4. Maester Seymour
Rare is the Final Fantasy villain who can’t be seen in a sympathetic light. Partly this is due to the series’ increasingly ridiculous plots, which loop about themselves so convolutedly that it’s all but inevitable that at some point, the bad guy will be given some sort of “out” for his nefarious misdeeds. And partly, it’s because they’re all so damn pretty!
Above: You’re among friends. It’s OK to admit you would hit that
But Seymour, in particular, is incontrovertibly An OK Guy. All he wants is to save us from a huge floating cyst that periodically lays the world to waste. Sure, his plan does involve a little genocide, but here’s the thing: Even by Final Fantasy standards, X’s plot is- a nonsensical mess. You could teach college classes in understanding Final Fantasy X and every student would fail. If Seymour’s solution is the most expedient way of working out who is and isn’t dead/a dream/the Messiah, more power to him.
Above: We say, kill ‘em all and let Sin sort ‘em out
5. Mad Gear
The Mad Gear Gang, designated bad guys of Final Fight, are apparently made up of every single person in town apart from Mayor Haggar and his two young friends. The gang is eventually revealed to be run by a wheelchair-bound billionaire in the Business District. Haggar beats the tar out of him and hurls him out the window.
Above: A fair match, is what that is
If everyone in town is in this gang, is it really a “gang,” or just “the populace”? Aren’t private citizens allowed to provide stimulus to a woefully underfunded community? If the Mayor is so politically inefficient that his only means of managing unsanctioned outreach initiatives is to throw cripples out of windows, is it any wonder people have to kidnap his daughter to get his attention? Frankly, Mike Haggar is just a terrible mayor.
That’s more like it.
6. Shang Tsung
While the original Mortal Kombat had Shang Tsung as the ultimate boss – and a pretty anticlimactic one at that – later games would relegate the bearded sorcerer’s role to that of henchman for Kombat 2 boss Shao Khan. As the games’ plotlines became increasingly self-referential, the character became somewhat pathetic, forever conjuring up crazy get-rich-quick schemes to try and get out of his thankless soul-stealing job.
As if that weren’t sympathetic enough, consider that the original game – in which Tsung was malevolent enough to be worth a damn – tasked the nefarious wizard with gathering, in one remote, inaccessible location, a sizeable assortment of criminals, sociopaths and bloodthirsty wackjobs. That, at the very least, means you have to give him credit for keeping them off your streets.
Utilizing sorcery, demonic possession and brute force in his never-ending quest to conquer Hyrule, Ganon has come a long way from his early days as a brutish pig-monster who couldn’t even get people to spell his name right.
Above: That’s it, you’re Gannon-Banned!
And, much as John Milton found when dramatizing the fall of Satan in Paradise Lost, the more you write about what a dick someone is, the more sympathetic he becomes.
Above: Oh yeah, English Lit humor FTW
Ocarina of Time was the first time the character had been properly fleshed out, making him even harder to hate. As the heir to a banished race of desert thieves, Ganon is basically born into misfortune. While the people of Hyrule dwell in lush grasslands and opulent castles, Ganon and his tribe are stuck in arid desert for all eternity, all because some pointy-eared little punk wants to play Save the Princess.
Above: Hark at Mister Big Hero Guy
8. Solidus Snake
A politician dedicated to stamping out the conspiracy that threatens to propel the world into perpetual warfare? It’d be plain unpatriotic not to have time for Solidus Snake. Even after he falls from public favour following the events of Metal Gear Solid, Solidus is still waging war on the shadowy Patriots by any means necessary.
Above: Or maybe just stealing this, there’s a new and original idea
When it turns out that Solidus Snake’s ultimate ambition can only be realised with Raiden out of the way, what does our boy do? He unleashes seven shades of unholy fury, physically brutalising and psychologically tormenting the effete little whipping-boy within an inch of his life.
Above: Gaming’s finest hour
Knowing how much love the average gamer has for Raiden, that pretty makes Solidus Snake some sort of patron saint.