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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Twisted, but fuan and sometimes popular games and series worth mentioning part 1

Image caption: here is a typical "finish him" message in Mortal Kombat that appears when you have knocked out your opponent's health bar 2 rounds in a row. Note that Liu Kang has the option to perform a brutal fatality on Kano if the person playing him chooses to do so. The Mortal Kombat series is one of many twisted games out there.
In my years growing up and seeing the evoloution of gaming, I have noticed a very interesting trend these days: there have been many different twisted games out there and some of them are surprisingly popular. In this blog I will talk about a few of these games. I have at least 7 games in mind, though this post will be too long if I talked about them all on one post, and so I will break up this article into several posts. The first two games I will talk about are the Mortal Kombat Series as well as Grand Theft Auto.
Disclaimers: 1)given the mature nature of these games I am about to talk about, this post may be offensive to some (though the idea with this post is to give a commentary about these titles), and 2) never try anything you see in these featured games (especially) at home. Ever! No fights to the death, jacking cars or anything like that (unless if you are trying to go to jail as doing stuff you see in these featured game in real life will certainly land you in hot water for sure).
Game #1- Fight to the death (literally) in The Mortal Kombat Series
Fighting games have been around for quite a while, with early titles including Mike Tyson's Punch Out, Double Dragon, Battletoads, as well as the classic Street Fighter series (especially Street Fighter 2), with modern hits beign titles like Street Fighter 4, Wii Sports Boxing, and Soul Calibur. In most fighting games, the aim is to knock out the opponent and win. Usually the fight goes the best of 3 rounds and you win either when you wipe out your opponent's health bar 2 rounds in a row or when time runs out. Of course, there is also the Mortal Kombat series, which puts fighting games into a whole new ball game. On the surface, the Mortal Kombat series will appear to be much like any other typical fighting games out there. The fights lasts 2 to 3 rounds and the objective is to wipe out your opponent's health bar. However, one huge thing that sets Mortal Kombat appart is that upon defeating your opponent in the final round (unless if time runs out first), the game's narrator (Shao Khan?) will say "FINISH HIM!" and when that happens, you basically have the option to literally kill your opponent (if you know the right button combination as well as the distance of course). Every character have their own unique personalities, moves as well as fatalities (the classic fatality for Scorpion, for example, is to take off his mask, revealing his skeleton self and fry his opponents). Some characters have relatively quick and painless finisher moves (such as decapitations), while others may have more brutal moves (such as Nightwolf in his Animality finisher where he transforms into a wolf and mauls his opponent to death). Of course, if you prefer not to kill your opponent, you can always just knock out your opponent with an uppercut or in some games, perform a friendship move, where your character becomes "friends" with his/her opponent and lets the defeated foe lives.
video caption: here is a fatality demonstration from Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 that Igi40 posted on youtube. Warning: this video may be offensive to some (though it does go to show the twisted nature of the Mortal Kombat series)
So, there you have it with the Mortal Kombat Series. Despite the brutal nature of the game, it hs been surprisingly popular since it's debut back in the 1990's and has produced many sequels (with the latest ones being MK Deception, Armageddon and Shaolin Monks), 2 movies, as well as a short lived cartoon series that was on USA Network back when cartoons were being showed on it (networks like TNT and USA network used to have lots of cartoons on them before Cartoon Network came into being). Perhaps my favorite in the series was probably Mortal Kombat Trillogy (which is a spin off from the Ulitmate Mortal Kombat 3 game). By the way, does this game remind anyone of how it was at the time of the Roman Gladiators? Because, fights to the death were a real sport back in ancient rome, where Gladiators (usually slaves and other outcasts of the roman empire) would fight either other Gladiators or beasts (like lions) in fearsome death matches. Sometimes public executions were also performed in the colliseum as well. Thought that I would ask.
Similar titles and games:
- Celebrity Death Match from MTV (this was the hit series on MTV where celebrities fight each other to the death)
- Killer Instinct (no mercies replace fatalities here)
Game 2 - Become a common criminal in Grand Theft Auto 4 (and other GTA games for that matter)
video caption: here is a short video I made a few months ago via a flip camera showing my guy going on a short and cheesy rampage in GTA 4 (I got wasted both times of course) just for fun. This video shows one of the many things you can do in GTA 4, as well as the twisted nature of this game.
