Where would we be without action heroes? We'd have no one to fight off alien menaces, take down terrorists or run for high powered goverment positions. We've seen these actors become iconic figures in the last few decades, but in recent years video game characters have tried to muscle in on the action. But who is better: the video game action hero or the old fashioned movie action star? We've pitted the very best in head to head fights to find out.

Sam Fisher v Jack Bauer


This is a tough contest. Both Fisher and Bauer are clear experts in their field - preventing disasters through the application of extreme violence. They're both prepared to "go rogue" if need be, and they're both happy to improvise: Fisher uses broken mirror shards to look around corners, and bathroom sinks to bash people's faces in; Bauer can use any household item to torture you into a confession - whether it's necessary or not. However, in Splinter Cell Conviction it seems that Fisher is guided by simple instructions that are stylishly projected onto his surrounding scenery. Bauer, by contrast, only seems to operate under his own special brand of insane logic. If you hired him as a bodyguard, he'd probably shoot you in the lung - because that's precisely the last thing that the bad guys would expect.. Right? RIGHT?!

Winner: Jack Bauer, because he'll kill us if he doesn't win

Kratos vs Perseus in Clash of the Titans


Call us cynics, but Clash of the Titans seems to a bit of a lazy venture: it's yet another remake, yet another action film starring Sam Worthington, and thanks to a hasty spot of last-minute technical fiddling, it's also in 3D (Hooray!). You'd never catch Kratos jumping on the bandwagon... because he's far too busy jumping up and down on someone's head. And then pulling both of their arms off. And then throwing the lifeless corpse into a ravine. But don't panic, Concerned Parents Of The World: the God of War series is based on mythology, and that makes it educational, and thus suitable for kids. Maybe.

Winner: Kratos

Max Payne vs Mark Wahlberg as Max Payne


When Max Payne made his first video game appearance in 2001, most of us were pretty impressed. We even forgave Max's odd facial expression, which made him look like he badly needed a poo, even in the middle of a tense firefight. After all, at the time it was still quite tricky to digitally recreate a human face. In the Max Payne film, Wahlberg frequently sports a similarly odd look, only this time it looks like he's trying to do a particularly hard sum in his head. It's a pathetic attempt at acting, even by the pitifully low standards of former-rappers-turned-thespians.

Winner: Max Payne

Nathan Drake vs Indiana Jones


This is a bit of a sad contest. In a perfect world, Indy should still be riding high as King of the wise-cracking artefact-nabbers... but sadly we live in a world where Kingdom of the Crystal Skull exists. Nate "The Stubble" Drake can no longer be seen as just a pretender to the throne. He may be following in Indy's footsteps, but his adventures seem to get slicker, funnier, and more exciting with each fresh iteration. By contrast, Indy has taken to battling CGI monkeys and hiding in fridges. Perhaps it's finally time for Indiana Jones and the Clinic of Euthanasia.

Winner: Nathan Drake

Duke Nukem vs Arnie


We've not bothered to single out a particular Arnie character, as he always plays a variation on the same person. To be honest, this is an easy match-up to call. While both heroes have taken an extended break from blowing stuff up, only one of them has actually done anything of note in recent years. The Guvernator has climbed the ladder of American politics using just two weapons: his charm, and the fact that he sounds kinda funny. Okay, so they're pretty much the same thing, and he also had a big stack of cash, but it's still an impressive feat. Nukem, meanwhile, has turned into a running joke - the poster boy for a much-hyped project that will never materialise.

Winner: Arnie

Pac-Man vs Jason Statham as Chev Chelios in Crank


In Crank, hitman Chev Chelios is infected with a poison that gradually slows his heartbeat. To stay alive, he has to constantly keep moving and ingest lots of drugs. Also: he is bald. In Pac-Man... well, we're not really sure what the plot is supposed to be. To stay alive, Pac-Man has to constantly keep moving, and eat lots of pills. Also: he is bald. So, who wins our little contest today. Pac-Man, but only because he did it first, and because he makes that amazing sound when he dies. If Chev Chelios said "Eeerrrrreeeeeew, woink-woink!" at some point in Crank, then he would win. No, really.

Winner: Pac-Man

Isaac Clarke vs Ripley


You have to give Isaac Clarke credit for one thing: despite being just an engineer, he does pretty well when it comes to laying the smack down. A bit bland he may be, but when he gets out his industrial plasma cutter he's positively disarming - literally. Still, we're not sure that Clarke is quite good enough to challenge Ripley yet: Never mind the xenomorphs - she's so tough that not even fiery death could stop her from coming back for Alien Resurrection. And there's absolutely no way that she'd ponce halfway across the galaxy to check in on her whiney girlfriend. Get a grip, Isaac! You're under the thumb!

Winner: Ripley

Marcus Fenix v The Cast Of Starship Troopers


While there's certainly nothing wrong with appreciating Starship Troopers on its most basic, visceral level ("Look, Mum! The big insect went bang!"), it's also amusing that the cast seem so unaware of the film they're appearing in: a sharp slice of anti-fascist satire. They just gimp about in their Third Reich uniforms, fire their guns, and get their brains sucked out. Marcus Fenix doesn't pay much attention to his surroundings either, but that's because he doesn't care. He never seems that fazed by the death and carnage that surrounds him, and he's perfectly happy to keep on killin' till the killin' day is done. In short, he's bad to the bone.

Winner: Marcus Fenix

Guile vs Jean-Claude Van Damme as Guile in Street Fighter: The Movie


Upon winning a match in Street Fighter 2, Guile tells his opponent to "Go home and be a family man." And after sitting through all 102 minutes of the cinematic dog egg that was Street Fighter: The Movie, many of us would probably say the same thing to Van Damme. Although we'd probably say it very quietly, so that he wouldn't hear. And if he turned around and said, "Did you just say something?", we'd pretend to be looking at our mobile phones. Or we'd say how good he was in JCVD - the film where JCVD plays JCVD in a story that pokes fun at JCVD. It's his finest hour, it really is.

Winner: Guile

Niko Bellic vs David Blunkett


Niko Bellic is one of the finest antiheroes in modern gaming, a flawed yet hugely sympathetic character. He's also a reckless hardman, happy to take on the police, Russian mobsters and The American Mafia - all three at once, if need be. But we reckon that Niko would be no match for the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. There's no doubt that Blunkett would get Bellic deported - but only after forcing him to pay for an expensive ID card. On the other hand, if Niko got a job as a babysitter and then one of his relatives became Blunkett's lover... well, in that case he'd probably be just fine.

Winner: David Blunkett