Final Fantasy, needless to say, is among the biggest RPG franchises the world’s ever seen. It sits up there at the top of the role-playing pyramid, being fed grapes and having its feet massaged by lesser titles. It is to the genre as Call of Duty is to shooters, I guess you could say.
That’s a burden to carry right there. As Spider-Man’s good ol’ Uncle Ben said (damn repeatedly in the movie), with great power comes great responsibility. In this case, you’ve got to show that you’ve earned your place up there at the top of the food chain. You’ve got to get your stuff together, take a couple evening classes or something and just be the best freaking RPG you can be.
Any RPG worth its salt, naturally, needs to have certain critical elements. Genre fans riot in the street if they don’t get their weapon shops, their fancy menus for advancing characters’ stats and abilities, their sidequests, their sizable world map to cruise along… all of that good stuff. Right up there, too, is the presence of a melodramatic and suitably terrible villain/villainous group.
The thing about these antagonists is, they’re usually going for the spectacle; something huge, dastardly and bastardly. As such, the big bads of Final Fantasy have committed some truly awful acts. As have the main characters themselves, as they’re human too (give or take the odd freakish dog-man and such). Let’s take a look at some of the worst. Settle in for The 15 Most Despicable Acts Committed in Final Fantasy.
15 Whatever Happened to Cloud in the Honey Bee Inn
Considering how many years it’s been since I first played the game, I’d estimate that I’ve showered a good 3000 times since my first experience of the ‘Honey Bee Inn incident.’ I still feel dirty.
For you fortunate souls who don’t know what I’m talking about, the Inn is found in Wall Market, very early in Final Fantasy VII. It’s hidden away in a corner and can be ignored entirely, but if you acquire the member card and go in, things happen. Bad things.
Cloud enters this surreal little ‘gentlemen’s club’ and is taken to a series of rooms, behind the doors of which all kinds of seedy stuff is happening. You can’t see much of anything, peeking through the keyholes, but the vague hints you get are all kinds of suggestive. And did I mention Cloud being taken away and accosted by a group of muscular dudes in their underpants? I have now. Enjoy your nightmares.
14 The Tantrum Heard 'Round The World
In the pantheon of Final Fantasy super villains, there’s nobody quite like Kuja. He shares certain characteristics, true enough (his whole tearing-s**t-up-just-for-the-hell-of-it attitude earlier in the game is very familiar), but he’s deeper than most. The ending of the game is actually quite poignant, as he reveals the slight decent ying to his asshat yang and saves the party’s lives. Even arch enemy Zidane mourns him in their bro moment to end all bro moments at the end there.
Still, that’s no excuse. We all remember what you did, Kuja. That enormous tantrum you had which destroyed an entire world? Felt bad, man. You’ve could’ve wiped out your weird brothers and sisters, the genomes. Did you stop and think about those monkey-tailed blonde bowl-cut clones? No, no you didn’t.
13 Kefka Enslaving the World For a Year
As we all know, a lot can happen in a year. You can get in shape and lose fifty pounds of excess beer gut. You can plan a wedding, if twelve months of fighting over canapes and the particular shades of green in groomsmens’ ties sounds like a good time to you. You can save for that fancy-ass apartment with the sconces that you’ve always wanted.
All of this, however, assumes that you won’t be enslaved by a maniacal court jester for that year, beset by all manner of doomish horrors and such. That sort of thing tends to put a damper on your plans. This is exactly what Final Fantasy VI’s Kefka Palazzo inflicted on the planet during the course of the story, as he fought to awaken the Warring Triad.
12 Brahne Extracting Garnet's Eidolons
I know parenting can be hard, Brahne, but you’re making the most rudimentary mistakes here. Moms should be advising their teen daughters on prom dresses, dumbass boyfriends and the birds and the bees, not stealing the huge snarling monsters they can summon and having them executed afterwards. That’s really not the same thing at all. Does nobody vet these people before allowing them to adopt?
