Saturday, October 27, 2012

Zero

I am not Buzzard but I can talk about antagonists just as much as the next bird. I have chosen Zero from the Zero Escape series which is made up of two games, the first 999:9 Persons 9 Hours 9 Doors, and the second is Virtue's Last Reward.
Let us talk about the Zero Escape games a little first. Both are point and click adventure games, similar to the more popular titles such as Ace Attorney or Professor Layton. Zero escape differs from the previously listed games in that it has and deserves a M rating, swearing, sexual overtones, and violent murder, this game has it all. These games can also be described as visual choose your own adventure novels. If you are not a fan of reading, and a lot of it, then 999 is not the game for you, but it's successor VLR does come fully voice acted in the novel sections. So then, Zero... In both games the protagonists wake up in a strange place. Their last memory is of smoke and seeing a masked figure. You quickly learn that you were not the only person kidnapped, and encounter 8 other people all with the same memory. It turns out the masked figure goes by the name Zero. Zero has kidnapped you to participate in "the Nonary Game." The Nonary Game focuses on the number nine, a deadly game that Zero is game master of. In 999 Zero claims to have placed explosives in the stomach of all the players, which will detonate if the players don't participate, or fallow the rules. In VLR Zero has claimed to place poisoned needles in the bracelets each player is forced to wear. In 999 Zero only talks to the players threw prerecorded messages and notes, leaving open the possibility that Zero could be among the players. In VLR Zero created a AI rabbit calling itself "Zero III" to run the game. Zero III tells the players point blank that it's creator Zero is among them.
What the Nonary Game is, why Zero is running it, and how Zero chose the players, are all reveled by playing the game multiple times and achieving different endings.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

30 Days of Villainy: Walpurgisnacht (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)


SERIES: Puella Magi Madoka Magic is an anime series from popular anime studio SHAFT, and focuses on Madoka, an ordinary girl who dreams of apocalyptic battlefield where a mysterious girl in a strange outfit battles an unseen force of destruction. Her peaceful existence is upended when the girl from her dreams appears in her class. The girl, Homura, is cold and detached, but seems to know Madoka, and is quick to warn her not to lose herself, lest she lose everything she holds dear. Her warning takes on new meaning when Madoka comes to the rescue of Kyubey, a strange white fox creature being hunted by Homura. Kyubey explains there are beings in the world known as "magical girls", who use their considerable magic power to battle monsters known as "witches", inhuman monstrosities which live to spread despair and disharmony throughout the world of man. Kyubey tells Madoka and one of her friends, Sayaka, that they have it in them to become magical girls themselves, and if they are willing to take on the responsibility of hunting witches in their city and make a contract with him, he will grant them each any wish. As Madoka and Sayaka contemplate whether they have wishes they'd be willing to risk their lives for as magical girls, they are drawn further into the world of magic by Kyubey and a veteran magical girl named Mami, and soon learn to realize that this world holds terrifying risks and horrifying secrets. What Madoka doesn't not realize is that she is at the center of a conflict between Kyubey, who knows that Madoka has it in her to become the most powerful magical girl of all time, and Homura, a magical girl herself, who will stop at nothing to keep Madoka from making the contract. This conflict sends Madoka careening against her will towards a destiny that will lead her to become Earth's greatest champion...and the engine of its destruction.
BIO: The witches of Madoka Magica, as mentioned, are harbingers of despair, while the magical girls are beacons of hope. Witches represent the hatred and anger of mankind, hiding in massive, immensely surreal constructs called labyrinths while they lead people to kill themselves or commit horribly violent acts by cursing people with their "witch's kiss". These witches don't have much in way of personality, since they exist as little more than vehicles to spread negative emotions and destruction (although their labyrinths are incredibly colorful and often adhere chaotically to some kind of motif), but one witch stands out among all others featured in the series, the ultimate witch-Walpurgisnacht. Whereas most witches are considered to be dangerous but fairly easily beaten, Walpugisnacht is likened unto a force of nature. A massive and immensely powerful monster, she is so fearsome that she does not need to hide from magical girls in a labyrinth. A single manifestation in a crowded city can lead to thousands of deaths. That's right, her simply showing up is a cataclysmic event! Although her appearance is originally cloaked in shadow, she is eventually revealed to resemble a massive, upside-down woman in fancy dress, with a cruel smile on her otherwise featureless face.At her top, where her dress ends, is a series of massive gears, and she is drawn along by tenuous, flag-covered strings pulled by a bizarre circus procession. She also has an incessent and incredibly creepy laugh, which is warped and mocking and only seems to make her more monstrous.
    As terrifying and fearsome as Walpurgisnacht is, her importance to the story is twofold. One is that she really is the ultimate challenge, a seemingly-unbeatable adversary capable of murdering magical girls with the easy of swatting gnats. A clue to the other reason she's so important is found in the title of her villain theme (BONUS TIME). Take a listen to "Surgam Identidem" or in English, "I Shall Always Rise" :

