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Ultimately, in my time of gaming, I’ve come across a lot of different genres, companies, game styles, and more. Generally, I think I’m fairly easy to satisfy with a decent enough game. That said, now that I’ve completed my Top 10 villains article, it’s time to address the, for lack of a better way of putting it, top 10 “bad” bad guy list. These are the villains I thought either didn’t quite cut it for their role, were mishandled by the designers, both, or possibly something else that just caused them to miss the mark from a villain perspective. Today’s article will address numbers 10-6

Note, I have not played every video game ever made. This means there may be even worse villains than the ones on this list, but this list is built off of what I have experienced. In other words, it is a personal opinionated writeup of video games I’ve played.

10. Dr Eggman (“Sonic the Hedgehog” series)

Dr Eggman was an easy addition to this list. As somebody meant to be the primary antagonist in such an iconic series, Eggman falls quite short of a respectable standard in that regard. While the franchise was not geared towards adult gamers, even kids would likely feel insulted by the extremely poor challenge Eggman consistently provides throughout the franchise’s history. 

That said, this wouldn’t be a problem if Eggman wasn’t supposed to be *the* villain throughout the series. The fact that he is means that he’s been pretty thoroughly neglected. Think of other iconic gaming franchises, such as “Super Mario,”” Metroid,” “Donkey Kong,” and even “Kirby.” What do they all have in common? While they are by no means particularly difficult, confrontations with the primary antagonist usually lead to a spike in difficulty, whether at the end of the game or not. With Eggman, whether we’re talking about the old Sega Genesis, the Nintendo Gamecube, or something more contemporary, such as the Nintendo Switch, virtually none of the challenges built around him are in any remote way difficult, or even more challenging than what the player had to do to get there. For that reason, he is largely a failure of a villain. At least his Mean Bean Machine game is pretty addicting.

9. Aether Corporation Branch Chief Faba (“Pokemon: Sun and Moon”/”Pokemon: Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon”)

By far the most pathetic villain to ever disgrace the Pokemon franchise (and that’s saying something), Faba is the embodiment of futility and cowardice. He’s also not the sharpest knife in the drawer, imminently clear when you battle him and his seemingly Mono-Normal Hypno. Backstabbing his own Corporation, lying to the player, and coming crying back to Mama after the player defeats Team Rainbow Rocket, this “man” illicits plenty of exasperated sighs and groans every time he so much as takes a breath. Simply put, Faba is a terrible villain. Nothing he does actually works, his character is despicable, and crushing him into oblivion in game is one of the more satisfying, albeit annoying, things you will do.

 

8. Valindra Shadowmantle (“Neverwinter”)

This one actually breaks my heart to put here, because while Valindra was a poorly written and designed villain, she may very well be my personal favorite. That said, Valindra does not appear here because her character is bad, out of context, or undeveloped, Valindra appears because Arc games failed miserably to properly include her in the story. Valindra is “Neverwinter”’s primary antagonist throughout much of the game, constructing Dracoliches, setting up alliances with other powerful villains, and harassing and attacking Neverwinter to the point of becoming a prominent character. The entire Sleeping Dragon Bridge, Neverdeath Graveyard, and notably, Dread Ring campaigns are based around defeating Valindra and putting a stop to one of her schemes. You fail to do so in Sleeping Dragon Bridge and Neverdeath, but in Dread Ring, Valindra can finally be taken down. This, however, is where the problem arises. The Valindra’s Tower epic dungeon is based around Dread Ring; chronologically, you should complete the Dread Ring campaign, get a small group of friends together, and go take Valindra down at her tower. So where’s the problem? The problem is how ridiculously easy Valindra’s Tower is. There are only two bosses, Valindra being one of them. The dungeon is very short, no notable challenges before reaching Valindra. This dungeon is actually an exciting challenge when played solo, but when there’s even a second, let alone four other people, Valindra is laughably easy to defeat. We haven’t even touched base on the primary problem, though. So you’ve put down the primary antagonist of the entire game (and it has likely taken you weeks, if not months, to get this far) so what now? Well….. Nothing. Life goes on. The war in Dread Ring rages on. Valindra’s soul returns to her phylactery somewhere far away. And that’s it. Are you kidding me? Such a prominent, iconic character, with so much involvement in the game to that point, only to get recycled so unceremoniously? The very dungeon of Valindra’s Tower is what ruins what would otherwise have definitely placed on my Top 10 Villains list. And it’s a shame, because of how much potentially was annihilated through the failed Valindra’s Tower dungeon.

