Subjective List #7 – Intriguing Villains.
While playing back through some of my old games (Pokemon Pearl actually), I started thinking about villains I found really interesting that might have been overlooked, misunderstood, or dismissed a little too early. So here are the top 5 more intriguing villains in games I’ve played. Please remember I don’t claim this list is all inclusive, or even fair, as the title suggests, it’s subjective in nature, it was just a thought I had I thought was interesting, and if you want to contribute your picks, list, or discuss these villains, leave a comment! I love feedback, I eat it like candy.
Also, since these are the villains in games we’re talking about, there could be spoilers below, please keep that in mind.
5.) Diablo 2: Warrior from Diablo 1 – This is probably purely for nostalgia’s sake, but having been the warrior from Diablo 1, learning of his cruel fate after getting the soul shard at the end of the game always struck me in a soft spot. Hearing about his journey, searching what I can only hope was for redemption, or to get himself safely in hell, only to finally fall to the corruption. Showing that even the mightiest and noblest of heroes can fall when under siege by powers larger than themselves, it’s not the first example of this kind of story out there, but it was the first that I had felt really invested in, and it’s stuck with me over the years.
4.) Pokemon Diamond, P earl, and Platinum: Cyrus – Oh Cyrus, it’s easy to just laugh at your grunt’s silly costumes, and not think about what you’re saying at all cause I’ma beat you up with my pokeymanz. Yet when we read and listen, we learn you’re just angry, bitter, and you hate how angry and bitter you’ve become. Negative emotions feel you, and you’ve decided to blame the world for it. You decide to make it better, and since the world caused it, the easiest way is to get rid of the world. Going so far as to try to manipulate time and space to achieve recreating the world, to find a moment of peace from your bitterness. Showing some admirable qualities, like rewarding the player for their strength with the friggin’ Master Ball. Why aren’t we giving you a hug again?
3.) Super Paper Mario Count Bleck - It was easy to discount this Villain too, and the cheesy romance with Timpani can make players gag, but fear not! For it was a crime done with love, angry at the world like Cyrus, Count Bleck looks into forbidden dark tomes and discovers the truth. The end of the world, not wanting to live without his love any longer he goes to bring about the prophecy, and comes to understand that it will eventually be true regardless. He feels guilt for what he’s done and takes on a new identity, Count Bleck, he thinks himself not worthy of being saved, and too far lost to find redemption. But love conquers all in the end.
2.) Psychonauts: Dad Hybrid – It’s a testament that the final boss of perhaps one of the most interesting 3d platformers in existence is a fight with the demons, insecurities, and anger you and the ‘bad guy’ have in common. As your minds fuse together in the tank, and your internal monsters become one, you face both demons head on, and it seems larger than life and unbeatable, till you learn the truth. Seeing perhaps a glimpse of a possible future with the person you’re now fused with, that left unchecked, unfaced, you too could be consumed by the monster in front of you. Fighting for your survival and redemption and becoming a better person in the end, all completely worth it.
1.)McGee’s Alice: Queen -What happens internally when you hate yourself? American McGee’s Alice is a game based around this, blaming yourself for the fire that kills your family, you get lost in your internal wonderland, only to learn that your soul crushing guilt has corrupted your mental landscape, fighting through all of your issues you finally finally face the real threat of what’s corrupted wonderland, only to learn it’s yourself. That you’re ready and willing to kill yourself. That your depression, anger, and bitterness has eaten you inside out, and seeing how devastating that can be. A truly magnificent and wonderful game, with the main Villainb eing one of the few who can really test your skills and wit; yourself.