“When I’m finished killing you, I think I’ll rewind time. So I can do it again. And again! AND AGAIN!!”-Dr. Nefarious
It’s time for a post on another one of my favorite characters, this time a villain from the “Ratchet and Clank” series. This character is actually the reason I fell in love with the series (and played a big part in me buying a PS3). And that character is the highly amusing, but also highly diabolical, Dr. Nefarious. (Spoilers for “Up Your Arsenal”, “A Crack in Time”, and “All 4 One” ahead; proceed with caution.) Why not watch this little informative video on “How to Spot a Supervillain” for a quick intro on my favorite evil robot doctor?
Now that you’ve seen the doctor for yourself, why don’t I tell you who he is? Good idea, I’ll do just that. Ahem, Dr. Nefarious is an evil robot mad scientist that makes his first appearance in the “Ratchet and Clank” series as the main villain of “Up Your Arsenal”. He hates all organic life, which he calls “squishies”, and even tried to kill all living things or turn them into robots with the Biobliterator in “Up Your Arsenal”, but his plans were thwarted by Ratchet, Clank, and a late-arriving Captain Qwark. Since, unlike other villains, he shows up in several games, he is considered to be the main villain of the series, and there is, at the very least, some reference to him in every game since he showed up.
Before I get into Nefarious’ personality, why don’t I recount a bit about his past and his roles in the games, hmm? Hmm?! Most of the information I know of the doctor’s past comes from a series of vid comics in “Up Your Arsenal”, that tells of Captain Qwark’s past fights with Nefarious. Apparently, years ago, Dr. Nefarious used to be an organic life form quite similar in appearance to humans, but bald and with the same large head he has as a robot. (If you’re wondering, yes, he was indeed ugly.)
He and Qwark actually first met in high school, having the same biology class in ninth grade (even though Qwark was 26 at the time), where poor Nefarious was bullied by Qwark and called names like “that freak with the headgear”. It is also mentioned in “A Crack in Time” that his mother suggested at one time that he was a disappointment, and later in his life, people called him insane. It is likely these things that contributed to his hatred of organic life and him becoming a villain. (A sincere and heartfelt “thank you” to all those who helped push Nefarious to the evil side. It certainly makes the games better.)
Later on in the vid comics, Dr. Nefarious unleashed a race of creatures he created called Ameoboids on BlackwaterCity, I believe to get back at the inhabitants for calling him crazy, though Qwark put an end to his plans. After that, Qwark followed the doctor to planet Magmos (somehow he held onto Nefarious’ ship, holding his breath the whole way…for six days). It is here that Qwark confronts Nefarious and recognizes him as one of the kids he picked on in high school. By accident, Qwark pushes Nefarious off the catwalk they were standing on, and the doctor lands in the machinery below (which I think may’ve been used for manufacturing robots…?). While Qwark believes Nefarious to have died, this is what resulted in Nefarious becoming a robot.
And here we get back to the actual games. Well, like I said, Nefarious’ first appearance in “Up Your Arsenal” involved him trying to wipe out all organic life. After he was defeated, he and his butler Lawrence made their escape by teleporting somewhere, but since Nefarious didn’t specify a location, they ended up on an asteroid, where they were stuck for I’m not sure how long, with Nefarious spending his time contemplating how he could’ve possibly been defeated. Here, we get to the events of “Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time”. Before this game begins, the asteroid eventually crashed on planet Zanifar, home to the peaceful Fongoids, and Nefarious himself can explain best what happened during his time there….
So as you saw, Dr. Nefarious devised a plan to use the clock, not fully aware of the fact that the clock is only meant to keep time, not change it, and if it is messed with, the entire universe could be in danger. Of course, in the end, he is defeated and very badly damaged by Ratchet and Clank. During the credits, however, we hear that his body was never found in the wreckage of his space station….
As of writing this, Dr. Nefarious shows up as an important character in one other game, “Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One” as a playable character. Unfortunately, this game is a bit different from the rest of the series and can even be a bit childish at times. Anyway, what happens is Nefarious tries to kill Qwark with a monster called a Z’Grute. When it gets out of his control, he tries to stop it, alongside Ratchet, Clank, and Qwark. After defeating the beast, a huge structure shows up and the four characters are taken to planet Magnus, where they work together to find a way to, not only escape, but stop a plan that could threaten the galaxy. Like I said, this game is quite different, and Nefarious often seems to me rather out of character. In the end, though, he does end up stealing the rescue ship and leaving the other characters stranded. There, that’s the Nefarious I love.