Ever wondered what it might be like living the life of crime? I've only been to the Los Angeles area twice since moving to the Seattle area and though I did grow up in Chicago, I lived in the suburbs near the Wisconson border, and so I am not familiar with living in rough neighborhoods. Even medium cities like Seattle do have gangs and rough neighborhoods (such as Rainer, Capitol Hill and White Center). Anyways, if you are looking for a good game where you get to be a common criminal without becoming a real life criminal, you do not have to look much further than the Grand Theft Auto series, with the latest one being GTA 4. The grand theft auto series has evolved alot since its inception back in the '90s and has a huge storyline to follow and has gotten lots of good reviews in gaming magazines. Of course, there are lots of common themes throughout the series:
- you control a thug (such as Niko in GTA 4) who does jobs for various criminal masterminds (ranging from petty thefts to assasinating deliquent business contacts that the your boss has developed a grudge against).
- there is an open ended universe out there. Even if you don't want to play the storyline missions, you can always go on a rampage in the game, hang out with girlfriends (in GTA San Andreas, for example, CJ can have up to 6 girlfriends provided he has met special requirements), explore the huge map that the games cover (especially GTA San Andreas where you have 3 cities to operate in instead of one, with a huge country side seperating each city).
- The primary mode of transportation (besides walking) is to steal cars from unsuspecting people (usually by car jacking) and driving off with them. Even if you wreck one car, you can always steal another one.
- There are no rules on the road. You can drive like a maniac and nobody will care. Police officers will only go after you if you either hit them, hit another car in their presence, if you already have a wanted level, or if you are driving drunk (in GTA 4).
- You can go around killing people and commit other crimes (such as committing arson with Motogiv Cocktails in GTA San Andreas). Of course, as you commit crimes, your wanted level will rise represented by wanted stars and police officers will try to bust you or kill you. The more wanted stars you have (usually up to 6), the more officers will come after you and try to either kill or bust you (3 stars, for example will cause a swat police helicopter to spawn and hunt you down). Of course, if you get busted, cops will simply arrest you, strip you of your weapons, take some money from you as a bribe and release you at the nearest police station, after which you can go around committing more crimes, and then when you get busted, the same routine happens: basically catch and release (even if you commit the most henious crimes in the game). Unrealistic isn't it? Try crimes like the ones you see in GTA in RL and you are probably going to be looking at lenghty jail sentences or worse in real life. Also, if your guy gets killed, he will simply respawn at the nearest hospital.
- If you do storyline missions, you will get involved with organized crime, whether it is working for the mob (as is the case with GTA 4), join in a gang war system (such as the Grove Street gang in San Andreas), work for corrupt police officers (such as Frank Tenpenny in GTA San Andreas, as well as other criminal masterminds doing various quests.
- In later games like GTA 4 and San Andreas, you can also get multiple girlfriends (and other girls will usually not care if you date more than one in the GTA universe). This is unrealistic too, since if you try to take on more than one girlfriend in real life, they are bound to get jealous and break up with you (sometimes even the slightest act of disloyalty such as cheating can produce disasterous results in your relationship).
Well, this list goes on, but you get the picture, and the m rated nature of these game have spawned lots of criticisms and controversies from parents, law makers, as well as other opponents of these games. Interestingly the Simpsons Game (which was released for the Xbox 360, PS 3 and Nintendo Wii not long after the Simpsons movie) has a huge parody of the GTA series, with Bart wanting to get Grand Theft Scratchy and Marge, being a typical mother (no offense intended, though I know my mom does not like the series for example), wants to have the game banned (there is even a level where Marge and Lisa will find themselves in the Grand Theft Scratchy universe and try to make Grand Theft Scratchy world "G" rated instead of "M" rated by cleaning up the 'hood to say the least). By the way, never try anything you see in the GTA universe (i.e., stealing cars, joining your local gang, going on rampages, etc) as that will certainly land you in hot water (to say the least) if you do.
Similar works:
- other titles in the GTA series
- Scar Face (GTA Vice City seems to have gotten its inspiration from Scar Face)
- Saints Row
- Simpsons Game (has a few parodies of the GTA universe)
I will talk about more of these games on a later post.
Have a twisted game you want to share? Feel to post it in my comments thread.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Ghost Busters game brings back my childhood memories

