A list of characters who appear in The Binding of Isaac. Currently under construction, please contribute!
open/close all folders
Isaac / Playable Characters
A little boy who gets thrown in the basement and must fight for his life against a never-ending assortment of demons and mutants, the alternative being his mother killing him. Beating the game in certain ways or collecting certain items unlocks variations of Isaac with their own unique attributes.
Acrofatic: Several items make your character fatter, and most don't negatively impact speed. Combine these with items that increase your speed and you have this trope.
Blessed with Suck: Guppy's Tail makes you finds golden treasure chests more often. This comes at the expense of keys needed to open those chests, though if you're lucky the chests cough them up. Works wonders with an Skeleton Key or a Flat Penny.
Made potentially worse or better with The Left Hand item that changes all chests to Red Chests. They don't require a key to open, but half or more of the things that come out of a red chest is not something you want (including enemies and troll bombs).
Body Horror: Most of the powerups mutilate the character in some horrific way.
Bullet Hell: It's possible to get a character that shoots a four-way bullet spread at the speed of a machine gun with additional single shots from the other three cardinal directions.
Collision Damage: Isaac takes damage from pretty much everything that moves. The player can cause this if they use My Little Unicorn (or the Chariot tarot card) or the Virus powerup. The former is temporary, while the latter is permanent but doesn't prevent damage in return.
Flight: Plenty of items, both permanent and temporary. You can become an angel, a demon, an angelic ghost, a demonic ghost, a floating head, and a cat (which somehow flies). All of these let you pass through rocks and over pits.
Becoming possesed by Guppy (the flying cat form) alows you to fly because why couldn't a possibly demonic cat possesion also allow you to fly. Also it's a kitty cat.
Secret Character: Collecting three Guppy items (Dead Cat, Guppy's Tail, Guppy's Paw or Guppy's Head) will transform the player character into Isaac's pet cat. Doing so unlocks a new item (the first time), gives you flight, and applies the effect of the Mulligan.
Named after the biblical son of Abraham, is playable from the star and has no defining accessories. According to Edmund McMillan, he represents the fighter class of traditional games and begins with no items. After beating It Lives with ???, Isaac starts with the D6: an activated item capable of transmuting any collection-related item(s) into other random item(s).
Named after a friend of Mary, the mother of Jesus, she is distinguished from Isaac by blonde hair and bow. Maggy represents the cleric class from traditional games and starts with the Yum Heart: an activated item that restores one heart upon use.
Named after the biblical son of Eve and first murderer, he is distinguished from Isaac by an eyepatch. He represents the Thief class from traditional Role-Playing Games and starts the game with the Luck Foot: a passive item that improves random events in various ways.
Born Lucky: Cain's starting item gives him increased luck in certain situations.note Pills will never have negative effects, Rewarding Vandalism is more likely to happen, the odds of winning the Skull game increases from one-third to one-half, and gold chests are more likely to give items (as opposed to pickups).
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: For most characters, Technology 2 stacks the beam on top of their tears. Cain's the exception, his tears being shut off due to his eyepatch.
Chemical Peel is changed, too; while with other characters every other tear will have increased damage due to one half of the face being scarred, with Cain, every tear has a 50% chance of dealing increased damage.
Fragile Speedster/Glass Cannon: Starts with great speed and attack and an average rate of fire but suffers from low range and health. Outright called "the thief" by the art booklet.
Being "the thief" could be considered Fridge Brilliance considering he "stole" his own brother's life in the Biblical story of Cain and Abel.
Named after the first woman and original sinner, Eve is distinguished from Isaac by long dark hair and eyeshadow. Representing the druid class from traditional games, she starts with The Whore of Babylon, which turns her into a demon at low health, and the Dead Bird, which fights for her when she is damaged.
Cast from Hit Points: The Dead Bird is activated by taking damage in a room and works as a faster level three Meat Boy for the room in which it activates.
Combat Sadomasochist: Both of her starting items (and the items she can unlock) are Cast from Hit Points, and she is the only character who doesn't leave a puddle of urine upon entering a room with half a red heart.
Critical Status Buff: When she's down to half a heart, her Whore of Babylon powerup grants her greatly increased attack.
Named after the disciple who betrayed Jesus, he has a fez to distinguish himself from Isaac. He represents the mage class from RPGs and starts the game with the Book of Belial, an activated item that increases attack power for one room.
Glass Cannon: More so then Cain. Starts with average rate of fire, range, speed and high attack power, further bolstered by his Book of Belial. In exchange, he starts with only 1 heart.
