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ShadowSJG

How exactly is Mephiles unfitting for the Sonic series?

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I have heard that often and was wondering, what about him is unfitting exactly? Sonic has serious villains such as Metal Sonic, Chaos, Shadow, Dark Gaia and from the comics, Dr. Finitevus. So what about Mephiles makes him stick out like a sore thumb while the others are fine?

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I preface this by saying I like Mephilis, but let me ask you this...

Isn't Mephilis obviously more dark than those other villians? Nevermind the fact he looks just like Shadow and could very easily be confused with being a "fan OC villian" of sorts.

If Shadow isn't completely accepted as being a "real sonic character" by a significant chunk of the fanbase...then how on earth could Mephilis be? (Also nevermind he only appeared in a game that a lot of people consider to be horribly writen if not down right insulting)

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I don't think the problem is how serious he is. I personally remember him as goofy or creepy.

I think it's more of his personality and action, as well as how the entire plot/timeline of 06 is seen by the fans. That and the atmosphere/tone of 06 feels different from all other games. From what I hear the criticism centers around his design as "Shadow clone" & "spiky Shadow", how his plan is all over the place (I do wonder why he went all the way to the future to manipulate Silver, if he could easily kill Sonic by himself), and his character is just "evil guy who want destruction" and nothing else.

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I think there are definitely aspects of Mephiles that don't work, and I think the fact that even his true form is derivative of Shadow is pretty weak.  But it's more his actions that are the issue, I would say.  "Evil manipulative person who's made of crystal and wants to unleash and combine with a giant monster" is a relatively complicated concept for a Sonic character, but not wildly inappropriate.

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I suppose it could just be the level of darkness involved in his existence, motivation, and plan, but really Black Doom arguably exceeds him in that regard. Though the fact that both are played dangerously straight could be a serious red flag. Also, its not too easy to ignore that Mephiles technically isn't a being unto himself, hampering his ability to stand on his own.

But on that note, isn't every Sonic villain not named Eggman, Metal Sonic, the Shapebots, Fang the Sniper(& the other two Hooligans), Rouge, The Babylon Rogues, and debatably Shadow and Infinite a little unfitting when you get down to it?

They all tend to be these scorned dieties(Chaos, Void, Solaris, Dark Gaia), violent extraterrestrial(Black Doom, Imperator Ix), some random mythical creature(Erazor Djinn, Ifrit, The Dark Queen?, the Deadly Six), some other form of abomination(Biolizard, Mephiles, Iblis, Maser Core ABIS, Time Eater), and/or genocidal/omnicidal maniacs(pretty much everyone but The Dark Queen, who chose artificial preservation).

That's largely why they tend to get killed off or otherwise banished at the end of their respective game--they're either too evil, too powerful, or too out of context to keep around.

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He's just too one dimensional. Chaos, Shadow, and even the Dark Queen all have human emotions driving them that make for more lasting characters. Chaos started out as a benign guardian, Shadow's driven by revenge for his fallen friend, and the Dark Queen is facing, I want to say, existential nihilism, and Metal Sonic gets by on almost always being an extension of Robotnik not the mastermind behind it all.

 

(and seriously Black Knight's plot is punching well above it's typical weight class).

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It's more that his plan is over complicated and he's so overpowered he could have accomplished it easy but went the asinine route. So he sticks out in the sense he's needlessly over complicated compared to others who just make more sense overall. That and he's not a Teletubby, so he's disqualified because tension/threat villains are bad apparently now.

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The problem with Mephiles is that he's dry and humorless. He's boring. He has no personality.

The Mario series has occasionally dabbled in "darker" villains, some of whom wanted to plunge the world into darkness or even achieve total universal destruction, as opposed to merely conquering the Mushroom Kingdom.

