Before you go on a big adventure to save the day from evil monstrosities and apocalypse-inducing calamities, it’s always best to see your local merchant for extra supplies first. Even the strongest protagonists need help from shopkeepers who procure the essential items.
While most games feature nameless NPCs that sell you whatever goods you need, others star memorable merchants with unique personalities. Some of them like to take advantage of your character’s situation by making them pay high prices for essential items, but they’re all good at heart and will have you wanting to visit them even when you have nothing to spend.
By the time Snake goes on his final mission in Metal Gear Solid 4, the technology used by militaries and PMCs has become so advanced that he can’t even use a gun without an ID chip. Fortunately, the aging hero meets Drebin, a smooth arms dealer that provides Snake with artillery and ammunition throughout his journey.
Like most Metal Gear Solid characters, Drebin has a slew of odd behaviors that make him just as memorable as anyone else from the series. He tends to perform small magic tricks like making apples appear out of thin air, and his catchphrase “Eye Have You” reminds Snake of his excellent customer service skills.
9 Porkrind – Cuphead
After they lose a deal with the Devil, Cuphead and Mugman must gather the souls of massive bosses to save themselves. It won’t be easy, but if they collect enough coins from the run and gun levels in the game, they can purchase new weapons and charms from Porkrind’s Emporium.
Porkrind might not be as adorable as the other citizens of the Inkwell Isles, but the items he sells to you are essential for improving Cuphead and Mugman’s chances of survival. His tough exterior might make him look like a secret boss, but he’s always willing to help the duo unlock powerful new abilities once he knows they have the cash to pay for them.
8 Shopkeeper – Crypt Of The NecroDancer
In most games, you can typically find merchants or stores in fixed locations so that you know where to go when you need to restock. Others – especially roguelikes – keep things interesting by randomizing the locations of helpful shops so you never know the next time you’ll encounter one.
Crypt of the NecroDancer cleverly hides its Shopkeeper throughout certain stages but makes him a bit easier to find thanks to a hilarious audio cue. When you’re close to one, he begins singing over the background music, which gets louder as you approach him. The Shopkeeper might not have as much personality as others, but his vocals will echo in your mind long after finishing the game.
7 Tom Nook – Animal Crossing
Tom Nook has been a staple of the Animal Crossing series since it first released and is usually the one that welcomes you upon arriving. He will help you settle in and find a place to call home, then let you know the bill you owe him for his services. You’ve got to spend bells to make bells, so you’ll need to visit his store to buy tools and sell items to repay your debt to him.
Despite his monopoly on the real estate business, Tom Nook isn’t that bad of a guy. He mostly wants to help improve your quality of living, and unfortunately, upgrading your house or moving to a new area costs bells. He’s a reliable merchant until he is able to retire and hands his business down to Timmy and Tommy.
6 Ravio – The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is an excellent title that weaves familiar elements from past titles with new mechanics to subvert your expectations. Most Zelda games hide valuable items like the Hookshot or Boomerang inside dungeons, but in A Link Between Worlds, you can rent or buy them from a store run by a mysterious merchant named Ravio.
Ravio is incredibly eccentric when you first meet him, and he decides to turn Link’s house into a temporary shop to help you on the quest to defeat Yuga. It might be hard to tell how important he is at first, but by the time you approach the final battle, you’ll discover that Ravio plays a pivotal role in one of the best twists in the series.
5 Anna – Fire Emblem
Some of the most memorable merchants in gaming only appear once, but Anna from Fire Emblem is the most recurring character in the series. Since her debut in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, she has appeared in nearly every game in some way, typically as a traveling merchant with great deals on hard-to-find items.
Each iteration of Anna is playful and lighthearted, with a sly personality that may make you question where she acquired her wares in the first place. When she’s not showing up to sell you valuable accessories, you can usually find Anna making small cameos in other games or joining your army in titles like Fire Emblem Engage.
4 Emil – Nier Automata
It’s not often that you see one of the main characters of a game become a merchant in its sequel. In the original Nier, Emil is a small child that joins your party but eventually changes physical forms after merging with his sister. Thousands of years later, Emil is discovered by 2B and 9S roaming the City Ruins as a merchant in Nier Automata.
Despite all the time that’s passed, Emil is still a child at heart and plays his store’s catchy jingle whenever he spots the androids walking around. Aside from selling supplies, Emil has one of the game’s best side quests that illuminates his journey and eventually leads to a spectacular optional boss fight and one of Nier Automata’s 26 endings.
3 Beedle – The Legend Of Zelda
Aside from Link, Impa, and a few others, there aren’t many recurring characters in The Legend of Zelda series that appear throughout multiple entries. Beedle made his first appearance in Wind Waker as a traveling merchant with unique goods and has since shown up in five other Zelda games to continue providing his customers with amazing deals.
Whether you see him in Skyward Sword or Phantom Hourglass, Beedle is always a delightful character to interact with, and being a loyal customer usually comes with benefits. Most iterations of Beedle hand out Membership Cards to his patrons, which provide you with discounts and rewards for spending a certain amount of Rupees.
2 Brok And Sindri – God Of War
Few merchants in gaming step outside their shops to take part in the adventure, but Brok and Sindri from the God of War series spend just as much time gallivanting across the Nine Realms as they do selling Kratos new armor and items. Not only are they essential allies for Kratos and Atreus, but their story is one of the strongest threads throughout the Norse duology.
Throughout 2018’s God of War, Brok and Sindri have an estranged relationship that prevents them from reaching their full potential. They eventually reconcile by the end of the game and are back to working together by the time Ragnarök begins. While they are phenomenal blacksmiths, they are even better friends to Kratos and each other.
1 Merchant – Resident Evil 4
Ever since Resident Evil 4 first released, it’s influenced countless games due to its revolutionary over-the-shoulder perspective, action and horror elements, and a nameless Merchant that made buying items more fun than ever before. He might look shady, but the Resident Evil 4 Merchant only wants to help – in exchange for some Pesetas.
If you’re looking for new weapons, treasure maps, and a place to sell items, the Merchant’s Store is a one-stop shop for everything you’ll need on the journey to rescue the President’s daughter. He might not impact the overall story, but the Merchant is one of the most welcoming faces in a game full of horrible monsters and tension.
Next: Every Unlockable In Resident Evil 4 Remake, Ranked