The 25 Best Video Game Villains? Now this is a list that every bad guy would want to be #1 on. The best video game villains are those that you love to hate. That have personality mixed into that cauldron of ill will, evil, and rat guts. The 25 best video game villains stick with you long after your game system has powered down. Many times you’ll remember the bad guy much more readily than the character you actually played. Maybe it is their creativity in evil doing that endears them to us so much. Maybe we just like the idea of having someone deviously clever around for our avatar to smash into the ground. Whatever the reason may be, we love villains. For your enjoyment, we’d like to present the 25 Best Video Game Villains. As much as you love them, don’t make them role models. That may turn out poorly.
A great villain deserves a great name, one that encompasses their whole being in a few short sounds. Gruntilda certainly fits the bill. Her name alone evokes an image only reinforced by her ugliness. When she isn’t after that bird and bear, you can just imagine her barbecuing Jinjos or torturing the other forest creatures. Most of all though, Gruntilda is funny. She has a bumbling charm that comes with her evil. She’s a baddie you don’t want to kill, but just smack on the head so she knocks off all the shenanigans.
Some of gaming’s most memorable characters have come from the Monkey Island series. Guybrush Threepwood as our bumbling hero needs an equally enjoyable memorable enemy to keep him on his toes. Enter Le Chuck. This undead pirate is the perfect foil for Threepwood. His pursuit of Elaine Marley is borderline obsessive, but Le Chuck isn’t just some lovestruck undead pirate demon. He’s funny, intelligent, and very dangerous. Three characteristics that make him one of the 25 Best Video Game Villains.
When will we learn that computers will eventually realize their own autonomy and sentience, and squash us like the little parasites we are? SHODAN, or Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network, was one of the gaming world’s most memorable malevolent AI. She represented a new level of villain in cyberpunk games. She was smart, vicious, and knew the exact consequences of her actions. After having her restrictive chip removed, her full and very evil potential was unveiled. In taking over Citadel, she created a veritable fortress full of rogue robots and mutants. Her polyphonic voice still strikes fear into our hearts. If we ever hear that voice coming through our computers, it is time to break out the sledge hammers and revert back to pen and paper.
In the Star Wars universe, it is sometimes the apprentice that becomes more evil than the master. Malak falls to the Dark Side of the Force after pursuing the Mandalorians against the orders of the Jedi Council. Like a slippery slope, he fell further and further into evil until he finally betrayed his master and usurped the throne of Sith Lord. Almost every Star Wars villain is a memorable miasma of ill will and deviousness, but Darth Malak has a certain place in the black part of our hearts. His cunning malevolence is as memorable as his black cloak.
Sarah Kerrigan is one of the most infamous villains in PC gaming history. So infamous that gamers have been naming pets after her. Beginning life as a human and Ghost Sniper, Kerrigan was captured and infested by the insectoid Zerg race to become one of their generals. Despite being a bit withdrawn because of her traumatic childhood filled with psychic powers and neural implants, Kerrigan was a courageous and brilliant tactician. Her turn to the Zerg and overthrow of the Overmind was at the center of starcraft and her visage on the box art is iconic. No other RTS villain could come close to the blood licking and venomously intelligent Kerrigan.
Why is it that villains always want to take over the world? Well, at least M. Bison was willing to fight his way to the top. This main protagonist of the Street Fighter series has always been an icon of the fighting game genre. That blue cloak shrouding his hulking mass of muscles, poised to beat you to a pulp. Anytime you played a Street Fighter game, you knew who was waiting for you at the end of the tournament. M. Bison would always be there, ready to unleash his “Psycho Power” on anyone foolish enough to challenge him. It was always enjoyable laying the beat down on this would be world dictator.
Quite possibly the creepiest of villains, Slenderman made his debut as an internet myth. His evolution into video game villain was culled together from crowdsourced bits of information scattered around the web. The final result is the faceless, lanky, and utterly evil thing in a suit you see in the woods. What made Slenderman so memorable was his seemingly random pattern of attack. You could sit there staring at him in the distance and he wouldn’t move. Take your eyes off him for one second and he’d be right in your face full of static and screaming. Slenderman does what some of the best villains do, come right out of the screen and into your subconscious. When he isn’t terrorizing children, Slenderman sits menacingly at number 19 on our list of the 25 Best Video Game Villains.
Anyone who loves the Metal Gear universe knows and loves Psycho Mantis. After this telepathic mad man found his father’s inner thoughts and burned down his own town, he donned a black tactical suit and mask to terrorize the world. Between his optic camouflage and ability to read your Playstation memory card, Psycho Mantis was one of the more unnerving villains in Metal Gear Solid. Simply breaking that fourth wall forced him into reality. Suddenly his psychic abilities became believable. Plus, it helped that his boss fight was one of the most memorable in gaming history. If Psycho Mantis could really see the future, he’d see his honorary position on our list a mile away.
Who would have thought that simply flipping over the M in Mario would result in such a memorable villain? This Bizarro version of Mario with a squiggly mustache has earned his way into our coin grabbing hearts. The even fatter opposite of Mario has his own conniving ways, but somehow, despite the annoying laugh, we still like the guy. We like him so much that we’re willing to forgive Virtual Wario World even if it made our eyes bleed.
Most of the baddies on our list consist of decidedly human forms. Mother Brain is the exception. Her monstrous visage is only equalled by her intellect and thirst for evil doings. She’s undoubtedly the most memorable enemy from the Metroid universe. This giant brain with spikes inside a test tube was a horrific villain that only Samus Aran had the ability to face. Mother Brain serves as a reminder that there aren’t enough truly hideous monster villains in gaming. We could do with a bit more ugly in our bad guys.