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"'Must be tough, Yuna,' Tightass says stupidly, as if she hasn't come out of the last two Chambers of the Fayth tired and sweaty. But Tightass doesn't get the award for the stupidest line in this scene. Nope, that goes to Yuna, who tells him, 'I'll be fine with you here!'"
     -Jeanne, Final Fantasy X Part 9




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12.18.02 :: Bad boys (and girls)

The opinions in this letters column aren't necessarily those of Jeanne Rubbo, owner of videogamerecaps.com. Even so, Jeanne owns *us* and has locked us in a dark closet with Tidus and Rinoa until we think of something funny. HELP! In the meantime, send in your comments, queries, whining, flames, spam, opinions, facts, opinions that you think are facts, and general idiocy to mailbag@videogamerecaps.com

It's that time again, lords and ladies, for the VGR Mailbag! Our topic this week, cool and lame videogame villains, garnered a lot of attention from you VGR faithful--we get the impression that you've been dying to praise your favorites to the skies, and, uh, piss on the bad ones. Thankfully, you all seem to be mostly agreed on who the bad and good ones are, so the good ones aren't getting pissed on anyway. You'll get your fair share of popular and obscure this week in the realm of Gaming Evilness, so read on!

Luca Blight rulez!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hi, this is my first mailbag entry, so go easy on me just this once. ^_^

RPG Villains? The best has to be Luca Blight from Suikoden II. Okay, he had some of the worst lines in the whole damn game (remember "Die Pig!!!!!!!!"?) but he had the ability to really make you hate him (well, except when -SPOILER- he killed Pohl, which I thought was pretty cool of him. Pohl was a wanker).

Not-so-great villains include X-Death (FFV) and Myria (Breath of Fire 3). Everything about the former - his dialogue, his name, his ambitions - screamed "NES," while the latter wasn't even seen until the end of the game, where the "Great Goddess" was revealed to be a soft-porn monstrosity with sagging boobs and a personality to match.

-Mad Ben

Go easy on you? What mailbag have you been reading?

Believe you me, Luca Blight and his great love of exclamation points take the cake in my book--he had to be really evil and horrible to still make me hate his guts even after he did me the great service of killing Pohl. At the same time, Luca is really sympathetic for reasons you only get pieces of in Suikoden II itself. The details are a bit too much to get into here, but let's just say he didn't have the world's greatest childhood. Why is it that the really psycho ones always have a somewhat justifiable reason for being the way they are? At least there's always Kefka, whom we'll get to in a minute.

-LC

Ah, a newbie! Welcome dear boy, to our little world of snark, sass and sometimes substance. Again, since I've yet to sample the goodness that are the great games of Suikoden, I must take a pass, but you've given LC the opening she needed to talk about Suikoden this week, so go you! Otherwise, Myria sounds very much like the model for Yunalesca, the leader in most bikini waxes ever in a videogame. Sheesh. Not that I'm biased against Yunalesca or anything, it's not like she *sniff* did anything to make me hate her with an undying fury everlasting. Oh, no, she just killed off the best damned game character there ever was! No big deal, right?! *sob* Huh? What? Oh, sorry. Got a little carried away there. It happens from time to time. Carry on.

-AG

Bowser suckage (no, not that kind)
This one is just too easy! The best villian of all time has got to be Kefka! He's a mixture of Adolf Hitler, the Three Stooges and Richard Nixon all rolled into one! He's the one villian who actually does manage to destroy the world. (Though even he cannot explain the super-villian fixation for destroying the world. I mean, what do they plan on doing if they succeed? Float in space until they expire from oxygen deprivation? Tap dance on the planetary rubble???) Villians come and villians go, but it is Kefka with his maniacal laughter who steals the spotlight every time.

