5 under-appreciated FINAL FANTASY villains - community edition

You had your say - here are the bad guys you think deserve some more time in the spotlight
By Duncan Heaney
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Warning: spoilers for FINAL FANTASY, FINAL FANTASY IV, FINAL FANTASY VI, FINAL FANTASY VIII and FINAL FANTASY XIII-2.


A few weeks ago, as part of Villains Week on the Square Enix Blog, we listed some of the FINAL FANTASY villains we thought were somewhat… under-appreciated.

Naturally, the community had their say. For example, a fair few of you argued that Hojo and Ultros, who appeared on the previous list, aren’t under-appreciated.

After all, Hojo’s the architect much of the conflict in FINAL FANTASY VII, and Ultros has appeared in a fair few FINAL FANTASY games and even a movie (KINGSGLAIVE: FINAL FANTASY XV).

I take your point - about Hojo at least. But come on guys - Ultros is giant purple octopus with an ego bigger than his tentacles. He could be on the cover of a magazine, and he still wouldn’t have sufficient appreciation - at least as far as this writer’s concerned.

But that’s enough fanboying - the fans had plenty of alternate suggestions, so here are some of the FINAL FANTASY villains that you think deserve more attention.

Caius Ballad - FINAL FANTASY XIII-2

Early on in FINAL FANTASY XIII-2, you could be forgiven for thinking that Caius Ballad is just another madman who wants to destroy the universe.

But as the game progresses, you realize that there’s much more going on beneath the surface, and Caius is actually a deeply complex and tormented figure, and FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 is essentially a deeply twisted love story.

See, Caius adores the seeress Yeul - a servant of the Goddess of Time Etro. Unfortunately, Yeul is cursed with a constant cycle of death and rebirth - a life of eternal suffering.

His logic is that if he can stop time itself, he can free Yeul from her fate - and he’ll go to any lengths to achieve that goal. And without wishing to spoil too much… he’s pretty darn effective.

Biggs and Wedge - FINAL FANTASY VI

You meet these two Gestahlian soldiers right at the start of FINAL FANTASY VI, as they search the town of Narshe for an esper - a rare being of incredible power.

Wedge and Biggs (or Vicks if you’re old school) don’t say all that much, outside of voicing their distrust of their magical companion Terra, but their actions speak volumes. Our should we say our actions - unlike many FINAL FANTASY villains, we actually get to control them.


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It’s immediately clear that the esper hunt is not a mission of peace. We’re forced to use Biggs and Wedge’s uber-powerful Magitek armor to cut a swathe through the town’s defenses (all those poor dogs!).

It’s a brutal scene - the town is no match for their advanced technology - but eventually the pair reaches their target. Unfortunately, the esper reacts to Terra’s presence and a huge explosion puts an end to the no-longer dynamic duo.

They may not be in the game for long, but Wedge and Biggs still managed to make a big impact. And possibly a crater.


Rubicante - FINAL FANTASY IV

The leader of the four archfiends in FINAL FANTASY IV is a far more nuanced villain than you might expect.

Rubicante makes an immediate impression in the game - he’s the one who leads the bloody attack on Eblan and essentially destroys the life of party member Edge in the process.

But while he’s definitely a bad guy, Rubicante is also surprisingly honourable. Every time your party faces him in combat, he heals them up first to make it a fair fight, and should you win, he accepts defeat with surprising grace. After all, you earned his respect.

Surprisingly, he’s also revealed to have at least something approximating a code - he condemns the mad sciencey antics of Dr Lugae, for example (another villain who could easily make this list).

All that makes ol’ Rubes (as nobody calls him) one of the most memorable figures in the FINAL FANTASY IV saga.

Plus that dude can really rock a cape.


Ultimecia - FINAL FANTASY VIII

Like Caius, I don’t think FINAL FANTASY VIII’s Ultimecia is under-appreciated. She’s prominent enough to feature as a playable fighter in DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT, at least.

But one FINAL FANTASY player put up such an impassioned defence of the sinister sorceress that we feel it’s only right to include her here.

In fairness, I can see why she might be considered overlooked. Some villains make their presence known in a big way. They make themselves the centre of attention, with big actions like burning down your childhood home, taking over the underworld, or blowing up half a continent.

Ultimecia isn’t like that. She prefers to manipulate events from afar - about as far as it’s possible to get, in fact. She’s a major threat throughout the whole game, but rarely an obvious one. For a long, long time, the party doesn’t even know she exists.

When they do though, and see the full extent of her insane (but commendably ambitious) plan, they find that she’s a major physical threat too. The battle with Ultimecia is one of the most memorable and challenging boss fights in the FINAL FANTASY series.

So while she may not be as in your face as some other FINAL FANTASY antagonists, she’s every bit as dangerous - if not more so.


Warmech - FINAL FANTASY

Warmech is one of the best and worst things about the original FINAL FANTASY.

Best because it’s definitely one of the coolest enemies in the game - a super-powered bipedal robot, that looks like it stepped right out of a sci-fi movie.

The worst, because Warmech can mess your party up. On a bad day, it can atomize the Warriors of Light before they can even think the word curaga.

As if its high HP and nuclear-powered attacks weren’t bad enough, the mechanical monstrosity’s capable of self-repair, and automatically heals itself each turn. We’ll be honest - your chances of survival are not great.

But if you do somehow triumph against Warmech, you’ll be rewarded with a ludicrous amount of experience and gil. But more importantly, you’ll feel reeeeal good.


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