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Feature - Favourite Villains

NyxNyx Staff Girly GirlRPGamer Staff
edited May 2013 in Latest Updates
Heroes are totally overrated. RPGamer is here to share some of their all time favourite villains in RPGs. Did your favourites make the cut?

This is the life you see, the devil tips his hat to me!
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Comments

  • QuinQuin ne cede malis RPGamer Staff
    edited March 2013
    There may or may not have been some personal bias in my selection for this feature.
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    befriend (v.): to use mecha-class beam weaponry to inflict grievous bodily harm on a target in the process of proving the validity of your belief system.
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs The Bemused Administrators
    edited March 2013
    Don't think I said this yet, so a job well done to all the write-ups. :)
    " I think this is why aging makes humans die! "
  • riulynriulyn Member Full Members
    edited March 2013
    My favorites are definitely there, and they all come from great games. I'm trying to think of someone I loved as a villain that you guys didn't have. Maybe Luc from Suikoden III, but he's not nearly as cool as the ones you have lsited.
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited March 2013
    I can't tell you how glad I am that Sephiroth is NOT on that list. Worst villain ever.

    Definitely some good choices on there. Not sure if I have anything worthwhile to add. I'd want to add a little more western love to the list, but honestly WRPG bosses are rarely memorable.
  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited March 2013
    I don't pick "favourite" villains all that easily. There are some qualities I appreciate, but it can be boring to always encounter the same kind of deep, tormented guy who is actually trying to do the right thing by the wrong means. I like to mix it up.

    That said, I've always loved Kefka. And I'm still awaiting the day Sylvanas starts a major sh*tstorm in WoW land. I wonder what will happen then...all Forsaken characters are replaced with a new faction?
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited March 2013
    I cannot disagree with this list. Well done.
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  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    edited March 2013
    There was one more villain I wanted to add when I was doing this feature but he came to me as things were winding down which was Max from Growlanser 2. The guy wanted to brainwash people into PEACE. How unique is that?

    Not going to lie, I may have said to the staff that Sephiroth wasn't a great choice in terms of what we were looking for. A lot of the villains on this list have some weird personality quirks or have interesting goals in what they are attempting to do. I mean, look at Lezard! He screws around with the world all because he wants to get laid! :)
  • randal77randal77 well well, look who it is Full Members
    edited March 2013
    The Shu writeup is kind of a biography of the guy... when reading it, I didn't quite feel that it captured the essence of why I liked him. Main reason is definitely his awesome theme song, but also his debut in SRW:OG1 is awesome. You have a mission near the start where Granzon (2/3rds of the Federation budget went into building this) is being unveiled and you have to defend it from an attack, when all of a sudden it goes online, turns around and activates it's black hole cluster, sinking a battleship while the captain's screams "DAMN YOU SHU SHIRAKAWA!!!". Actually defeating him in OG1 is entirely optional - you get one chance about 17 missions in, and it's incredibly hard to do because the objective is to defeat Bian's Valsion, which is a struggle just on it's own. Beating Shu gives you the line "So, you managed to defeat my Granzon...". You don't get to fight him for real until two games later, where he appears as the last boss in his powered up Neo Granzon.

    My honorable mention is Alvis from Fire Emblem 4 (can't really discuss him much further without spoilers, this is your warning). In the entire first half of the game your army is running around the world map dealing with rebellions and attacks by other states, and in dealing with these you end up in control of these states/countries. Most of these are being incited by the dark cult of which Alvis is a secret member. Halfway through this your team is declared traitors by the evil nobles advising the king. You finally get back to the palace after disposing of this faction, where Alvis gives you a heroes welcome... just before slaying your entire army/party. Yes, all of those named characters with backstories, special weapons, relationships, all dead. Before he does this he also shows you his new wife... which was yours, who is now brainwashed. The story picks up again 17 years later when you're playing as the children of the slain heroes trying to rebel against Alvis's empire. When you finally meet him though, he's a shadow of his former self - the dark cult and his own demonic son essentially turned him into a puppet. His last act of defiance before you fight him is to free some captured children from being sacrified, and his punishment for that is to be sent out to fight your army. He still hates you though, taunting your party members and is a difficult fight with his artifact spellbook Foreblaze.
    Wait a second... If you're here, than that means... oh boy
  • Fowl SorcerousFowl Sorcerous Dread News Editor RPGamer Staff
    edited March 2013
    I was going to write somthing about Vaas. but he just speaks for himself.