The certainty that Walpurgisnacht will always appear weights heavily on the mind of Homura, who has fought Walpurgisnacht over and over across multiple timelines. She has yet to defeat Walpurgisnacht by herself, and every time she fails, she meets with tragedy and death. While she's willing to work with other magical girls to battle, the fates seem determined that she battle this monster herself, or with Madoka by her side. Homura has her reasons for keeping Madoka out of this fight, and if it means fighting Walpurgisnacht over and over for the rest of eternity to finally defeat it without Madoka's help, she's more than willing to do so, regardless of how many times she has to see her city fall before the unstoppable might of Walpurgisnacht.
POWERS/ABILITIES: Walpurgisnacht, like all witches, have a variety of vague and awesome abilities, but from what we get to see, she has the ability to shoot blasts of flame and darkness that are capable of doing serious harm to even the toughest magical girl. She also has impressive telekinetic abilities, able to pick up entire buildings and throw them at her enemies. She is also nigh indestructible, able to take direct hits from a massive variety of conventional weapons without slowing down.
ALLIES: None. With her power, who needs allies?
ENEMIES: All magical girls, but particularly Homura, who has stockpiled a massive arsenal in preparation for the coming of Walpurgisnacht, and hopes to end the cycle of tragedy and destruction by finally putting her down once and for all.
(picture from: anime-postal.blogspot.com)

Friday, October 19, 2012

30 Days of Villainy: The Court of Owls (Batman)


You know, it occurs to me that for a site with "Ornithology" in our name, we don't have many articles having to do with birds. I'm gonna change that right now, with the help of Batman's newest adversaries. I know that means two Batman villains in three days, but is this really a problem? Come on, it's Batman!
SERIES: That's right, Batman, the tale of a boy who witnesses the murder of his parents in a mugging gone terribly wrong. Dedicating himself to striking fear into the hearts of evildoers everywhere, Bruce Wayne travels the world, training his body and mind to the peak of human fitness, before returning to Gotham City and assuming the guise of The Batman. After all of his successes, every villain he's foiled, every crime he's prevented, Batman is pretty secure in his belief that Gotham City is his city, and always will be. But when a flock of owls begin to roost in his belfry, everything Batman knows about the city will be tested when the Court of Owls returns to take back Gotham City once and for all.
BIO: The Court of Owls is an ancient and powerful society comprised of the Gotham City elites, that has been in existence since the founding of Gotham. Backed by seemingly limitless wealth and an unending capacity for cruelty, the Court has been shaping the history of Gotham from the very beginning, using intimidation and murder to achieve their ends. The "claws" of the Court (appropriately enough) are called the "Talons", elite assassins hand-picked by the Court at an early age to have their wills shattered and their minds and bodies trained in the deadly arts. What makes the Talons so dangerous is that they are forced to go through a procedure that makes them essentially unkillable. They are able to regenerate from almost any wound, and even after their natural death, they may be reanimated by the Court when it has need of their services.
Although very active up until recently, the Court has taken to the shadows by the time Batman shows up, so that he refuses to acknowledge that they even exist-that his city might hide such monstrous secrets from him. Finally, when a routine murder investigation points to the existence of the Court, the Owls spring a trap for Batman, locking him in a terrifying labyrinth, that pushes him towards the brink of insanity and death. Refusing to let the Owls win, Batman is able to stop the Owls from dealing a killing blow, and escapes to recover and plan. The Owls won't give him the chance though, as they reanimate all of their Talons, and launch a devastating attack on Gotham City, plotting to murder some of the most powerful and influential Gothamites in order to reassert their control over the city. Only Batman and his allies stand their way, and a final battle for the soul of Gotham City shall be decided on this, the Night of Owls.
POWERS/ABILITIES: The Court's greatest assets are its vast wealth and connections, but the members themselves are normal humans, recognizable by their sinister white owl masks. The agents of their will, the superhuman Talons, are their greatest shield against Batman, and their greatest hope of finally taking the city back from him.
ALLIES: They have connections all throughout the highest and lowest rungs of Gotham society, and its implied that their operations have expanded to become global in scope.
ENEMIES: Batman and the "Bat Family", Alfred, Batgirl, the various Robins, Catwoman, Batwing (one of his Batman Incorporated agents), along with Commissioner Gordon, and even some of his villains, like Mr. Freeze. It has been shown that the Wayne family has always opposed the Court, and it seems that the Court may have finally found a way to use their own bloodline against their greatest champion...
QUOTE: "Bruce Wayne. The Court of Owls has sentenced you to die!"
(picture: naciondelcomic.com)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

