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Villain-Off Semi-Final #1: Kefka Palazzo vs. Lavos

severinmiraseverinmira Managing EditorRPGamer Staff
edited May 2016 in Battle Royale!
Twenty villains have been eliminated now, leaving us with just four battling it out in the semi-finals.

The semi-finals have seven points up for grabs. Four of these points come from individual staff members' votes, with the other three coming from the on-site reader votes. The three points will be assigned based on the percentage of votes. 0-35% will earn zero points, 35-50% will earn one point, 50-65% will earn two points, 65-100% will earn three points.

This match is Kefka Palazzo (Final Fantasy VI) vs. Lavos (Chrono Trigger). The reader vote will be open until 6:55pm EST on Monday May 30, 2016. Staff members can cast their votes at any time, but if possible should wait at least a day until doing so that readers and other staff members can lay out their arguments first. Everyone (staff and readers) is welcome to debate for or against either side.

Staff Voters:
Corvak
Strawberry Eggs
SquiggyLeo
Gaijinmonogatari
(Backup: Paws)
"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."
Twitter: severinmira | Xbox Live: Severin Mira | PSN: severinmira (EU) | NNID: severinmira
Final Fantasy XIV: Sevvi Taubemira (Leviathan)

Comments

  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    Now the real battle has begun.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • scorpio_7scorpio_7 Tactics Ogre, I choose u! Full Members
    edited May 2016
    Go Kefka!

    "Life...Dreams...Hope...Where do they come from? And where do they go? None of that junk is enough to fulfill your hearts! Destruction...Destruction is what makes life worth living! Destroy! Destroy! Destroy! Let's destroy everything!"

    "I hate hate hate hate hate hate... hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate HATE YOU!"

    "Run! Run! Or you'll be well done!"

    CLASSIC! Some of the best quotes EVER.
    Check out my writing and art by following this link to my work: www.stevenmouland.com
  • Craig SternCraig Stern New Member Full Members
    I vote Kefka on two grounds.

    1. Kefka is more interesting. Kefka is human, and as such, he displays recognizable personality characteristics: he's a delusional, power-hungry tyrant; a tantrum-prone clown; and a complete sociopath. His character is equal parts comic relief and a sober reflection on the types of personalities who tend to rise to power under autocratic regimes. He gets some truly memorable dialogue ("Run, run, or you'll be..." you know the rest) and a laugh that I could pick out in a crowded stadium.

    By contrast, Lavos is basically just a force of nature, a mysterious and existential threat whose nature is only revealed in the final moments of the game. Lavos has no personality; Lavos has no dialogue; Lavos just has this one, highly distinctive shrieking sound coupled with an equally distinctive "exploding spines" attack. Lavos is a neat villain in many respects, but lacks the depth of character development that makes Kefka so memorable.

    2. Kefka would probably win in a fight. Leaving aside the fact that he appears in a game where attacks do something like an order of magnitude more damage (this can just be chalked up to different ways these games model attacks of similar power), Kefka just has the better toolset for a one-on-one fight. And by "toolset," I mostly mean "the Light of Judgment." It's a beam that can wipe out entire towns. All he has to do is point that thing at Lavos from halfway across the world, and that's pretty much the end of it. Now sure, we can say that Lavos would be able to unleash its exploding spines in response, which do have world-wrecking power of their own, but we're never shown that Lavos can target them in any meaningful fashion, which means it's a crapshoot whether Kefka will even end up getting hit by them.

    Perhaps the biggest issue for Lavos, though, is that it's dormant almost all of the time. In Chrono Trigger, Lavos arrives in 65,000,000 B.C., then does precisely jack-squat for the next 65 million, one-thousand, 999 years. In all likelihood, Lavos would neither be awake nor aware of Kefka at the moment that Kefka decided to destroy it from, like, halfway across the planet.
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    I voted for Lavos.

    Kefka is easily the best villain in video games in general, as I can't think of any other villains in any games that actually succeeded. But, since I am protest voting against the over-representation of FF, I voted for Lavos. Lavos is boring, and I'm pretty sure he'll lose this round regardless of my vote.
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited May 2016
    Protest voting? It's just like the US election. Ahahahaha. I might vote Kefka just to balance that out. That would be evil, right?
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • scorpio_7scorpio_7 Tactics Ogre, I choose u! Full Members
    edited May 2016
    smacd wrote: »
    I voted for Lavos.

