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Power Member - Level 10
(I originally posted this on Leviathyn)
Video games usually have a one-to-one basis for good guys and bad guys. While every now and then you’ll need to face an entire secret organization or evil family, there is often one main antagonist to counter the main character. It evens out. The protagonist has all sorts of tools at his disposal to thwart the bad guy, and the bad guy usually has some absurd, but idealistic, plan designed to trip up the protagonist. It’s a cycle. So, that said, here are the top 10 masterminds that took that idea to the extreme.
10. Wesker (Resident Evil): I’ve really got to give Wesker an A, and a spot on this list, for effort. The sheer complexity of the Resident Evil series plot boggles the mind, and Albert Wesker is (somehow) behind it. When we first met back on the PlayStation, my first impression of him was a little shady. There was something about him I didn’t trust; probably that creepy voice of his. While I’m not super clear on the finer points of the Resident Evil mythos, Wesker has been the central figure in the terrible zombie attacks originating in Raccoon City. Oh, and Umbrella. They’re bad too. Either way, Wesker is the brains of the operation, and you have to give him some credit. If it wasn’t for bad luck putting Leon Kennedy and Chris Redfield in his path, he probably could have conquered the world. Those guys are tenacious.
9. Mr. House (Fallout: New Vegas): Ruling over New Vegas with an iron fist, Mr. House is an enigmatic figure in the Fallout universe. When you begin your journey in New Vegas, you hear his name pop up more than a couple times. When you finally enter the town proper, he all but becomes the central figure in the ever-stranger tale. Whether you side with him or oppose him, you after to admire what he has done. From a penthouse apartment in Vegas, he secured a town, gained apparent immortality and raised a giant robot army. Not too shabby for an old man. Learning the truth about the mysterious recluse makes his extreme power all the more surreal.
8. The Spy (Team Fortress 2): What’s going on up in that masked head? What thoughts lurk behind those merciless eyes? I don’t know, but the Spy is up to something. Always up to something. As he surveys the battlefield, you can almost see the cogs turning in his brain as he plans some devious course of action. Whether he is impersonating a Heavy and sneaking right up in your base or simply stabbing everybody in the back, the Spy is capable of turning a battle due to sheer tactics. In the chaos that is Team Fortress 2, that is quite a statement indeed. The Spy is an intellectual force to be reckoned with, and one of the most devious schemers you could imagine.
7. Dr. Wily (Mega Man): Now, before we start, I should mention that Wily is in an unenviable position for an evil mastermind. When you’ve got the tenacious blue demon known as Mega Man chasing you down and putting an end to your schemes, it’s pretty tough to get anything going. Despite building a massive robot army commanded by super robots that answer only to Wily, who is himself protected by more robots, super robots and super duper robots, he just can’t seem to reach his no-doubt devious endgame. Maybe he should switch businesses, because I’m pretty sure he could make a killing if he got into the robot zoo business. Is there any animal he hasn’t robotized?
6. Hojo (Final Fantasy VII): Ugh, Hojo. Final Fantasy VII is filled with some slimy characters, but Hojo is in a realm of his own in the unlikeability category. The first time you run into him, he has captured a poor puppy dog named Red XIII and is scaring the crap out of him by putting him in a room with Aeris’s hair. That is just cruel and unusual punishment. Oh yeah, and there is also that whole “I created Jenova and Sephiroth and now they are going to destroy the world” thing. The fact that he becomes an incredibly difficult end-disc boss makes his only other appearance, a vacation on the beach of Costa Del Sol, all the more infuriating. Why couldn’t I just kill him there?
5. Kefka (Final Fantasy VI): Kefka isn’t winning any awards for his intellect or brawn, and he sure isn’t winning any beauty contests, but you have to give him points for the scope of his goal. In a comically evil plan, Kefka wants to upset the planet’s balance and bring total chaos down on everybody. Along the way, he kidnaps poor Terra and makes her fight to the death repeatedly, burns down Figaro Castle and poisons the city of Doma, all in the first few hours. After committing a few other atrocities, including the inexcusable murder of General Leo, Kefka succeeds in his goal of disrupting the planet, causing you to have to reorganize your party and kick his weird, apparently clown-like, butt.
4. G-Man (Half-Life): What’s your game G-Man? What do you really want, and why do you need a boring bespectacled dweeb to help you accomplish it? As a being with seemingly infinite power, the G-Man has been messing around in the Half-Life universe with reckless abandon, and to a likely nefarious end. Or maybe he just wants a chicken in every pot. I don’t know. But I do know this: the G-Man is a fraud. That’s right, he is plagiarized! If you are one of the twelve other people who will admit to reading Animorphs, you know there is a creature in there called the Ellimist who is awful similar to the G-Man. Yes, I am an absolute nerd.
3. The Riddler (Arkham City): Look, we all know the Riddler stands zero chance of beating Batman at anything, but I am elevating The Riddler so high because of the ridiculous effort he put into Arkham City. Do you realize the time, money and effort that must have went into Riddler hiding all 281 trophies around town. Do you understand the logistics of that? In addition, he created numerous crazy contraptions to house these trophies, kidnapped some people, and hid them behind even more ridiculous and outlandish mechanical traps. The amount of money spent on green spray-paint alone ismind-boggling.
2. Fontaine (BioShock): Yes, he may sport one of the most ridiculous accents this side of an ocean, but Fontaine put a plan into motion that would give M. Night Shamalamalan (the Internet assures me that is the correct spelling) an inferiority complex. Upon entering Rapture, Fontaine begins a legitimate smuggling business, bringing a huge influx of guns and hypos into the underwater dystopia. After some slightly unethical research, Fontaine learns of a certain slugs ADAM-generating abilities. So he opens a fishery to collect them, opens an orphanage to create subjects for them, and programs his nemesis’s son with DNA-imprinted instructions to return and help him cap off his plan once and for all. That is foresight you just can’t buy.
1. Cave Johnson (Portal 2): Before GLaDOS was causing problems for a lab rat named Chell, Aperture Science was founded and led by the genius of one Cave Johnson. Cave wasn’t afraid to throw a little science at the wall to see what would stick, and his innovations led to the greatest testing facility ever created because, you know, science. Without Cave’s leadership, we would never have known about the Companion Cube Paradox, Portal Induced Insanity or those infinitely useful long-fall boots. Thanks to Mr. Johnson’s ceaseless efforts, we can all rest a little easier at night, safe in the knowledge that Aperture is developing the cutting-edge technology that will eventually rule our lives. Aperture Science. Doing what they must, because they can.