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Villain-Off Final: Kefka Palazzo vs. Luca Blight

Severin MiraSeverin Mira News Director/ReviewerRPGamer Staff
edited June 2016 in Battle Royale!
RPGAMER VILLAIN-OFF - THE FINAL

So we arrive at our final two contestants remaining in the RPGamer Villain-Off with our last match-up being, Kefka Palazzo (Final Fantasy VI) vs. Luca Blight (Suikoden II).

In the final there are nine points up for grabs. Five of these will comes from the staff vote (each staff member assigning one point). With the four readers points assigned as follows based on the RPGamer.com home page poll: 0-33% - Zero points, 33-48% - One point, 48-52% - Two points, 52-67% - Three points, 67-100% - Four points.

As this is the final, voting will be open for a bit longer than previous rounds, closing at 6:55pm EST on Tuesday June 7, 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 more than welcome to put forward their case on who should win at attempt to influence the staff voters! May the best...er...worst...er...most deserving villain win!

Staff Voters:
Macstorm
Wheels
Nyx
SweetieAshe
InstaTrent
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Comments

  • scorpio_7scorpio_7 Tactics Ogre, I choose u! Full Members
    Very awesome pairing - and very deserving finalists. It is a very difficult choice to choose between these two madmen. Both have an insanity that is frightening, and over-arching plots and plans to dominate and destroy everything.

    I am happy with whoever wins.

    My vote is for Kefka - due to the fact that he succeeded in many of his plans - and did manage to effectively take over the world.

    Kefka did re-form an entire planet - and I am certain killed thousands in the process of doing so.
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  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    Yeah but despite not achieving his over all goals, Luca kinda thousands IN JUST ONE COUNTRY, sacrificing an entire town at one point to achieve his goals.
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  • scorpio_7scorpio_7 Tactics Ogre, I choose u! Full Members
    edited June 2016
    Yeah but despite not achieving his over all goals, Luca kinda thousands IN JUST ONE COUNTRY, sacrificing an entire town at one point to achieve his goals.

    Absolutely true - but don't forget - Kefka was blowing up towns with some kind of crazy laser. If I remember correctly (and it has been a while) he had a tower that could shoot a laser and burn a town to the ground. He truly was a frightening overlord. All the while giggling.

    And most importantly he changed the face of an ENTIRE PLANET... towns meant nothing to Kefka :)
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  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    Sadly it's hard to compare the "worlds" in these two games because Suikoden always dealt with multi faceted country's versus FF's sparsely populated countries
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  • GaijinMonogatariGaijinMonogatari RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Yeah, that's what kept Kefka's deathtoll to an implied thousands, because the entire NPC population of the game was hardly more than one or two hundred at most. There must have been tons of tinier hamlets that were simply never deemed important enough to stop by, but then again this has always been one of the weaker traits of FF worldbuilding.
  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    Um, they were a significant console generation apart and FF6 pushed the memory limits of the SNES cartridge, so of course they had different apparent populations.
  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    watcher wrote: »
    Um, they were a significant console generation apart and FF6 pushed the memory limits of the SNES cartridge, so of course they had different apparent populations.

    Yeah but FF7 and FF8 didn't really change the concept save for mentioning how many people would be killed or were killed in events and in some cases cutscenes (like the street fighting with Squall)
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  • scorpio_7scorpio_7 Tactics Ogre, I choose u! Full Members
    Such a tight contest. It's great to see the love for both these villains. Either way, the winner is worthy of the title.
    Check out my writing and art by following this link to my work: www.stevenmouland.com
  • RealityCheckedRealityChecked Member Full Members
    I missed Suikoden along the way, so I won't vote in the Final. In the meantime I will be petitioning Bandai Namco to replace 'Holy Bottle' with 'Villain Off' in the next Tales installment.
  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs Wannabe Mistborn Lucario Administrators
    edited June 2016
    Mad man against mad man. Whoever wins here totally deserves the title.
    These two are really neck and neck, too. O_O
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

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  • Skeith27Skeith27 Brooklyn, NYFull Members
    edited June 2016
    This is an amazing and perfect final showdown in my opinion. And far be it for me to say anything negative about either candidate, but I do have to say that Luca is the clear winner here as overall villains go.

