Monday, October 20, 2014

The Top 20 Video Game Villains: 20-11

And here we are at the first half of our list. No more honorable mentions, no more explanations, just a breakdown of gaming's greatest villains. Belong I'll list who they are, some of their notable highlights, and why they belong on this list. So here we go with #20...

#20: Ramirez from Skies of Arcadia
  • 6th Admiral of the Valuan Empire
  • Member of the Silver Civilization
  • Second in Command to Fleet Admiral Galcian
  • Merged with Zelos, the God of Destruction
The storyline of Skies of Arcadia, if we're being perfectly honest, is not a great one. It has a great world and characters, but its story is not the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of this game. No, the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of SoA is its great cast of villains, and Ramirez is one of the darkest and harshest of them all. He's not only one of the youngest villains on this list, but he exemplified loyalty to his commanding officer Galcian to a frightening degree. He leads a massive siege on Maramba, a gigantic port town that is the capitol of the kingdom of Nasr and will kill anyone, even his closest friends, int he service of Galcian.

Ramirez is by far the most powerful character in the game and shows his power only when needed. You can choose to fight him early in the game, but you have no hope of beating him. The only time when you can fight him is after Galcian dies and he goes absolutely off the deep end. He becomes determined to destroy the world that killed his master, so he tries to do so by merging with one of the most powerful beings in existence, Zelos, to kill everyone. Even when you miraculously are able to beat Zelos, Ramirez won't stay dead and comes to kill you in a half Zelos half Ramirez abomination that is solely bent on destruction. 

So if Ramirez is so heartless and powerful, why is he only number 20? That's because Ramirez has a tragic and sympathetic past. If you decide to do a long and lengthy sidequest that spans the whole game, you learn that Ramirez used to be a good man. He worked for the Valuan Empire, but he always cared about people and their plight. It wasn't until he found out his commanding officer at the time abused people from Ixa'Taka, a kingdom of primitive natives, and made them into his own personal slaves without remorse that Ramirez tried to fight back. He faced so much corruption in the Valuan Empire that it in turn corrupted him and made him into the monster that blindly serves Galcian. Ramirez could have been saved, but was so twisted in his ideals and morals that he became pure darkness, but he was at a point a man of honor and kindness, so that marks him down quite a bit. Still, for merging with God to try and kill everyone, Ramirez barely scrapes on the list as #20. 

#19: M.Bison from Street Fighter
  • Head of Shadoloo
  • Wielder of Psycho Power
  • More vendettas than any Street Fighter Character
  • Is a robot...?
I profess that I'm not the best when it comes to the plot of Street Fighter (or that it even has a plot for that matter), but there is no more iconic fighting game villain in existence than M. Bison. Trying to explain what Bison is is very difficult and convoluted, so I'll so my best to explain just what M. Bison is capable of. 

Bison is the wielder of Psycho Power, which is energy that is so evil and so powerful that it makes him nearly invulnerable. Bison is able to take on multiple foes at once and demonstrate that he can hold his own with the best of them. In fact, he is able to beat down most rivals and opponents he encounters. He fights Ryu, Guile, Chun Li, Rose, T. Hawk, and Cammy numerous times and beat them nearly every single time. Bison is nearly invulnerable and the only person that was able to legitimately kill him was Akuma, but death only served to piss him off even more. The members of his organization, Shadoloo, built Bison a new robotic body for Street Fighter IV, and it's actually able to hold his Psycho Power. With a new robotic body, Bison is able to fully use his power, which only makes him even more formidable and deadly. 

Even though video games are my primary sources when it comes to if a villain deserves to be on the list, M. Bison is actually able to transcend video games and is iconic in other mediums. Whether being portrayed by Raul Julia in the cult smash Street Fighter: The Movie, or by being a prevalent character in the Street Fighter anime, there's no denying the presence and power of M. Bison. 

#18: Senator Stephen Armstrong from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
  • 2020 Presidential Candidate
  • Unofficial member of Desperado
  • Pilot of Metal Gear EXCELCIUS
  • 'MURICA!!!
Sometimes, a villain doesn't have to be menacing and terrifying. Sometimes, a villain doesn't need to have an immense amount of depth. Sometimes, a villain just needs to be enjoyable and badass. Senator Steven Armstrong is a complete badass. He wants to protect America and insure that it is safe by any and all means, so he goes through an immensely complicated plan to gain the presidency in the 2020 election. When that plan involves nanomachines and Metal Gears, you can bet that he's a bit off the deep end. 