7. Orcus (“Neverwinter”)

Again, a bad guy who I really personally like, that should’ve been so much better, but was ruined by the storywriting and game developing mess that is Arc Games. Orcus is the Lord of Demons. His signature weapon, the Wand of Orcus, is lethal: anybody not named Orcus who even so much as touches this wand should have a chance of instantly immolating right on the spot. Being a character with such a deep, rich background, it is all the more disappointing how poorly Arc handles Orcus in Neverwinter. Rather than give Orcus the ability to use many of this spells and powers he acquired while working his way up through the Demon hierarchy to become the Lord, Arc decided that 80% of the battle would consist of Orcus hitting you with his Wand. What’s more, any semi-decent Tank can take hits from Orcus, whether on Castle Never or Tomb of the Nine Gods, all day long. Remember when I said the Wand of Orcus canonically has a chance to instantly kill anything Orcus touches with it? I understand that would be unfair to have in the video game, but it still ruins a large portion of Orcus’ character regardless. In addition, Orcus is literally a Demon LORD. He is among the most powerful beings in all planes of existence, and can kill virtually anything that would oppose him, often times by merely looking at them with a mean look. Why, then, did Arc not only make it possible, but they made it EASY to defeat Orcus by stripping away many of his core characteristics? Much like Valindra, they failed with Orcus. What’s worse, the Orcus you fight in Tomb of the Nine Gods isn’t actually Orcus; it’s the Avatar of Orcus, in other words, a lesser, non tangible form of Orcus. Why, then, is this Orcus so much more potent than the actual, real Orcus in Castle Never, when Avatars possess the power of mere demi-gods, paling in comparison to the actual Demon Lord himself?

6. Illua (“Final Fantasy A2: Grimoire of the Rift”)

This boss fight was just pitifully disappointing. Everything other than the fight itself was perfect: the story was wonderful, Illua’s character was perfect, even the soundtrack was unbelievable. So what was the problem, then? The answer is quite simple: the final boss fight is totally, unfairly, and agonizingly broken. For two different reasons. For one, you can actually end up glitching this fight with absurd amounts of ease. If your party has either a Fuslier or an Archer with enough range, you can kill Illua slowly, without her or her cronies doing anything to you in return. With the party starting on a cinderblock several feet below, but still directly adjacent to Illua, it is clear that the game intended for the party to climb up the mountain in this alternate dimension, to face Illua head on where she stood. What they didn’t account for, though, is that you can take the aforementioned Fuslier or Archer, position them as close to the wall on Illua’s platform as possible, and just shoot Illua straight to death. This wouldn’t be a problem, as Illua could usually just summon her cronies to take the fight to the party (and will do this if you try this strategy with anything other than a Fuslier or Archer, no idea why these two get the special treatment), but an inexplicable in game glitch causes Illua to continually fail to cast the Scion of Hell spell over and over again, all the while standing and doing nothing else, her cronies remaining stationary, and her portals where reinforcements are meant to arrive being dormant. 

That said, the player can easily choose to ignore this glitch, and bring the party to Illua, fighting her the way the game intended this final boss battle to go. Then what? In typical handheld FF fashion, no matter how you defeat Illua, the game will roll through the credits and will not save your progress. After the credits, you are returned to the start menu. If you try to reaccess your game, you will be spawned before this fight. This means you never get to actually finish the story, experience an epilogue, or continue the game at all after this point. Such a wonderful story and amazing antagonist were ruined by the most broken, glitchy fight that could possibly be.

Come back next week for numbers five through one!

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