Yet in most of these cases, the villains still had memorable, likable, and fun personalities. Villains like Fawful, Count Bleck, the X-Nauts... These weren't just bland, dark-and-edgy sticks in the mud who just stood around being evil all day. They had quirks, foibles, a certain humanness about them that made them endearing to the audience while feeling right at home in the Mario series. Even Smithy, one of the more low-key and "serious" Mario antagonists, had a freaking sentai team under his command - so he wasn't totally without any humorous bells and whistles.

The Wario spinoff series had some downright twisted and weird big bads as well - Rudy and Terrormisu both hit the "godlike existential threat" qualification, but they still had personality and charisma that made them more than just flat generic obstacles to foil.

I think that characters like Mephiles or Black Doom just feel out of place, because they have nothing to their personalities other than how dark and evil and scary they're supposed to be. They're the epitome of generic one-note villains, and they stick out in the Sonic series like sore thumbs because of that.

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29 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

The problem with Mephiles is that he's dry and humorless. He's boring. He has no personality.

The Mario series has occasionally dabbled in "darker" villains, some of whom wanted to plunge the world into darkness or even achieve total universal destruction, as opposed to merely conquering the Mushroom Kingdom.

Yet in most of these cases, the villains still had memorable, likable, and fun personalities. Villains like Fawful, Count Bleck, the X-Nauts... These weren't just bland, dark-and-edgy sticks in the mud who just stood around being evil all day. They had quirks, foibles, a certain humanness about them that made them endearing to the audience while feeling right at home in the Mario series. Even Smithy, one of the more low-key and "serious" Mario antagonists, had a freaking sentai team under his command - so he wasn't totally without any humorous bells and whistles.

The Wario spinoff series had some downright twisted and weird big bads as well - Rudy and Terrormisu both hit the "godlike existential threat" qualification, but they still had personality and charisma that made them more than just flat generic obstacles to foil.

I think that characters like Mephiles or Black Doom just feel out of place, because they have nothing to their personalities other than how dark and evil and scary they're supposed to be. They're the epitome of generic one-note villains, and they stick out in the Sonic series like sore thumbs because of that.

Mario has had pure evil villains with little to no comedy on rare occasions. The Shadow Queen, Dimentio, Tabuu (if you count Smash), and the 1993 Movie Version of Bowser, for example.

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Just now, ShadowSJG said:

In that case, then how come the Deadly Six are not well received despite having quirks?

Well, they suffer the same problem as Mephiles with most of them being one-dimensional characters. 

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10 minutes ago, Miragnarok said:

Mario has had pure evil villains with little to no comedy on rare occasions. The Shadow Queen, Dimentio, Tabuu (if you count Smash), and the 1993 Movie Version of Bowser, for example.

Shadow Queen, I'll give you, but in her defense she still had minions with personality, which is more than I can say for Mephiles. Beldam, Marilyn, and (prior to her reformation) Vivian served the Shadow Queen directly rather than Grodus. Doopliss was one of her direct henchmen too, and he was hilarious. So I still think that the Shadow Queen is aided by having extensions of her will still have personality. In that sense she's kind of like Smithy; Not terribly engaging herself, but supported by likable underlings.

Dimentio was a literal clown. He was brimming with personality and had great one-liners throughout the game. He was far less sympathetic than Bleck was, but he was anything but bland.

I don't count Tabuu. Tabuu is terrible. Get him out of here.

Also, 90s movie Koopa was constantly frustrated with his incompetent minions and had an entire running gag involving a pizza order. Also, this:

The guy was a goon.

7 minutes ago, ShadowSJG said:

In that case, then how come the Deadly Six are not well received despite having quirks?

Because their quirks solely defined them and they had nothing interesting beyond that. They didn't even have any real motivation. Characters like Bowser and Eggman are quirky, but they're not one-note (usually). The Deadly Six had surface-level quirks but not much else.

Essentially, they had the same problems a typical one-shot Sonic villain has, except they were played for comedy instead of drama.