Besides the Nintendo Wii, I did get two new Xbox 360 games: Batman Arkane Asylum and the Ghost Busters game. When I was a kid, I used to watch the Ghost Busters cartoon series all the time and even watched the two movies that were made featuring the crew from Ghost Busters. I tried the NES version back during the NES days, but did not like it. However, the new one for the Xbox 360 is quite cool. In the game, you play as the new recruit who joins the ghost buster crew (which features voice actors directly from the movies: Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray and the rest of the ghost busters crew) and you go to many different locations in search of ghosts, equipped with ghost hunting equimpent as well as the signature ghostbuster equipment and traps going after evil entities bent on taking over New York City. And there are plenty of memorable missions and moments. In the first mission, you explore this haunted hotel (which may remind you of a real life haunted hotel, such as the Stanley Hotel at Estes Park, Colorado) in search of the paranormal and fight this ghost pirate at the end of the mission, along with a mission where you fight the notorious Stay Puft creature from the first Ghost Busters Movie (who ends up being the first major boss in the game). In the third mission, you tour a haunted library in search of the infamous Grey Lady (I acutally live close to the former location of the Snohomish Library btw). This game in my opinion rocks. Reminds me a bit of Ghost Hunters on Syfy, except you actually fight the ghosts at paranormal hot spots. (more will be added to this post over time)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Got a Nintendo Wii for Christmas

Hey everybody, just fyi I just got a Nintendo Wii for Christmas, just a few days ago. I actually wasn't expecting this gift since i didn't aks for it (after all I do have an Xbox 360), but now I have both a Wii and and Xbox 360 and have 2 games for the Wii: Metroid Prime Trillogy as well as Wii Sports. I have been making an Xbox 360 fan site at http://www.xboxfreak.ws/, but now that I also have a Wii, I will probably talk about that system too, make honest comparisons between the two systems (before I got a Wii, I've only played it on display at game stores as well as friends' houses, usually Wii sports, but now it will be easier for me to review that system as well). The games have been fun so far, though you do have to stand when playing, which can take some getting used to as I am used to sitting down while playing on the Xbox and other systems. Stay tuned for my opinions about the wii in upcoming posts.

watch a gameplay video of the New Mario Bros game for the Wii

Currently, I am playing through the Metroid Prime trillogy, and will plan on posting a review of it once I have beaten the game, though I also got some new Xbox 360 games as well, namely Ghost Busters and Batman Arkam Asylum (so I will be switching off between the three games).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Top 5 best Halloween themed games I have played (under construction)

Image caption: Castlevainia Lamment of Innocents is one of the many chapters in the Castlevania Series, and in the castlevania series, you can expect to fight through hordes of ghosts, monsters, demons, goulish bosses (such as The Forgotten one in Castlevania LOI), and other nightmarish enemies throughout the series.

Ah, another Halloween is fast approaching (this year seems to be going by fast at least in my book), and with it comes all of the classic scares and thrills (i.e., pumkin patches, haunted houses, tricker treat for the kids, etc). In the video game realm, there are plenty of games out there that have some halloween themes. Of course in this blog post, I will post some games I think have some awesome halloween themes (based on the games I've played). Of course, you are free to agree or disagree with me .

Game #1 - Castlevania: Curse of Darkness and the Castlevania Series in General
(the current game I am playing through is Castlevania Lamment of Innocence by the way, which is a prequel to the mainline series)