Growing up as a football player for the University of Texas, he eventually joined the Navy and began to involve himself with politics afterwards, but he was certain that he wanted to return America back to being one of the world's largest superpowers. In order to do that, we wants to create a new American Revolution of sorts by using Desperado to cement his position in the White House in the 2020 election. When Raiden tried to intervene with him, Raiden gets an unpleasant surprise. 

Senator Armstrong is pretty much infused with nanomachines and INCREDIBLE power. He's able to decimate Raiden with a few punches while spouting political quotes and philosophies at him. He ditches Metal Gear EXCELCIUS because it "doesn't get the job done." So Armstrong just jumps out of it and beats up Raiden with his own bare hands. Armstrong is one of the strongest villains on this list and is nearly invulnerable. He's filled with so many nanomachines that he's skin is as hard as diamonds and as black as coal. The only way to kill him is to rip out his heart from his chest and crush it. You have to rip his heart out... and crush it with your own hands. If that doesn't signify an American badass, I don't know what is. 

#16: The Creeper from The Suffering: Ties That Bind
  • Former pimp
  • Murdered over 200 prostitutes
  • HATES women
  • Loves the feel of blood
The Creeper is a unique villain for this list. He's not the main villain in the game, and he's, not that most powerful villain on the list. Hell, I never even played the game that he appeared in. So why is he on this list? Because of how terrifying and disturbing this villain is. 

Luther Stickwell is the embodiment of Baltimore's violence towards women. He used to murder prostitutes that worked for him for his own amusement until he grew bored with them and started to kill any and all women. He's become an urban legend in Baltimore, but the Creeper still roams that sewers and alleys of the city, always accompanied by his hundreds of female corpses. He'll try to kill any woman that he sees and when you don't see him, you hear him recount all of the ways he's killed his women, which leads to one of the most grotesque lines in gaming. 

"Blood is the best lubricant."

His appearance itself is enough to terrify any players, sporting a doll like face with a large trench coat/ Under that coat he carries the dismembered corpses of his prostitutes that he uses to kill more people. These women are masses of flesh and blood, with bones and swords poking out of all of their orifices. Even when his own prostitutes kill him, he relishes the opportunity and achieves a sort of sexual nirvana before he dies. Once a lustful murderer, always a lustful murderer?

#16: Ghirahim from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • Demon Lord of Hyrule
  • Sword of Demise
  • Command over all evil creates
  • Has a thing for tongues...
Once upon a time, the kingdom of Hyrule was under attack by the Demon King Demise, who destroyed the land and tried to kill every living being in the world. Only the goddess Hylia was able to seal him away in the Sacred Grounds. After he was sealed away, Hylia sent the humans to Skyloft to protect them from the harms and darkness of Hyrule. However, the goddess did nothing to Demise's sword, who came to life and took his master's position and began to plan how to break his seal. That sword is Ghirahim, the self proclaimed "Demon Lord" of Hyrule. 

Ghirahim, more than any other boss on this list, is uncomfortable just to be around. His presence is unsettling to say the least and whenever he appears, you know some shit is going to go down. When you first meet him, you can clearly tell that something is disturbing about him. He's feminine, unpredictable, and has a very quick temper. Not only that, but fighting him is completely off putting. He'll grab your sword and turn it against you like it was nothing and he takes his time fighting you. Ghirahim is in no rush to fight you, and he'll savor beating you to a pulp.

It all culminates when he sends an army of Bokoblins against you destroy you while he summons Demise. He sends nearly every enemy type in the game to try and kill you and when you do finally reach him, it's a fight to the death. He transforms and can't take any damage unless you hit his one weak point. Even when you do beat he, he actually succeeds in his goals and summons Demise and becomes a sword for him. You can scoff at him and make fun of his demeanor, but there's no denying that while Ghirahim may be a little homoerotic, you should 100% take him seriously.

