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Who are some of your favorite adventure game villains? + More Villain Talk!

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**Updated topic of conversation below. Original topic further below.

So, I was thinking on the subject of adventure game villains again (as I am often want to do), and it occurred to me that perhaps one of the things that makes Manannan such a universally appreciated adventure game villain is that, until you do away with him, he plays a very active role in the game (KQ 3), as a constant thorn in your side.
This is quite a distinction from most other adventure game baddens I can think of, where they are introduced at some point, usually early, in the plot, and then loom in the background as your eventual end game goal to reach.

For example:
- In KQ 5, Mordack steals your family and castle. You spend the rest of the game overcoming non-Mordack related obstacles in order to reach and defeat him.
- In KQ 6, you meet the vizier at the start of the game, see him once or twice more in cut scenes where you are not present, and spend the rest of the game figuring out how to get to him so that you can foil his plans.
- In the first 3 Space Quest games, you only see the villain at the very beginning (and not even that sometimes) and very end of the game. The rest of the adventures are spent bumbling around strange locations, avoiding/escape/destroying the native flora and fauna.
- In QFG 1 - 3, you have very little interaction with the big bad until the very very end of the game.
- In Monkey Island 2 and 3, Le Chuck does something dastardly at the beginning, and then you have to chase him down. He’s a great villain because the game’s designers make the absolute most of his limited screen time, and he is just an extremely memorable and well written character.
- In The Longest Journey, the true villain is not revealed until the final chapters of a very long game (although he is quite devious and nasty once you meet him, and the lesser no-goodniks you dispose of on the way are quite memorable in their own right).

By contrast, many of the villains listed so far in this thread are ones that have much more active roles in their respective games.

Adrian Ripburger is instrumental in the plot of Full Throttle from start to finish. He is the catalyst for much of what happens in the game. It would go nowhere without him.

Malia Gedde is a persistent mystery in Gabriel Knight, as a love interest and a possible antagonist.

Likewise Von Glower in GK2; he isn’t just a set up character, he plays an active and ever developing role in the story.

In Broken Sword 1 - 3 (really dislike 4, haven’t played 5), the bad guys are always one step ahead of you or one step behind you…and sometimes they catch up with you and make things really exciting! They’re not just the overarching motivation, they are a constant threat, always getting in your way or trying to push you out of their own way.

The witchy witch in Anna’s Quest makes your life miserable from start to finish, tricking you time and time again.

And Day of the Tentacle, well…Purple Tentacle. The greatest villain of all time (or at least, of three times).

So, perhaps there is a correlation, not a terribly strict one but a correlation none-the-less, between involvement and memorableness/favoriteness in adventure game bad guys?

I understand why so many are there in the beginning to set up the plot and give you your goal before fading into the background to tap their arched fingertips together and await your arrival: Interesting conflict is difficult to design in a genre where action and time limits and consequences are generally just not done. The Boss Fight is really not a thing in adventure games. The few that I can recall are usually the worst parts of said game (Full Throttle, Monkey Island 2 and 3). Therefore, the less Boss Encounters, the better.

What do you think?

**

You know what might be more valuable to a game than a good hero? A great villain!

Who are some of your favorite adventure game villains?

Having just played King’s Quest III, my first contribution to this topic will be the evil wizard Manannan! Even in his primitive EGA form, he instills a feeling of dread in the player that rivals that of Mr X and Nemesis from the recent Resident Evil remake games. Having to be so careful with time and inventory management, making sure to never be caught with any incriminating items when he would unpredictably *poof* out of mid-air—man, it made me feel like being in elementary/middle school again, knowing that the principal had it out for me and that I’d better steer clear if I didn’t want detention or a really…spirited…lecturing.
Finally giving him his just desserts (heh heh) is one of the most satisfying coups in my gaming career. And the subsequent feeling of liberation, being finally free to roam the house and surrounding land of Llewdor, was so much sweeter for being so heard earned. Man, what a villain, man what a game.

Great stuff. I’m really proud of myself for persevering and finishing that game in its original text parser EGA form.

     

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Gehn from Riven - a brilliant but very cruel man

     

Save the earth.  It’s the only planet with chocolate.

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Ripburger from full throttle, you can tell mark hamill is having a ball.

     
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“Favorite” might not be the word, but Stauf was a huge pain in the a**, incredibly sinister and annoying. Which are pretty good traits if you want to be a villain. Villainy school?

     
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At the moment I can’t think of any specific villain but for me the best ones are those in which I can understand their reasons and motivations, I can understand where they are coming from. Those that give off an emotional component, that give off humanity if I may use the term, even if I don’t agree with their actions.

     

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Karzac from Broken Sword 2 -truly nasty piece of work who was dangerous long before he began to see those dreams.
Katrina from Quest for Glory 4. Truly tragic person and has some depth to her. Also her relationship with Ad Avis gives some depth to Ad Avis and helps to bring out Ad Avis’ manipulating nature.

     

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AM from I Have No Mouth…

Witch from Alone in the Dark 2, scared the sh… out of me.  Gasp

Annette Boning from LSL7, even the oral sex she performs on Larry couldn’t make up for her wickedness.