    Kefka is easily the best villain in video games in general, as I can't think of any other villains in any games that actually succeeded. But, since I am protest voting against the over-representation of FF, I voted for Lavos. Lavos is boring, and I'm pretty sure he'll lose this round regardless of my vote.

    How is FF over-represented in the poll? Only Kefka and Delita were in the overall voting, and I am pretty sure Delita did not make it to this level of voting. The creators of the poll even purposely excluded Sephiroth to appease such a mindset.

    Protest voting here just seems like "I don't like FF, so I am mad!" You even state that Kefka deserves to win lol.

    So in that regard, it does seem like a US election.

    I vote "Kefka for president!" Same difference right?
    Check out my writing and art by following this link to my work: www.stevenmouland.com
  • PawsPaws Purr RPGamer Staff
    We didn't deliberately exclude anyone. I can't speak for all the staff, but Sephiroth doesn't seem to be a very popular villain around here. We had four FF villains in the group stage, which was slashed to only Kefka in short order (the two remaining FF villains even faced off.) I did posit however that Kefka would take it all, so we'll see if I'm right.
  • ShayminShaymin The Gratitude Pokemon Halifax, New SealandFull Members
    edited May 2016
    scorpio_7 wrote: »
    I vote "Kefka for president!" Same difference right?

    Sad!

    Craig Stern nailed most of my thoughts on the matter, so I went Kefka. But I have to say that Lavos randomly waking up and nuking the planet somehow doesn't seem as evil as Kefka's first truly abhorrent act of poisoning Doma. Is that weird?
    "The flowers all over its body burst into bloom if it is lovingly hugged and senses gratitude."
    Twitter | A gaming podcast by grownups | Nintendo World Report news editor
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    scorpio_7 wrote: »
    How is FF over-represented in the poll? Only Kefka and Delita were in the overall voting

    And Sin. And Kuja.

    Overall, there were 4 of 24 entries that were FF. 1/6 of the entries, when there are hundreds if not thousands of RPGs to choose from. We went over this in the original thread.
    scorpio_7 wrote: »
    Protest voting here just seems like "I don't like FF, so I am mad!" You even state that Kefka deserves to win lol.

    Its not about not liking FF. Its about not liking that FF is over-represented, when there are a ton of other great choices from even semi well known series that were overlooked in favor characters like Kuja and Delita and Sin, which aren't even strong in the FF series as villains, just come from relatively popular games.

    I do think Kefka will win. I even like Kefka as a character, being one of the only FF villains worth a damn. But I'm sticking to my principles. I said I wouldn't vote for any FF game villain out of protest for them being over-represented.

    scorpio_7 wrote: »
    So in that regard, it does seem like a US election. I vote "Kefka for president!" Same difference right?
    Macstorm wrote: »
    Protest voting? It's just like the US election. Ahahahaha. I might vote Kefka just to balance that out. That would be evil, right?

    I suppose. If we consider FF the establishment, then Kefka and Clinton are pretty similar- evil psychopath establishment clowns intent on destroying the planet. I just hope she's not successful too. At least Kefka is likeable. XD
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    smacd wrote: »
    I suppose. If we consider FF the establishment, then Kefka and Clinton are pretty similar- evil psychopath establishment clowns intent on destroying the planet. I just hope she's not successful too. At least Kefka is likeable. XD

    I'm curious who Trump and Sanders would be in this scenario. Trump = Luca Blight? Sanders = Lavos?
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • RealityCheckedRealityChecked Member Full Members
    Vote Kefka and 'Make Final Fantasy great again!'
  • PawsPaws Purr RPGamer Staff
    Vote Kefka and make Final Fantasy truly FINAL. *evil cackle!*
  • CorvakCorvak CanadaRPGamer Staff
    Politics aside, both are incredible villains. Possibly the greatest ever.

    Kefka is a maniacal clown, bent on causing chaos simply to acquire personal power - seemingly only to deliver suffering and doom to the world. Lavos is an ever-present malevolence, that surpasses even time. Lavos, however is just a parasite. Much of the game is spent battling other residents of the planet, often acting with good intentions and evil methods, not Lavos himself. So Lavos remains the reason for fighting, but I always felt like he lacked real presence.