Deal with the Devil: While holding the Book of Belial, the chances of a Devil Room appearing are increased.
Nice Hat / Take That: Judas' fez, which doubles as a jab at Phil Fish, who voted against Edward Mcmillen and his comrades at the Independent Games Festival, which made him a Judas (ergo, a traitor).
The Take That part is actually subverted. Edmund has stated that he just needed an iconic hat for Judas, and went with the idea of Fish representing Judas because he found it funny.
Introduced in Wrath of the Lamb and named after the biblical strongman, he has long, brown hair and Big Ol' Eyebrows. He also starts with a red headband called Blood Lust, which grants him a temporary but substantial attack-power boost for each enemy he kills in the current room. This is fitting with the fact that he represents the Berserker class.
Blood Knight: His trademark power-up is called Blood Lust, after all!
Conservation of Ninjutsu: Invoked by his special hair-band. The more enemies you face in a room, the more powerful you'll get! But single target rooms won't trigger any attack-boost.
Glass Cannon: With just 1 starting heart container, he's as fragile as (and under some circumstances, even more than) Judas. However, his special gear makes him extremely effective against large groups of enemies and/or mook makers.
Power-Up Letdown: He's probably the most difficult character to unlock (with ??? possibly being more tedious than difficult), as it requires you to pass on 2 free items on a regular run... and it's capacity is dubious to say the least. After months of complaints, Edmund promised a buff to Samson. The buff was starting with a soul heart on top of his single regular heart.
Click here for the picture
A shout-out to Edmund McMillen's Newgrounds account (specifically his "Dead Baby Dressup" game). Starts with ThePoop, which creates a pile of dung once per room.Possibly Isaac who decided to hide in a golden chest and suffocated there.
Bullet Hell: Leapers shoot bullets in all four cardinal directions when they jump. If five end up in a room, be prepared to dodge.
Elite Mooks: Fire Hoppers and Leapers, the former being stronger and the latter shooting bullets. It should be noted that fire hoppers cannot spawn by themselves, Hoppers have to touch fire first.
Infernal Retaliation: Hoppers move twice as fast, jump twice as far, and inflict more damage when they're on fire.
Violation of Common Sense: Not only does every other enemy (or character, even) take damage themselves from fire, but Isaac's main combat strategy is attacking enemies with water. Despite that they seem to have double health.
Elite Mooks: The Evil Twin. Instead of looking like a meat puppet, it looks like a demon that can: fly, shoot a three spread, and do more damage. Good things is that its bullets travel slower, giving you time to dodge and shoot.
Enemy Without: They mirror the player's movements, including shooting, but most rooms come with a mechanism with which to destroy them. There are also bombs, and praying that whipped shots will work.
Bullfight Boss: The big one can tire out after a few moments of running. If the big one is killed first, then the small one will turn red, give chase, and never tire out. Steven's little version will do that before the big one goes down.
Polar Opposite Twins: The big one is aggressive and chases you; the little one looks calm and makes ranged attacks until you kill the big one, at which point it charges at you.
King Mook: As of Wrath of the Lamb, smaller enemies similar to it appear.
Body Horror: She's made out of a head with four eyes, leg bones, and toes.
Flunky Boss: Not only does she spawn spiders directly, but she can also spawn Mook Maker spider silk Boils! And that's not even getting into the ones that can spawn bigger Asteroids Monster spiders or other kinds of Boils.
Word of God: Edmund has stated that the Widow is a girl.
Back from the Dead: Inverted: Pin was introduced in the Wrath of the Lamb as a weaker, living version of Scolex.
Tactical Suicide Boss: Is not immune to its green exploding projectiles, and due to a quirk in hit detection, can actually damage itself with them when it begins to bury underground. The dark grey one averts it, replacing the bombs with bullets.
Dual Boss: The blue version is two smaller Gurdy Jr.'s.
Degraded Boss: Interestingly, the weaker version attacks very differently, charging and firing circular waves of bullets. Contrast with the other bosses made into minibosses, who are more or less identical to their original version, but weaker. Wrath of the Lamb separates the degraded form into a different boss: Gurdy Jr. But The Very Definitely Final Dungeon DOES feature Gurdy as a normal Degraded Boss.
Back from the Dead: Gemini is now a zombie, and is accompanied by his conjoined brother's ghost.