As Final Fantasy IX players will know, Queen Brahne of Alexandria was used and warped by Kuja, who wanted chaos on Gaia to achieve his own ends. The warmongering Queen decimated her enemies by unleashing Odin, Atomos and other eidolons, most of which were extracted from her summoner foster daughter. In a none-too-friendly fashion as well.
11 Don Corneo Being... Don Corneo
As we’ve established by now, the Final Fantasy series is rife with genocidal, apocalyptic, mass-destruction villains. They don’t do things by halves around here, that’s for damn sure. We’ve seen some great candidates for most despicable throughout this list, but here’s a curveball we shouldn’t sleep on: Don Corneo.
This treacherous, weaselish little dude is the Peter Pettigrew of Final Fantasy. We first encounter him in Final Fantasy VII’s Wall Market, cowering in his mansion, trying to get some rumpety-pumpety with the hottest women his lackeys can find. This snivelling Shinra supporter’s jig is up when Cloud and co. infiltrate the place, only for Corneo to trick and trap them in the sewers. He appears again in Wutai, traitor-ing it up as only the Don can.
10 Tama's Voice Acting
Now, let’s be fair here. Final Fantasy being the planet-hopping, all-embracing, free-love sort of franchise that it is, you have to expect to encounter all kinds of races, species and batcrap crazy freakshows. It’s like one of those Doctor Who episodes where they have a huge fanservice meeting of all kinds of aliens.
With that, you’ve got to expect a range of habits, personal hygiene taboos and cultural norms. All of which I’m perfectly on board with. My only gripe is, did World of Final Fantasy’s Tama really have to have such an infuriating speech pattern? After five minutes of listening to her dialogue, I wanted to punch my own ears in the face. The saccharine sweetness of her voice, those infernal thes… I want nothing to do with this creature.
9 Seifer Cheating In The Intro Battle
Now, I’m a simple man with simple tastes. I don’t have time for deception, duplicitousness and double-agents. I like my villains to wear their Grade A a-holeness on their sleeves, be proud of it, and revel in it. Square seemed to agree with me. Right from Final Fantasy VIII’s intro cinematic, Seifer may as well have been wearing a t-shirt that said "Yep, I’m A Douchebag."
As my pa always told me, you don’t bring a gun to a knife fight and you sure as hell don’t bring motherfreaking fire magic to roast your opponents’ man-plums to a gunblade fight. But did Seifer pay any heed to this honorable manly code? He did not. As Squall got the upper hand in their sparring session, his foe blindsided him with a spell, leaving him dazed and vulnerable to the attack that gave him his iconic scar.
8 Sephiroth Summoning Meteor
Oh, Sephiroth. When it comes to this silver fox, you’re kind of spoiled for choice as far as despicable acts go. Remember the time he burnt down Nibelheim (or did he? Or didn’t he)? That scene itself, and its piss-poor mid-nineties FMV, has become a thing of legend. Sass-walking through the flames with his damn coat on fire like a pro. Did he look like he gave any effs? Even a single one? That’s because he didn’t.
Then, of course, there’s that business with Aerith. You may have heard of it (again, FMV). But if we have to condense everything ‘roth stands for in one entry, and into one despicable act, it’d be summoning a meteor. Destroying the planet is one thing, but actively seeking to critically injure it, so as to consume the resultant energy is a new one for villains everywhere. If that isn’t chutzpah, I don’t know what is.
7 Seymour Forcing Yuna to Marry Him
I think we’ve all come across a Seymour at some point in our working lives. He’s the sort of smarmy a-hole who acts all buddy-buddy during the job interview, then once he’s got it, the mask slips, the inner douche-arama is revealed and it’s too late to do anything about it. You can smell that sort of guy from a mile away. That was the impression I got from Seymour right from his first appearance and it just about sums up Final Fantasy X’s plot in a nutshell really.
His proposal to Yuna was allegedly a way of unifying the troubled world and easing Spira’s sorrow. Later, Seymour reveals his motives to be far darker; marriage to the summoner would, in a way, allow the leader of the Guado race to become the new Sin.
