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In most cases, at the heart of every good story...the kind
of story that keeps you up at night, makes you late for work and haunts your
dreams...the kind of story that rips your heart out and stomps on it...there is a
hero character. And we call this person the hero, not because they hopped and
skipped through a world of gumdrops and rainbows, but because they persevered through
unimaginable chaos against overwhelming odds in order to save the day.
And this chaos is normally perpetrated by a sinister
I suppose the inspiration for this blog came about while
playing Far Cry 3, a game known for its huge open ended world fraught with a
number of evil characters who want nothing more than to bury you at the bottom
of a mass grave. One particular fellow is a man named Vaas. If you've seen any
of the promotional material for Far Cry 3, or the cover of the game for that
matter, then chances are you have seen him; and if you've actually played the
game, no doubt you have been subjected to the extent of his wickedness. He is
truly an evil character, bent on causing chaos in order to prevent you from
your quest. It's been a while since I've seen a video game character that is as
corrupt in mind and spirit to the degree that he is. And as I write these
negative comments about him, I find there is also a certain element of
magnetism that attracts me to this character - not that I would like or condone
his behavior; only that I can appreciate how the developers successfully
infused a very real feeling personality into this character. It's almost as if
I pity him, while holding out hope that he can be saved from the demons that
For me, he is one of those bad guys you love...but hate that
you do because you know you shouldn't.
For all the anguish he is causing me during the course of
the game (which I haven't quite finished yet), I want nothing more than to
remove him from the face of the Far Cry 3 island...yet, each time I have a face
to face encounter with him, I am entranced by his performance, I am captivated
by his dialogue and am horrified of his conduct...
What I find just as intriguing, there are some games where
there are villains we like, even though they are trying to do us in, and others
where we don't like them, even though they might not be the main antagonist. As
I consider the many different games over the years, I've compiled a list of
I hate to love...
...and love to hate.
First up are a number of characters that I probably
shouldn't like - either they are standing in my way, the source of all my problems,
or simply trying to kill me.
Villains I Hate To
As you well know, Bowser is the main antagonist in most of
the Mario games. He's getting up there in age, having made his debut back in
1985 when he starred in Super Mario Bros. He's been featured in handfuls of
games now and been wreaking havoc for Mario ever since. As much as he's
kidnapped Princess Peach and hauled her off to another castle...and as often as
he's sent his minions to slow me down, I find I still like him...as far as bad
2. The Joker
While I wasn't a huge fan of the Batman Arkham Asylum and Arkham
City games...and even though I'm not a Batman fanboy like my buddy born4this is,
I can still appreciate the notorious villain known as the Joker, one of Batman's
nemeses. As you progress through either game you see the results of his
handiwork firsthand and it's usually not pretty. I shouldn't like him, I know
this...but as far as adversaries go, I can't help it. Seeing him throw down with
"Bats" earns him cool points in my book. Pity...what happens to him though, if
you believe that story of course. I was actually sadden by the event...when I
should not have been.
As a diehard fan of the Halo series, I have a very peculiar
way I play the game. When I play as Masterchief, or any of the other troops
like in ODST, I almost exclusively use the weapons that are standard issue to
the UNSC - meaning, I don't use alien weaponry. Covenant forces are my enemies
and I don't stoop to their level and use their foreign weapons (unless I'm out
of ammo, of course). I suppose instead of "Made in the USA" you could modify it
in the future to read, "Made by Humans". I don't try to understand the aliens.
I'm not an ambassador... I'm not a member of the Imperial Senate on a diplomatic
mission to Alderaan. I am a soldier sent in to remove them. All of them. Well,
that all kind of changes in later episodes of Halo, especially when you get to
play as the Arbiter.
Arbiter is a fictional
ceremonial, religious, and political rank bestowed upon alien Covenant Elites
in the Halo science fiction universe. In the 2004 video game Halo 2, the rank
is given to a disgraced commander as a way to atone for his failures. Although
the Arbiter is intended to die serving the Covenant leadership, the High
Prophets, he survives his missions and the Prophets' subsequent betrayal of his
kind. When he learns that the Prophets' plans would doom all sentient life in
the galaxy to extinction, the Arbiter allies with the Covenant's
enemies-humanity-and stops the ringworld Halo from being activated.
If you didn't already know that, I guess it's too late to
say spoiler alert...but come on, the game is 8 or 9 years old now. If you ask me,
even when I play as the Covenant Elite, I'm playing as the bad guy. The
Masterchief and the UNSC are the good guys and everybody else are the bad guys.
But playing as the Arbiter was, I have to admit, pretty cool. He's a bad guy. I
don't like his kind...but the Arbiter is one of those bad guys I hate to love...
