"Hee, hee! Nothing can beat the music of hundreds of voices screaming in unison!"
As far as main antagonists go, Final Fantasy VI's Kefka Palazzo ranks among the most criminally insane. His gaudy outfit and clown face mask his destructive tendencies, his short-tempered outbursts, and his lust for power that spares no regard for human life. When he emits his signature cackle (so prevalent that it's even mixed into the final boss music), players know he's up to no good.
At the start of the game, Kefka's a trusted General assigned to carry out the dirty work of Emperor Gestahl. The assignment: to extend the Empire's influence by harnessing and manipulating the force of magic however possible. Creatures that are naturally capable of controlling magic, Espers, are snagged, studied, and raped of their metaphysical potential, which is then transferred into the skill set of everyone loyal to the Emperor. When Kefka first received his share, something inside him snapped, and he desired more power still. It was the beginning of the end of the World of Balance.
Kefka deals with every obstacle swiftly and in his own sadistic manner. When he suspects a king is hiding a person vital to the Empire, he sets his castle aflame to smoke out the individual. To bring an end to another castle's resistance, he poisons their drinking water to make them drop one after another. He doesn't directly fight often, instead choosing to run or have soldiers fight in his stead, but he's not above slaying his own allies if it'll add to his share of spoils. Such is the extent of the General's war crimes that he rearranges the face of the world on both large and small scales, in the process becoming a godly end boss with a sublime command of magic. And with it, he raises his glass to nihilism as he continues to destroy all he wants.
Selected game appearances
- Final Fantasy VI (1994)