For sheer persistence, the villian of choice has got to be Ghaleon from the Lunar games. He's not as interesting as Kefka, nor as perverse as Seymour (almost though - it was very disturbing when he turned innocent little Luna into a whip-and-leather dominatrix with all the sexual innuendo that implies, but since it was only implied it also means that perhaps he is just into playing dress-up). So at the end of game one, the hero and Luna kill him deader than a doornail. None of this "jumping on Bowser's head until he releases Princess Peach garbage," they run him through a Ronco Vegematic, piss on the little cubes, jump up and down on them, and deliver the bits and pieces to the coroner in five different body bags. Then, in Lunar 2, guess who is back? He's almost as insane as Kefka, but getting beaten to bloody rags by a talking cat/dragon, and lollypopper teenybopper wanker who's an idea of a hot date with Luna is to stand there holding hands and the cute innocent teen goddess you'd just turned to the dark side might account for that. Or maybe he looked in a mirror and flipped out at the crappy reconstruction job the bad guys did on him. He looks like they grafted a few of his body parts onto a 1959 Buick, and didn't bother to change the oil!

The stoopidist villian of all times is Bowser. He's just Bluto from Popeye with a turtle shell! I mean, he doesn't get the hint. "Let's kidnap Princess Peach!" "Let's throw turtle shells at Mario and Luigi until they stomp on my head!" "Game Over....." Each. And. Every. Game. What a maroon! I found myself hoping he might at least do something interesting with Princess Peach while he had her...perhaps people the island with little Peach/Bowsers, or sell her to a traveling band of gypsies, or make her wear Madonna's old costumes and sing karaoke.... Anything to break the monotony! What the heck does he keep kidnapping the princess for??? He never even asks for ransom! Maybe (shudder) he's got the hots for Mario and that's just his way of attracting attention.... Oh, this is just too disturbing to think about.... (head explodes)

CS, now why does it completely fail to surprise me that Kefka is your first pick, hmm? What would lead me to that conclusion, I wonder? Tell you what. You think about it for a sec, and I'll get back to you, 'kay? I must agree that Bowser does take the prize for inherent baddie stupidity. But Mario games were never known for their deep storyline, or plot twists that beat you over the head 20 hours before you find out the "truth." Mario games are all about delicious platform action, and for that, Bowser fills his role quite nicely. Now me, I've always had a soft spot for Mother Brain, who I notice got no love in this whole damn mailbag. What's wrong with you people, huh?

-AG

A few things on Ghaleon. One, I never played the Sega CD version of Lunar, so this could just be a consistency problem, but at least in the PSX version, Luna had pretty much nothing to do with killing Ghaleon. She was just standing around, sucking up the world's energy through her exposed cleavage, possibly eating popcorn, while Alex and Co. did all the work. Second, I don't know if "run him through a Ronco Vegematic" is quite accurate. Dude, it was just a (fairly difficult) boss battle. I'd say ol' Luca Blight got the bigger death prescription, after losing THREE different boss battles, getting shot at every opportunity with dozens of arrows, and losing the "final" duel with the hero. Third, I never got this "Crazy Ghaleon" impression in Lunar 2. He was the same Ghaleon, just with a badly restructured face and an eventual turn to the Side of Good. Still had the same over-the-top dialogue and ridiculously powerful attacks that he had in the first game. A little less of the mushrooms and pipe-weed while playing your games might be a good idea.

Maybe Bowser's persistence is just the Princess' fault for being so damn kidnappable; did you ever think of that?

-LC

Bowser love (no, not that kind)
Howdy, girls.

In the great tradition of video games, there has always been the need for a villain. Instead of having one villain to put into the spotlight, I have several.

The best...
1. Bowser (Super Mario series version)
This was the MAN before Nintendo toned him down a bit. Back in the good old days, Bowser was an evil bastard. He kidnapped the princess and had doppelgangers (SMB1) and later he was transforming rulers of the Mushroom kingdom and taking over kingdoms with the help of his Koopalings (What happened to them, anyway?) in Super Mario 3. Can anyone tell me they didn't enjoy beating up Bowser then?

2. Pokey and Giygas (Earthbound)
These have to be two of the best villains ever! Pokey is the way most villains should be: taunting the heros throughout the game so that it'll be satisfying bitch-slap them at the end. And although he doesn't make a single appearance in the game until the end, the impact Giygas makes is a great one. Any Earthbound fan will remember the unique final battle, where you must use a "certain" command to defeat him.