Creepers, the dreaded monsters from the world of Minecraft
that look oddly like Gumby on crack, but are far more deadly. Possessing the
ability to explode when they come in close contact with your player, I can't
even tally up the property damage and loss of life that I have suffered at the
hand of creepers. They are also notorious for causing or almost causing you to
soil your drawers when you hear that arcing and sparking signaling their imminent
detonation. Even after all of the physical and financial damage the creepers
have caused me, I absolutely love everything about them, and the fandom that
has come to life celebrating this unique adversary.
Okay, what follows are the characters I don't like at
all...most of them you're not supposed to like at all...but my disdain for them
goes even further than simply not liking them. I loathe them. They are the...
Villains I Love To
If the name Buck is unfamiliar to you, he is one of the
seedier characters from Far Cry 3. He is every bit as evil as Vaas (maybe a
little less evil) and has a very compelling method of coercing you into
undertaking a few quests for his personal gain. This is a perfect example to
compare and contrast the spirit and intent of this post - you have Vaas and you
have Buck. They are both evil characters in Far Cry 3...and while I can somewhat
appreciate Vaas's character, I absolutely despise Buck. If and when I get the
opportunity to deal with him, I most certainly look forward to it. Let's just
say, he will be voted off the island.
2. Illusive Man
Jack Harper, veteran of the First Contact War seeking to
elevate humans to their rightful place in the universe, is also known as the
Illusive Man. Is he a patriot...a visionary...or a mad man? If you've played the
Mass Effect games then you probably have an opinion, but personally...I never
liked the guy. Not from day one. He bears an uncanny resemblance in both
appearance and intrigue to the G-Man from the Half Life series (and they both
just so happen to smoke, which is something you don't see a lot of in video
games)...but my opinion of the two couldn't be further apart. To this day I wonder
about the G-Man, who he is, what he is, when he is going to show up again, how
he fits into the scheme of things. He's a fascinating character. The Illusive Man,
however, I strongly dislike...and any choice I could make in the game to go
against what he wanted or contrary to something that would benefit him, I
picked it...often purely out of spite. I realize he is supposed to be the hated
villain, which is exactly the sort of response they got out of me when dealing
with him. I have no sympathy or remorse for whatever may or may not have
happened to him.
3. Katherine Marlowe
Having starred in a few games and a book or two now, Nathan
Drake, the charismatic adventurer from the Uncharted series has certainly
encountered his fair share of bad guys along the way. From Harry Flynn to Zoran
Lazarevic, Nate has had to deal with some real cut throat criminals. Heck, I even
kind of liked Eddy Raja, but their last encounter didn't really turn out so
well for either one of them.
"Don't mess with
But none compare to Katherine Marlowe.
Katherine Marlowe is
the main antagonist of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. She is the coldly
calculating leader of a secret society whose roots date back over four hundred
years to the court of Queen Elizabeth I. She has a long-standing rivalry with
Nathan Drake over Sir Francis Drake's ring - something they both contend is
rightfully theirs and is also the key to an ancient mystery. Katherine Marlowe
is a much more cerebral enemy than Drake has confronted in the past, using both
psychological and physical tactics to get what she is after.
I understand Nathan Drake, technically a criminal himself,
is going to face adversaries, so I'm lenient on the shady characters he comes
across while understanding the role they play...but Katherine Marlowe is so
bitter and mean spirited, I didn't spare any emotion or compassion when our
paths crossed. I suppose it could be a testament to the developers and writers
for creating such a hated character, and for actually getting me to give in to those
feelings, so I applaud them for that. I didn't just hate Katherine Marlowe as a
character, I was glad that I hated her.
4. Doctor Wallace
In case you don't know who Dr. Wallace Breen is...the Half
Life Wiki has this to say about him.
Dr. Wallace Breen is
the former head of Black Mesa, and later Earth's Administrator under the
Combine. From his headquarters on Earth in the Citadel of City 17, he was
humanity's representative within the Combine and the primary antagonist of
Bad guys that have always been bad are one thing, but weak
men who are sell outs to protect their own hide are the worst. The story goes
that, "At the end of the Seven Hour War, Breen
negotiates a peace agreement with the Combine that saves humanity, but at the
cost of enslavement. Breen is first appointed "Interim Administrator"
then simply becomes ruler of Earth - mostly a puppet of the Combine who have
little physical presence on the planet."
The City 17 levels in Half Life are some of my favorites as
they do a superb job making you feel like all of your freedoms and liberties
have been stripped away. As you wander around the streets the Combine has no
problem showing you who the boss is, and at the heart of it all...you see one Dr.
Breen on monitors telling you to be on your best behavior and blah blah blah.
He is an evil dictator, and as I maneuvered Gordon Freeman on his daring escape
and his eventual role in aiding the resistance, I found joy in sticking it to
the man...and the man is Breen.
Of course there are many more characters that could fill
spots in either list, but I'll conclude with those I've discussed here. I find
it fascinating that like real people, it's often hard to say how or why or what
causes us to naturally relate to certain personalities while completely
shunning others. It's also intriguing to wonder if our reception of these
characters was predicted or expected by those who have created them. But just
like in real life, I guess we'll never know.