If you are looking for a Halloween themed game, they do not get any more Halloweenish than the Castlevania series do. The castlevania series started back in the 1980s by Komnai, which is also the creator of the Contra Series, and in the castlevania universe, you usually play as one of the Belmonts (such as Simon Belmont in the original series, with the exception of CV 3, where you play as Trevor Belmont) and venture into Count Dracula's castle at Transylvania usually on a quest to defeat Dracula and his minions as well as saving loved ones from certain death (such as Richter Belmont saving Maria in Castlevania Dracula X). There are plenty of common themes in the castlevania series including: fighting through hoards of vampires, ghosts, demons, zombies, monsters, skeletons and other strange creatures throughout the levels in the series. in addition, there are plenty of equally terrifying boss fights. Some classic boss fights includes: A headless ghost you fight in Castlevania Dracula X, Legion in Curse of Darkness and similar variations in Harmony of Dissonence and Symphony of the night (Legion is that abomonible creature that you fight in some of the CV games that is made literrally by dead bodies and a hideous creature called Nucleous in the middle), a grim reaper called Death, ghosts, as well as sexy demon called Succubus in some games (you will get into an epic battle with her in both Symphony of the Night and Lamment of Innocence) to name a few. Another common theme is that the main villian is none other than Count Dracula (though not always as is the case as is the case in some of the newer titles like Lamment of Innocence and Arial of Sorrow, though Dracula's subtitute in those two games have similarities to Dracula, such as the ability to teleport), who usually shows up in 2 forms: 1) the human form and 2) the demonic/dragon form (the best fight in my book against Dracula is in Curse of Darkness where he has some personality in the first fight and does more than the usual teleportining as well as the second battle where you fight an oversized version of him in a demonic/gargoyle form).
Of course, there are plenty of other timeless classics in the CV series, such as the scene in Castlevania 64 in Level 3 where you go through this maze chasing after Malus (who is really Dracula in child form, though that does not get revealed till the end of the game provided that you don't fight Vincent just before you fight the imposter version of Dracula) and you have a Frankenstein Monster with a Chainsaw in his hand and 2 hellhound dogs chasing after you as you try to reach the exit in the maze (and their attacks are quite brutal to your guy's health). In the Xbox and PS2 versions, the game plays a bit like a movie too, complete with clipscenes, voice acting and all (such as the rivalry between Hector and Issac throughout the game, which ends in a fight to the death between the two towards the end of the game shortly before you fight Death and Count Dracula). One other timeless moment in the game I am aware of is the final showdown between Reinhardt Schneider and the real Count Dracula (aka Malus). First, Malus transforms into Dracula and after the usual first battle with hime (teleportation and all), you will fight a huge dragon version of him in a baron desert, and he does have quite an attude, launching nuclear bombs, fire and other deadly arsenal against Reinhardt throughout the battle. At the end of the battle, Dracula gets dragged into the underworld alive (creepy indeed). If you are looking for a pure halloween themed game, then the Castlevania Series is for you.
Game #2- Halloween town in Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2
Now, while the Kingdom Hearts series is not really a halloween classic (besides the fact that you fight through hordes of nightmarish creatures called the Heartless and Nobodies in KH2 as well as the huge boss fight between Sora and Malificent in KH1 where you fight her in the huge dragon form from Sleeping Beauty), Halloween town is perhaps the classic. Now, this is not to be confused with the halloween town from the Halloween Town series that usually show in October (this is Jack Skellington's Halloween town from the nightmare before christmas). You will play through this level at least once in Kingdom Hearts 1 and twice in KH 2. In both versions, you play through a huge halloween themed world where you fight through hordes of goulish heartless, play through an eerie world and go up against the evil Oogie Boogie (in KH 2, you will also fight The Experiment who gets corrupted perhaps by Organization 13 in the second trip to Halloween town). More will be added later

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Xbox 360 Fan Site In the Works

Here is for those of you who love the Xbox 360: I have decided to create a new Microsoft Xbox 360 fan site. When complete, the site will contain these features:

- exclusive news and articles relating to Xbox 360

- learn about exclusive deals and special offers from related companies

- Get exclusive game reviews from games I've played

- get the scoop and commentaries on upcoming games

- and more

I hope to complete this site before the holiday season this year. You can check out my new site at http://www.xboxfreak.ws/. By the way, once the site is complete, this blog will be my official blog for the Xbox 360 fan site, considering that this blog is already about video games in general.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

2 New Youtube videos

Here are 2 new youtube videos I posted on gaming:

Justin (my brother) Playing Call of Duty 4

Me playing GTA 4 (will post a bigger video in the future)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Top 10 Game Villians That Just Never give up

Image caption: Bowser just before Mario destroys the bridge Bowser is on sending him straight into the lava pit below for the nth time (which happens over 8 times in SMB 1, assuming you play through the entire game).

