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It's no surprise that I'm a fan of the bad guy. I find villains are, for the most part, more interesting characters than the protagonists we are forced to play as in video games. If an antagonist isn't well crafted or interesting, it makes the protagonists journey seem boring. A 'who cares' mentality overcomes me if I'm not opposing great villains.
Much like the supporting characters in my previous blog (Outshining the Protagonist), minor villains or bosses often outshine a games final one. There are several final bosses that I can name off of the top of my head that were just plain awful. It's in these cases that a supporting cast of villains can redeem a game.
The biggest example of this, for me, is The Riddler.
Now, I'm not saying that Joker is a bad villain. On the contrary, he's one of the better ones out there. The guy is crazy, unpredictable, and just a plain loose cannon. You never know what Joker will do next. I'm more of a fan of cerebral characters, and The Riddler fits that bill perfectly.
In the Arkham games, The Riddler takes a back seat to the main narrative. In fact, you don't have to do anything with him at all. But, those little green trophies are too attractive to pass up.
In both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, The Riddler has trophies scattered throughout the game. Some are fairly simple to obtain, while others require you to flex your mind and use Batmans tools to reap the rewards. In Arkham City especially, trying to obtain all of those little green (and red in Catwomans case) glimmers of achievement can occupy a large amount of play time.
Sending Batman on a city-wide hunt for trinkets to prove his worth? That's pretty villainous in my book.
I'm one of the few people that loved Final Fantasy XIII. I enjoyed the characters and their development. I was able to follow the story (apparently more than most of the people that played it). I didn't have an issue with the linearity for most of the game. What I didn't like, however, was the games final boss.
Throughout the game, the party is plagued by lengthy boss battles, but none more skill-testing than the ones against Barthandelus. He's extremey annoying with his little owl and transformations. Each and every time you defeat him though, you feel a sense of accomplishment. You have to work for your victories against him, and I can appreciate that.
Unfortunately, Barthandelus isn't the final boss in FFXIII. No... it's Orphan. The fight was extremely easy, and I was done in a fraction of the time it took me to ever defeat Barthandelus. I understand why Orphan was there at the endgame, but the fight itself was simply not up to par. When I think of FFXIII villains/bosses, I think of Barthandelus.
Telltale's The Walking Dead is a game that has a constant villain. Zombies. They are everywhere. In many cases, a group of them constitute a boss battle in many games that focus on zombies. TWD is not really an exception, but it managed to offer another memorable group of antagonists.
The St. Johns family is, at first, a saving grace for the group of wandering survivors. In fact, everything seems a little too good to be true when things begin to settle down thanks to their intervention.
The old saying "calm before the storm" comes to mind when I think of the St. Johns part in the episodic game. When their true intentions are revealed, you can't help but feel like you've been kicked in the gut. It's unexpected, to say the least, and the family makes the threat of a zombie horde seem like worrying about which shirt to wear in the morning. Obsolete.
The ramifications of the ordeal with the St. Johns are felt throughout the rest of the game. Their role is unexpected, impactful, and memorable even after you've finished the game. That's what a great antagonist is supposed to achieve.
There's a bunch of cases like these, where the final or main boss is upstaged by a 'lesser' one. These are the ones that stand out in my mind. So when you're playing a game, appreciate all of those seemingly insignificant opponents... you never know, the main antagonist could be a huge letdown.