    [video=youtube;vfGmzhVJVVI]
  • ultranessultraness Member Full Members
    edited March 2013
    A lot of my favourites here, although I've never been too enamoured with Kefka, personally. I also wish that you didn't take an image of Kefka from the lousy PSX opening FMV, rather than from one of his boss battle sprites. That said, having Kefka here is understandable and a good choice since he really is a great villain and one of the best in the series. Including Exdeath, though? Not so much.

    I'd have laughed if Jenova was on this list and Sephiroth wasn't, since one thing that stands out to me while replaying Final Fantasy VII is that Jenova essentially is the true villain, while Sephiroth is a puppet of sorts. In any case, I certainly disagree with anyone who calls Sephiroth the worst villain ever. I mean, he's not even close to being the worst in his own series, with guys like Exdeath and Neclord around.

    Lastly, I think everyone missed out on who I consider to be the best Final Fantasy villain: Delita, from Final Fantasy Tactics. You mention Yggdrasil as paralleling the heroes in Tales of Symphonia, but the parallels between Delita and Ramza in FFT are stronger and more morally ambiguous--definitely more mature and sophisticated, in spite of the game's terrible translation, than what is present in Tales of Symphonia. The game ends after one of Delita murders and, no matter what you do, he takes credit for all of the hard work you, the player, do over the course of the game. He's interesting throughout and keeps you thinking after the credits are over, which is more than can be said for many of the guys on this list.
  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited March 2013
    Lastly, I think everyone missed out on who I consider to be the best Final Fantasy villain: Delita, from Final Fantasy Tactics
    Gotta agree, although I wish Ramza communicated with Delita about some of his actions, so that holds him back from being my all time favourite. For me, a part of the fun is seeing how the hero reacts to the villains' actions. Ramza doesn't seem to know about Delita's later actions, so it feels like a missed opportunity. Yes, the game gives us enough context in the first chapter, but I was still waiting for that final showdown between Ramza and Delita, even if it was just Ramza calling Delita a jerk.
  • ScarScar Member Full Members
    edited March 2013
    I like the list, but just like Delita, a lot of these people should be re-classified as anti-heroes.
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs The Bemused Administrators
    edited March 2013
    I was toying with the idea of doing either a piece on N or Ghetsis from Pokemon Black/White. N is more of an anti-villain, though. Ghetsis might be of the obviously evil sort, but the things he did to N and others around him to get what he wants is pretty extreme for Pokemon. He's also the only Pokemon villain who directly attacked a trainer with a Pokemon (and a Legendary at that!) rather than battling the kid first.
    " I think this is why aging makes humans die! "
  • omegabyteomegabyte He's just this guy, you know? RPGamer Staff
    edited March 2013
    If we wanted more Western love, a good choice would have been Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2. That guy is craaaaaaaaaazy. Didn't think of it though.
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  • SavorienSavorien Member Full Members
    edited March 2013
    Lavos is missing.
    Vanillaware’s 2D is, once again, shaming their competitor’s 3D. It’s like, what are you even doing with your extra D, jerks? Maybe we should hold that extra D in reserve for you, like a trust, until you are ready. - Tycho, Penny Arcade
  • OcelotOcelot is not declawed RPGamer Staff
    edited March 2013
    omegabyte said:
    If we wanted more Western love, a good choice would have been Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2. That guy is craaaaaaaaaazy. Didn't think of it though.
    Other good Western choices: Jon Irenicus from BG 2, The Guardian from Ultima VII, and The Master from Fallout 1 (in particular for the awesome option of talking him into going nuts and destroying himself rather than fighting him).