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12 minutes ago, Dr. Mechano said:

Shadow Queen, I'll give you, but in her defense she still had minions with personality, which is more than I can say for Mephiles. Beldam, Marilyn, and (prior to her reformation) Vivian served the Shadow Queen directly rather than Grodus. Doopliss was one of her direct henchmen too, and he was hilarious. So I still think that the Shadow Queen is aided by having extensions of her will still have personality. In that sense she's kind of like Smithy; Not terribly engaging herself, but supported by likable underlings.

Dimentio was a literal clown. He was brimming with personality and had great one-liners throughout the game. He was far less sympathetic than Bleck was, but he was anything but bland.

I don't count Tabuu. Tabuu is terrible. Get him out of here.

Also, 90s movie Koopa was constantly frustrated with his incompetent minions and had an entire running gag involving a pizza order. Also, this:

The guy was a goon.

Because their quirks solely defined them and they had nothing interesting beyond that. They didn't even have any real motivation. Characters like Bowser and Eggman are quirky, but they're not one-note (usually). The Deadly Six had surface-level quirks but not much else.

Essentially, they had the same problems a typical one-shot Sonic villain has, except they were played for comedy instead of drama.

Aren’t the Heavies another example of played for laughs versions of typical Sonic baddies?

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11 minutes ago, ShadowSJG said:

I see, then how do people view the likes of Dr. Finitevus and Eclipse the Darkling?

Generally positive, from what I've heard, although they have at least one detractor I'm sure.

I think it's important to note that those two have very different contexts and exist in a different medium than Mephiles does.

 

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3 minutes ago, DabigRG said:

think it's important to note that those two have very different contexts and exist in a different medium than Mephiles does

Plus, in the case of Eclipse, he cared deeply for the Black Arms and for the hatchlings, so he had some depth.

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11 minutes ago, Miragnarok said:

Aren’t the Heavies another example of played for laughs versions of typical Sonic baddies?

They were, but they weren't built up to be anything more than just a squad of bosses to defeat, while the Deadly Six were built up to be the (red herring) main antagonists of Lost World. And for nothing but a bunch of stage bosses, they had more personality than is typically expected for that role. Different context, different expectations. Heavy King is an exception, as he tried (and failed) to usurp Eggman, but the game didn't really focus on him enough for him to leave that much of an impression - which is kind of a weakness for that role.

Still, that could be at least one reason people might give the Heavies a bit more leeway. It helps that they were generally received as more likable and fun than the Deadly Six were too. That's subjective, sure, but it doesn't seem like a rare opinion either. Both groups are pretty flat characters, but I think it just could be that the Heavies were simply better-executed and didn't overstay their welcome, as opposed to the Deadly Six who spent an inordinate amount of time standing around and attempting to exchange funny banter with each other - much of which fell flat for many people. Maybe less is more, you know?

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2 hours ago, Cuz said:

He's just too one dimensional.

Eh, to be fair, he did have some measure of minor quirkiness when you really think about it. And his existence as the mind of Solaris and the brighter half of Iblis also kinda gives him some backstory and motivation.

It's not that much, sure, but it's something.

50 minutes ago, ShadowSJG said:

In that case, then how come the Deadly Six are not well received despite having quirks?

I think the primary issue with the Deadly Six was that they are given very little establishment.

Sure, we know they are creatures known as Zeti, they can live for centuries or perhaps longer, they can use magnetic waves to manipulate electronics, and that the Cacophonic Conch allows it's wielder to inhibit these powers to control them to some extent, but that's about it. They kinda come out of nowhere, are given no exposition as to what being a member of the Deadly Six or even just a Zeti entails, and their connection to the Lost Hex is completely overlooked.