(spoiler alert: this blog post assumes that you have played through the games mentioned below and so if you haven't played through any of these games and want to be surprised, then don't read below, though most of these game series have been around for quite a while, and so I am assuming that most of you are familiar with these game series)

Ah, sometimes it can be said that one never knows when he/she has been beaten, and when it comes to many platform games, this can certainly be true. Over the years, in many different game series, all too familiar villians have appeared, including Bowser in the Mario Bros series, Dr. Eggman in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and the like. Of course, in many of these games assuming you play through them properly, the bad guy loses in the end, only to return in the sequel (up to his/her evil deeds once again). I guess the rationale for this pattern is that if the bad guy were to ever fully be defeated or go good, then the series would be over. Of course, that has happened before. In the Austin Powers Saga, for example, in the Gold Member, Dr Evil turns away from his wicked ways and turns to good, and obviously, we haven't seen any new Austin Powers Movies since, and same goes for the Star Wars Movies. In Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine gets defeated, Darth Vader returns to the light side of the force (just before he dies unfortunately), and the empire gets dealt a huge blow by the rebel allience, and so far we haven't seen any new star wars movies that take place after Return of the Jedi (though the saga does not end with Return of the Jedi if you read the books or play the Star Wars themed games, since the bigger story is in the expanded universe (i.e., books, games, and comics). Anyways, here some noteworthy villians (note this post will be expanded over time):

1. Bowser in the Super Mario Bros series -

here is an epic battle between Mario and Bowser in SMW (super mario world). This is one of the many boss fights that Mario and Luigi will face throughout the Mario Bros. series (youtube video posted by NintendoCult)

if you have seen video games since the days of the original NES, I am sure that most of us have played through the Original Super Mario bros series at one time or another, and what more classic of a villian is there than the evil Bowser. Bowser is that evil dragon that is Mario's nemesis throughout most of the Super Mario series (though in the later games, there is also Wario along with Luigi's evil twin), and often plots to kidnap Mario's girlfriend, Princess Peach and take over the world. Unfortunately to Bower's dismay, Mario is pretty good when it comes to ruinning Bowser's evil schemes, and Bowser definately is a glutton for punishment at the hands of Mario. In the first game, Bowser falls into a lava pit that he probably inteded for Mario over 8 times, in SMB 3, he crashes do though the floor of the balcony of his castle trying to stomp Mario, loses his flying machine in SMW, gets egged to death by Yoshi in SMB World 2: Yoshi's Iland, and even gets hurled at bombs in SMB 64, and yet he always comes back in the sequel even more determined to defeat Mario and succeed in his evil plot only to get defeated once again.

2. Dr Robotnik (aka Eggman) in the Sonic the Hedgehog series

watch an epic battle between Sonic and Eggman in his Egg Viper (submitted by roylink on Youtube). The is one of the many battles that Sonic and Eggman will engage in throughout the series (and perhaps one of my favorites)

Famous quote from the Sonic the Hegehog comic series and some of the cartoon series - "I HATE THAT HEDGHOG!!!" (Dr. Robotnik)

Yes in just about all of the Sonic the Hedghog games, Sonic can almost always expect to fight his arch nemesis, Dr. Robotnik on various occasions in most if not all Sonic games as well as his diabolical creations as well (i.e., Chaos, Mecha Sonic, etc). Like many game series, there is usually an evil genius lurking around looking to cause trouble that only the hero(s) can beat, and what is a Sonic the Hedgehog game without a mad scientist, named Doctor Robotnik (also known as Eggman). Eggman has been in the series pretty much from the beginning and has a goal of taking over the world and turning everybody into mindless robots. Of course, there is one person that can stand in his way: Sonic the Hedgehog (along with his side kicks, Tails, Knuckles, Amy Rose, Cream, Big, as well as the rest of the Sonic gang of course). Doctor Robotnik comes up with a diabolital scheme in each game (my favorite is probably Sonic 3 and Knuckles) where he builds hs infamous Death Egg (similar to the Death Star) and you have to blow up the Death Egg before Eggman can use it against Earth dwellers. Of course, if you play the games right, in the end Sonic and his pals manage to foil Eggman's schemes, sending Eggman back to the drawing board where he crafts a new and better plan, only to be defeated by Sonic once more.

