by Jason Parker (Ragachak)
Editor’s Note: Does Contain Spoilers (for a game that is 22 years old).
Let’s be honest, there are a lot of amazing RPG characters. There are just so many busted, powerful monsters in games. Many of them are optional/guest characters. Take for example FuSoYa. He can cast almost every single spell in the game, but you only have him for the briefest of times. Then there’s Tellah. Tellah is absolutely awful, has a super limited skill set despite being a Sage. Then you finally unlock all of his powers, and he can’t gain more than 90 MP. So no Meteo for you! THEN HE DIES. So today we’re going to start a series of garbage Optional and Guest characters. There are just so many, that they cannot possibly be contained in one article. So I’m going to do a few of these – but don’t worry, I’ll do a best too at some point. There are a few bits of criteria though.
- Optional characters are defined as “characters that are not required to complete the final dungeon/boss.
- There are games that are exempt/being avoided – The Suikoden franchise, and Chrono Cross. That is because they have so many characters, and many of them are clones, unnecessary, and would populate their own lists easily enough.
- Guest characters count “Guests”, Escort Quest Characters, and Party Members that show up and die/leave the game.
5. Celes – Final Fantasy VI: Celes is required for the beginning of the World of Ruin. You must use her until you acquire the airship, but is not a requirement for Kefka’s Tower, or any other portion of the game. She’s just your focal point to get the band back together. Final Fantasy VI was a hard pick for me, because there are several characters that I personally deem as utterly useless – Locke, Relm, Strago. There is typically someone else who can do what they do much better. But Celes is a bargain bin, would-be Terra. Even in the story, she’s a second-rate Terra! Terra has magic by birth; Celes gains magical power via military experiment. Her power, “Runic” requires her to wield a sword, and all spells cast during its time go to her and are absorbed as MP. This includes your beneficial spells. Did you accidentally use it when you also cast Cure 3 to save your party? Hope you enjoy going back to the save point. Why is a character that requires a Sword for her main ability able to equip Morning Stars? Now you can’t use Runic! The only reason you bring her anywhere in the first damn place! She’s required for the Opera, and the Magitek Factory, but that’s in the first half of the game. She has interesting character growth, but it’s a shame she’s otherwise useless.
4. Meliadoul – Final Fantasy Tactics: Final Fantasy Tactics is another one where I had a hard time finalizing a really bad character. Meliadoul is actually the reason this turned into a multi-part article. Meliadoul Tingelle, the mighty Divine Knight, one of the Knights Templar. Her class sounds so badass. She’s one of the only two Knights Templar you do battle with that I can think of, and her sprite is among my favorites in the entire game. So much that I brought her to the final battle, the first time I got there. But this is when a very unfortunate realization came upon me: Meliadoul’s Divine Knight powers only work if you have the equipment to break. If you break that rare, powerful gear, you also can’t steal it! All of her main damage abilities do incredible numbers, but also destroy the gear slot the power is aligned with. Meliadoul is such a fascinating character, and the lure of “Divine Knight” is strong. But if you’re fighting non-humans, or even non-equipped humans. . . well, you may as well just have Algus with you.
3. Gobi – Breath of Fire 1: Gobi is the Fish Merchant that joins your party in Breath of Fire 1. Now, he does have a purpose and a very important one. He’s tied to many of Karn’s transformations. Much like Ox and Bo, they form together to make one powerful character. But does that make Gobi a good character or someone you want to bring to bear against the Dark Dragons or the Goddess Tyr? Absolutely damn not. He has virtually no growth as a character, his stats are awful, and the one time you control just Gobi is a nightmare. You walk across the ocean floor, as slow as physically possible, praying you don’t get into an encounter. He has a few spells, but they’re mediocre as well. The only positive he brings is transforming with Karn and turning into a giant fish to move around underwater. That doesn’t happen often enough to be a positive. Gobi is less useful than Mogu! And Mogu’s only benefit is digging for certain powerful items.
2. Jogurt – Shining Force: Jogurt is a hidden/optional character, basically a mascot. Well, his class is also “Mascot”, so that truly seals his fate. He’s often used as an incentive to unlock, and there are people that unlock him because well, Jogurt’s adorable. Jogurt is a little Hamster/Gerbil/Creature that wears a helmet. His main ability is that when he defeats enemies, he turns them into a “Jorgurt Ring”. What’s so great about the Jogurt Ring you might ask? It makes you look like Jogurt. Jogurt’s less than mediocre, but he’s so damn adorable. But adorable doesn’t win wars, and neither do Jogurt Rings. Sorry Jogurt, you just don’t cut the mustard. All of his stats (except move) start at 1, and that’s not what I want on my squad to do battle.
1. Aeris – Final Fantasy VII: When Aeris was introduced, I loved her. She had incredibly useful healing limit breaks. Her magical stats were great, and she even had character and depth! She wasn’t bland and boring and was a nice foil to the badass Tifa Lockhart. When I first played Final Fantasy VII, I had no idea what awaited her (and subsequently me). I put a ton of time into her growth because I feel like having a dedicated healer is important in an RPG that was (at the time) as hard as Final Fantasy VII was. But then I learned the truth. You only have Aeris for about a quarter of the game, because
then Sephiroth goddamn kills her in the City of the Ancients. Never before was I so furious at a character’s death. All of that time wasted! I could have been building someone, anyone as a third party member! 22 years later, and I’m still absolutely boiling over it. She even has a final Limit Break and ultimate weapon! But why even think about them? You don’t get to take advantage of them!
What about you? Who are your least favorite RPG guest/optional characters? I’d love to know! Let me know in the comments below!