    Kefka remains a constant threat, and mocks the protagonists throughout the game. Unlike many FF titles, he really is the true villain, and isn't replaced at the end by some kind of left field bad guy pulling the strings. As has been said before, he is just an ordinary man, incredibly and absolutely evil for the sake of evil. For his ever present personality and true love of all things dastardly - Kefka gets my vote.



  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Mentioned before, but Kefka is the type of villain you can write good fanfics about. Lavos, not so much. Vote for Kefka
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs Wannabe Mistborn Lucario Administrators
    edited May 2016
    Lavos is a fascinating and freighting being. It's true origin is unknown, it has lived for an immensely long time, warps time and space, drives the evolution of life on the planet so that it would have better genetic material to absorb, and will eventually rise to destroy the planet, leaving a bleak future in its wake. What is especially scary is the implication that Lavos consists of an entire species, and that there are an unknown amount of them killing planets, sending their spawn into space, and starting the cycle anew. It can also apparently hold a grudge and become an even worse entity if this is stopped.

    Still, all that doesn't detract from the fact that Lavos seems to be largely instinctual. It has no personality to speak of. It is more a giant parasite, about as evil as a natural disaster. What it does is part of its life cycle. It's level of sentience is up for debate, but even if it is highly intelligent and gets a sadistic thrill from destroying worlds, its mind is too alien to get that impression.

    Kefka is not just a successful insane and insanely powerful evildoer, but is charismatic in a comedic way. Sure he gets the power of a god, devastates the world, and would have killed off the remnants if left alone, but he has some of the best quotes in the game and if fun to watch being crazy. He doesn't have much of an excuse for being a tyrannical childish sociopath other than having been driven crazy from being experimented on, but villains who only want to see the world burn are fun in their own way. Kefka is easier to like and love to hate because he has identifiable personality traits.

    So yes, my vote goes to Kefka.
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

    Twitter: BerryEggs

  • Lord GolbezLord Golbez Member Full Members
    edited May 2016
    I don't understand anyone who votes for a villain that's merely an entity over a villain that's actually a character. It's a mystery to me that Lavos has gotten this far. Chrono Trigger is a great game, but give me a break, Magus is a better villain than Lavos. Lavos is more natural disaster than villain (you can argue about Lavos' intelligence, but it doesn't ultimately matter, because it displays no real character traits).

    Yes, Kefka is a great villain, but even if you disagree, unless you straight up hate Kefka, I don't see how you can vote for Lavos.
    smacd wrote: »
    Overall, there were 4 of 24 entries that were FF. 1/6 of the entries, when there are hundreds if not thousands of RPGs to choose from. We went over this in the original thread.

    The vast majority of those "hundreds" or certainly "thousands" of games suck or at least aren't of the quality of FF particularly in characterization and strength of villains. Plus, if you scrape the bottom of the barrel, the extra candidates would clearly be voted off early because only a few people even know who they are. 4 villains from FF does not seem to be too much to me. If anything the problem is which 4 and not the number. I certainly wouldn't have chosen an impersonal villain like Sin (practically same as Lavos) or a parody of himself like Kuja. Frankly, it's a bit of a joke that Kuja was included and not Sephiroth. Other better choices would include Seifer (yes, Seifer - Edea isn't a villain and Ultimecia is lacking in clear goals or personality making her not much better choice than Sin) and well, I'm partial to FF4 but I don't think I'll submit any candidate from it as so great (although to be honest, I don't think the relatively flat villains of FF4 are really any worse than many of those included here such as Ganon, Lavos, Sin, Ghaleon, Dhoulmagus, etc.) If I were to choose one though, it would probably be villain/hero Kain, for the simple reason that he has more motivation than either Zemus (raw hatred) or Golbez (uh...just mind controlled?).

    Anyway, I'm more hoping Luca Blight takes the whole thing, but I won't mind Kefka. I would, however, be disappointed with Lavos or Ghaleon.

    Can I note how strikingly undemocratic this system is? The staff have a stronger veto power than the president and are easily much worse than superdelegates. If the staff got together and decided to vote for a villain who got zero reader votes, that villain would still win. That's an unlikely scenario, but pretty crazy rules. Almost makes the poll seem pointless.
    The Tea and Biscuits Brigade offers you tea and biscuits.
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    The vast majority of those "hundreds" or certainly "thousands" of games suck or at least aren't of the quality of FF particularly in characterization and strength of villains. Plus, if you scrape the bottom of the barrel, the extra candidates would clearly be voted off early because only a few people even know who they are. 4 villains from FF does not seem to be too much to me. If anything the problem is which 4 and not the number.

