For the most part, villains are right old bastards, and that’s a good thing. It’s their job, you know. If there was nobody around to oppose the player, many games would become pretty dull pretty quickly. Even so, some villains overstep their bounds, committing an act unforgivable in even the most lenient circles: depriving players of an enjoyable experience. Whether they do their job too well, fail at it, or achieve some form of entertainment-value inadequacy in-between, these villains cause irreparable damage to their games. What follows are just a few examples from the experiences of the Twinfinite Staff.
[Dr. Eggman- Sonic series]
Look, don’t get me wrong, I’ve got no qualms with Dr. Robotnik, but ever since Sonic Adventure switched the character to Dr. Eggman, I’ve been unable to enjoy him as a villain.
It’s not just because the name is stupid (don’t get me wrong, the name is totally stupid), but because the addition of dialogue shows what’s truly wrong with the character. He really has no reason to be doing the things that he’s doing. Having a character maniacally wanting to turn innocent animals into vicious robots works well enough in a 16-bit platformer, but add in an “actual” storyline and it becomes problematic.
It’s not like Sonic wasn’t affected by the same problems, but Dr. Eggman’s dialogue is almost insufferable.
So, yeah, out of all the problems facing the Sonic franchise right now, Dr. Eggman is probably the least of them. That doesn’t excuse him from being a terrible villain, though.
[Red Bomberman- Do I need to say what series?]
The worst villain in the history of video games has to be the red Bomberman. She’s such a cheating [redacted]! No matter how cautious you are with your bomb placement or your footing, she always finds a way to blow you up in the back. If she can’t do that, she’ll destroy that one powerup you’ve had your eye on for a while. The worst part about all this is that you know it’s the computer being a dick. Regardless of what you set the CPU level at, she is the bane of your existence. Even on “Easy”, she somehow gets her spastic limbs working long enough to screw up your day.
There have been plenty of crappy villains throughout the years and they will always be around. The fact that she won out over all of them in a landslide should say something. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go see how many bombs it takes to permanently kill a bomberman.
[Any Non-Rocket Team- Pokemon]
Team Rocket is pretty great. They’re not the best evil organization, but they’re far from the worst. I don’t have a problem with Team Rocket- it’s every shady group of criminals that has followed them that I have a problem with. Of all of the tropes and traditions that have been passed down through every generation of Pokemon (and there are many), one of the worst is the seeming necessity of having an organized group of criminals for the plucky young hero to face and take down.
It’s not a necessity. Not one bit. Instead, it helps aid the stagnation and sameness that many (not myself, though) feel that the Pokemon franchise is experiencing. The franchise could have some pretty great villains, but almost all of the main baddies find themselves shoehorned into the role of the evil boss of the evil organization. Their goals may differ, but in the end, there’s no escaping an enemy that precedes its name with the word “Team.”
When we reach the sixth go, try for some variety. Please.
[Mysterio- Spider-Man 2]
I’ve always said that if I had the choice, a game’s boss could be bypassed very easily if the player wanted to. For example, in Fallout, how you can actually convince some to just walk away/ kill themselves. This is why the Mysterio
fight in Spider-Man 2 amazed me. It amazed me because of how awful it felt.
I walked into that boss battle expecting to have to learn yet another pattern to do in order to bring him down. Maybe I’ll have to make him hit a column so the roof will fall on him? Perhaps it’s as simple as hitting a weak point repeatedly? No, you just have to walk up and punch him.
I was surprised that finally something I had always wanted ended up feeling so unfulfilled. A boss battle in a game is supposed to be a keystone, a precipice to overcome. It’s supposed to challenge the player and let them feel like they’re one step closer to their ultimate goal. While interesting and funny, it made me realize: Man, Mysterio’s a little bitch.
[Jason Chance- Syphon Filter 2]
Nothing pisses me off more than a villain who reveals himself after having your life in his hands for large chunks of the game. It’s bad storytelling and it makes what could otherwise be a great reveal come across as lazy. No character embodies this as much as Lieutenant Jason Chance from Syphon Filter 2.
The Syphon Filter series is a fantastic B-Level action series from the PS1 era. The sequel takes place immediately after the events of the original, in which Gabe Logan, counterterrorist agent and series protagonist, is shot down in the mountains of Kazakhstan and must survive against waves of Agency baddies. Jason Chance appears to help Gabe by laying down covering fire and helping to take out enemies while he completes his objectives. At the end of the game, after getting to the heart of the overall conspiracy, Gabe is confronted by the final villain — Chance! Apparently, he is an undercover agent who has been working for the enemy the whole time. *dum-dah-DUMMMMM*
You know what that plot twist is? Bullshit, that’s what! There is absolutely no reason…NO REASON…why Chance shouldn’t have just killed Logan when he had the chance at the beginning of the game. Dozens of his allies were trying to kill him and Chance had absolutely nothing to gain by staying in cover. He kills Logan, and they win…It is literally as simple as that.
I have many fond memories of the Syphon Filter trilogy on PS1, but Jason Chance ‘s big reveal at the end of part 2 is the low point.
[Bowser- Mario series]
What does it take to be a worthless villain? Not much, really. Bowser would be a great villain in almost every if it weren’t for the fact that he gets his butt kicked by a simple handyman. If that were the only thing, it would be sad. However, to go through the large effort that stealing a princess entails and to get your entire army decimated by a guy and his easily frightened brother?
Now it’s getting sad.
This doesn’t even factor that Mario takes the long way around to Bowser’s keep. He essentially walks the entire globe just to put a beating on Bowser. Not once, but like 6 or 7 times by now. Bowser tries his hardest to change things up, offers different designs to key strongholds and still can’t do anything to stop this two man powerhouse.
Plenty can be said on how simple it is to break into the Mushroom Kingdom. Really, it is as if they don’t have a military budget. Bowser on the other hand has a full blown onslaught of troops.
I’m not even sure that anybody is actually scared of the Dragon King anymore. When a giant dragon with the ability to turn people in to bricks can’t get any respect anymore, what’s the point?