Let's face it... Most games are driven by conflict. There has to be some force that the game's protagonist is fighting against, whether that force is an invading alien fleet or a childhood rival. Games need characters to create conflicts, an entity cast in the villainous role as a foil to the game's hero. The best of these heroes create the best conflicts, regardless of whether these villains are memorable because they are humorous, insanely cool, or just so evil that we can't wait to give them their punishment. Today at Cheat Code Central we discuss villains, especially the best and most memorable of the lot.
Let's face it... Most games are driven by conflict. There has to be some force that the game's protagonist is fighting against, whether that force is an invading alien fleet or a childhood rival. Games need characters to create conflicts, an entity cast in the villainous role as a foil to the game's hero. The best of these heroes create the best conflicts, regardless of whether these villains are memorable because they are humorous, insanely cool, or just so evil that we can't wait to give them their punishment.
Today at Cheat Code Central we discuss villains, especially the best and most memorable of the lot.
D'Marcus Beatty, Co-Site Director
One of the most memorable and despised villains that I've ever encountered in any game is Officer Frank Tenpenny from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Part of his infamy stems from the fact that he seems like a realistic and entirely possible character; a corrupt cop blinded the power he wields. Even though Tenpenny claims that he is allowing crime to continue for the sake of achieving the greater good, he kills and steals indiscriminately. He is ruthless, calculating, and thoroughly evil to the core of his corrupted heart.
Adding to the character's believability was the superb voice acting of Samuel L. Jackson, who brought the character to life in a way that few other actors could have. In my opinion, the only other actor that could have done Tenpenny correctly was Denzel Washington by rehashing and revamping Alonzo Harris from Training Day. Jackson's performance as Tenpenny was so excellent that by the game's close I despised his character like I had despised no video game villain before. He'd transcended his digital nature and had become a real human being to me, and I was happy to hunt him down for making me jump through hoops for the entire game and to finally give him the punishment I felt he deserved. Few other characters have done that to me, and none to the degree of Tenpenny.
Maria Montoro, Co-Site Director
When playing video games we often encounter surreal situations and lots of handicaps that hinder us from going forward. If it happened in real life, that could translate to frustration; however, when it comes to a video game, it looks like we enjoy the challenge and the more difficult it is, the more rewarded we feel when everything is over. When it's time to face a boss, the situation becomes especially tense and we know we have to use all our acquired knowledge and act smartly. It's the moment of truth where you demonstrate to yourself what you've learned throughout the game or just throughout the last stage.
I could talk about many bosses and other villains that definitely impacted my gaming life, but here are a few:
The Geb Queen from the action/adventure game Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy: you have never heard a more irritating, screeching, awful sound than the one she makes! Bowser from Super Mario Bros.: what an insisting spiked-turtle-shell-stinker, always throwing fire balls at you!
Clown-a-Round from Wario World: multi-headed, wacky clown that will drive you crazy!
Stallord, the "twilit fossil" from The Legend of Zelda and the Twilight Princess (just a bunch of bones that come back to life to give you a hard time, making you go all over the place ridding the spinner; can it get more annoying than that?)
Andross, the final boss from Star Fox Adventures. Can you imagine two people holding the controller at the same time, one aiming and the other one shooting? That's what happened because at the end we were just depending on stupid button-mashing skills! Sort of disappointing, I'd say…
And finally, just an easy-to-beat but great boss from Super Paper Mario: Fracktail. He's a giant dragon that looks friendly to start and then becomes evil when another villain, Dimentio, messes up his electronically configured system… That's when the fun starts, as Fracktail's comments will just remind you of your most frustrating moments in front of a PC. It's humorous as can be and the fight is really fun, allowing you to climb on top of him, make your way up to his head and hit him a few times. The wind blowing on you seems like your main enemy more than the dragon itself, but I loved this character anyways.
I don't really have a favorite video game villain; some I like for their great character design, others for the extreme difficulty but gratifying ending, and others could win an award for being the most annoying thing I ever encountered. In any case, they're all part of my memories now and I'm sure I could come up with a few more…
Jonathan Marx, Freelance Writer
Hey fink-rats! Have you readiness for this? One of my very favorite bosses was Fawful from Mario & Luigi's Superstar Saga for the Gameboy Advance. He was an awesome little guy. He was green, nerdy, and harmless looking. His unkempt superman curl, psychedelic glasses, and broad, toothy grin belied the majesty of his regal red cape. He was the best part of the game. He wasn't particularly difficult to beat but his attacks were original and his mockery was legendary. "I have fury!!!" he would exclaim and then buzz around shooting fireballs at the Mario Bros. His statements were so funny, especially coming out of an angry little bean.
Nintendo characters are always wonderful. Their cartoon look is great and never overshadows the depth of their personality. Fawful is a perfect example. Over the course of the game we got to know the lively legume. He is an inventive, intelligent sycophant, who's more than just a sidekick. His way with words made players laugh out loud and endeared him to us. One can't help but think that Nintendo was poking fun at itself through this character. Fawful spoke much like the text read of poorly translated Japanese imports. This character was the game's primary source of comic relief. He was a baddy that was tough not to love and was more than just another minion. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he became the primary villain in a future Mario Bros. title. Fawful is a classic character who, through personality, design, and antics, single-handedly made Superstar Saga one of my all-time favorite games.
Matthew Walker, Freelance Writer
Villainy is probably one of the most rewarding titles to have in video games. Sure, you have the hero that stops the villain, saves the day, and gets the girl, but where is the fun in that? Villains are able to destroy entire civilizations without a second thought and, in most cases, are cool when they do it. Gamers love to hate them with fiery passions. There are only a few that spark that special amount of hatred in some gamers. One of the most notable would be Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII. After all, he took everything from the hero and has continued to be a large thorn in Cloud's side in additional games and films they have appeared in.
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