The Missing Link
It’s time for Whose Blog Is It Anyway?! The show where everything’s made up, and the points don’t matter! That’s right, the points are like the CD-i Zelda games! Hi, I’m your host, Drew Linky. C’mon let’s have some fun!
Alright, so I know it’s taken a while to get to this Whose Blog? written up for you. The last one has been, what, over two weeks ago? Gosh, how horrible I am. I have perfectly legitimate excuses though, I swear! My apartment is an absolute disaster area, filled with boxes, boxes, and more boxes. (The sad part is that there’s so much left to go!) There will be an upcoming server downtime hopefully sometime this week, so if you happen to see the ‘Blog down, I’m in the process of switching servers. (Ah, the joys of moving!) I will try and let you know before that’s going to happen. But you’re not here to talk about my life. On with the Whose Blog?!
Many of you have been crying for this for what seems like ever, and it is my heartfelt pleasure to provide you with your innermost wishes. The name Vaati has scarcely graced the halls of this blog, and so today I will endeavour to remedy that. As such, Whose Blog? #5½ shall be about Vaati, the Prince of Quasi-evil.
Let me come forward and confess one thing right off the bat: I’ve never been all that fond of Vaati. I think much of it has been that Vaati… just doesn’t have a lot of stage presence. I mean, take Ganondorf. Even out of the gates with the original Legend of Zelda, Ganon was big and bad. He was a man—er, pig—to be feared! Just seeing his ominous presence on the screen is enough to make us players pause for at least a millisecond before we jump into action. Vaati… well… just isn’t Ganondorf. To quote the documentary-parody Fellowship 9/11, Vaati is just “a floaty eye thingy.” It’s almost as if he’s some glorified Patra, Kholdstare, or something. Physically, he just seems more a mini-boss than anything else.
But unlike mini-bosses, he’s got a mind of his own (and a minion horde!), and that mind is bent upon the evil purposes of evil, mwahaha! Or at least, kinda sorta. In Four Swords, his ultimate goal is to kidnap Zelda, marry her, and then toss her into his harem with the rest of the pretty girls he’s taken hostage. Sorry, Vaati, but that’s just not the epitome of evil; cavemen were doing such stuff back during their heyday. So are less moral persons within our own present-day society. (Hmmm… I wonder….)
(See what happens when I let my imagination get the best of me? I really am a scary man.)
Four Swords Adventures didn’t bode much better for him either; the entire time Vaati was just a pawn on Ganon’s chessboard. In fact, the game was actually more about Ganon than Vaati to begin with. So much for the pinnacle of evil. It really wasn’t until Minish Cap until he did his first true act of evil: turning the princess to stone and later taking over Hyrule to steal the Light Force (whatever that may be) and use it for ultimate domination! Alright, that sounds really cool and evil, but… here we see—for the first time, for the last time—Vaati as something else besides his truly dominating form. We see Minish(?) Vaati, and… well let’s just put it this way… he frighteningly would have fit perfectly into the chibi, cel-shaded world of Wind Waker. I mean, he almost looks like you could make a plushie out of him; granted, it’d be a plushie of raw evil in this case, but so goes the story.
Nevertheless, Vaati just isn’t as imposing as Ganondorf despite Vaati’s otherwise not-so-moral personality. At a party of all the super-villains of the world, Vaati would easily be sitting at the sidekick or henchmen table, ostracised from all the cooler villains in the world. Like Ganon. And Ridley. And the King of the Koopas. He’s just not as evil as they are. He’s semi-evil, quasi-evil, the Diet Coke of evil (just one calorie not evil enough!).
Despite his less than stellar career as a super-villain, Vaati does serve a very important purpose within his three-game stint in all of Zeldadom. His purpose is to create a completely distinct story arc within the Zelda series. Think about it; whenever we even hear that name Ganon(dorf) these days, question number one always is this: “But where does this fit in the timeline, Shiggy?” (It’s as if that question alone will define how good a Zelda game eventually is, despite the fact that it’s probably the least relevant question to ask about a new and upcoming Zelda title!) But when Vaati strolled into the picture in Four Swords, that question never gets asked. Granted, people still question its placement in that thing we call the timeline, but the ravenous desire to find that out is decreased because there’s absolutely zero overlap between Four Swords and any non-Four Swords Zelda title. (Okay, they both have Links. I stick my tongue out at you.) The same goes for Minish Cap as well. These Vaati and Ganon story arcs are completely separate from one another with the exception of the Ganon-Vaati conspiracy in Adventures, and that seems rather kind of tacked on as is.
Now I should mention that I have no problems whatsoever about having new story arcs within the Zelda series. So long as Ganondorf always has some place within the Zelda series somewhere down the road in the future, I’ll be as snug as a bug in a rug. So Vaati doesn’t bug me in that sense. But the point is that Vaati as a villain will never have the power to make a game feel epic just by his presence alone. In essence, the Vaati games (including all future Vaati games, should they exist) will never have the same flavour as the Ganon games. Again, nothing wrong with that; the Zelda series has, at Miyamoto’s discretion, always been a series undergoing experiment after experiment. From the open-ended game style in Legend of Zelda to the side-scrolling RPG feel in Adventure of Link, from the introduction of plot into Link to the Past to the dream sequence in Awakening, the heavy dialogue in Ocarina, the save system in Majora, the cel-shaded Waker, the multiplayer Four Swords, the darkness of Twilight, no two Zelda titles have ever been identical to one another. (Don’t you even bring up the two Oracle games; they’re a special case, and you know it.) So yay, Vaati! And all that stuff.
Yet while Vaati may have a good fit with the world of Hyrule, he cannot ever truly be Ganondorf. (Whether there could ever be a replacement for the big guy is an exercise for the reader.) Because of this, though, the instinctual question of “Is Ganon going to be in this new game?” is always going to be something I ask well ahead of “Is Vaati going to be in this new game?” Maybe one day he will become a household name, but if that happens I think that it’ll be the follows in the footsteps of Tingle and not the footsteps of Ganon.Follow This Entry | Leave a Response | Trackback
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