    And Lavos is a giant flaming space parasite. :-p
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  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited March 2013
    Yeah, Lavos didn't really do that much for the story. It was responsible for the destruction, but other parties did all the work.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited March 2013
    It was a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere, except everybody knew about it in advance.
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  • RazaRaza Member Full Members
    edited March 2013
    Eve would have been a good addition.

    But I was pleasantly surprised to see Miang. +1
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  • hoktomasterhoktomaster Member Full Members
    edited March 2013
    It's strange but apart from some games Iv beaten recently or some of the more obvious ones like Ganon or the final fantsy games, I can't really remember most villains form games Iv played, I don't know if that's because they weren't very memorable or Iv just got a bad memory
    I wouldn't even bother to Eat that coz your already dead

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  • retrodragonretrodragon Member Full Members
    edited March 2013
    Loved that Ghaleon made the list. When he turns on Alex in Lunar SSSC in my first playthrough I freaked. Somehow I managed to completely miss all the foreshadowing inherent in his super evil voice. That said, I'm still throwing Sephiroth in the mix. I mean c'mon, he murders one of the most important characters in FFVII, and has an AMAZING theme song. Yeah, I know he's too obvious, but seeing him missing from the list still feels wrong.

    One other Villain I am falling in love with: The Joker from Persona 2. I mean the dude wears a bag on his head and acts super creepy. Love his character. First playthrough so don't know where he's headed though
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  • Hero Killer IdHero Killer Id Member Full Members
    edited March 2013
    Nice list. I am also glad that Sephiroth wasn't on the list. He was a sissy with mommy issues who only succeeded in casting a spell that numerous characters have been casting since super nintendo.

    What about Okage Shadow King.
  • WyrdwadWyrdwad Member Full Members
    edited March 2013
    I'm actually disappointed that Sephiroth wasn't on the list, as I still feel he's the best villain ever to appear in any game. He has the most personality, the most complex motivations and in general the most sympathetic plight of any villain I've ever seen. Part of me wonders if his exclusion may be due to popular opinion, since it seems cool to hate on FF7 these days, despite it still being just as outstanding and unmatchable a game as it ever was. But, opinions are opinions, so I can't fault you guys for it. And clearly others agree with your decision.

    Not including Albedo from Xenosaga, though? That's just absurd! He's at least 10x the crazy nutjob Kefka was, and FAR more threatening. ;) I've actually always felt that Kefka was overrated, as villains go. Everyone seems to put him on these sorts of lists, but honestly, the dude has no motivation whatsoever and isn't even all that scary. He's LITERALLY just out of his mind, and that's it. And personally, I like my villains to have a bit more depth (and feel like more of a genuine threat), even when they're essentially just crazy bastards.

    I also second throwing in the villain from Okage, though, as I felt he was one of the most unique and interesting villains ever to appear in an RPG. Though even NAMING him would be an enormous spoiler.

    -Tom
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited March 2013
    Wyrdwad said:
    Not including Albedo from Xenosaga, though? That's just absurd! He's at least 10x the crazy nutjob Kefka was, and FAR more threatening. ;) I've actually always felt that Kefka was overrated, as villains go. Everyone seems to put him on these sorts of lists, but honestly, the dude has no motivation whatsoever and isn't even all that scary. He's LITERALLY just out of his mind, and that's it. And personally, I like my villains to have a bit more depth (and feel like more of a genuine threat), even when they're essentially just crazy bastards.
    I agree that Albedo could have a place on the list. As for Kefka though, I think we lost something in our translation. I believe that Kefka is supposed to be crazy because he was the first person to be altered for the Magitek armor use, and it went wrong (or something like that), so he does have some good reason to be nuts. And there is something to be said for a villain that actually succeeded in destroying the world. That's where Kefka gets a lot of the recognition, not just that he was nuts.
    Wyrdwad said:
    I'm actually disappointed that Sephiroth wasn't on the list, as I still feel he's the best villain ever to appear in any game. He has the most personality, the most complex motivations and in general the most sympathetic plight of any villain I've ever seen.
    I dunno, I'd have to echo Hero Killer's comment- Sephiroth's entire character revolves around his mommy issues. He has an axe to grind against the world because of it. I can understand a complete nutjob like Kefka, I don't understand how Sephiroth's motives make him a good villain. And that motivation in and of itself really brings him down 5 or 10 notches on the coolness scale for me. If they had given him a better back story and better motivation, I think I could appreciate him more.