     
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I like this thread. Cue a couple of vivid memories!

Manannan is terrifying. He also has a great name and his ultimate fate is quite poetic.

And Baron, that is quite a feat! The rocky path alone is a stone cold killer.

I really liked Gehn as well. He’s so cold in his interactions, you can tell he doesn’t really consider anyone worthy but himself. He was an interesting choice for a villain, as he sort of comes across as.. a game designer?

Stauf gave me fever hallucinations once. My parents played The 7th Guest together, which was great, one of the very few positive interactions they had.. but a couple of days later, I was lying in bed a with a fever, hearing Stauf’s voice from every place I couldn’t see.

“Feeling lonely?”

Ripburger is a sleazeball in a suit, absolutely perfect counterpoint to Ben and Maureen.

     

“Standing on higher ground, when you hear the sounds.. you realize its just the wind. And you notice it matters who and what you let under your skin.”-Junip

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Gehn was played by John Keston, a professional actor who had played in musicals both in the West End and on Broadway.  You can hear him sing, if you can trigger the Easter eggs in the game. Smile

     

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Vegetable Party - 28 March 2021 02:12 PM

Stauf gave me fever hallucinations once. My parents played The 7th Guest together, which was great, one of the very few positive interactions they had.. but a couple of days later, I was lying in bed a with a fever, hearing Stauf’s voice from every place I couldn’t see.

Ohh Cry

Such a horrible thing to experience, I imagine Gasp

     
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Heh.  That maze with Stauf’s constant comment was the only time I turned off the sound during a game.

     

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Advie - 11 August 2012 03:26 PM


Manannan (KQ)

The Orbs (MH)

Vohaul (SQ)

Purple Tentacle (DotT)

Hector LeMans (GF)

 

still, strong list as it was for me then, but i may add Winfriede (Anna’sQuest) too, as she is the most layered complex villain i encountered in the past years.

     
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Vegetable Party - 28 March 2021 02:12 PM

I like this thread. Cue a couple of vivid memories!

Manannan is terrifying. He also has a great name and his ultimate fate is quite poetic.

And Baron, that is quite a feat! The rocky path alone is a stone cold killer.

I really liked Gehn as well. He’s so cold in his interactions, you can tell he doesn’t really consider anyone worthy but himself. He was an interesting choice for a villain, as he sort of comes across as.. a game designer?

Stauf gave me fever hallucinations once. My parents played The 7th Guest together, which was great, one of the very few positive interactions they had.. but a couple of days later, I was lying in bed a with a fever, hearing Stauf’s voice from every place I couldn’t see.

“Feeling lonely?”

Ripburger is a sleazeball in a suit, absolutely perfect counterpoint to Ben and Maureen.

Haha, darn it, Ripburger would have been my next post. In fact, I would have added him to my first post last night, if it weren’t for my…inner…ear…condition.

I haven’t played 7th Guest since I was very young, but Stauf gave me nightmares and was one (of the many) things that made me afraid of the basement and to get out of bed and brave the dark hallway in order to go to the bathroom at night. Vegetable Party, that is a simultaneously heartwarming and very scary story.

I beat Myst a loooooooong time ago (no walkthrough, but filled a notebook, and along with KQ3 it’s one of my proudest gaming accomplishments!), but never really got into Riven. Sounds like I really ought to.

Speaking of Broken Sword 2 and Karzac, I remember *really* enjoying Suzaro from Broken Sword 3. I played that game with my little sister, and we had a blast hating him and imitating him.

The fat abbot from Conquest of the Longbow was always quite disgusting as well. The kind of fellow for whom there is no limit to the depths he will go in order to gain a little more wealth or curry a little favor with people who have the power to make him wealthier.

 

     

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Von glower was an interesting antagonist in gabriel knight 2, im hesitant in calling him a villain

Oh and paul darrow as paul rand in contradiction spot the liar was masterful loved every scene with him

     
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I love the Grand Inquisitor from the last Zork game portrayed by Erick Avari. His overacting was just right on the spot - a Hitler-like dictator throwing unforgettable lines like “Who is the boss of you? Me! I am the boss of you!”. Also one of the most original “villains” appear near the end of Zork: Nemesis following a sudden plot twist. I hadn’t finished that game on my first playthrough, so my second playthrough which happened years after was even more rewarding.

Gabriel Knight 1-2 featured some of the more complex villains (Gedde and von Glower), those are always welcomed. And I’ve just recently finished the 4th act of Ace Attorney - the best of them so far - where we are introduced to a really great bastard, a prosecutor von Karma. It was very exciting to uncover his evil plot and bring him to justice (can’t say more without spoiling it).

     

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Pest Control Man from “The Cat Lady” with his creepy as hell voice-over left a lasting impression. Along with his wife Gladys. You can add Doctor X from the same title.
And while we’re at it — the Queen of Maggots as well. That entire masterpiece of a game is full of one of the most rotten human beings ever, and the fact that there’s nothing grand about them, they are just regular people amongst us (besides the Queen) , makes it even more wicked.

In reality, when I asked myself the OP question - most of my immediate answers came from literature Smile I had to dig deeper for the ones in games.

     

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