- by Logan Witt
(Made this list for the "new" Destructoid, but never got it to look right to upload. Last list for a while.)
It’s always seemed to me like some of the most awesome characters have been able to measure their awesomeness by the length of their flowing mane. This list will include both villains and heroes. One very notable exception will be Solid Snake- those of you who watched the prologue videos to Metal Gear Solid will remember the massive hair he had, but his trademark look had it trimmed closer to military precision, so he doesn’t count (sorry). Also, there will be spoilers. You have been warned.
#5- Measter Seymour Guado
First thing’s first, I hate this man. I hate him with an unbridled passion. He was the most annoying boss I have ever, ever fought, and as a villain, he was beyond annoying. His seeming reliance on an Aeon to do all of his dirty work recalls a former long-haired FF antagonist, yet it does become apparent that Seymour can, unfortunately, handle himself in a fight. He originally comes across as benign, just creepy, then quickly spirals toward evil, especially after he dies. Oh how I wish he would’ve simply stayed dead, but no, he just had to hang around unsent. Then there was the wedding, which when you actually think about it, is beyond creepy! He’s dead! He’s a corporeal manifestation of his corrupt and evil soul that just won’t leave, and he kisses Yuna! Ick! (Don’t give me the counterpoint protagonist argument, Tidus was different) Then he tries to channel Kefka in his ‘world domination’ turn and although he fails, he gets creepier and creepier as the game rolls to the end. With a last dig at the party’s hope (“But even after I am gone, Spira’s sorrow will prevail.”) Seymour finally gets sent to the Farplane where he belongs, leaving his legacy as a blue lightning-bolt-hairstyled megalomaniac behind.
#4- Shang Tsung
Yeah, it’s longer in most other games, but this was the best picture I could find. Anyhow, so, Shang Tsung. Shang is a cursed sorcerer, damned by the Elder Gods first to death after cheating in a Mortal Kombat tournament, then to have to absorb the souls of the foes he vanquishes so that he could prolong his fate of rapidly aging and dying. He then goes on to become Grand Champion of the Mortal Kombat tournament in very swift fashion, and hold it until his overinflated ego was burst by the Great Kung Lao. Well, that just creamed his corn, so Shang brings prince Goro to the next tournament to kill Kung Lao then consume his soul. In something somewhat glossed over in MK lore, his treatment of Kenshi was exceptionally cruel; describing himself as an old man and using the swordsman’s ambition, he led him to a tomb where there laid a fabulous sword, when in reality all that Tsung wanted was to consume the multitude of souls that were entombed, leaving Kenshi blinded and near-death. Shang would later lose Mortal Kombat to Liu Kang, but that didn’t stop his dark activities as, under the command of Shao Kahn, he revived Queen Sindel within Earthrealm which would’ve forced the realms to merge. Shang later would commit one of the most evil atrocities in the MK universe, as, with the help of Quan Chi’s timely interference, he would murder Liu Kang and consume his soul, dealing a devastating blow to Raiden’s chosen warriors. Tsung’s alliance with Quan Chi eventually dissolved, though their scuffle took a back seat to the rising of Onaga, which would prompt Raiden’s sacrificial release of power, killing himself, Quan Chi, and Shang Tsung in the process. Though death could not hold Tsung, as he commands another body to inhabit and continue seeking power. Tsung apparently has no concrete goal other than complete power for the sake of having complete power, and that is a dangerous ambition on its own, let alone when fueled by a dark and twisted soul like Shang Tsung.
#3- Liquid Snake
Ah, supposedly the bastard reject of the Les Enfant Terribles project. After leading a life as a skilled and brilliant solider, Liquid would go on to be involved in the even that would elevate him to a player on the world stage, the coup at Shadow Moses island. Demanding the body of Big Boss be delivered or else he would launch a nuclear device, Liquid plumbed the minds of his military hostages, and disguised himself as a dead teacher of his “brother”, Solid Snake. An often overlooked event is the destruction of his Hind helicopter with him still inside it. No ejection, no chute, just a curious and possible precursor of things to come. Liquid understood the drive behind Solid Snake, and actually counted on his activation of the nuke as one of the codes could not be obtained after the, ah, overenthusiastic, interrogation and death of the DARPA chief. Liquid would pilot Metal Gear REX in an attempt to crush Solid Snake, then use it to quite literally crush Gray Fox before being caught in the cockpit when REX was destroyed. Liquid would then challenge his brother to a hand-to-hand duel on top of REX’s wreckage, only to fall from that great height after his loss. But it was not to be, as Liquid would return to chase Solid Snake out of the installation, and following the collision, seem poised to claim his place as Big Boss’s rightful heir…except for FOXDIE. Liquid would, actually, and finally, die, there on the snow-covered ground an obscure Alaskan island. Although his influence would later continue on through Revolver Ocelot and show his metamorphosing desire to conquer the world through an override of the AI controlling the world’s nanomachines, it is his first and only true incarnation that really does Liquid justice.
