Dear Wordsmith, which Final Fantasy Villain was the most impressively bad-ass?
Well, now, that's a pretty special question. I don't mean to make Mysty feel less important, but this question has been an active one ever since SquareEnix, then Squaresoft, single-handedly saved the Sony Playstation. It's important enough for me to shed my customary green font, and consult with my peers offscreen.
We decided that there was only one way to answer this most excellently-phrased question. I couldn’t answer it from my home, because I’m just not equipped to find the answers there. I couldn’t do it from our secret Magi Headquarters tucked away in a mountain under a billionaire’s estate, because almost all of us have been kicked out three times for trespassing (Tylor only once, ‘cause he’s newer). No, I had to learn the answers first-hand. I had to go straight to the source, and ask the people living under the brutal and sometimes damp conditions that these villainous forces have created. I’ve taken a carefully crafted list of most-impressively-bad-ass categories with me:
- General Surliness
- What’s my motivation?
- I wish I could do that
- Shit-your-pants factor
My first stop is in the original world, Final Fantasy, brought to life on the original NES. I have no idea why I tried to dress well for this journey. I mean, I know why, it was to present a professional demeanor. Unfortunately, my keen fashion sense did not translate to 8-bit. It was not a comfortable transition for me physically, either. I mean, at home, I take the simple two-step approach to walking: Take two steps, one with each leg, and repeat. Here, it’s more like a two-sprite approach. When I first tried to move, I slowed the whole world down with the nuances of my moving limbs. I also got a pixel of dirt on my jacket, which took up close to ten percent of my appearance.
With all my practice, I’ve been able to get it down to about 16 walking sprites, which still created a lag, but then I realized that my original way slowed monsters down too, making it a lot easier for me to run from random encounters out on the world map. I just have to be real careful not to move while I’m talking to people, or conversations last forever.
Not that there isn’t a degree of that already. The town sentries are the worst. I said hello, and he welcomed me. I asked directions to the castle, and he welcomed me. I asked him about the Light Warriors, who by all rights should be legendary in this world. He welcomed me. My first impressions of this world were not exactly rose-colored.
This is George, the guard.
You can't see it, but he's got something in his teeth.
I’m glad I stuck around, though, because several hours later, he got off shift and went to the bar for a drink, where we chatted up quite the storm. Apparently, if they say anything that isn’t sanctioned by royal decree, they’re beaten to within 10hp of their lives. Seems silly to me. Guards should, in my opinion, be allowed to wing it. Or at least, the royalty should consider sanctioning some other words and phrases, like, “Halt!” or maybe, “Stop stabbing me!” In my case, all I really wanted was to know which way the Light Warriors went. Which reminded me of why I was here in the first place, so once he was no longer sober enough to keep state secrets to himself, I started asking some pointed questions.
I asked him about the dark lord Chaos. He told me that the dark lord Chaos was a hideous beast, one unfit to even describe. I gave him the silent treatment for about two minutes, before he admitted that he’d never seen Chaos. I asked him about Chaos’ alter ego, Garland . He told me that Garland had kidnapped the princess, and then got very quiet. I ordered him another drink, to loosen his tongue, and then he admitted that really, that was all he knew. This was getting me nowhere fast, so I left town. The guards on duty welcomed me.
I decided to refresh my memory by playing the game again, but trying to do that in a medieval 8-bit world is unfortunately difficult, for multiple reasons. I stuck around long enough to invent a movie projector to play on a screen large enough to display the game, but all it did was magnify the four pixels I got out of my original makeshift screen. Although, they could have been four bricks. Again, with the pixel being the smallest unit of measurement, hard to tell.
So I followed what I remembered of the game until I caught up with the Light Warriors. This was what made me miss aspirin, as they were just about to whump Garland the first time. I considered finding a natural remedy to my growing headache, but when I realized that whatever I found would be the size of a pixel, I killed and usurped the leader of the Light Warriors to ease my headache, and used their quest as my excuse to milk as many NPCs as possible for info. I don’t think the other Light Warriors even noticed. Neither did the NPCs. Other than the usually-single-sentenced responses, it didn’t seem like they were even self-aware, let alone aware of the world-wide peril. The four demons of the elements never even left their dungeons.
There were some initial adjustments to my situation.
So in the case of this game, my information for you is without peer.
You know what? He said so little. I tried talking to him before and during the fights, but he didn’t say much. I just kept thinking about 8-bit theater, and couldn’t shake the feeling that he was going to offer me cookies.
Out of 10, Garland gets a 4.
2.What’s my motivation?
Garland got fired. That’s what an NPC told me, anyway. So he kidnapped the princess a-la Bowser, and got his ass kicked. Then, more disgruntled, he f****d with the timeline, made a whole game’s worth of trouble, and got his ass kicked again at the beginning of time. All because he got fired.
3. I wish I could do that.
It was an 8-bit game. He hit me with his axe, I think. I’m not sure, ‘cause I didn’t see him move.
4. Shit-your-pants factor
He was a sissy. But he is the archetype for the following 11 sissies, and they all broke the mould, so I guess… Kudos for setting the bar low, Garland .
Total Villain Score: 1.5/10