Interestingly, in many of the newer games (starting with Sonic Adventure), his plan(s) ends up backfiring (as was the case in the Chaos Monster, who turns into Perfect Chaos at the end of Sonic Adventure, which leads to Sonic morphing into super sonic in order to defeat Perfect Chaos) and must turn to Sonic for help to undo the damage that his schemes have done. Even then, Eggman returns to his evil ways once again in the sequel.

3. Count Dracula in most Castlevania games -

watch an epic battle between Hector and Count Dracula from Castlevania Curse of Darkness. This was one of my favorite battles against Dracula and is one of the many times you will have to face him throughout the series.

If the phrase from South Park, "OMG, they killed Kenny", were to have meaning to any villian in the gaming industry, it would probably be Count Dracula from the Castlevania series. In fact, Count Dracula literaly even goes to h*** and back before facing the Belmont clan (though sometimes other people too, like Hector in Curse of Darkness as well as even his own son, Allucard in Symphony of the Night). Count Dracula is quite a character and is based on a real person from history (Vlad Thepes Dracula from Romania) and has inspired many stories and films in the horror story industry (even his RL castle at Transylvania is rumored to be haunted for real and has been investigated by various paranormal investigators, including the crew from the reality TV series, Most Haunted and you can watch the live episode where they investigated the castle at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTROwmxpj3o). Anyways, the Count Dracula legend has also inspired various games (such as Van Helsing, which was the movie and movie-game that came out several years ago) as well as the hit Castlevania Series, where Count Dracula is the main villian throughout the series (though he does not appear in every game as was the case for games like Lamment of Innocence and Arial of Sorrow). At first, Dracula was known as Matthias (as implied in Lamment of Innocence), and was one of Leon Belmont's closest friends (Leon the ancestor of Trevor Belmont and later Simon Belmont).

At the time, another evil vampire named, Walter was the evil genius who plotted to obtain the Crimson stone (a stone that gives Dracula his power and allows him to be resurrected after being defeated, you can learn more about the crimson stone at http://www.wikipedia.org/, search Castlevania Lamment of Innocence), turn Leon's wife, Sarah into a vampire and become the Dark Lord. Unfortunately for Leon, little did the hero know was that Matthias was secretly planning to become the dark lord as well and was using Leon, Walter, Sarah, and Zaccarias as a part of his plan. By the time Leon was able to defeat Walter, Sarah had been bitten by Walter (forcing Leon to kill her and use her soul to create the legendary vampire killer whip), Matthias had obtained the Crimson stone, and Death had been summoned to the scene where he finishes off Walter and obtains his soul to give to Matthias. Apparently, Matthias developed a hatred towards God (why someone would hate God is beyond me, after all, from a Christian standpoint, he is the Lord of this world and is the creator of all things) and vowed his revenge by becoming the dark lord (later known as Dracula), and tries to get Leon to join in his rebellion, but Leon refuses and Matthias sics Death on him before disappearing into the night (he even turns into a bat to imply that he is now Dracula). Leon manages to defeat Death, and thus the feud between the Belmont Clan and Dracula is born. Since then, Dracula had becomed the main villian in the series with the first big battle posibly being the one in Castlevania 3 with Trevor Belmont (I will need to verify that theory of course).

Of course, like just like Bowser and Robotnik, while Dracula is the evil genius in the Castlevania series, with is goal being to establish his dark lordship over the earth (just like the antichrist will attempt to do during the end times, only to be foiled by God himself) and launches countless of wicked plans to achieve his goal of world domination. Of course, the Belmonts (along with allies like Alucard) will constantly be a thorn in Dracula's side and they manage to foil Dracula's evil schemes and send him to the underworld, where Dracula plots his next evil scheme, be resurrected about 100 years later (sometimes sooner), only to be defeated once again. Dracula also comes with his usual henchmen including the grim reaper, named Death as well as hordes of ghostly, monsterous, and demonic foes that he uses to help carry out his dirty work and defeat the Belmonts (an allies) before they can defeat Dracula once again.

5. Doctor Wily in the Mega Man series

(info will be posted on him at a later date)

6. Sigma in the Mega Man X series

7. The heartless in the Kingdom hearts series

8. the Disney villians from the Kingdom hearts series

9. Vile from the Mega Man X series

10. (TBA)