Since videogames were created, the first concept for which they were created was the fact of competing, of being better than the rival, of obtaining the highest score, or of reaching the end without all our lives ending …
And practically linked to that maxim, we have the fact of embodying the personalization of the good, of ending the bad guy on duty or rescuing the lady in distress. But those tales, luckily, have changed over the decades and we have even come to take on the role of the villain himself.
When I think of that drastic change, the first game that comes to mind is Carmageddon
Stainless Games changed the concept to the beast in 1997 with one of the most controversial titles in the history of videogames. And it is that within those races it is not only that we could destroy the rival, but that they gave us points for killing pedestrians. We were the living reincarnation of evil and we enjoyed it as dwarves, being pure fiction that offered a most refreshing twist within the genre of combat cars, with Twisted Metal, Vigilante 8 and many more.
Three years earlier, a curious event occurred in the Brain of the Beast. Capcom released Demon’s Crest for Super Nintendo, starring one of the villains of the Makaimura, those adventures of Sir Arthur that we know here as Ghosts ‘n Goblins. Technically, this demon named Firebrand we had already seen in the Gargoyle’s Quest de Game Boy, but it reached a darker touch and greater relevance with its jump to 16-bit SNES.
A demon against other demons and beings from the underworld under a game that combined platforms, action and exploration, being a cult work today. Something similar to what happened with the great Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, with a protagonist whose name backwards was that of Dracula himself. Although there we were no longer the bad guys, despite play the distraction with Richter Belmont…
Two years after revolutionizing sandbox with Grand Theft Auto III in 2001, Rockstar North launched the most controversial video game in its history: Manhunt. The beginning already promised them, since we played a prisoner on death row who was going to star in a series of films snuff
In a way, it was the evolution of that carte blanche (until we get caught) in the sandbox, where the saga Saints Row it is one of the most that has been cut less in that sense, being politically incorrect to the extreme. The difference is its tonality and a much more marked sense of humor …
Destroy All Humans!
What if an alien species invaded us? Mars Attacks!, by Tim Burton, showed us in 1996 that nothing good would come out of that event, having his replica perfectly in that Destroy All Humans! 2005, where we control the destiny of the Earth’s inhabitants at will in a thousand ways.
Anal probes, mind control, explosions … Anything was worth to complete each of Crypto’s objectives, with little regard for human casualties. Under a darker setting, it is worth remembering that Overlord where we control the lord of evil in a much darker version of the main mechanics of the Pikmin from Nintendo. And that we had the option of being benevolent with others, but … Who could resist that power?
Carrion it was one of the biggest surprises on the scene indie in 2020. Under the sponsorship of Devolver Digital, we were put in the position of control the typical monster from horror movies to end the humans and get out of the place where we are being held. Although little by little he showed us the other truth …
It was an atypical metroidvania, both because of the character and the way we moved or the way that monster evolved. A breath of fresh air that reminded us that more protagonists are needed far from the standard canons.
Without going any further, a few months before, Maneater It hit hard like the most sadistic vision of the relaxant (but frustrating) Ecco the Dolphin by SEGA. Here our role was neither more nor less than that of a shark with a thirst for revenge, having to eat other marine animals (or even humans) to grow, become stronger and evolve to become the most lethal prey in those waters.
If we think about it, becoming a hunter instead of a prey is very common in asymmetric multiplayer games, such as Dead by Daylight, where a small number of people have to flee from another player who controls the serial killer. Unless at Maneater the feast was for us only, within an extensive and fun adventure, although repetitive.
What other examples can you think of where we control the villain? And what is your favorite? Do you usually respect the rules in sandboxes? Confess, come on.