    On a different note, why is it that in JRPGs the main antagonist tends to pester these level 1 upstarts from the beginning of the game in many cases? If they are so evil and have such big plans, why are they wasting their time antagonizing the farmboy who is wandering around gathering other no-name people doing minor fetch quests for villages?
  • WyrdwadWyrdwad Member Full Members
    edited March 2013
    On a different note, why is it that in JRPGs the main antagonist tends to pester these level 1 upstarts from the beginning of the game in many cases? If they are so evil and have such big plans, why are they wasting their time antagonizing the farmboy who is wandering around gathering other no-name people doing minor fetch quests for villages?
    Erm... that's all answered in FF7. Cloud and Sephiroth were coworkers -- co-soldiers -- and Cloud's the one who nearly killed him after having essentially become his best friend, so yeah, it totally makes sense for Sephiroth to antagonize Cloud... and by extension, Cloud's friends as well.

    Also, Sephiroth's motives don't revolve around "mommy issues," they revolve around him having been experimented on and altered on a genetic level against his will. This spurred him to research the sorts of things that were being done to him, which shaped his philosophy (and, arguably, his religion) into something a bit demented. Something that would entail destroying all life on earth... but actually makes sense, and might not necessarily be a bad thing.

    The game had an environmentalist message, and Sephiroth was essentially the most militant environmentalist out there. He felt that humanity had corrupted the world -- and they had. And he wanted to return it to nature -- which, if he succeeded, is exactly what would've happened.

    It's actually pretty remarkable how much his ambitions MAKE SENSE, if you take the time to really dig into his backstory.

    Also:
    And there is something to be said for a villain that actually succeeded in destroying the world. That's where Kefka gets a lot of the recognition, not just that he was nuts.
    I dunno, the only reason Kefka succeeded was because everyone who could've stopped him turned out to be... really pretty incompetent. It doesn't speak to Kefka's strengths that he succeeded, but rather to the good guys' weaknesses.

    In general, I seem to be one of the few who -- despite enjoying the game -- considers FF6's story to be one of the weaker entries in the early series, as it's basically a hodge-podge of disconnected vignettes that Square essentially tried to force together into a cohesive narrative. The end result was... messy. Entertaining for one playthrough, but the more you think about it, the less things start to make sense, and you begin to realize that the majority of the game's characters don't have any actual development. They literally just have one flashback scene apiece which is supposed to count for an entire game's worth of depth. Take Edgar and Sabin, for example. Aside from the coin toss flashback... what do we know about them? Do they ever develop BEYOND that event? Do we ever see them overcoming any personal hurdles? Or are they basically just two dudes whose lives were decided by a coin toss once upon a time, and... that's pretty much all we know about them?

    Note that I'm really NOT trying to bust on FF6, as I absolutely adored that game when I was younger. I just feel the game gets a lot more credit than it deserves sometimes. Its characters, Kefka included, are all very one-note, one-dimensional creations. They essentially exist to facilitate the game's plot, rather than the plot existing to facilitate its characters.