30 Days of Villainy: Li'l Gideon (Gravity Falls)


SERIES: Gravity Falls is a relatively new animated series, focusing on twins Dipper and Mabel Pines, who's parents send them away from their big-city lives to spend the summer living with their con-artist Great Uncle Stan, in the sleepy little town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. Stan runs The Mystery Shack, a run-down tourist trap filled with bizarre "supernatural" brick-a-brac to fool and beguile the strange and simple residents of Gravity Falls, but Dipper soon realizes that there are serious supernatural forces at work within the town when he uncovers a mysterious book with a six-fingered hand on the front. The apparent third volume in a set, the book deals with the strange creatures and phenomena in the town, while hinting at beings who would use the book for terrible purposes if they were to get their hands on it...With the book at his disposal, Dipper and his sister must rely on its wisdom, along with each other, if they are to survive the summer and unravel the mysteries of Gravity Falls.
BIO: "Li'l" Gideon Gleeful is a very troubled boy. He's made a name for himself and a small fortune for his family working as a psychic in his "Tent of Telepathy". Not bad for a young man of his age, but Gideon's ambitions are so much greater. In his first appearance, Gideon takes a shine to Mabel, befriending her with make-up parties before slowly forcing her to act as his girlfriend through coercion and manipulation. Eventually, with Dipper's help, Mabel finally convinces Gideon that she will never date him. He...does not take it well. He swears revenge on the entire Pines family, and has spent the rest of the series so far being a constant (if usually somewhat less than serious) thorn in their sides.
     Gideon  has serious issues with control-namely that he won't be happy until he controls everything in Gravity Falls, and destroys everything that might stop him. An angry and vengeful egomaniac, Gideon is incapable of accepting that his own glaring character flaws might be to blame for the various injustices he's perceived to suffer from. He knows that Dipper and Stan are keeping Mabel from him, and not the fact that he's a creepy little guy who tried to cut out her brother's tongue. He also has nothing but contempt for the citizens of Gravity Falls, and demands that everyone in town submit to his will. So yeah, he's a pretty terrible person, but it wouldn't matter much...if he didn't have the power to make his will known.
    Gideon possesses Volume 2, a companion book to the one Dipper holds, and while Dipper's pertains to (un)natural phenomena and creatures, Gideon's book is filled with spells and the locations of powerful amulets and artifacts, which Gideon uses to control people or wreak his vengeance. Although still a child, Gideon is one of the more intelligent characters in Gravity Falls, and his knowledge of the powers at work in Gravity Falls is considerable. He claims there is a secret hidden under The Mystery Shack, and he knows that if he can claim it, he might just find the power to claim everything he thinks he deserves.
POWERS/ABILITIES: While he lacks any innate powers, Gideon's book gives him access to a variety of magical items to aid in his schemes. He also knows the most about Gravity Falls of anyone we've seen, and has no problem exploiting that whenever it suits him.
ALLIES: His father, Buddy Gleeful, who acts as his manager/lackey.
ENEMIES: The Pines clan, for a variety of reasons. Dipper, not only because he's keeping Mabel from him, but because Gideon seems to be threatened by his growing understanding of the supernatural aspects of Gravity Falls. Mabel, because she thinks he's a creep. Stan and Gideon have had a business rivalry for several years, but Gideon also wants to steal the Mystery Shack from him and take its secrets for himself.
QUOTES: Buddy: *opens door* "Gideon Charles Gleeful! Clean up your room, this instant!"
Gideon: "I CAN BUY AND SELL YOU, OLD MAN!"
Bud: "...Fair enough." *shuts door*
BONUS!: Gideon actually has a villain song! Well, its not especially villainous, but he is, and it's his song! So here you go: Li'l Gideon singing "Li'l Ol' Me":

