While it’s true that FPS fans rarely need more incentive to line up their crosshairs and pull the trigger other than the game telling them “these are the bad guys, shoot them”, it cannot be denied that finally getting to take down the henchmen’s ringleader brings with it a special sort of satisfaction.
Here are my top five picks for FPS villains who made me say “I’m really gonna enjoy this…” as I lined up my sights on them.
1. Vladimir Makarov, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
After having him slip through my fingers countless times in the first two Modern Warfare games, it felt good to finally put the screws to Makarov once and for all at the end of Modern Warfare 3.
Getting to step into the shoes of S.A.S. Captain John Price and take the fight directly to Makarov and his thugs in a bold surprise attack, one of the many setpieces the series is known for, in the middle of a crowded hotel was a perfect way to end the series. The harrowing hallway firefights, having to take down a helicopter from an elevator, and Makarov’s final “sendoff” into the next world made all the previous hours I’d spent with the series more than worth it as I sat back and watched Price light up a cigar.
2. Gravemind, Halo 2 and 3
After all his heated battles against The Flood in the original Halo: Combat Evolved, I doubt Master Chief was 100% on-board with trusting Gravemind; the hyper-intelligent superorganism that gave purpose and direction to the flood, and for good reason.
Master Chief is forced to strike a tentative alliance with Gravemind not once, but several times over the course of both Halo 2 and Halo 3 and every time Gravemind ends up betraying him at the earliest possible convenience. While players never actually get to kill Gravemind outright, constantly foiling his plans to infect other planets and galaxies and finally leaving him battered and marooned on a remote Halo ring is almost just as satisfying.
Plus I have no doubt that Gravemind will make an appearance in the new Halo 4 trilogy, giving Master Chief the opportunity to silence Gravemind and The Flood for good.
3. Father Karras, Thief II: The Metal Age
While not technically a “shooter”, Thief II: The Metal Age offered a well-crafted “first person sneaker” experience that pits Master Thief Garrett against Father Karras, a sociopathic mechanist and inventor who seeks to wipe out all organic life in the steampunk city where Garrett plies his trade.
Several of the game’s missions are peppered with voice recordings of Karras’s insane ramblings and his mechanized turrets, sentries, and cameras prove to be a major thorn in Garrett’s side. When it finally comes time to take the fight to Karras himself, Garrett works feverishly to turn Karras’s own plan against him. The game’s final cinematic, in which players get to see the look on Karras’s face slowly change from one of triumph to confusion and then absolute horror, would bring a smug smirk to any Master Thief’s lips.
4. Alec Trevelyan, Goldeneye 007
After his supposed death during the opening levels of the hit N64 game Goldeneye 007, I’m sure many players were shocked when Alec Trevelyan, James Bond’s one-time MI6 partner, was revealed to be the head of the Janus terrorist syndicate (unless of course they happened to see the movie before playing the game).
Once Trevelyan is outed as the syndicate’s leader, him and Bond begin a complex dance of death over the course of the game’s second half as Bond chases his former comrade through the streets of St. Petersburg, a lengthy soviet-era train, the jungles of Cuba, and finally on top of a massive antenna relay.
Their final confrontation goes down on a small platform only a few feet wide and dangling precariously above a long long fall. If timed just right, Trevelyan’s end can have all the cinematic flare in the game as it does in the film, bringing the entire Janus syndicate crashing down right alongside its leader.
5. Frank Fontaine, Bioshock
Speaking of betrayal, I doubt anything quite equals the shock and confusion players felt in the final leg of the original Bioshock when their buddy Atlas, the caring father and husband who’d been guiding and helping them all this time, was revealed to be a cunning gangster and subterfuge master named Frank Fontaine.
Up to that point, all the player knew of Fontaine was that he had apparently been killed during his war against Andrew Ryan, the egotistical business tycoon who had first created and established the underway city of Rapture. But Fontaine is still very much alive and, thanks to his clever manipulation of the player, manages to gain control of all of Rapture.
The player proves to be just as hard to kill however and, after a harrowing journey through Rapture’s suburbs, manages to confront Fontaine in his lair. By then Fontaine is more monster than man thanks to the large quantities of ADAM he has injected into his system but, with the help of the game’s Little Sisters, the player manages to best the monstrous gangster and close the books on Fontaine for good.