Then there's the grander problem that they just don't really fit in pleasingly. They look nothing like any character we've seen before and their resemblance to Bowser's species makes them seem derivative in a somewhat humbling way. On top of that, their showing as a villainous force unto themself hasn't gone over very well at all. tend to be either really easy or somewhat puzzling when actually fought, they act as the main bosses throughout the game instead of Eggman or his Super Badniks, hijack Eggman's resources thanks to Sonic's hasty intervention a quarter of the way into the game,  and their two plans after that are essentially to Roboticize/Cyberize Sonic and use the Extractor to suck the life out of Sonic's world just to get back at Eggman and make themselves stronger in the process.

And finally, as individual characters, they are mostly one-note archetypes with relatively little if any extra characterization beyond that. Add in that half of them could be seen as annoying or even offensive due to their respective quirk and there is definite room for dislike.

 

Personally, I definitely see what they were going for now more than ever, like a third of them, and have since grown to appreciate Zavok in particular.

 

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38 minutes ago, RedFox99 said:

Plus, in the case of Eclipse, he cared deeply for the Black Arms and for the hatchlings, so he had some depth.

Yes.

And while Dr. Finitevus incidentally has a somewhat similar backstory and end goal, he's also more in-tune to the context of his environment.

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The Hard-Boiled Heavies also have the advantage of being heavily-refitted themed versions of Eggrobos.  In a sense, there is already depth to them just from their designs; they're both familiar and new, and the contrast between their individual variation versus the standard Eggrobo design, between nostalgia and innovation, between a boss version of an enemy and a standard enemy - there are obvious grounds for immediate appeal there.  The Deadly Six, on the other hand, are widely considered to not even look like Sonic characters; I think they're interesting in a similar way to the Heavies as being variations on a single theme, with design commonalities and differences, but that's pretty much all they've got going for them.

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11 hours ago, FFWF said:

I think the fact that even his true form is derivative of Shadow is pretty weak. 

Actually, I'm pretty sure he only resembles Shadow because he used him(or rather, his ...shadow) as a basis to construct a physical form out of. I get the feeling his true form, even he even really has one, is either just the black smoke-ooze he was initially or those giant monsters he creates in his final battle.

1 hour ago, RedFox99 said:

Also, am I the only one who didn't like him not having a mouth, especially when he talked? It seemed weird and didn't make much sense. 

Eh. I made the fact that he tended to wave his arms around when talking to Silver and Blaze both clever and kinda funny.

1 hour ago, Dr. Mechano said:

The problem with Mephiles is that he's dry and humorless. He's boring. He has no personality.

Eeeh...I'd combat that notion a bit. But I suppose it depends on the context and tone of whatever series is in question.

1 hour ago, Dr. Mechano said:

The Mario series has occasionally dabbled in "darker" villains, some of whom wanted to plunge the world into darkness or even achieve total universal destruction, as opposed to merely conquering the Mushroom Kingdom.

Yet in most of these cases, the villains still had memorable, likable, and fun personalities. Villains like Fawful, Count Bleck, the X-Nauts... These weren't just bland, dark-and-edgy sticks in the mud who just stood around being evil all day. They had quirks, foibles, a certain humanness about them that made them endearing to the audience while feeling right at home in the Mario series. Even Smithy, one of the more low-key and "serious" Mario antagonists, had a freaking sentai team under his command - so he wasn't totally without any humorous bells and whistles.

The Wario spinoff series had some downright twisted and weird big bads as well - Rudy and Terrormisu both hit the "godlike existential threat" qualification, but they still had personality and charisma that made them more than just flat generic obstacles to foil.

Where exactly does Grodus, the Shroobs, and Antasma fall on that rating scale, if you don't mind me asking?

Also, I'm a little conflicted about whether we should be using Mario RPG characters as comparisons, particularly to someone like Mephiles, but I suppose there's a point you're making there.

1 hour ago, Dr. Mechano said:

I think that characters like Mephiles or Black Doom just feel out of place, because they have nothing to their personalities other than how dark and evil and scary they're supposed to be. They're the epitome of generic one-note villains, and they stick out in the Sonic series like sore thumbs because of that.

Black Doom more than Mephiles, but I think I see what you're getting at.

 

 

 

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