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The essentials of a good Sonic villain

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ShadowCG_Blackdoom.jpg

What do these guys have in common? Well to the Sonic fanbase and even outside of it, many would consider these failed attempts to create a Villain besides Eggman. They lacked substance(or good substance) that made us think about the villain and his motives, they felt kinda generic,or they ended up being MOTW's that turned on Eggman at last second,etc. Lots of games have good villains that aren't the Main of the series. They just need the right tools and traits to make them good. But what are those tools and traits in Sonic games? What makes a good Sonic Villain in this series?

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Well It's nice to take a break from the Egg every now and then. He could still have those memorable moments that we all know and love, he just wouldn't be the MAIN baddy or something.

Fang could work, but he'd need a little more reasoning other than "I'm a bounty hunter that is hired by baddies."

Edited by Riku

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Well, not being a recolor helps.

Other than that, I dunno, not being hilariously stupid while trying to look like an immense badass? Honestly, Nega is just useless. He doesn't do anything interesting. Mephiles and Black Doom are both "I'MA KILL YOUR PUPPIES" evil and it's just...ugh. It's just retarded. They both try to come off as menacing and evil and don't follow through at all by having convoluted plans and retarded motives.

What makes Eggman and Metal Sonic work is that they're both well-established and kind of have a place in their world, unlike Mephiles and Doom, who are straight out of Devil May Cry or some bullshit. Eggman's the bumbling-but-dangerous oaf (akin to Bowser, in many ways), while Metal Sonic is the cold, unfeeling counterpart to the bouncy and fun-loving main character. People like Eggman because HE'S THE GODDAMN EGGMAN and people tend to like Metal because Sonic Team makes him out to be a huge badass (while he really isn't, unfortunately) and he doesn't do anything particularly stupid (disregarding Heroes) while somewhat failing to be a badass.

How can we make Eggman and Metal better? That's the REAL question. Honestly, I think it'd be hard to make Eggman any better than he is at the moment: he's established as a REAL threat, he's funny, he's intelligent, etc. The only thing he needs is to win more fights against Sonic. He needs to have some plans work.

The same could be said of Metal. He's supposedly the strongest and most deadly of all of Sonic's rivals, so let's fucking see it, Sonic Team! He needs to beat Sonic from time to time and be an absolutely unstoppable force of nature. Eggman needs to whip Metal out when he's got nothing else to lose and just wants SONIC FUCKING DEAD. Metal needs to be a trump card instead of a Shadow Mario-esque distraction.

Edited by Sexy Nightmaren Reala

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To me, a great villain for the series would be a villain who can actually pose a challenge to Sonic and Friends. Thats the main reason why I liked characters such as Knuckles and Jet when they were induced as villains (and later turned Rivals/friends). For Knuckles, you constantly saw him foiling what you're trying to do (Find the Chaos Emeralds/Stop Eggman) with ass-holish moves. This, in turn, actually intimidated me, as it, you could always see him messing up your route to your goal, but could never actually attack him, per say.

For Jet, despite the fact I LOATHE him, I, at first, thought he was such a cool concept for a villain, an avian that could actually match Sonic's speed. To me, this produced an interesting challenge in Sonic's mind, him wanting to keep his title as "The king of speed" amidst the likelihood of a new challenge that he knew he would enjoy.

But that's my take on it....

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So, basically, everything Metal Sonic is supposed to do, but gayer and with a more annoying voice.

Is this about Jet or Shadow? :P

One of the reasons Nega was so crap was because he was basically Eggman but more sadistic and dull, which to put simply, is the best character in the series with all of the charm and likability taken away. Great idea!

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I think a good villain for the series will be to the complete opposite of Eggman, at least in some aspects.

For example Eggman uses technology that harms nature, so why not have a villain that uses nature or technology mixed with nature to attack the heroes.

Obviously this theme of using something other than technology has already been explore with some villains using magic/mystical powers.

Another thing is that they have to be somehow related to the mythos or at least expand on it. Say what you will about Ix but at least he was somehow related to the mythos about the Echidna civilization.

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So, basically, everything Metal Sonic is supposed to do, but gayer and with a more annoying voice.

I would have said Metal, but he's already been suggested a handful of times....