6 Hilda Transforming Her Husband Into An Oglop
Remember the Friends episode where Phoebe states, “When my friend Silvie’s husband said someone else’s name in bed, she cursed him and turned his thingy green?” Of course you do. I can never condone cheating, but this kind of cruel and unusual punishment is a little beyond the pale if you ask me.
If you thought a green wang-ening was bad, it’s got nothing on the vengeance that awaited Regent Cid after he ‘met a charming young lady at the pub.’ If you were wondering why the Regent of Lindblum is a grotesque little insect called an oglop when we meet him (and for much of the game, before he becomes a frog and finally a man again), it’s because his wife was pissed at him. Hell hath no fury, as they say.
5 Leaving Your Party
Now, oftentimes in video games, our main character is a man/woman/weird anthropomorphic bandicoot of unquestionable repute. We call them the ‘hero’ for a reason: because that’s what they’re supposed to be.
When it comes to RPGs, though, there can be much more of a grey area. We expect a lot of character development here, for better and worse. This isn’t a simple platformer where the sun shines out of Mario’s heroic butthole for the duration. Final Fantasy XI, though, takes that whole concept a little too far. The first MMORPG in the series, this title added the influence of other players in, and you know how douchetacular players of online games can be. As such, this was the game that allowed party members to leave the party, mid-battle or whenever. When a couple of your buddies decide to haul ass out of there at Boss o’clock, you know you’re in for a bad time.
4 Whatever It Was That Happened To Link
The ardent Final Fantasy fans among us are surely familiar with the classic Zelda easter egg from the original game. When the party enters Elfheim, a little slice of exploration will uncover three gravestones next to the inn. Examining one of them, you’ll read the inscription Here lies Link.
Which is all well and good. A reference to Link, which is found in the city of Elves, what’s not to like? The worrying thing is, in this universe, we don’t know how our iconic camp-costumed friend met his end. Was it murder most foul? An Agatha Christie-inspired tale of poison, seedy clergymen with dodgy pasts and a dagger in the drawing room? There’s an untold story here and I, for one, want to have it fired directly into my curious eyes and ears.
3 Exdeath In Command Of The Void
As I said earlier, I can always dig a villain who decides to drop all the chicanery, double-crossing and such and just rock their balls-out assholery right from the off. Final Fantasy V’s Exdeath, right from his name alone, strikes me as just that kind of a dude.
After all, if you name your child something like that, what do you expect them to grow up to be? A goodly monk who dedicates his life to feeding the homeless at soup kitchens and helping grandmas cross the street, or a megalomaniacal sorcerer? The latter, that’s what. Exdeath was born from an amalgamation of demons stirring in a once-bound world, free once more and possessing the power of a dark force called only ‘The Void.’ It’s a bad time all round.
2 The Empire's Attack on Lucis
You know how it is. One minute, you’re the crown prince of Lucis, cruising around in your fancy car with your three bodyguard bros without a care in the world, looking like a boyband with closet homosexual tendencies who are about to drop the hottest pop album of 2016. The next, the dastardly and bastardly Nilfheim Empire have attacked your kingdom, assassinating your father the king and putting one hell of a damper on your upcoming marriage to Lady Lunafreya. We’ve all been there and it sure is a tough break.
Still, I guess you could say that this whole experience set Noctis off on his journey to gather the ancient weapons of the Lucii and prove himself a worthy king, if you’re a glass half full sort of guy/gal.
1 Cloud Of Darkness Pulling The World Into The Void
As with Exdeath, Cloud of Darkness wears her villainy right on her sleeve and I can respect that. You can think of her as a kind of malevolent Shiva, with less ice and (even) more cleavage hanging out.
Final Fantasy III’s supposed main antagonist, Xande, is later revealed to just be the Cloud’s lapdog. The true villain of the piece seeks to upset the balance of light and darkness by unleashing the void, and so a literal cloud of darkness to engulf the world. If you’ve been following the news lately, you might well think that this actually happened in real life, but supposedly it hasn’t. For once, this antagonist actually succeeding in defeating the party, before they were resurrected by Doga and Unei. Hax.