    Kefka was an amazing design, he was destructive, surprisingly successful, and he was memorable...

    But what can you say about Kefka's backstory? His motivation? His relations to the other characters? They're all extremely shallow. He was an insane clown magician who wanted to watch the world burn because... he's an insane clown magician! That's pretty much the beginning and end of it. We don't know how he got his powers, or what drove him to be such a buttnutt. And all his destruction was extremely impersonal. He killed people on a mass scale, sure, and usually from a distance. But that kinda takes away any personal touch or sense of true malice. Killing was just... a fun tool to his ends.

    Luca has a backstory, actual relationships to other characters, and actual meaningful interactions with people he doesn't want to kill. Watching Luca make ONE woman crawl like a pig, oinking for her life, then butchering her in the streets... that one death had more impact and told you more about the depths of Luca's evil than Kefka blowing up a city from half a world away. And Luca actually had relationships that spanned more than just "people I haven't killed yet." He had a sister he - at least at one time - cared for. He had a father whom he had a specific reason to hate and kill. And a mother who's horrific death motivated his decent into madness (and also perhaps drove him to his source of power).

    Also, let's talk about deaths. The battles with Luca and Kefka both took on epic proportions. Both required multiple parties of heroes to defeat. Kefka has one of the biggest multi-tiered battles in any RPG with what I consider the masterpiece of SNES music playing all the while. All totally granted. But the Luca battle was a deeper affair. It was WAY more than just a boss fight with some infinite HP villain and his powerful attacks. It involved ARMIES of people who died trying to kill him, as well as armies who died trying to protect their mad prince. Then it goes down to the PARTY level, where 18 named characters all get their shot, win or lose. And finally, we go back to the PERSONAL level with a one-on-one duel to the death between army leaders. It hits every note imaginable. And you feel the desperation of the struggle to the last moment. And finally, Luca ends the struggle with his lingering dying words...

    "Remember! It took hundreds to kill me, but I killed humans by the thousands! Look at me! I am sublime! I am the true face of evil!"

    Kefka goes out rather quietly, without a word. Perhaps it was poignant, but it left me wanting a bit more closure after all that we went through to beat that game, and still had no idea who this guy was or why any of this happened.
  • AzalusAzalus The Great Devourer Full Members
    You know, I usually fight on the side of Kefka, worshiping him as the ultimate RPG villain on accomplishments alone, but Skeith27 makes some really significant arguments for Luca in a way that makes sense to me. There are a couple of flaws in the argument that don't detract much from the overall point.

    Kefka got his initial powers as the original test subject for the magitek program that eventually produced Celes. Unfortunately, the imperfect process is what shattered Kefka's sanity and began his descent into madness.

    The other points I can agree with being shallow. While the grand scope of his accomplishments was significantly higher, that may be a result of the scope of the games. FF6 was planetary, with Kefka
    reshaping and ruling the planet from his tower after acquiring the source of magic.
    , where Suikoden 2 was local, with the primary conflict being not even continental, but country-based.

    That being said, I would believe that if Luca had been in Kefka's place in FF6, the world may not have had the chance to recover.

    I think, despite all the times I've supported Kefka as the best RPG villain in history, I'm going to vote for Luca. Kefka never managed to disgust me or make me feel fear.
  • Skeith27Skeith27 Brooklyn, NYFull Members
    Ah, thanks for correcting me on Kefka's backstory, Azalus! It's good that you were able to fill in that gap in my memory.

    I guess it's been so long now that I don't recall all the details to FF6 as well as I used to, despite having played it many, many times over. Haha
  • NyxNyx Staff Girly Girl RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2016
    While I think both villains are fantastic, I still think Luca is the more stronger and compelling villain. I have prattled on about his final boss fight, his backstory (so heartbreaking), and his monstrous mannerisms. It's hard to compare who is the worst villain given Kefka destroyed the world versus Luca slaughtering tens of thounsands in a country.