Now that I’ve finally finished summarizing his past, I must tell you about his personality, which, of course, is the main reason I like him so. (And the main reason hardly anyone in the games does.) Simply put, Dr. Nefarious is one of the funniest characters I’ve ever seen. Even among the hilarious characters of the “Ratchet and Clank” series, he is one of the best (I’d say he is the best, but perhaps I’m somewhat biased). But, why is he so funny?
For one thing, he’s very possibly crazy (because mental illness is funny in the world of fiction, I suppose). Also, while Dr. Nefarious is supposed to be a genius and is capable of doing things others would believe to be impossible, he seems to be lacking in common sense. For example, he has pointed loaded guns at people without the safety on, resulting in the deaths of some of his troops, as you can see in the next cut scene.
He also thought that the “Secret Agent Clank” TV show was real. He also can be a bit childish, as he once acted like a chicken to mock Lawrence and made Lord Vorselon (an assassin he hired in “A Crack in Time”) play vid comics with him, even when Vorselon currently had no hands with which to do anything with. He is also terrible at making jokes and never seems to catch on when Lawrence insults him. (When Lawrence said, “You put the ‘wit’ in twit, sir,” Nefarious actually agreed.)
He also likes to call things ridiculous names in “A Crack in Time”, such as the “Orb of Gratuitous Immobilization” and “Unnecessarily Evil Initiative Omega-91”. He also talks and yells a lot and has provided us gamers with some very fun monologues. He also has a habit of freezing up in the middle of things when he is screaming or laughing extra hard, during which he picks up signals of the overly corny soap opera, “Lance and Janice”. (“I don’t have the capacity for love, Janice. I was cursed by a tribe of gypsy ninjas when I was a kid.” “I know, Lance, I was in that tribe of gypsy ninjas.”) This continues until someone gives him a smack. He has no idea he does this, and so he then continues doing whatever he was doing as if nothing ever happened.
Another reason why I like the doctor is because, although in some ways he can be a stereotypical villain, he’s not as flat a character as many villains are. Yes, he’s terribly conceited and likes killing things and has a bad temper (all great qualities, for a villain, at least). But, at least I can somewhat see how he became evil, unlike many villains who seem to have no reason for what they do. And at least his evil plots are more creative than simple galactic domination. I also like that there is so much more extra information about him than most villains in other games, so it makes him much more interesting and makes him seem more like a real person. Seriously, what the heck do I know about Ganondorf from “The Legend of Zelda” series? Nearly nothing. Uh, he can play the organ? And…um… He likes…dark colors…
And I think Lawrence deserves a quick mention, as well. I think Dr. Nefarious and Lawrence make a very fun pair of characters, probably because they are so different from each other. Both are bad, but Nefarious is much more obviously evil. (It’s almost hard to tell at first that Lawrence is actually bad.) Actually, Nefarious is much more obvious in everything, while Lawrence is a lot more subtle. Nefarious yells quite often, while Lawrence never does. Nefarious outright calls people names like moron, idiot, and twit, while Lawrence is sarcastic and never really insults anyone directly. And while Nefarious is the genius of the two, Lawrence appears to be more intelligent, and Lawrence is certainly more mature. You can’t like Dr. Nefarious without also liking Lawrence. Try it. I dare you.
So I suppose I made this post way longer than I should have, but I find Dr. Nefarious to be a very fun character, with his ridiculous behavior and complete lack of common sense. Not only is he a very funny character, but he is one of the only favorite characters of mine that, not only showed up in several games so far, but is likely to be in more in the future. (Most characters I love die and are never, ever seen again.) I look forward to seeing what he’s up to next.
(A ridiculously long side note: In case you’re wondering about the title, and I’m sure you are, it’s a reference to an area of “A Crack in Time” I found particularly funny. When Ratchet goes back in time on planet Zanifar, he ends up in the Fongoid village where Nefarious crashed on the asteroid. Here, the Fongoids are brainwashed, and this computer voice would repeat statements about the doctor over and over again, such as “Dr. Nefarious is brilliant.” or “A day without Dr. Nefarious is a day without sunshine.” There were also statements about how they loved Dr. Nefarious and enjoyed working for him, and there was even one stating that “Dr. Nefarious is NOT a disappointment, as his mother once suggested”. One that really cracked me up is a statement I heard some of the Fongoids say, that was something like, “If I was down to my last stick of gum and Dr. Nefarious asked for it, I would give him the gum.” How random.)
And one more thing, according to a “Ratchet and Clank” calendar, today is Dr. Nefarious’ birthday. Happy birthday, doctor!
A Nefarious Duck