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Article - 'Why The Bad Guys Always Lose' by Angroth

An item about Game Design posted on Jan 14, 2004

Blurb

A little look at the villains that always lose.

Body

What Bugs Me
Even when you’re a little kid you wish that once, just once He-Man would hit Skeletor with his sword a kill him. And because he never did evil survived! Now… Being the almighty powerful sorcerer that he is complete with his many minions, why could Skeletor never defeat He-Man. For once, just once I wished that maybe He-Man would get an arm or leg chopped off. Perhaps Man-At-Arms should have been killed. It would have proven to the kids that the kind of violence they saw had its consequences. Nonetheless no matter what film you talk about it’s likely that the heroes will win and the bad guys will mess up. In computer games it’s just because you’re solid and kill them with big guns or amazing sword skills. In the movies they usually mess up somehow.

The Main Ways A Bad Guy Fails
Below are a list of all the possible ways the bad guys are outmatched and defeatedm if you can think of anymore, suggestions would be greatly welcomed. Alrighty then:
1 - Bad Ass - The hero turn out to be a bad ass and is just simply too good a match for the villain.
2 - Delayed Killing - The villain talked slightly too long before killing the hero, thus giving a chance for something or someone to intervene and save the hero.
3 – Minions Suck - The villain left the guarding or killing of the hero under an incapable retard minion. An example of this at its best is in Pulp Fiction with the gimp.
4 - The Plan Was Arse - The plan was simply crap and didn’t work. This rarely happens but it could on occasion.
5 - Prison’s Have Secret Exits - What the hell is up with that? The imprisonment areas always have a ‘way out’. I don’t like that idea but it still keeps happening.
6 - Underestimate - Where the villain thinks their best man can take out the hero. Why send one when you have loads to spare?
7 - One On One - Yeah, let’s each fight the hero in turn… What a great plan…
8 - Shoot To Kill - Hmm… One of my minions has annoyed me so I will kill him muwahaha!! Ah… No wonder I only have a handful left.

What’s Silly About Bad Guys Losing
The baddies should definitely win. Most of the time they have a plan which has taken them at least 5 to 10 years to construct and during this time they are usually in prison being all ‘manafied’ in there. Some examples would be Speed, where the villain has constructed a plan over a long period of time and Flash Gordon where the evil Ming has conquered so many planets he knows how to do it and plan it like the back of his hand. Now, if these plans are so well developed (which usually, they are) why do they fail? The hero is just some average cool dude who can wield a weapon. Usually someone with a white vest or someone who plays the same character role every movie (Stephen Segal). Either way, the hero is by far not expecting this master plan and yet somehow manage to foil it… The logic behind that defeats me completely.

Why Should The Villains Win!??
There are a few good reasons I can think of for why villains should turn out as winners.
1 - Sequels - Instead of having lots of stupid brothers, family members or some other stupid weak connection (Die Hard movies) you can have the actual evil villain him/herself. Who is known to be unbeatable. Oh yes that’s right, the sequel will be a very solid movie indeed, despite how good or bad the first one was.
2 - Come On!! - The hero is usually an idiot or one in the same. Think of Die Hard, Rambo and Stephen Segal movies etc. It would be so nice to witness them mess up at some point and spend the rest of their life in a small cave in perpetual darkness, muwahahaha! (or is that just me?…)
3 - Use Your Imagination - No seriously! I can’t think of anything else..

Would Should We Expect From Villains In The Future?
I think we need some complete nerd villain who makes a big flawless plan (as usual) and then gets someone with an army to act it out. If they don’t aimlessly kill their own people or leave their soldiers to do all the work unsupervised, all should go reasonably well. I also think destroying the hero’s family goes down well (Gladiator) but lots of the time they ‘have no family’ (Rambo) so be careful villains! And finally, kill them on sight. Bringing them to your area or doing bargains (6th Day) is only asking for more trouble. And also villains need to hire their minions to do combat training and shooting training. After all, in China O’Brien (and its sequel) they must have annihilated a couple million enemies.