Just a friendly reminder before we begin - there are spoilers here from Lost Odyssey, Mass Effect 3, Borderlands 2, BioShock, Alice: Madness Returns, L.A. Noire, and others. If you haven’t finished these games, you should probably not enter here.
Do you remember the last time you really enjoyed taking out a bad guy, a villain who’s tormented you for years (in game time) that you finally had the chance to make disappear? It’s a rare enemy that inspires real emotion, so ones that do are memorable. Pre-Xbox, who can forget finally settling with Sephiroth and Hojo or the pleasure of sending Seymour to the Farplane once and for all? In the Xbox 360 universe, it was satisfying to finish the Illusive Man, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I relished shooting Handsome Jack in the face. Which villains come to mind when you think of those with whom you enjoyed settling accounts? Atlas? The Joker? Colonel Autumn? Bumby? Udina?
But what about the ones you don’t get to kill? We’ve all met mean, odious, vile creatures that we weren’t allowed to touch, cruel individuals that for whatever reason are protected by the pixelated gods of gamedom. These hateful characters are the Untouchables or, as I like to say, the people I’d love to kill, but the game won’t let me.#5 Gongora
– Lost OdysseyLost Odyssey
tells the story of five people for whom time has stopped, living for a millennium in a world not their own. As the tale unravels, we learn that the five were sent here together on a mission, but one of them betrays the others, erasing their memories and separating them in his bid for power. As the sad story progresses, we see more and more of the traitor’s true colors. Gongora manipulates everyone around him and nearly succeeds in taking over the world. Like the others in our list, he can’t be killed. Seth succeeds in sending him back to their home but at terrific cost. Either way, the player never gets to kill him.
#4 Nurse Pris Witless
– Alice: Madness Returns
In my personal history of gaming, I have found few characters as repugnant as Nurse Pris Witless. In Alice’s backstory, Nurse Witless was an employee at Rutledge, the asylum in which Alice was imprisoned for ten years. She herself had a large hand in the torments that Alice suffered – electroshock treatments, strait jackets, trepanning, among who knows what other horrors. After Alice’s release from the asylum, Nurse Witless found her a place at Dr. Bumby’s. Eavesdropping on a therapy session, Pris twists something Alice says about killing her family and uses that to blackmail the girl for money and gin, adding further grief to Alice’s already grim circumstances. A minor character seen mainly in Alice’s memories, Pris never comes into one’s sights as a target. More’s the pity.
#3 Maven Black-Briar
– The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
If you’ve ever played Skyrim
and made your way to the town of Riften, it’s very likely you’ve made the acquaintance of the not-so-lovely Maven Black-Briar, matriarch of the Black-Briar clan and behind-the-scenes puppet master of Riften. There’s a reason that the Thieves' Guild thrives here; Riften is a dirty place, and Maven is one of the primary reasons this is so. Owner of the Black-Briar Brewery (a place one knows well if familiar with the speech bug in the game), Maven makes employees disappear when they dare to disagree with her. She stays in tight with the Jarl as her criminal enterprises flourish with the city guards at her beck and call, even becoming the Jarl herself, depending which side of the conflict you choose to help win.
Forget the arrow to the knee…I’ve put multiple arrows right through her throat, but for naught. She simply goes down on one knee while her goons try to work me over.
#2 Roy Earle – L.A. Noire
In the corrupt political world of L.A. Noire
, police detective Cole Phelps is an honorable man; his partner, Roy Earle, is not. Part of the dirty underbelly of post-World War II Los Angeles, Roy Earle is the ultimate rat – the fink who glibly exposes his partner’s secrets to turn attention away from the true criminals. Not only is Roy corrupt, obnoxious, and disloyal, he has the audacity to stand up and eulogize the man he stabbed in the back. In this dark game, Roy Earle is one of the bad guys that gets away.
#1 Reaver – Fable II
& Fable III
At the very top of the list is the most hateful, most obnoxious, cruelest… Reaver. Oh, man, I hate this guy. If you have ever played Fable II
or Fable III
, you’re undoubtedly familiar with Reaver, the sorry sumbitch who traded his entire village for his own immortality. In the first game, I had a couple of moments of pity for him when I thought of a very young man making a deal with the devil that he really didn’t understand. Whatever feelings of remorse he may once have had, Reaver has long since lost. By the time we meet him, he’s a completely depraved husk of a human being, one who takes pleasure in cruelty and kills for the simple enjoyment of it. I would dearly love to put him in his long-unfilled grave, but, alas, it isn’t meant to be.
Who would you include in a top five list of your own? In your game, who was the one who got away?
The TA Team will be bringing you The TA Top Five every Sunday until we run out of coolness to debate and discuss. If you have an idea for a Top Five you'd like us to do, be sure to let us know in the comments!