Albert Wesker: Why We Love the Red-Eyed Freak

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chris-littlechild - April 9, 2012

It's an odd fact of gaming life that the bad guys are often the most cherished. No matter what heroic jaunt you're sent on with the main character, the villain of the piece can be the most memorable personality. Largely, it's a matter of charisma. How else can one explain Chucky having fans? Or support for slash-happy psychopath Freddy Krueger instead of the screaming teenagers he's eviscerating? I've heard of cinema screenings where every gruesome kill was wildly applauded by the audience. Now, this could have been a room full of crazies with a terrifying brand of fetish the police should be notified about. I prefer to think of it as the inexplicable X-factor, something that draws us to this vast menagerie of evil entities.

Albert Wesker, steroid-addled loon and general nasty bastard, is a case in point. He first appeared in the original Resident Evil, leading the team that becomes stranded in the mansion. In the early stages of the game, he hasn't advanced to full-on malevolence. He instead settles for shiftiest dude in the history of shifty dudes mode. Modus operandi: telling the squad to investigate an area (where ball-biting beasts are surely lurking). He'd love to help, he explains, but has something highly important to attend to... somewhere else. (Combing his Duke Nukem hair, most likely. Man, those two looked like doppelgangers in 1998. What's that about?) He then pisses off on this enigmatic note. There was probably some fiendish cackling and hand-rubbing as well. Villains love that shit.

Later, he pretends that being utterly savaged by an enormous mutant-ogre-thing was all part of the plan. The guy's acting skills are revealed to be thoroughly toilet. ("WHAT? Don't come this way! NO!") He's then reincarnated like Jesus. If Jesus pumped himself full of a shitload of drugs. Which I doubt. I'm a little hazy, sunday school was a long time ago.

Further heinous hijinks occur in Resident Evil 5. (look away at this point if you don't want to know anything about the ending. Perfectly understandable, if only because the game was rather ass by series standards.) Wesker ups the ante at the denouement by mutating into some horrific walking tentacled disease and trying to murderise you. Quite rightly, the decided course of action is to drop him into boiling lava, then complete the job with a high velocity rocket to the groin. Followed by a second high velocity rocket to the groin. Where this asshole's concerned, overkill is a moot point.

He's clearly evil enough to be sitting in one of those swivel chairs with a cat on his lap, mocking Mr. Bond, so why the popularity? As I've suggested, it's surely Wesker's charismatic nature. Not exactly the most physically imposing dude, he tries to compensate for his weedy stature by dressing like a caricature of Jack the Ripper. (this kind of thing doesn't work for the old fat guy with the small penis and the Ferrari, but is quasi-effective here.) Being a junkie has also endowed him with what the young 'uns call mad skills. You can't help but be impressed when he busts out that whole teleporting/bullet-dodging/wtf Matrix thing of his. This combines with his endlessly quotable sound bites ("Complete. Global. Saturation") to create probably the most-loved character in the franchise. Sure, his ass doesn't look as good as Jill's in a wetsuit, but he's still leagues ahead of Chris ‘neck twice as thick as my head' Redfield.

This is a man who wears sunglasses in winter. Indoors. At night. With all the lights off. You can't argue with that. I'm not sure what he's up to in this video from Marvel vs Capcom 3, but I'll bet that's a suitcase of pure evil he's holding:

Article by Chris Littlechild

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