The characters you meet and befriend and/or kill in Knights of the Old Republic are some of the best I've ever seen in a console RPG. That isn't to say they are entirely without flaws. Let's take a look at the characters that will join your party.
Bastilla - Assuming you're not a girl or a homosexual you probably made a male character, which means Bastilla is your character's potential love interest. Play your cards right and you'll be professing your love for one another after only about fifty awkward conversations about the Jedi code. She can be pretty annoying with all of her talk of rules but I've got to admit that her Elizabeth Hurly-like English voice gives me a serious boner.
Carth - Carth is a veteran warrior of the Republic and the first party member you gain in the game. He's also probably the most annoying character and would easily edge out Mission if he had her nasal teenage girl voice. The problem with Carth is that he has this troubled past that he likes to keep secret and spill out in droning increments that are preceded by him throwing a temper tantrum. If I hadn't decided to play a Light Side Jedi then Carth would have been sucking blaster the first time I was alone with him in a dark alleyway.
Mission - Mission is a blue teenage girl version of one of those amphibian creatures with the fleshy, floppy carrots on its head from Star Wars. She may have a nice polygonal ass but that is slim compensation for the volume of bitching she does about her brother who abandoned her. Once you actually meet her brother he is pretty annoying too, but not nearly as bad as his little sister.
HK47 - The Star Wars movies have easily upset homosexual butler robot C3P0, Knights of the Old Republic has wise-cracking evil assassin robot HK47. Picking which one is cooler is a judgment call so basic I'd be willing to let two year olds make it.
Zaalbar - Chewbacca is back and this time he's named Zaalbar! Really, how much characterization can you expect from a hulking furball that just roars at you when it's talking? Even though your character speaks Wookiee Zaalbar rarely has anything to say, which gives him points on characters like Mission and Carth that just want to bitch endlessly about their stupid personal problems.
T3-M4 - The only difference between T3-M4 and R2-D2 is, okay, well, nope. Not a bit of difference.
Jolee - Elderly black Jedi that you find living in a swamp late in the game. He provides you with some shitty jokes and some homespun wisdom, you know, in case you missed out on all the homespun wisdom being force fed down your throat in every single Jedi Council mission.
Juhani - Since when did Count Dracula have liver spots and a vagina? Oh wait, that's pussy dark side turned light Jedi Juhani, who you talk down from a roof in one of those touchy-feely light side missions that made me want to take up cutting myself with a razor as a hobby. Seriously developers, if you had made her any more like Count Dracula you would have said she was from the planet Transyltooine.
Canderous - You may have noticed that the character I seemingly liked the best in all of my descriptions is an evil robot. Canderous is probably my second favorite character because the closest thing he does to bitching is to insult you for being not evil enough. Canderous is a bounty hunter and veteran of the Mandalorian wars against the Republic. On request he will tell you long and fairly interesting war stories.
By about halfway through the game I had all of the major characters (a little past the halfway point for Jolee) and was regularly using most of them. Knights of the Old Republic does not waste your time by forcing you to level up secondary characters; the minute you add a lower level character to your party they advance to your main character's own level. This is a breath of fresh air when compared to games like Final Fantasy where you inevitably either don't use half of the characters because you don't want to spend the time making them worth using or you do spend the time and waste countless hours improving them.
Despite the number of insults I have leveled against the various characters in the game I have to admit that all of them are suitably fleshed out and interesting. I may be annoyed by Mission's incessant bitching but I'm supposed to find it tiresome, she's just a teenager.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention a few of the more notable bad guys. There is a Darth Vader-like Sith Lord named Darth Malak who represents the big evil. He's got fun hobbies like "blowing up entire planets" and "murdering subordinates who fail him once". There's also some generic evil "Sith officer" type who Carth hates a whole lot named Saul. Yeah, there's a real scary sounding evil name, but I guess the bad guys need their Jewish attorneys too.
Rounding out the cast of miscreants are Calo Nord and Darth Bandon. Nord is a midget with underwear on his head who actually somehow manages to come across as somewhat of a badass thanks to some decent build up they give him in the course of the game. Darth Bandon, on the other hand, is Malak's protégé and gets almost zero build up. In my game he appeared in a cut scene where he was supposedly shown to be a bad ass and then soon after I encountered him and killed him and his henchmen without being hit once. That may sound pathetic but it was very cathartic considering that I mouthed off to him about being a pussy immediately before we "fought".
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
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