#15: Clockwerk from the Sly Cooper

  • Killed Sly Cooper's Father
  • Survived falling into a volcano
  • Lived for thousands of years
  • Fueled by pure hate
Clockwerk is one of the few video game villains that completely embodies hatred. He hates the Cooper clan. He hates anyone that is a thief and denies him the right of being called "Master Thief". Clockwerk is a monster. No ifs ands or buts.

Since the beginning of the Cooper clan in the Stone Age, Clockwerk existed as an opponent to the Cooper clan. When he became to old to be a credible threat to the Coopers, he turned himself into a robotic owl so that he could live forever and be an eternal threat to the Coopers. He has stalked every Cooper and been a constant threat to them until he founded the Fiendish Five to kill Sly Cooper's father and destroy the Thievius Raccoonus, the book that houses all of the Cooper's thieving knowledge and history. And... he does. He succeeds, tears up the book, distributes it to his gang members, reigns as the master thief for a decade until he is destroyed by Sly by falling into a volcano. However, that doesn't kill him, but only injures him.

Clockwerk is a simple villain, but his deeds and hatred put him in a whole other level. His age puts him as the oldest villain on the list and the only villain that is an animal. While technically he isn't the only robot on this list, he does have a lot of aspects that make him completely unique on this list. N other villain is quite like Clockwerk, and the fact the he appears in a kids game no less makes him even more impactful. Imagine being a little kid and being exposed to something has pure and hateful as Clockwerk. Clockwerk is immortal, and with Sly 5 rumored to take place in the past again, you can bet it's only a matter of time until Clockwerk shows his face again.

#14: Heihachi Mishima from Tekken

  • Head of the Mishima Zaibatsu
  • Host of several Iron Fist Tournaments
  • Survived fighting several Devil gene users
  • Eats tomahawks
M. Bison might be the most popular fighting game villain, but Heihachi is by far the best. Sometimes, you just need to be an old man with a ton of power and an over-the-top personality. The best way to sum up Heihachi is that he threw his five year old son off a cliff to see if he was strong. His kid did survive, but only to hate his father with a burning fury. Heihachi doesn't care at all though, instead opting to adopt a new son to raise instead.

Heihachi despises weakness above all else and constantly trains himself to become the strongest in the world. He wants complete control and with decimate everyone in his way to achieve his ideals. Heihachi is a very human character through and through. Yes his actions are ludicrous and awesome, but he's primarily defined by his ego, pride, and desire to eliminate weakness. He's appeared in nearly every Tekken game, and each time he's more powerful than before. He even survives being through off a cliff by his own son, only to climb back up, beat him within an inch of his life, then throw him into a volcano out of vengeance. A VOLCANO.

If M. Bison is popular because of his appearance, then Heihachi is popular because of his philosophizing. All of his appearances have him spouting out his ideals to his enemies, and they're always done while beating the crap out of them. He's like Stephen Armstrong in that regard, but much wiser and more human. If you take the charm of Stephen Armstrong and mix it with the power of M. Bison, you'll get a somewhat accurate approximation of Heihachi. And I wouldn't have that any other way.

#13 Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2

  • Head of the Hyperion Corporation
  • Dictator of Pandora
  • Imprisoned his daughter (?)
  • Egotistical beyond all belief
Comedy and terror rarely go hand in hand. Usually a comedic villain is very hard to take seriously and is rarely the main villain. In the case of Handsome Jack, he's maniacal as all hell, but so damn enjoyable too. Handsome Jack is the president of the Hyperion Corporation, after murdering the president of course, and has also taken credit for everything that you did in the original Borderlands. So yeah, everything that you did in the the first game? He totally took credit for.

Handsome Jack is by far the most egotistical villain on the list and probably one of the most demented villains on the list too. He's completely out of his mind, but he's so much fun to watch. When he says stuff like "did you know that littering in Opportunity is punishable by death? If not, you should also know that complaining about Opportunity's laws is considered verbal littering", you know that he's gonna be an enjoyable villain. I had more fun listening to him talk about anything than I did listening to any other villain, and he's by far the best thing to come out of the entire Borderlands franchise. He's so much fun that an entire game is dedicated to fleshing out his backstory and his rise to power in the first place. 