(picture from www.disney.co.uk)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

30 Days of Villainy: Bane (DC Comics)

SERIES: Although Bane is primarily a Batman villain, he has appeared in other DC Comics, even starring in Secret Six a year or two ago. Still, if I was going to describe a series, it'd be Batman, and I don't have to describe Batman to you, do I? I'm going to assume not and just move on.
BIO: In the hellish island prison of Santa Prisca, a boy was born, only to be immediately condemned to a lifetime serving penance for his father's sins. Faced with the choice to grow up quickly or not at all, he learned the harsh lessons needed to survive in prison, keeping a knife in his stuffed bear and only friend, El Oso. The boy who would become Bane grew up to a tough, strong, and above all ruthless warrior, eventually rising to become the de facto leader of the prison. Not merely a brainless thug, Bane also received something of a traditional education from a priest on the island, learning many things-none of which interested him nearly as much as the stories of the dark protector of far off Gotham City. He respected Batman for claiming Gotham for his own, and used him as an ideal to strive to reach, and eventually surpass. Bane was given a chance to achieve strength beyond measure when he was volunteered to test a dangerous experimental drug known as Venom. As the only survivor of the test, Bane, now convinced he had the strength to topple Batman, escaped from Santa Prisca and made his way to Gotham. Even convinced of his advantage, Bane knew the folly of openly challenging Batman, so he spent months studying him, until he was able to deduce his secret identity. Then, he engineered a full-scale breakout at Arkham Asylum, forcing Batman to the limits of total physical and mental exhaustion recapturing all of his foes. Finally, at his lowest moment, Bane stepped out of the shadows, brutally beat down Batman, and finally broke both his back and his spirit. Although his victory was nearly complete, Batman was able to escape Bane, and fled Gotham City, leaving the deranged Azrael as his replacement. Azrael was able to defeat Bane before he could solidify his control over Gotham, and was in term defeated by a rejuvenated Batman, after a long period of recovery.
     Although Bane never again reached the heights that he did in his first appearance, he remained a presence in the DC universe, ever ready to remind opponents that he was the one to break the bat. Often relegated to the role of "dumb muscle" in other series and media, at his best Bane was a complex character, brilliant and ruthless, but with a strict (if slightly warped) moral code that lead him to walk the line between hero and villain over and over again. Although much of his development seems to have been undone (perhaps temporarily) by the recent DC reboot, the fact remains that any man capable of breaking Batman is not one to be trifled with.
POWERS/ABILITIES: Bane is a brilliant tactician and in peak physical condition. Although naturally very strong, taking the drug Venom gives Bane superhuman strength, but can induce a frenzy or rage, leading Bane to quit Venom on multiple occasions.
ALLIES: Incredibly varied, depending on what situation Bane finds himself in. His most stalwart allies may be his fellow members in the Secret Six, a group of anti-heroes that Bane once lead. He has been known to side with other villains, and even Batman and his allies when the occasion calls for it.
ENEMIES: Pretty much the same list as his allies, except for the Secret Six. He also has a deep and abiding hatred for his father, the super villain King Cobra.

