Sometimes, video games don’t just want to give you any old bad guy to fight. They want to give you the bad guy, the desolate one, the fallen star. Devils have been running around in video games for decades, stealing ladies, desecrating holy grounds, and generally being the baddest of bad dudes, so this week we’re taking a look at the various forms of these princes of darkness and sharing some of our favorite video game Satans of all time.
Question: Who's your favorite video game Satan?
Lou from Guitar Hero 3 - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Guitar Hero Expert
Stop me if you've heard this one before, long-time Shacknews readers. I used to work QA back in the day. When I first walked through the doors at Activision, one of the first titles I worked on was Guitar Hero 3 for the Asia-Pacific region. One of the more interesting ideas that Neversoft put forward was the idea of one-on-one boss battles. After going mano-a-mano with Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello and Guns 'n Roses legend Slash, the game's final battle was against a music mogul who turned out to be the devil himself.
The encounter with Lou went exactly the way one might expect with the player being challenged to "The Devil Went Down from Georgia." I can't say a lot of positive things about the boss battle concept. Hey, Neversoft gave it the old college try and not every idea is going to hit. In fact, Guitar Hero never did this again. What I can say is that this harder cover of the Charlie Daniels Band classic was outstanding and I still harbor some fond memories of this particular song. Bonus points to the objective being to KO Lou and then quickly transitioning to the song's final verse once the objective is done. Even if the concept wasn't solid, the execution was brilliant.
Astaroth from Ghosts 'n Goblins - TJ Denzer, Put in the work to beat that jerk twice
There are some pretty good depictions of the lord of evil out there, but I don’t think there’s any as nefarious and, at the same time, so iconic in their design as Ghosts ‘n Goblins Astaroth, better known as the Devil or Great Satan in some translations of the game. This guy’s the whole package for the kind of creature that should be waiting at the end of an unforgiving game like Ghosts ‘n Goblins. He swoops in and yoinks Arthur’s gal, then makes him go on the most grueling quest only to fake him out and make him do the whole thing again if he wants to win. He’s also a right punk to beat on his very own.
Astaroth is also one of the most visually interesting depictions of the Devil in my opinion. He’s got it all: the majestic robes, the daunting and desolate-looking wings, the hungry-looking tummy face, and some of the nastiest attacks you’ll see in the games. Put a good mix of visuals together with his completely unfair nature and you have a being fit to wear the title of “Great Satan”.
The Devil in Cuphead - Morgan Shaver, Doesn’t gamble
The first “video game Satan” that comes to mind is The Devil from Cuphead. In terms of being evil, he runs a casino so that’s fitting. He also makes sneaky deals with people on the regular by convincing them to bet their soul, all the while knowing they’ll almost certainly lose. This is what happens to Cuphead and Mugman, with the game being based around The Devil offering them the enticing opportunity to win everything with a quick dice roll. The caveat? Losing means losing their souls. The impulsive Cuphead takes this bet, and as you might expect, loses. Interestingly, The Devil hears their pleading and offers them a slightly more doable chance to keep their souls by gathering other soul contracts for him. He likely doesn’t expect them to succeed in this task, but hey, a second chance is still a chance. I also think his visual design in general looks really cool.
Hades - Bill Lavoy, Queensguard
I’m going with Hades, which is both the name of the game and the character. Supergiant Games created a gem, and the Hades character was one of my favorites throughout the entire experience. The way he was dismissive of his son’s wishes and attempts to escape was well done. It had me laughing, but also pushed me to shove it back in his face. I thought Supergiant Games did well with all of the characters in Hades. They weren’t just one dimensional gods; you were treated to a look into their everyday lives in a way that made them relatable.
Giratina - Donovan Erskine, Sinnoh’s finest
While Game Freak would never say it outright, it’s commonly understood among fans that Arceus is the god of the Pokemon universe, and Giratina is the devil. Both introduced in Generation 4’s Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, these two predate most known Pokemon. As the story goes, Giratina was banished to the Distortion world, a dangerous dimension that’s likely the closest Pokemon will ever get to Hell. Giratina is scary-looking in both of its forms, and has a spooky tone when you first encounter it in-game.
These are our favorite video game Satans, but what’s your devil of choice? Let us know in the Shacknews Chatty section below!
TJ Denzer posted a new article, Shack Chat: Who's your favorite video game Satan?
Honestly the one in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. They actually thought about the theological implications of their plot, treating it as a grand epic, just with Christian themes instead of the usual greek or whatnot.
You won't see it coming, but it was great.
Sadly it has its biggest payoff in the sequel, story wise, which goes full apocalyptic, but LoS2 is a game with as many issues as good, awesome bits.