3. Tyrant (All forms, but especially Nemesis; Resident Evil)
This is the baddest of bad for many RE players. When you know these guys are coming, you always feel a drop in your stomach because of feeling that you may not have enough bullets to stop this thing. One of the better (or should I say worse) specimens of the Tyrant series is Nemesis. Nemesis WILL. CHASE. YOU. DOWN. I remember always hating to hear it shout "STARRSSSS!" far away in the distance, because I knew it was time for an ass-whippin', and I wouldn't be giving it.

4. Robotnik (Sonic Series)
You can't have Sonic without Robotnik. They are one of the best hero/villain matchups of all time. Robotnik captures countless animals to use as machine enemies to get in Sonic's way. And to top that off, he always has a giant boss robot for himself, with different weaknesses. Plus he's consistently evil.

These are just four of the best; I'm looking forward to your comments, ladies.

-RPG

On Nemesis: I've never played a single Resident Evil game myself, but I've watched my boyfriend play through a few of them. With such first-hand expertise, then, on the RE games, I can say that Nemesis sucks ass. It wasn't so much fighting it that was the problem, because you never really had to fight it until the end. It was a matter of running away whenever he came into view, lest getting your ass handed to you. Undead '80s style.

On Bowser: I don't think they toned him down one bit in the later games. His Koopalings were still around in SMW, and after that the game designers just gave Bowser a bit of...um...personality. More difficult (in my opinion, at least in SM64) and more interesting. Who didn't get a kick out of his hijinks and his diary in Paper Mario?

-LC

RPG, one thing, sweetness. When you say "best," it's "best" in your opinion. Qualifiers are your friend; trust me on this. Now then, it seems you share a love of Bowser with our dear Cat Slave, so what I said there holds true for you, too. For those who love the Mario series of games, (and believe it or not, there are some folks that aren't that keen on them - strange but true), Bowser will always hold a special place in their hearts. And while I never had the experience of playing RE, since the rotate-forward control scheme pretty much makes me froth at the mouth, Nemesis does sound like a baddie to watch - and admire. You've just got to love a villain that announces your imminent demise as the clock ticks down and you jump at shadows. It sounds ever so much better than that freak Number 9 (using the "Kiros" character model, I'm sure of it) in Parasite Eve 2, or that cackling idiot in The Bouncer who once got in the way of a jet engine flame out.

-AG

Femmy villains = bad?
OK, just a short letter to The Lovely Mailbag Ladies; this road trip won't plan itself.

Favorite villains of all time?

1. Bowser: C'mon, this guy is timeless. There's something to admire about his persistence in doing the same scheme repeatedly in the hopes that it will work this time. My true moment of admiration of him, though, was in Mario RPG, and his role therein. I just like those kinds of good guy/bad guy situations.

2. General Morden: "Who?" you're probably asking; he's the villain from the Metal Slug games. He's got a huge army of green-suited grunts willing to die for his cause. Now that's power. Also, the third Metal Slug sees you trying to rescue him.

Worst villains of all time?

Well, it's a two-way tie?

- Kuja, the Leader of Scary Bishounen-y Types Union, Local 404, and
- Seymour, Treasurer of Pedos Anonymous. Do I really need to explain these two?

I thought not.

OK, back to planning hotel stays and car rentals. Ta!

~Alex Magusaka

Oh, Alex, how you amuse me, my boy. "Bishounen Local 404"? I slap my knee in your general direction. Now, Auntie AG has grown a little tired of responding to the Bowser lovin', so I'm afraid I've none left for you. If Mario's nemesis had his own CBS show, it would be "Everyone Loves Bowser." And you're right, I've never heard of General Morden in my life. For some strange reason, the name reminds me of M. Bison from the Street Fighter series. Also, the late Raul Julia, who will ever be the perfect Gomez Adams to me, played M. Bison in that horrible Street Fighter movie, which colors my opinion a bit. But I digress. I give Seymour a little more credit than many; he was the perfect patsy. From his megalomania, to the belief that he (and Sin) were the true villains of the game, Seymour kept us at least entertained, more than you can say for some game baddies. Now, go out my son, and take care on the road, secure in the knowledge that you'll eventually have to use a gas-station rest room.

