Those of you following the non-pixellated news lately may be aware that the Catholic Church has had better times. While we're not looking to become your one-stop papacy-in-peril news source (interested parties are better off looking elsewhere for a quick primer), it got us to thinking: how do gaming's most malfeasant ministers stack up next to those besmirchers of the real-life Church's good name? In a medium with a long tradition of religious-themed plots, how many turncoat clerics have you personally sent to their maker in your lifetime as a gamer? Being suckers for a quick dash of sacrilege, we figured it was about time for a run-down of the least-blessed souls ever to don the cloth.
Holy-roller credentials: Commands a loyal flock of dedicated followers amongst the villagers of Transylvania during the era of Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night. Obviously does his job fairly well, because said flock sticks with him even after...
Notable transgressions:...he kidnaps half the area's virgins for use in dark rituals that resurrect the Dark Lord Dracula. Not only that, the bastard does it twice. And possesses vampire hunter Richter Belmont, AND comes back from the dead to just keep on bothering you when all you want to do is kill Dracula and go home. There's a good reason they say that cat Shaft, he's a baaaad mother–
Above: We can dig it
Punishment: The problem with Faustian immortality-bargains is that people get to kill you over and over again. If that weren't ignoble enough, nobody even thinks to give him a single one of the craptabulous lines that pepper his games.
Above: Arguably the best cutscene ever written (“Arguably” means “not”)
Bishop Mandible (Loom)
Holy-roller credentials: Well, for one thing, he's Transultimate Apostle of the Antisecular Conclave of Clerics, which is the sort of title that you don't get without doing an awful lot of something. Though Loom was released in 1990, when we were also calling garbagemen “supervisory and participatory sanitation technicians,” so maybe this is just resume-padding.
Notable transgressions: Jealous of all the weavers and glassmakers and blacksmiths and so on who actually have useful jobs, Mandible sets about branding good honest tradespeople as heretics. This turns out to be a front for his grander scheme, which involves harnessing the secrets of the weavers to raise an army of zombies and blanket the world in chaos.
Punishment: In what passed for dramatic irony in early-‘90s adventure games, he was bloodily vaporized by Chaos itself. There wasn't even anything left for the zombies, which must have been disappointing: blanketing the world in chaos is hungry work.
Mankar Camoran (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion)
Holy-roller credentials: Leader of the Mythic Dawn. While our own world's Mythic Dawn makes terrible electro-emo unsuitable for anyone with ears, Oblivion's Mythic Dawn is an extremist religious sect composed of necromancers, thieves and assassins. Which is almost as bad.
Above: They may be hacking you to bits, but at least they don't have a MySpace
Notable transgressions: While Mankar Camoran's Mythic Dawn earn big points for not having written or performed “The Real You,” their plot to escape to an otherworldly paradise by sacrificing their friends and neighbors to H-E-double-hockey-sticks is hardly the sort of thing that gets you onto many Christmas card lists.
Punishment: Mankar Camoran and his family are all killed unceremoniously by the player and Sean Bean. That might seem harsh, but they should have known no good would come of rallying around a patriarch played by Terence Stamp.
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