    I think just in terms of an emotional factor, I think Luca is far more disturbing than Kefka. Yes, Kefka has scary clown face (which I hate, ew), but Luca is a guy who can give himself super-human strength merely by willing it. There's no tricks or gimmicks with him, he just a guy with a lot of emotional damage, thinking he can destroy those who harmed him (aka everyone). He doesn't want world domination or even to destroy the world, he merely wants to make people suffer the way he did.

    I think they are both scary guys, but I admit I haven't played FFVI in years (and probably should do a replay) where as I've played Suikoden II far too many times for my own good.

    Vote: Luca Blight
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    Kefka: He's easy to hate, succeeds at his goal, and then does much of nothing.

    Luca: He's a wicked beast, and does a lot of evil. Then he gets taken down in a brutal way.

    Both are really great villains, so it's just a matter of who is better. Hmm?
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    edited June 2016
    OK, so I've had time to go back and think about it. Putting these two up against each other is hard, because they are both good at what they do in their respective games. I decided to go deeper and look at why they were both villains. For Kefka, he was an experiment that didn't go right. For Luca, he was forced to watch his mother sexually assaulted. Best villain has always been very subjective for me. I totally supported Ghaleon in prior rounds because he does the villain thing the way I like it. Between Kefka and Luca, it's harder because both of them start evil and end evil. With Luca, you can see his origin and is ultimate demise, which isn't even the end of the game. With Kefka, you meet him already evil and kind of incompetent. His victory is really just from trickery, nothing really genius. Luca is evil, plotting, and well defined with his dark nature. For that, he gets the nod from me here.

    Vote: Luca Blight

    PS: Can I rant briefly about how I love Kefka's SNES sprite design, but hate how he looks like a stupid clown in every other rendition of him?
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
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  • SweetieAsheSweetieAshe qt = π RPGamer Staff
    It's going to be hard to write more than a few sentences because Nyx and Mac have said most everything I was going to say. I also said most everything really when Ghaleon got pitted against Luca. But I guess I can reiterate some points.

    This final is lunacy against lunacy, evil against evil. Though presented in two very different ways, both Luca and Kefka accomplish one thing: they leave a large, bloody trail of humanity in their wakes. Kefka does this through subterfuge and coy humor (helped no doubt by Woolsey's translation, though later translations of him still keep his sadistic yet jolly nature), laughing and cracking jokes while he poisons towns, undermines his superiors, and ultimately reshapes the world in his image: dark, twisted, and desolate. He has one of the most memorable final battles in all RPGs, where the depths of his depravity take form. Kefka is a fantastic villain, and yet...

    Luca Blight does all these things in a very different way. Gone is the humor and sneaking around; his way is the blade, fire, and carnage. While Kefka may have been the result of a deranged experiment, Luca is the product of humanity's own derangement. It grounds his character in reality, something that Kefka with his clownish looks and magical prowess lacks. Luca is a character you can actually see existing in the real world, a child's traumas given outlet through the sword. And he too creates his own world, one of despair and fear, not through mystical powers that exist only in legend, but through sheer might. He too has one of the most memorable battles in RPGs - the whole world tries to defeat him, then an elite group, and then you. And even through all of that, he still exists. Though he may be dead, his legacy would be felt in Jowston for years to come. Kefka's presence faded after mere minutes (hours or days in-game?) after his defeat.

    Both villains are wonderfully evil in their own rights. But when it comes between the two of them, Kefka's life, dreams, and hopes are crushed under the sheer realness of Luca Blight's character and deeds.

    My vote is for Luca Blight.
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  • InstaTrentInstaTrent Opinion Guy RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2016
    I already wrote a thingerdoodle a while back that captured why I am so down with Kefka Palazzo. I don't necessarily want to retread that old ground, so instead I'll provide an abridge version:

    Most RPG villains = evil for the sake of being evil
    Kefka = evil for the sake of fun/eventual nihilism

    He doesn't care for human life. He has a massive chip on his shoulder. He's a colorful dresser with a fancy laugh. This is Kefka Palazzo.