Admit it, the first time you saw Kuja, your first thought was, “Whoa, who is that chick?” One of the more subtly flamboyant characters of the FF universe, Kuja was also a bit on the evil side. Starting with the intention of conquering the world, more or less, Kuja just seems like a fairly average puppet master, pulling lightly on each particular string, as well as manufacturing the black mages to supply as living (sort of) weapons. He also advises Queen Brahne to extract the Eidolons from Princess Garnet in what can only be imagined as a horrifically agonizing process. Then we find his ship, the Invincible, with the power to capture and control Eidolons, beginning with Bahamut, giving him an enormous source of destructive power. After losing his chance to capture the Eidolon Alexander, and all but obliterating Alexandria in the process, Kuja vows to acquire an even more powerful Eidolon. That is, until he learns the secret to achieving the Trance state. Kuja achieves the Trance state and proceeds to kill Garland and strike down Zidane and friends, and then the bombshell is dropped- Kuja was a prototype Genome, only supposed to survive until Zidane matured. Well, yeah I can see that being upsetting, but Kuja goes off-the-charts insane and destroys the world of Terra. He destroys the world. Just let that sink in for a second. Then, after a final engagement against Zidane, Kuja turns and destroys the crystal, the source of all life. Talk about your evil lunatcy, the whole “destroying all of creation thing because you can’t accept your identity” just about takes the batshit insane cake. Yeah, yeah, his very last act is an attempt at redemption, but that doesn’t cancel out a lifetime of vengeful destruction and tremendously powerful attempts to just be evil. Oh, and did I mention that he destroyed his homeworld?? Just checking.
The ultimate ponytailed badass. The ultimate Maverick hunter. The original Maverick. The carrier of the virus that destroys the world. The self-sacrificing savior reploid. Zero was many things, including the inspiration for my own recently removed pontytail, but he was first often thought of as Mega Man X’s sidekick. Then he died in a grand act of sacrifice. Then he was rebuilt and back to being awesome. In X3, he could put in an occasional appearance, but it wasn’t until X4 that Zero was given one of his two best stories in the X series. Introduction of a love interest, playability, and the use of animated cutscenes give more depth to the saber-wielding warrior, and unlocking the black armor just makes him look even cooler. Zero’s original nature comes to the fore in X5, after the colony Eurasia falls to Earth and unleashes a modified virus, either transforming Zero into a Maverick of fully “awakening” him, making him evil yet still awesome. The canon ending for X5 showed a self-sacrificing Zero destroy the last remaining fragment of Sigma, and X carrying on as a Maverick Hunter. I follow the idea set forth by Kenji Inafune, the series creator, and like to end the X saga here. I don’t have anything against X6, 7, and 8, as well as command mission, I simply prefer the clean wrap up that X5 presents. Regardless of whether there is an X9, made, let’s jump to the Mega Man Zero series, focusing solely around, well, Zero. Finally getting his own starring role, a rebuilt Zero must finish the mission he began to protect humans. After combating a clone of Mega Man X, a madman named Elpizo who destroys the real X’s body, a reploid named Omega that occupies Zero’s original body, Zero commits an act that goes against his very nature, he must kill Doctor Weil. Killing a human, no matter how evil, contradicts Zero’s sense of duty and would have him labeled a “Maverick”, but Zero places his duty to humanity above all else, and sacrifices himself one final time in order to conquer this last evil threat. Zero was a character of nobility, pride, and untold power, yet was constantly at war with himself over his destiny. Originally a creation of Doctor Wily to help conquer the world, Zero gave his life to save it, and looks awesome with his ever-present ponytail blowing in the wind as he kicks ass.
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