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The Top 7… RPG towns that explode

There are lots of excellent reasons to want to blow up an RPG town. If you’re a villain, for example, you might level a place because it’s friendly to some resistance movement, or it’s in your way, or the heroes are stopping in briefly on their way to kill you. If you’re a game designer, you might do it to raise the stakes, or to give players some emotional reason to want the villain dead. And if you’re a player, it’s probably because you’re sick of listening to a bunch of cookie-cutter whiners ask for your help the same way over and over.

Whatever the reasons for their destruction, the following RPG towns are more than just truck stops crawling with monomaniacally chatty idiots and overpriced vendors. They’re populated powder kegs, doomed to explode spectacularly whenever some outside force decides they’ve used up their existence. And when they do, they’ll all tug at your heartstrings in unique ways - provided you’re not too distracted by the fireworks.

Oh, and: SPOILERS AHEAD!!



The town: A remote, unassuming mountain village inhabited by monster-summoners.

Exploded by: Protagonist/dark knight Cecil Harvey.

 

You don’t get to see much of Mist before it’s engulfed in flames, but what you do see remains etched in the memory of anyone who’s ever played through Final Fantasy IV’s opening act. Shortly after the game begins, you’re ordered to hike to Mist, free the town from a sinister dragon and deliver a ring as some kind of message from your king. Once you’ve killed the suspiciously nonaggressive dragon and wandered into the village, though, the nature of the message becomes clear:

 

Without your knowledge or consent, you were sent to assassinate an entire town, just because they posed some threat to your apparently evil king’s power. As the bomb creatures you brought with you zoom around just generally tearing the place a new asshole, you do the only sane thing: tense up, throw back your head and scream at the heavens like nobody ever does outside of movies.

 

But you’re not done yet. Oh no. As you and your best friend Kain stroll casually through the wreckage, offering no assistance beyond mild self-recrimination, you see a little girl crying over the body of her dead mother, whose life was apparently tied to the dragon you just killed. Again displaying a rare knack for doing the exact wrong thing, you inform the little girl that you killed the dragon, and half-heartedly try to explain why it wasn’t really your fault.

 

 

This, unsurprisingly, causes her to run away in horror and confusion…

 

… at which point she angrily summons an earth giant…

 

… which does even more damage to what’s left of the town.

 

Despite being a short-lived testament to the main character’s gross incompetence, Mist – and by extension FFIV - deserves recognition for subverting the whole “you’re a hero, go kill that thing and save that place” dynamic that dominated nearly every console RPG that came before it. What’s more, you're just as complicit in the massacre as Cecil, meaning his eventual redemption becomes yours as well. It's a pretty clever way to bring players closer to the story and – perhaps more importantly – it's fun to watch. Which you can do right now:

 

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100 comments

  • joemama9999 - September 24, 2010 12:10 a.m.

    KOOOOOOLLLLLL-AAAID!!!!
  • twingun - December 21, 2009 3:03 a.m.

    What about oakvale in fable 1 ?????
  • 50Dashes - August 18, 2009 9:26 p.m.

    I knew Megaton was gonna be in here. Seeing as how it's all the rage with commenters, ReCaptcha: abutted Michel
  • ReverendTed - July 29, 2009 5:11 p.m.

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Sunder from Anachronox. Yet ANOTHER one of those snooty planet-cities full of scientists thinking they're smarter than everyone else. I mean, come on - you couldn't even secure travel to it without passing the "Brain Bouncer" to prove you're intelligent enough to go there. And it was destroyed in a spectacular fashion. I think the list could easily have sacrificed one of the Final Fantasy slots for it.
  • Hayroon - July 11, 2009 7 p.m.

    Midgar shouldn't be on the list because it didn't really explode
  • whitesall - July 10, 2009 5:03 a.m.

    i nuked a town once
  • Superirish19 - May 31, 2009 1:01 p.m.

    i got fallout3,i set off the bomb,but first,i robbed eeryone trying to kill me after i robbed all their stuff and killed a few megaton settlers.LOL!
  • TheWebSwinger - May 25, 2009 5:35 p.m.

    This article was completely worth it, strictly for the caption: "Also, this house is probably not about to collapse." Seriously,why is RPG architecture so precarious?
  • AdelletheGifted - May 25, 2009 2:08 a.m.

    Wowzers, that's a hella lotta fire in the FF series O__O
  • UsernameAlreadyInUse - May 22, 2009 2:42 a.m.

    "I wish we had another nuke we could detonate, you don't see that very often" Nooooo really?
  • savage1159 - May 22, 2009 12:21 a.m.

    How about the middle eastern town that got nuked in Call of Duty Modern Warfare? That was quite a spectacular and unexpected event.
  • protospasm - May 20, 2009 8:33 p.m.

    If these are the top 7, I'd suggest that the Magic City of Vane was a close 8th (to break the Final Fantasy addiction and all).
  • TripleAD - May 20, 2009 8:21 p.m.

    The one second I clicked on this I thought to myself "Fallout 3's gonna be first
  • Phantasmagorical - May 20, 2009 10:44 a.m.

    *sniffsniffs* Poor, poor Cleyra peoples.
  • RonnyLive19881 - May 19, 2009 9:52 p.m.

    Phuck Midger! Kefika Blew up the WORLD in FF6 and basically became a God Lol. FF7 is so over rated...
  • FierceDeity - May 19, 2009 7:41 p.m.

    you must've known i would say this but why isnt Clock Town included in the list.
  • bonerachieved - May 19, 2009 7:31 p.m.

    Totally knew Megaton was gonna be # 1.
  • noobeater - May 19, 2009 7:09 p.m.

    @crumbdunky lol fallout came out long before oblivion...fallout and elder scrolls have been out for a long time before just xbox 360. I hate ignorent people like you. anyway great article. I for one dont mind fallout being mentioned its funny, however when i played through i never nuked it and yet i destroyed tenpenny towers lol. however i went on me mates saved file to see what it is like to nuke it. IT IS WORTH THE HYPE!! =D
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - May 19, 2009 6:26 p.m.

    At least half the list was Final Fantasy! D: Funny list though And OMG, I KNEW MEGATON WAS GOING TO BE IN IT It's practically the reason you made this top 7, Isn't it?
  • oryandymackie - May 19, 2009 3:31 p.m.

    Oh man, how ironic that Moira, THE MOST ANNOYING one, was left alive? Not fair. Plus, I prefer the suite in Tenpenny Tower. Much better.

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