-AG

I really hope there isn't a Bishounen-y Types Union, as you say. But it would explain how they keep getting roles in every goddamn RPG. Not to mention the movie appearance Lucius Malfoy. *cough*

Have fun on your trip, by the way.

-LC

I'm scared of Winnie the Pooh
Hello, recappers of Light.

A wise person once said that a hero is defined by his villains. This is also true in videogames, where a happy-go-lucky boy robot created by a slightly senile Santa lookalike is defined by the eeeevil robots created by an insanely megalomaniac Einstein lookalike.

Anyway, one of my all-time favorite villains is the Meta-Knight, from the Kirby series. Even though King Dedede is considered as Kirby's official nemesis, Meta-Knight fits the bill a bit more nicely: from having actual toadies to looking like a black Kirby without the mask. Not to mention that whenever he fights Kirby, the Pink Ball of Doom can only use the Sword skill against him, instead of using any of the 1337-er powers.

As far as sucky villains go, though, I cast my vote to Seymour. It's obvious that Square was trying to make another Sephiroth here, what with the bishounen angle, the tragic past and the whole "highly respected person who goes rogue" plotline, but they fail to grasp the finer points of what made Sephiroth such an enduring character:

- The inherent badassness. Yeah, Auron had that, but that's no excuse for the villain to _not_ be a badass.
- The hero/villain dynamic. Sephiroth burns down Cloud's hometown, stabs Tifa, injures Zack, and spends the better part of the game messing with Cloud's already-messed-up mind; as a result of these actions, Cloud (and the player) makes it his mission in life to stop Sephiroth and put an end to his existence. Seymour puts the moves on Yuna and is all-around creepy for the better part of the game; as a result, Tidus wants Seymour out of the picture (the player doesn't care).
- The sheer presence and charisma. Seymour has some of that, true, but it's taken away by his freaky design, as well as his voice.

~Quartz Falcon

I will admit that Seymour, as a villain, has one redeemable trait: he's a bitch to defeat in battle. For any villain to be truly respectable, he needs to actually give you some kind of gameplay challenge. Luca Blight, Ghaleon, Zophar, Bowser (sometimes), Miang...you get the idea. Yes, all of them had those extra somethings (like you say, QF) but all of them either were flat-out hard, or required a good bit of strategy to defeat. Seymour, especially in the first battle, had that in spades. Even though he had nothing else that made him intimidating. Unless you're scared of Winnie the Pooh.

-LC

QF, are you sure you don't have any love for Bowser? Sure? Okay. Whew. Once again, you're bringing back memories. I hadn't thought of or played Kirby in years! I find it odd that so many game designers have to use those kinds of "restrictions" in their boss battles. It's as if they know you're going to kick their appointed baddies arse to the moon if you were allowed to use your full arsenal. Yes, it adds more challenge, but why not just make the boss more difficult? Just a pet peeve of mine. I disagree that Seymour was a rip of Sephiroth, I saw him as more in the already established Kuja role. An ultra-bishy guy who goes straight through "pretty boy" and out the other side into full poofy spectacle. Yes, he was powerful, well known, and nuttier than a fruitcake. A typical Final Fantasy villain in all his glory, and give you a nod in the Sephiroth comparison, not the real baddie of the game. Between the two, I'd take Sephy any day, too. Go figure.

-AG


Well, that's it, cats and kittens. Bowser is the most adored villain of the mailbag faithful, and Seymour is still a wanker. Next week, it's time to put on your thinking caps for the chance at amazing prizes! We've asked that (Not-So) Jolly Fat Man (no, not Cid) to step in and give us a well-deserved Christmas break, so he'll be taking the letter-answering duties. That's right, it's contest time here at the VGR Mailbag. Write a letter to Santa from your favorite videogame character, and if we think it's a laff riot, you could be the proud recipient of a special gift from Santa's "sack." Man, that sounds sick, even for us. Be sure to get your letters up the chimney before Tuesday, December 24 at 8:00 pm EST or all you'll get is a lump of coal.

Happy Gaming Days!

- AG and Lita-chan

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