The image appears to be more of a sperm and an egg. That wouldn't discredit this trope, it would just be a different set that came back, because at least the large one is undeniably dead no matter what perspective you look at it from.
Word of God: Edmund has stated on his Formspring that the Mask is female, and the thing inside is not alive.
Daddy Long Legs/Triachnid
The Cameo/Mythology Gag: Triachnid is a reference to a previous flash game by Edmund McMillen. Furthermore, Triachnid is an alternate of Daddy Long Legs; in his own game, Triachnid was finding a home for his young.
Dummied Out: As hinted here, Triachnid was originally was cut before the game was released. It wasn't removed entirely, though. Due to a glitch, it originally would replace the Cathedral's True Final Boss. This was eventually corrected, and Triachnid was added in as a normal boss.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: There is an item that summons the Daddy Long Legs to stomp enemies in an area the player is standing in without hurting them. Using this against the Daddy Long Legs reskins it as the Triachnid's claw. Using it against Triachnid flat out doesn't work.
The Faceless: Her entire face is never shown at any point in the main game (the intro and epilogue don't count, as they're Isaac's cartoon drawings). This is subverted in Wrath of the Lamb, but only near the very end, and only briefly. In photographs, to be precise.
Fan Disservice: When Isaac uses the Mom's Bra item, a picture of his mother's shirtless torso flashes on the screen. A very unflattering picture of his mother's less-than-fit shirtless torso.
Hidden Depths: The Polaroid might imply that she wasn't always the psychopath we know her as, considering that it depicts a relatively nice group shot of a family (which might be Isaac's Mom, Isaac's dad, and Isaac himself).
Your Size May Vary: Just how big is she? In the cutscenes, she's a normal-sized human being, but her underwear is the right size to be worn by a child visibly smaller than her, in the boss fight her leg is the length of the screen, and then her womb is big enough to have two entire levels in it, with her heart being larger than Isaac.
Good Counterpart: To Satan. He appears in Heaven instead of Sheol, summons angels instead of demons, and is, you know, THE PROTAGONIST.
May also qualify as an Evil Counterpart for the playable Isaac— or, depending on how you interpret it, a Good Counterpart for playable Isaac. Let's face it, Corrupt Isaac vs Angelic Isaac — who is the more Evil?
Bandit Mook: His shots (and mere contact with him!) take away a couple of pennies from you, while making you drop a variable amount on the floor that you can try to retrive... Just be careful while doing so, if you don't want to be killed in the process. Oh! And guess what? His mook-lookalikes have the same ability as him. Yay!
Breakout Character: He's the most memorable and ubiquitous of the The Seven Deadly Sins mini-bosses, and Wrath of the Lamb cemented his status by adding a quite a few new versions of him.
Chest Monster: Replaces shops and secret rooms. He's more likely to appear as you go further in the game.
Expy: He shares some traits with Spelunky's Shopkeeper, including his multi-shot ability, potential to turn hostile on the player without previous warning, and overall dickishness.
King Mook: Wrath of the Lamb added Super Greed, who is bigger, meaner, scarier, and can spawn Greed-heads. Said Greed-heads also appear in the Depths, the Catacombs, and the Necropolis.
Mook Promotion: Inverted. The game's standard version features him as a mini-boss, but the expansion added mook-versions of him that share some of his most aggravating attributes.note Multi-shot and, most importantly, the ability drain your money.
The Scrappy: Invoked. Given how he can replace shops and secret rooms, can knock out your money when he hits you, and can be fought multiple times in one run, players usually don't enjoy finding him.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Wrath's bombs can be pushed around like player-dropped bombs, allowing you to push them back towards him for a nice chunk of damage. This doesn't work on Super Wrath's troll bombs, though.
Even more amusingly, any items that affect bombs will affect the bombs dropped by Wrath/Super Wrath. This can result in hilarious situations where, if you have the Bobby-Bomb collectible, every bomb the boss drops proceeds to walk back toward him.
All Your Powers Combined: The head has Famine's triple shot and War's triple charge, while the body is Pestilence minus spawning enemies. Plus, you fight two bosses at the same time, which is what happens when Death loses half his health.
Classic Video Game Screw You: It's uncommon, but this guy can be the boss of ANY dungeon save ones with predetermined bosses. He's notorious for showing up in the Basement/Cellar, often before you've had a chance to buff your speed and survive his charge.
Degraded Boss: In Sheol. He's later fought at full strength when the Satan fight begins.
The Dragon: To Satan. He even acts as the first stage of his master's boss fight!