(photo: http://ts3.mm.bing.net/th?id=I.5004058541098062&pid=15.1)

Monday, October 15, 2012

30 Days of Villainy: Hades (Kid Icarus: Uprising)


SERIES: Kid Icarus: Uprising is a video game for the 3DS starring Pit, an angel who commands the army of Palutena, the benevolent Goddess of Light. In the original Kid Icarus, Pit rescued Palutena from the clutches of her nemesis, Medusa, Goddess of the Underworld, and now 20 years later, Medusa has returned to wage war against the surface world, forcing Pit back into action, as he battles Medusa's forces while he and Palutena search for a way to reach Medusa and stop her, once and for all. The game is incredibly fun, (and really freaking funny besides) as you switch from soaring air combat to land-based battles to make your way through Medusa's generals. After nine missions, you vanquish Medusa (who, curiously, is not sure how she was resurrected), and the credits begin to roll, while Pit and Palutena congratulate themselves on a job well done. As they do, they hear a voice politely try to interject, before a massive clawed hand rips the credits apart, to reveal the true villain of the game...
BIO: Hades! God of the Underworld and true leader of the Underworld Army! Hades reveals that he recreated Medusa using the memories of the original and a ton of souls as raw materials, and set her up as a figurehead while he observed the war from the shadows. In the wake of Medusa's defeat, Hades steps up the war effort himself, creating the myth of a "Wish Seed" that causes the humans to war amongst themselves. This raises the ire of a vengeful young Goddess of Nature called Veridi, who also declares war against the humans, who she sees as a blight on the planet. Due to Hades' machinations, Pit finds himself fighting a war on all fronts, as he seeks to protect the humans, stop Veridi, and put an end to Hades. Oh, and when you factor in the alien invasion and the coming of the "Chaos Kin" (long story), Pit sure has his work cut out for him.
     Hades loves being bad, and sometimes, its hard not to join in his enthusiasm. Hades has a plan, to have his army slaughter humans by the ton to provide him enough souls to create an unstoppable army, but at his heart, Hades just loves to mess with anyone and everyone. He creates chaos for chaos' sake, and then sits back and laughs at the horror he's caused. He treats Pit and all the other Gods and Goddesses as rubes to be messed with, and he often drops in on their conversations either to gloat or to upset them (he does this often-he loves to talk). Hades has a great flair for theatrics, which leads to some great situations with Pit, master of epic speeches. Despite his cheerful and joking demeanor, Hades is a cruel, vicious and ruthless creature, always looking to catch his enemies off guard and obliterate them. Although incredibly and unrepentantly evil, he will side with the other Gods on occasion to prevent extraterrestrial threats that threaten everyone. He's also not afraid to call his own troops out on the fact that they're pretty inept.
POWERS/ABILITIES: As a God, Hades is incredibly powerful, with the ability to create an almost limitless supply of minions from the souls of the dead. In close combat, Hades towers over Pit as a giant, with super strength and small turrets all over his body that fire missiles. He can shoot lasers from his eyes, fly, and recover from almost any wound. The only weapons capable of doing damage to him are those created by other Gods, and even then, he can destroy even the most powerful of those. He has an entire alternate dimension within his body, and his heart can be destroyed without causing him fatal damage.
ALLIES: His underworld army, and his generals, especially Thanatos, the God of Death.
ENEMIES: Pit and Palutena, of course, but also Viridi, who believes that Hades gross misuse of human souls is an abomination unto nature, and aids Pit in his effort to destroy Hades. Pittoo, a dark mirror of Pit, also opposes Hades, although he claims allegiance to no God, and tends to help out of respect (and perhaps friendship) to Pit.
QUOTE: "Sorry to keep YOU waiting, but now that I'm here, let's get this party started! Welcome to MY underworld, Pitty Pat!"

Saturday, October 13, 2012

30 Days of Villainy: Villain Song-"Friends on the Other Side"

Hey guys! I'm now I told you to expect a bio, but I am just not feeling up to it tonight. And frankly, I probably won't have time tomorrow. So here's my new goal: after tomorrow, I intend to have five full days of villain bios. For now though, here's the sinister Doctor Facilier, from Disney's Princess and the Frog, singing "Friends on the Other Side".