    We could ruminate for days over whether he is just a disturbed, man-made agent of chaos or a crazy person who doesn't know when to stop, but that's all beside the point. What matters is Kefka Palazzo's success, which is far more considerable than Luca's (I'm sorry, but I can't get on board that train).

    How many primary antagonists are actually successful in destroying the world? Seriously.

    Final Fantasy VI's heroic cast ultimately failed. In a moment few could have predicted, this mad man actually incites apocalypse and ascends to godhood. Your heroes fall, and Kefka's disregard for human life develops into full-blown nihilism - such that he attempts to break the bonds of existence itself. That's evil.

    A vote for Kefka is a vote for k-razy. And I vote Kefka.
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  • Severin MiraSeverin Mira News Director/Reviewer RPGamer Staff
    The reader vote is now closed with the following results:

    Luca Blight (Suikoden II) - 57.41% (3 points)
    Kefka Palazzo (Final Fantasy VI) - 42.59% (1 point)


    Comining this with the the staff vote results collected so far (bad Wheels), I can declare that the winner of the RPGamer Vilaain-Off is Luca Blight! Thanks to everyone for participating!
    "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."
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  • Strawberry EggsStrawberry Eggs Wannabe Mistborn Lucario Administrators
    edited June 2016
    For he's a jolly bad fellow, for he's a jolly bad fellow
    For he's a jolly bad fellllllooooow, which nobody can deny!

    I rather enjoyed this whole event. It was quite a blast to see the many different types of villains out there in RPGland. And I'm still kind of tickled that N got as far as he did, heh.
    Bravely second...
    The courage to try again...

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  • watcherwatcher Veteran RPGamer Full Members
    Out of curiosity, what happened with the reader poll? I could have sworn Kefka had the lead when I looked yesterday. Was there a surge of Blight, as it were?
  • Lord GolbezLord Golbez Member Full Members
    edited June 2016
    Shoot. I just missed this.... I would have voted for Luca anyway though so it's all good. Much respect for Kefka, but Luca is just a scarier dude. Kefka is a maniacal destroy the world kind of evil. Luca is more of a Game of Thrones creepily realistic sadist kind of evil.

    By the way, Jowy wasn't part of this poll at all, but I think he would have made an excellent choice as well. His villain status may be debatable, but a lot of his decisions clearly lean that way. I'd say he's an "ends justify the means" villain, but still a villain. And to be a villain that manipulates both a monster like Luca Blight and his own childhood friend into a confrontation to put an end to Luca Blight (not to mention the things he did to earn Luca's trust), I think earns him a spot for serious consideration as well.
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  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    watcher wrote: »
    Out of curiosity, what happened with the reader poll? I could have sworn Kefka had the lead when I looked yesterday. Was there a surge of Blight, as it were?

    I don't have data on the poll, but I believe a Suikoden fan site picked up on the poll and likely led Luca's charge. Rather fitting for a Villain-Off.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • flamethrowerflamethrower Member Full Members
    Is there a good place to spoil myself on the Suikoden II plot?
  • MacstormMacstorm Ysy St. Administrators
    Is there a good place to spoil myself on the Suikoden II plot?

    Yes, right here is best.
    "The universe is already mad. Anything else would be redundant."
    Twitter @FinalMacstorm
  • NekobasuNekobasu RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Thanks for the write-ups and heated arguments. Maybe my office is cold, but I still got chills!
    Macstorm wrote: »
    Is there a good place to spoil myself on the Suikoden II plot?

    Yes, right here is best.

    Followed by a trip to Suikosource if you want to do a deep dive into lore, Easter eggs, mini-games, etc.

  • josho2113josho2113 Full Members
    Skeith27 wrote: »
    This is an amazing and perfect final showdown in my opinion. And far be it for me to say anything negative about either candidate, but I do have to say that Luca is the clear winner here as overall villains go.

    Kefka was an amazing design, he was destructive, surprisingly successful, and he was memorable...

