note: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is incredibly rare and expensive to buy new. It can be found used, however, quite easily, or you could purchase it on Steam for $9.99.

6. Artyom Chyornyj (Metro series)

If one word was used to describe Artyom, it would undoubtedly be 'brave'.

Artyom is many things, but most notably, he's brave. Willing to venture out both into the endless darkness of the metro tunnels and also into the harsh, radiation-ridden wasteland of Moscow on the surface, Artyom puts it all on the line in order to stop the super-mutants known as the Dark Ones from killing everyone residing underneath the city.

On top of this, though, he's also reasonable and honorable. Once he learns the truth about the Dark Ones, he immediately regrets destroying their home and commits himself to protecting the lone surviving Dark One, just a child.

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5. Commander Shepard (Mass Effect series)

Commander Shepard is a cocktail of charisma, intelligence, and skill. There's no enemy he can't defeat, no leader he can't persuade, and no problem he can't solve.

What really stands out about Shepard, though, is his astounding ability to connect with those around him. Shepard understands that to effectively command, you have to take an interest in your subordinates. Throughout the Mass Effect trilogy, Shepard forms tight-knit relationships with his entire crew that would have lasted a lifetime — were it not for his ultimate sacrifice in order to stop the Reapers.

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4. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider series)

When Tomb Raider released in 1996, Lara Croft stood as one of the first ever female characters in gaming to pick up a weapon and dish out the pain herself. Unlike most of the female characters in the industry at the time, Lara Croft was a fierce, independent figure that wasn't afraid to go on her adventures.

Of course, what really makes Lara a hero is her undeniable drive to fight for the force of good. Throughout her many, many adventures over the years, Lara time and time again opposes and thwarts all baddies encountered during her expeditions.

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3. Ezio Auditore Da Firenze (Assassin's Creed series)

Ezio is considered one of the most notable members of the Assassins, and for good reason. He dedicated almost his entire life to stop the Templars. During his time as an Assassin, Ezio saved Venice, Florence, and Rome from falling under Templar control, almost all by himself. The ideals of independence and freedom that the Assassins hold dear wouldn't have spread through Italy during the Renaissance were it not for his actions.

Despite doing all that he could do during his lifetime, Ezio died still wanting to do even more. His selflessness and dedication to the Assassin cause have not gone unnoticed.

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2. The Arbiter Thel 'Vadam (Halo series)

Of all the characters on this list, none show more strength than Thel 'Vadam, mentally.

Despite devoting his entire life in service to the Covenant and its religion, he was strong enough in order to cast the Great Journey aside as a lie when he discovered that it was false. This undoubtedly was a monumental challenge for him, and the fact he overcame it is a testament to the power of his will.

Thanks to his ability to accept the truth, a Halo ring was prevented from firing, and 'Vadam himself would deliver the final blow to the Covenant weeks later. His actions are only equaled, and perhaps surpassed, by the Master Chief himself.

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1. Master Chief (Halo series)

The Master Chief is, undeniably, one of the most recognizable and iconic characters in video game history. Indeed, the titanium-encased super soldier has left quite an exemplary legacy over the years, saving humanity countless times in the war against the Covenant.

The reason why Chief is the number one pick is that he has almost every quality seen in heroes. Strong, independent, resilient, intelligent, and dedicated are all terms that can be used to describe John-117. Similarly to Marcus Fenix, he is, for the most part, introverted, but that's okay. We don't need Chief to be open or talkative. Everything we need to know about the man in the armor is shown to us through his actions.

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Your thoughts

What do you think of the list? Are there any characters you think should have made an appearance? Let us know down below.

Related: Top 10 Xbox video game villains