3 reasons why Big Smoke is the best villain in the GTA series
The GTA series is chock-full of morally gray antagonists, each more baffling and inscrutable than the other. Big Smoke, despite his shocking betrayal and glaring flaws, is unanimously agreed upon as the most realistic villain in the series.
While Rockstar has released a number of technologically superior games over the years, GTA San Andreas remains its most beloved title. The action-packed, full-throttle adventure owes a great deal of its unparalleled success to Big Smoke, for no story is ever complete without a good old fashioned villain.
3 reasons why Big Smoke is the best antagonist from the GTA series
1) Big Smoke wasn't inherently bad
Unlike most black and white archetypes, Big Smoke was not inherently bad. Rather, he was driven by the diabolical god of fame and greed like many, and in his own words, he had no choice in the matter.
Despite his ostracism, Big Smoke didn't cook up some spicy justification for why he betrayed Grove Street Families as any other antagonist would undoubtedly have.
He told CJ, perhaps with remorse, that he was a slave to his ambitions and couldn't turn his back on a promising future, not when it was being handed to him on a silver plate. In conclusion, Big Smoke was a morally gray character, who, despite his true feelings for the gang he was a part of, stabbed CJ in the back.
Not only did this make his character extremely diverse, but it also gave him a sentimentality seldom afforded to backstabbing villains.
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2) His betrayal wasn't personal
Most antagonists are driven by hate not reason, and this shows in the way they treat the protagonist, making their life as torturous as possible. Big Smoke, however, had no reason to betray CJ or any members of the Grove Street Families.
He owes them a lot and far be it from him to have denied any of that. He even wore the GSF green outfit after the betrayal and told CJ, before his death, that he simply "had to do it."
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CJ's life, before rejoining the Grove Street families, was one of trial and misdeed, and while Ryder and Sweet constantly berate him for his flaws, Big Smoke maintains a facade of compassion and is always kind to CJ, doing his best to pump him up whenever he is down.
It can, thus, be said that Big Smoke was the friend CJ needed to leave his past behind and rise to the podium of success. Too bad the friend he relied on the most was a power-hungry, acquisitive person under the facade of compassion and benevolence.
Big Smoke had a charming personality, at least the one he kept up for the GSF. He was funny, kind and generous and didn't take no for an answer. It was his friendly nature that made his betrayal all the more shocking for fans of the GTA series.
All in all, Big Smoke is indeed the best antagonist in the series. Most protagonists in the GTA series are sadistic, barbaric and downright loathsome. Big Smoke, on the other hand, was more of a mind-blowing, ill-fated archetype than a straight-up antagonist of the GTA series.
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