    But what can you say about Kefka's backstory? His motivation? His relations to the other characters? They're all extremely shallow. He was an insane clown magician who wanted to watch the world burn because... he's an insane clown magician! That's pretty much the beginning and end of it. We don't know how he got his powers, or what drove him to be such a buttnutt. And all his destruction was extremely impersonal. He killed people on a mass scale, sure, and usually from a distance. But that kinda takes away any personal touch or sense of true malice. Killing was just... a fun tool to his ends.

    Luca has a backstory, actual relationships to other characters, and actual meaningful interactions with people he doesn't want to kill. Watching Luca make ONE woman crawl like a pig, oinking for her life, then butchering her in the streets... that one death had more impact and told you more about the depths of Luca's evil than Kefka blowing up a city from half a world away. And Luca actually had relationships that spanned more than just "people I haven't killed yet." He had a sister he - at least at one time - cared for. He had a father whom he had a specific reason to hate and kill. And a mother who's horrific death motivated his decent into madness (and also perhaps drove him to his source of power).

    Also, let's talk about deaths. The battles with Luca and Kefka both took on epic proportions. Both required multiple parties of heroes to defeat. Kefka has one of the biggest multi-tiered battles in any RPG with what I consider the masterpiece of SNES music playing all the while. All totally granted. But the Luca battle was a deeper affair. It was WAY more than just a boss fight with some infinite HP villain and his powerful attacks. It involved ARMIES of people who died trying to kill him, as well as armies who died trying to protect their mad prince. Then it goes down to the PARTY level, where 18 named characters all get their shot, win or lose. And finally, we go back to the PERSONAL level with a one-on-one duel to the death between army leaders. It hits every note imaginable. And you feel the desperation of the struggle to the last moment. And finally, Luca ends the struggle with his lingering dying words...

    "Remember! It took hundreds to kill me, but I killed humans by the thousands! Look at me! I am sublime! I am the true face of evil!"

    Kefka goes out rather quietly, without a word. Perhaps it was poignant, but it left me wanting a bit more closure after all that we went through to beat that game, and still had no idea who this guy was or why any of this happened.

    I just read your thing about Kefka. You were incorrect about a couple things. You mentioned we dont know why he is crazy and where he got his powers but actually we do. Before Celes and Leo were given magic through experimentation. The emperor did all the testing on Kefka first which drove him mad. He was the guinea pig to the program and thats how he got his powers and what twisted his head :)
  • WheelsWheels RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff
    Well super later obviously. Brain failing me. The good news is my vote was going Luca Blight. Reasons why I'll post later.
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  • TheAnimeManTheAnimeMan Member Full Members
    edited June 2016
    josho2113 wrote: »
    I just read your thing about Kefka. You were incorrect about a couple things. You mentioned we dont know why he is crazy and where he got his powers but actually we do. Before Celes and Leo were given magic through experimentation. The emperor did all the testing on Kefka first which drove him mad. He was the guinea pig to the program and thats how he got his powers and what twisted his head :)

    Some one else had actually pointed that out already.

    Having actually played Suikoden II again recently. I actually had to restart my game cause i got to the point of Luca's fight and couldn't beat him. This is the only fight that even after multiple play throughs I have never been able to get first try. I'm actually going back to Suikoden (the first one) so i can beat his Moo. This is how much trouble this one fight has always provided me

    Although Kefka is an epic fight ... I only had to use 4 characters to defeat him on EVERY playthrough on every attempt. I barely even use Magic and stick good old beat down (Sabin, Edgar, Gau, Cyan)
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  • Lord GolbezLord Golbez Member Full Members
    Hmmm... I never lost the Luca Blight fight. Didn't even know for sure it was possible to lose. It's possible to beat him with first and second teams, but I usually don't. It's also usually a pretty close call, but I put most of my best guys in the last team, so I've always won....

    Anyway, what do you mean when you say restart the game? I don't recall a point of no return save spot before the Luca Blight fight. You should be able to level up some spare characters and sharpen some weapons which is probably all you really need to do.
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