Remember that piece of shit thing I wrote on hero types a long time ago? Well, I decided to do one on villains. I would have done it sooner, but stuff got in the way.
Every protagonist needs an antagonist, a person that is the opposite to the protagonist and opposes them at every turn. Thus, the hero-villain relationship is created, and maintained throughout the ages. Sometimes exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness, while other times handled quite carefully and sympathetically, the villain is a vital role in any game.
- Godlike Villain: You know those wizards that hang around in big towers, watching the heroes run around while firing the occasional lightning bolt of beam of death? Those guys all fall into this category. They never bother to fight the heroes directly; they simply stand back and watch as their empire crumbles before them. Finally, the heroes fight and slay them, proving that they are not gods at all.
If you thought the Flawless Hero type was stupid, get a load of this. They’re gods, and yet they don’t bother to kill the heroes when they have the chance. Not only that, but they stay tucked away in little towers, watching everything from their evil safehouses. A REAL god would have no need of any protection; they could probably take a couple million machine gun rounds to the chest while calmly eating a snickers bar. Like the Flawless Hero, these are found a LOT in older games, but still creep up in newer ones.
- Sympathetic Villain: These are the bad guys you feel for. They either have a dramatic backstory or some kind of event that turns them into universe-destroying monsters, which you then have to slay. They often have the powers of the Godlike Villain, but like to actually get involved in the action, rather than sit around in the background. And sometimes, when they get killed off, the heroes actually feel sorry for them.
This is a good kind of villain type for an antagonist. They have a lot of powers, yes, but also have problems of their own. In other words, no mere tower can stop the pain in their minds. These guys are slowly growing in popularity, but unfortunately, many a company has turned this type into a laughingstock by making it TOO dramatic.
- Honorable Villain: These are almost NEVER the main antagonist. Rather, they often work as underlings to the big guy himself, and often hold high positions and favor with their masters. However, unlike the other sniveling creatures around them, they have a sense of honor and righteousness, and serve the bad guy either because they honestly believe in what he says, or because there’s some other event we don’t know about. Also, they usually get the crap kicked out of them, and ALWAYS get killed.
The Honorable Villain, although cool, simply cannot work as a main antagonist, and for good reason. We like our villains rotten; even the Sympathetic Villain is evil in some way. The Honorable Villain is evil in that he is being controlled or misguided. Also, why do they always have to die? Can’t they just turn on their masters and join the heroes or something?
- Lackey: I’m not gonna even touch these guys. They’re the most pathetic villains in existance: the loyal, bumbling lackeys to the villains. Sure, you might get an Ozzie or such sometimes, but quite often, they’re cast as comic relief…and aren’t funny in the least. Not only that, but they have no good powers or abilities, and deserve to die in all situations.
The Lackey will always be around, sadly. Maybe someday, they’ll make consistent FUNNY lackeys…but that seems very unlikely.
- Manipulator: The Manipulator is a different kind of villain; he doesn’t touch anything directly, like the Godlike Villain, but he instead pulls the strings from behind whoever is in power. The Manipulator is often close to the power source of the land (the ruler) as either an advisor or counsellor; however, sometimes he is not even involved in that regard, and simply controls others in the court. The Manipulator is always revealed, and is almost always caught and defeated.
The Manipulator is a very interesting type, but also very complicated to pull off correctly. Maybe it’s because their schemes always have to be larger than those of the more direct villains, but that’s not important. What is important is that this type has been appearing often in games for God-knows-how-long, and shows no sign of slowing down.
Criticize, add, insult, etc. Just leave me with a tiny shred of dignity.