    Are you really trying to tell me that you can't think of even a few games that have better villains than most of the FF villains that did make the contest? If so, I have to question whether you've played many RPGs that don't have the name "Final Fantasy" on the box somewhere. I'm not arguing that over 30+ years of RPGs, that there aren't a ton of bad games, bad characters, and bad villains (FF is far from immune as well), but I do believe that if we're going to select just 24 villains, it can't be that difficult to find even a few better than what we find in FF as well with that much history and variety. The only reason FF gets so many entries is name recognition. Going forward with these tournament polls, honestly I'd like to see a 1-per-series limit. A little diversity and variety would be far more interesting, and maybe expose some more people to games they maybe haven't played before.

    I'd also argue that just because a game is bad (or "bottom of the barrel") doesn't mean the characters are bad. I really disliked most of Xenosaga for instance, but Albedo was a really interesting villain. Far more than MetalFace was, who got the Xeno representation here. I found MetalFace quite forgettable, but I'll remember some of the crazy from Albedo for a very long time.
  • Lord GolbezLord Golbez Member Full Members
    edited May 2016
    Sure, I can. Off the top of my head, Krelian is a better villain than most on this list.
    Albedo on the other hand, was not interesting to me. Perhaps it was the voice acting, but he just struck me as too over the top.

    Personally, I find it unlikely that I would take to heart a winner of these polls as a good recommendation. Granted, Chrono Trigger is a great game and Lunar's not bad either, but the fact that Lavos and Ghaleon made it to the semi-finals, while P4 culprit got cut on the first round of voting doesn't exactly fill me with great confidence in readers' picks.
    The Tea and Biscuits Brigade offers you tea and biscuits.
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    ...got cut on the first round of voting doesn't exactly fill me with great confidence in readers' picks.

    That's because the reality is this is a popularity contest that is based mostly on (the game's) name recognition. That's exactly why I think it would be more interesting to NOT have so many Final Fantasy entries. Sin, for instance, is one of the biggest non-villains in the history of villains, and somehow made it a ways into the contest because a lot of people have played FFX. The same argument goes for Lavos, even if CT isn't an FF the principle is the same- Lavos only made it so far because CT is a highly played game and has some name recognition, not because it's a good villain.

    At least in the later rounds, the reader's vote isn't enough to win.
  • DarkRPGMasterDarkRPGMaster A Witness to Destruction Moderators
    This is a no brainer. A madman who does things for fun and who gets massive character defining moments versus...a giant space flea whose only motivation is instinct. Not really a contest here, Kefka will most likely be the winner.
    "Yes, because apparently blindly jumping headfirst into a firefight without a grasp on the situation or any combat experience is a sign of genius these days."
  • SquiggyLeoSquiggyLeo RPGamer Staff
    Despite all the reasons I chose Lavos as my vote in the previous round, I can't come up with too many reasons why he should best Kefka this time around.

    My take on this (not too dissimilar from the road Strawberry Eggs went down earlier) is that Lavos, though considered "villainous" in the sense that his ultimate goal is to wipe out all life on the planet, is only acting in the way that his species' nature - whether hinted at or blatantly stated - compels him to. He's the easy choice, forced into the role of villain due to alienophobia.

    Kefka, on the other hand, is an adversary to the player despite being ostensibly the same as them. He goes against type, willing to wipe out those that are the same as him. His motivations must by definition be much stronger than Lavos', and his actions should be judged in a harsher light. He is a traitor, in addition to being mad and power-hungry.

    Lavos just is.

    My vote for Kefka.
  • severinmiraseverinmira Managing Editor RPGamer Staff
    As Kefka has already won based on the staff vote (and looks set to easily win all three points of the reader vote anyway) I will call it here so we can move onto the next semi-final to determine who will face him.

    Reader Vote Results:

    Kefka Palazzo (Final Fantasy VI) - 79.81%
    Lavos (Chrono Trigger) - 20.19%
    "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."
    Twitter: severinmira | Xbox Live: Severin Mira | PSN: severinmira (EU) | NNID: severinmira
    Final Fantasy XIV: Sevvi Taubemira (Leviathan)
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