That, and I like the idea of an actual creature putting up a challenge to the blue blur than one of Eggman's Robotic creations built for the job. To me, it makes for a slightly more interesting situation.....

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I would have said Metal, but he's already been suggested a handful of times....

That, and I like the idea of an actual creature putting up a challenge to the blue blur than one of Eggman's Robotic creations built for the job. To me, it makes for a slightly more interesting situation.....

I was just pointing out that, more or less, all of Sonic's rivals have been similar to "I'MFASTERTHANYOUNOWWHATBITCH" and then Sonic eventually outruns/beats him up and he either A. becomes his friend or B. gets roundhouse kicked to death. I think Sonic has enough rivals, to be frank.

But whatever. I'm rambling.

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Merlina also seemed to be a interesting Villain. She had substance,intellect and motive. Motive that actually reflected to life and MEANT something. Something that hasn't really been done that much. We could understand and feel for where she was coming from.

Merlina also gets bonus points for actually challenging Sonic's morality and ideals. She's a unique one in that whilst she's misguided and is even called-out by Excalibur-Sonic and Excalibur as being selfish for deciding everyone else's future, she's not outright evil. Yeah she leads Sonic on and basically used him for her dirty work and she beats Sonic almost to death and bisects Caliburn and takes both of them on in a boss fight but you still get the impression that she's a well-intentioned extremist and isn't acting out of malevolence.

The Storybook game villains really brought out the best in Sonic come to think of it. Just compare the way he treated Erazor with the way he treated Merlina; The latter was misguided and made no attempt to continue attacking Sonic after she was neutralized and Sonic basically comforted her at the end with a line I couldn't envision coming out of the mouth of any character other than him. Erazor didn't want redemption and showed nothing but defiance, hence the totally ruthless (And badass I might add) way in which Sonic dealt with him.

Edited by Vertekins

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For a start, you need something that actually fits the Sonic universe and not a rejected concept from Halo or DMC.

All of Mario's Not-Bowser villains feel right at home in the Mushroom Kingdom. Wart, Tatanga, the Shroobs, Cackletta, Fawful, Smithy, even the more eviller characters like Grodus and Dimentio and ancient demons like the Shadow Queen and Dark Star... they all feel like Mario characters no matter what the personality. Sonic, on the other hand, has a plethora of monsters and villains with nothing more than DESTROY FUCKING EVERYTHING on their minds (with Mephiles of course being the worst culprit, because with him they tried to make us believe he was an intelligent mastermind), with the only not Robotnik-related antagonists that are decent being Erazor, Merlina and Ix.

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Well they need to actually pose a threat for one, and actually have interesting motives. The reason nobody cares for Mephiles, Nega, or Doom is because they're boring, vanilla, and generic.

Mephiles` plans are too complex to make him seem threatening at all, and doesn't really get anything done if you think about it, the only thing he was able to do was kill Sonic, and he had to do it cheaply. That, and there's no rhyme or reason to his plans, which works for some villains, but they have interesting character traits to back it up, Mephiles has none of that.

Nega has the potential to be an interesting villain, but most of his moments are shared with Eggman and he's only appeared as a primary threat in two neglible spin off titles.

Doom is just.......ugh, he's like those monsters you see in those B-movies.

Merlina and Erazor are good examples of other villains aside from Eggman, of course they're never coming back; they had reasons for doing what they did, had interesting personalities, and were actually threatening; Erazor was pissed at being sealed away and wanted revenge, and manipulated Shahra's lingering feelings for him to do so. Merlina despaired over how her kingdom will soon end, and sought to preserve it forever by any means neccesary. See, that's how you make an interesting villain.

Basically they need a convincing motive, if they don't have that, then they need a damn good character to back it up, they need to be threatening, and morso NOT make Eggman look like a hero by comparison.

Merlina also gets bonus points for actually challenging Sonic's morality and ideals. She's a unique one in that whilst she's misguided and is even called-out by Excalibur-Sonic and Excalibur as being selfish for deciding everyone else's future, she's not outright evil. Yeah she leads Sonic on and basically used him for her dirty work and she beats Sonic almost to death and bisects Caliburn and takes both of them on in a boss fight but you still get the impression that she's a well-intentioned extremist and isn't acting out of malevolence.

That's what we call an Anti-Villain.