    -Tom
  • Rya_ReisenderRya_Reisender Solipsist Snowflake Full Members
    edited March 2013
    I think it's fairly important for a good villain to show up early in the game so that his story can be fleshed out well. If the final villain isn't the antagonist at the start, I'm usually disappointed, because I don't really have any connection to that evil overlord that comes in after him.
  • ClixClix Never Google Image Search Full Members
    edited March 2013
    Tom, the Sephiroth you describe is the Nibelheim Incident Sephiroth, not the Sephiroth that served as the antagonist for 90% of the game. After being thrown into the Lifestream and essentially killed, he fused Jenova. The antagonist of FFVII--the being trying to destroy the world--is Jenova via Sephiroth, its proxy. Jenova is an alien being that travels from world to world, infesting and destroying a world for the sake of destroying a world. Jenova is basically Lavos with maybe a tad more personality. Sephiroth's goals are not to achieve a world without man for the benefit of nature--as Jenova's successor, he no longer cares about the world, at all (he only did when he went insane and thought he was a Cetra seven years ago in Nibelheim). Sephiroth is going to become a god and then go to the next planetary victim and rinse and repeat. Most of the game we see "him" through parts of Jenova's body, and he only strings along the party (Cloud) and others that have trace Jenova cells to manipulate into doing his bidding, because he seems to have some unexplained limits on what he can do with his proxy-body fpr Disc 1. He does not have much of a personal beef with Cloud, despite their history. Cloud is merely on the members of the Reunion, just a surprisingly more competent member. Honestly, the only threat to him in the group as he perceives it is Aerith, hence why he bothers to personally axe her before she can ruin everything.

    Short-story: The original, pure, broken man called Sephiroth seven years before the plot was an interesting and intimidating antagonist that parallels AVALANCHE in some ways as you described. The Sephiroth actually fought against is Lavos 2.0. The Sephiroth seen in Kingdom Hearts, Advent Children, and Dissidia is a joke to both characters that has devolved into some sort of hate-sex antagonist for Cloud and Cloud alone, because edgy teens (the blatant SE market since early-2000s) eat that stuff up.

    P.S.: One nuance in the Japanese version that helps out my interpretation comes from the first person pronouns used by Sephiroth through he development. Sane-Sephiroth uses "ore" since he's a bit of a crude soldier raised in the hell of the Wutai War battlefields. Insane-Sephiroth uses "boku" to indicate that he's taking this dead-seriously since he's driven on a grand, ancestral revenge scheme. Janoviroth uses "watashi" to indicate gender neutrality and thus downplay the previously expressed humanity of Sephiroth, the man.
  • RealityCheckedRealityChecked Member Full Members
    edited March 2013
    I’d have to have Kefka and Sephiroth near the top of my list, but if we’re looking outside the box, what about Lynx? I would never consider him a top villain, and his ‘complex’ origin (FATE) makes him a bit difficult to judge, but he does some interesting stuff (SPOILERS):

    (1) He’s got the Darth Vader ‘I am your father’ thing, and ‘sorta’ kills (drowns) the MC (2) He 'fatally' stabs the female lead in a shocking way a la Sephiroth (3) He switches bodies with the MC turning his friends against him (4) Best of all, he goes after your party from the previous game and kills(?) them, too! That’s gotta count for something.
  • ClixClix Never Google Image Search Full Members
    edited March 2013
    Honestly, if were are going for unsung villains from Square Enix's oeuvre, I'm throwing out my personal favorite, Nag'molada. I like it when villains have actual growth (in this case, a fall). He was always obviously evil, but he was originally just a jerk and elitist, and he has no qualms working with the heroes early on. He is mostly driven by his past, which is full of insecurities and a sense of betrayal on a personal and racial level via his relationship as a child with a boy named Selh'teus. As the truth is stacked up around him, he is forced to deny it and desperately cling to what he wants to believe, forcing him into further conflict with the party. He thinks he has all of the answers, and he is convinced his pathway is the correct one, everyone else be damned. And finally, he makes his greatest mistake and awakens Promathia, the apocalyptic deity, and becomes one with him... forcing him to finally learn THE truth, one the leaves him totally broken and nothing but an avatar for the ancient god to use to battle the hero, Prishe, and Sehl'teus.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    edited March 2013
    I do agree that Albedo could have been added. Then again, I just go giddy whenever I hear his evil laughter. Call me one of his fanclub, because I am. Crispin Freeman~<3
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