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chrissiemillenia

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

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Malcolm from Legend of Kyrandia, but he really only becomes great with the addition of Kyrandia 3 (side note, while Kyrandia 1 is just so-so, the next two titles are in my mind some of the greatest adventure games from that era).

Other than that, Manannan is definitely great not necessarily because of his personality but because of how the game makes you feel.

Gabriel Knight’s villains are also great because they are are complex and not purely manichean.

     

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Baron_Blubba - 28 March 2021 04:53 PM

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.

I always felt that the whole return of grandmaster thing was unnecessary in BS3. Susarro is more fully realized villain than grandmaster and whole lay line thing really doesn’t come to life before BS3 for me. Lay lines almost seem like throwaway idea in BS1 that provide random power for neotemplars to use.

     
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giom - 29 March 2021 03:45 AM

Malcolm from Legend of Kyrandia, but he really only becomes great with the addition of Kyrandia 3 (side note, while Kyrandia 1 is just so-so, the next two titles are in my mind some of the greatest adventure games from that era).

That’s the first time I heard anyone say that about Kyrandia 3. It was the first title of the series I played, and I had a love-hate relationship with it. While Kyrandia 1 was just dull, Malcolm’s Revenge very often strayed too far into wackiness, which quickly became annoying. Hand of Fate was the perfect middle-ground though.

     
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Oh, I would say that I prefer Hand of Fate to Kyrandia 3 but I really loved both for sure and loved the wackiness of Malcolm’s revenge.

Now though while I replayed both of them a few times in the 90s, I haven’t played either of them in 20 years so I might change my mind Smile

     
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Doom - 28 March 2021 06:07 PM

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).

Been a long time since I’ve played GK2, but I remember they did a really good job keeping me guessing with the ‘is he, isn’t he’-ness. And yes, that is an intentionally ambiguous sentence.

Regarding GK1
Was Malia really the villain? She was more a victim of circumstances, being possessed by the family ghost, wasn’t she? It’s a great story, and a well told story, but I remember being a little disappointed the first time I played the game that the big bad was essentially a spirit and not a person. I’m fine with it now, though—it’s actually more interesting this way. And John is a scary enough corporeal villain anyway.

     

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Advie - 28 March 2021 04:31 PM
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.

Purple Tentacle! Good one! Perhaps the most quotable villain in gaming…or is this just my penchant for making squoolsh-squoolsh sounds talking?

I just played through SQ 1-5 and Vohaul didn’t even cross my mind for this thread. What in particular is special about him?

     

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I think i have written about it in some old forum post but can’t find that post now. If i would have to pick best antagonist and not best villain specifically, i would choose captain Quirk from Space Quest 5. He antagonizes Roger in many different ways -he competes with Roger for Beatrice’s attention, he generally makes Roger’s life hard and he is also behind experiments that create mutants. Turning to mutant himself is mostly afterthought but has nice comic book villain vibe to it.

     
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Baron_Blubba - 29 March 2021 12:53 PM

I just played through SQ 1-5 and Vohaul didn’t even cross my mind for this thread. What in particular is special about him?

i dont know, but anything space quest rules!

     
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The Red Man from Kathy Rain. Very, very creepy.

Heart

     

I enjoy playing adventure games on handheld systems- PS VITA, Nintendo DS and ipad mini.

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Ah, Purple Tentacle. He really was a product of his environment. Twice.

It’s hard to point out any particular character as the villain in the Rusty Lake games, but I’d say Mr. Owl, Mr. Crow and Albert Vanderboom make the cut.

Mr. Owl is definitely my number one. He’s a sharp dressed mastermind.

minor spoiler alert:

He’s not just in control. He’s not just eerily comfortable with all the creepiness surrounding Rusty Lake. He has transcended time and morality. It’s not a god complex, he’s actually pursuing his interests on that level. He doesn’t even need you to feel awe or fear, you will fall in line with his plan anyway.

     
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garbo - 29 March 2021 03:10 PM

I think i have written about it in some old forum post but can’t find that post now. If i would have to pick best antagonist and not best villain specifically, i would choose captain Quirk from Space Quest 5. He antagonizes Roger in many different ways -he competes with Roger for Beatrice’s attention, he generally makes Roger’s life hard and he is also behind experiments that create mutants. Turning to mutant himself is mostly afterthought but has nice comic book villain vibe to it.

Oh man, this is such a good one. Like you said, he is bad on so many levels—officious, arrogant, mean, jealous,, sleazy, greedy, power-crazy, crazy crazy…and then all these things coalesce to make him downright evil.

     

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What I love about Malcolm/Kyrandia: the soundtracks by Frank Klepacki!

Every encounter with Malcolm in the first game has it’s own piece. The DOS version is like an adlib opera.

     
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Baron_Blubba - 29 March 2021 12:50 PM

Regarding GK1
Was Malia really the villain? She was more a victim of circumstances, being possessed by the family ghost, wasn’t she? It’s a great story, and a well told story, but I remember being a little disappointed the first time I played the game that the big bad was essentially a spirit and not a person. I’m fine with it now, though—it’s actually more interesting this way. And John is a scary enough corporeal villain anyway.

I agree, not exactly a villain, more like “the beast within” (hehe), that’s why I consider her a more complex type of antagonist. Compared to Dr. John or Montreaux from the third game who appeared as more straightforward and cliched (and scary) villains.

     

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Doom - 03 April 2021 11:18 AM
Baron_Blubba - 29 March 2021 12:50 PM

Regarding GK1
Was Malia really the villain? She was more a victim of circumstances, being possessed by the family ghost, wasn’t she? It’s a great story, and a well told story, but I remember being a little disappointed the first time I played the game that the big bad was essentially a spirit and not a person. I’m fine with it now, though—it’s actually more interesting this way. And John is a scary enough corporeal villain anyway.

I agree, not exactly a villain, more like “the beast within” (hehe), that’s why I consider her a more complex type of antagonist. Compared to Dr. John or Montreaux from the third game who appeared as more straightforward and cliched (and scary) villains.

The dichotomy between Gabriel and Malia is actually quite a poetic juxtaposition. Both struggle with accepting their heredity, as choice or as predestination, for good or for evil.

     

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I an attempt to stimulate more talk about bad guys, I’ve updated the original post with this little think piece.

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?

     

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