However, he's still a monster and the most prideful villain on this list. He has murdered his grandmother and anyone that every got in his way on his trek to the top of Hyperion. He's may or may not have restrained his own daughter against her will, but there's no doubt that he's absolutely out of his mind. Any man that builds a space station that is literally a giant H in honor of his name if pretty insane. Still, for being bat-shit insane, we can't help but love and fear this mad CEO.

#12: Jubileus from Bayonetta

  • Divine being of Paradiso
  • The Creator of all life
  • Head of the Lumen Sages
  • Needs to be killed twice just to be sure
Imagine if you would that you're playing a game where you are killing angels and divine beings that represent heavenly virtues like belief, honor, and virtue. Now imagine that each of those virtues was 100 feet tall and had four health bars each. Now imagine that when you kill them, they make mention of a being named Jubileus that would appear to purify the world. Now imagine that said divine being appears and wants a piece of your ass for meddling with the purification of the world. That is Jubileus. 

Jubileus is a rare kind of villain on this list because she only appears in the last half hour of the game. She's mentioned a ton and the plot revolves around reviving her, but we never actually see her until the end of the game. When we do see her though, we believe that she is God. She's gargantuan and has the power of time and space on her side. When you are told that you are going to be fighting God, this is probably an accurate representation of what that would be like. She's beyond powerful, but we really don't know that much about her besides that. 

However, we don't need to know that much. The other bosses relay to us just how powerful this God is and that she is a force to be reckoned with. When you fight her, the weakest attack she uses against you is to throw and entire galaxy at you. Even if you dodge that, she will bend reality to punish you and make you die. Even if you are able to defeat her, the only conceivable way to kill her is to PILOT HER INTO THE SUN. Even then, that doesn't kill her! You need to go back in there and beat up the bits of her that didn't burn, or else she could revive herself from that. 

It's always a common trope in video games to make God a final boss. Hell, so far we've had two Gods on this list and that certainly isn't the last time we've seen them. Unlike Ramirez though, Jubileus IS God and was never human to begin with. Jubileus was always this strong and didn't receive her power by merging with any God. Not only that, but she's one of the few villains on this list that is actually a woman! Just think, we have a villain that not only is God, but cements that idea that God is a woman. In Bayonetta. A game that exemplifies the male gaze and showcases our heroine half naked most of the time. Well, regardless of the gender rights that might be portrayed in Jublieus, she's not the God I would want to meet when I die and go to Heaven. 

#11: Kessler from inFamous

  • Head of the First Sons
  • Creator of the Ray Sphere
  • Time traveler
  • Most tragic villain on the list
Fun fact to developing villains; no one ever believes that they are a villain. In their eyes, the villain thinks that they are trying to do some good in the world and that they're the heroes. Kessler is a man who believes he is trying to do good in the world and save it from an oncoming disaster, but in return, he ruins the life of Cole MacGrath. Or should I say, his own life. 

Yes, Kessler is Cole MacGrath, but from a devastated future. In that future, Cole marries Trish, his girlfriend, and they have themselves two daughters together. His happy life is ruined though when a monster known simply as The Beast appears in Empire City. Cole loses Trish and his daughters and blames his own weakness for their deaths. Because of this, Cole discovers how to travel through time and decides to rectify his mistakes. He'll prepare Cole for his fight with The Beast one way or another. He changes his name to Kessler, and begins to formulate his plan. 

Kessler is responsible for creating the Ray Sphere, which gives Cole powers at the cost of dozens of lives, usurping the First Sons to achieve his goals, constantly tests Cole to make Cole stronger, and even kills Trish. Yes, Kessler kills a younger version of his wife in order to deny Cole the same emotional devastation he went though and to give Cole a greater reason to fight Kessler. Kessler though is incredibly powerful and can't be stopped easily, but he is fully aware of the fact that he is going to die in order to save Cole's future, as bizarre as that sounds.

No other villain on this list has as complicated or tragic of a backstory, but what makes Kessler rank so high is the fact that no matter what he does, he thinks that he's saving the world. He's saving the world from The Beast at the cost of Cole's happiness and life. He is the personification of the idea that "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". Kessler would torture his younger self as long as it meant that no one would have to go through the devastation that he had to. THAT is how you write a tragic and effective villain. THAT is Kessler. 

With part 1 done, come back next week for the conclusion of this list. Happy hauntings...

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