One of the reasons Nega was so crap was because he was basically Eggman but more sadistic and dull, which to put simply, is the best character in the series with all of the charm and likability taken away. Great idea!

Well Nega has the potential to be a shadow archetype to Eggman, similar personalities but completely different attitudes.

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First off, your villain needs to be able to harm the hero. Physical harm is the most simplistic form, and it's pretty much necessary for a video game series (we need our bosses, after all). To go beyond just a boss fight, though, they need to pose a threat greater than just the hero's injury and/or death. Good villains play off of their heroes; they need to attack the things that are important to them. Sonic has a particular love of freedom, and Eggman's goal is to dominate and control. This naturally puts them into conflict, it gives them a reason to fight beyond simply being "good guy" and "bad guy".

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Alternately, you could have a villain that poses a threat not just to Sonic, but his friends as well.

An interesting villain for Sonic is a foil to him, like take Sonic's virtues and flip them on their head. Basically Shadow/Jet if they were villains; basically a hedonist who gets his kicks off more sadistic things.

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Well Nega has the potential to be a shadow archetype to Eggman, similar personalities but completely different attitudes.

Except making a shadow archetype of a villain - one who's the recurring main villain no less - only serves to make the original one less unique, as well as less evil. And that's no good.

Examples like Dark Bowser work, because he only existed for about fifteen minutes before being beaten to death by the real Bowser, ergo proving the original is the best. Nega, on the other hand, was basically just "Robotnik but better", and whenever he was on the scene, Robotnik looks like an even bigger buffoon. Nega's playful yet sadistic personality is best suited for the man himself, not a bee-shoe wearing duplicate.

And the same goes for Mephiles in terms of design (despite Shadow not actually being a villain). I might have accepted it if he copied the appearance of everyone at one point or another (eg: Mephiles-Knuckles in one part, Mephiles-Blaze later on, etc), but because he stays as Mephiles-Shadow... well, cue the fancharacter comments.

Edited by Dr. Crusher

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Motivation for one. There's nothing wrong with having a villain that wants to destroy the world, but in Sonic's case having it done for several games just made it grow old and stale to the point of being ridiculous and predictable.

Aside from destroying the world, there's conquering it, trolling it, taking advantage of it's people, mind controlling it, yadda yadda.

Then there's character. Obviously someone who character can be summed up as "When I grow up, I wanna destroy the world" lacks a lot of interesting character to them. Such as the case of Mephilies. Characters with that motivation such as Shadow, who did it out of revenge and manipulation, or Dark Gaia as more of a force of nature get away with it because they want to do this for more than just the lulz.

Then there's their actions. It's one thing to be sneaky, it's another to be direct, and it's another to blow up the world into fragments, all of which Eggman has gone about as a villian. But when you go through the most complex POS of a plan in order to accomplish your goals, then you have a case of complexity addiction like Mephilies.

Really, this is more of what NOT to do as a villain that the essentials of a good villain.

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Basically a good Antagonist needs three things:

How much danger they, or their plans pose to the protagonist(s).

How effective they are in using their abilities/carrying out their plans.

How much the audience is supposed to hate them.

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Yes, I'm referring to "Love to Hate" why create an intentionally terrible character for everyone to hate is beyond stupid. A good villain will have the audience wanting them to lose, while still loving them for being a damn good villain.

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I think it helps if the villain need not be taken entirely seriously. Yeah, Eggman can be a serious threat when he needs to be, but the man is such an egomaniac that he'll plaster his face onto any surface likely to grab attention, and he's prone to prioritze eccentric design over actual function - because who cares whether it'll work on a mach 1 hedgehog, attaching a wrecking ball to a flying machine is fucking dope, right? Likewise, you've got Nack, who in the first encounter triggers his own trap and sets himself on fire. I can't claim to know much more than that considering I honestly hate that game, but like Eggman it sets the stage for a villain that, while badass in one right, is clumsy in another. Even Mephiles could've worked if his character flaws - ie: his crippling complexity addiction and seemingly mindless omnicidal tendencies - was actually taken note of.

It's one thing to pose a threat to the protagonists, because without that they'd be a crap villain. But it's another for that to be the only thing to a villain, because while that's true, they'd be a boring villain. There's really no absolutely binary way of putting it - a good villain has to find both a theme and a balance, and through some other form of narrative hope it actually catches on.

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