A video game is only as good as its villain. A villain is what pushes our protagonist forward. We don’t even necessarily have to fight them in order to move the plot along; they just have to present a problem that needs to be fixed. (Though it does help if you eventually get to have a one-on-one face-off.) Luckily for us, there is no shortage of great villains out there in the world of video games. Here are our picks for the best villains!
11. Sephiroth – “Final Fantasy VII”
The “Final Fantasy” series has a wide variety of villains, but Sephiroth definitely stands out from the crowd. After learning of his heritage as the son of an alien, Sephiroth decides that he should be a god. He spends most of “Final Fantasy VII” trying to merge with the Lifestream of the Planet so that he truly can rule the world. Oh, and he also kills Aerith. Killing a leading lady is a sure sign that you are a major baddie.
10. Albert Wesker – “Resident Evil”
It’s hard to forget Albert Wesker after playing the first “Resident Evil” game. Thanks to some incredibly on-the-nose voice acting, Wesker immediately seems like the bad guy. The supposed plot twist that revealed his villainy came a little too late. The guy just oozes arrogance and cruelty. Even if he wasn’t working for Umbrella, we would have thought he was one evil dude.
9. Carmen Sandiego – “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?”
Carmen Sandiego is perhaps the first video game villain we ever encountered. She was a master thief who stole things from around the globe. You spent the whole game chasing her from location to location, using clues to assist you in your search. Later sequels increased Carmen’s notoriety. Honestly, we still have no clue where in the world Carmen Sandiego is.
8. Dr. Wily – “Mega Man”
Dr. Wily never really traded blows with Mega Man himself, but he did create a ton of robots to do his fighting for him. The creativity of some of these combat robots earned Dr. Wily a place on this list.
7. Frank Fontaine – “Bioshock”
Careful now! Here’s a spoiler alert in case you haven’t played “Bioshock” yet. You start the game by diving to a ruined city at the bottom of the ocean called Rapture. While you’re there, a friendly man named Atlas helps you navigate Rapture’s perils. In one of the best plot twists in video game history, it’s revealed more than halfway through the game that Atlas is actually a thug named Frank Fontaine who has been manipulating you this entire time. Through sheer shock value, Frank Fontaine makes for one of the best villains in a video game.
6. Dr. Robotnik (Eggman) – “Sonic”
If we thought that a blue hedgehog that had to go fast was strange, we were unprepared for the outlandishness of that hedgehog’s nemesis. Dr. Robotnik threw challenge after challenge at Sonic in the form of fast-paced boss battles. He more or less cheated in these fights though. He hovered around Sonic in a decked-out vehicle equipped with projectile weapons, and the only thing Sonic could do against Robotnik was bop the vehicle with his body.
5. The Lich King – “World of Warcraft”
The Lich King’s tale is a tragic one. Arthas Menethil originally fought against the undead evil plaguing his land. However, after a prolonged fight with them, Arthas became convinced that more and more drastic steps were needed to combat them. He ended up becoming the head of the very force he was trying to destroy. But, hey, the “Wrath of the Lich King” is now forever known as “World of Warcraft’s” best expansion to date, and it’s all thanks to him.
4. GLaDOS – “Portal”
GLaDOS definitely takes the cake (it’s a lie) when it comes to being the most scathing villain on this list. In “Portal,” you play as her test subject. She guides you through many test chambers, all the while insulting your intelligence and breaking your spirit. No one can trash talk an enemy the way GLaDOS can.
3. Ganondorf – “The Legend of Zelda”
Ganondorf is such a great villain because of how close he comes to winning the fight. His attempt to steal the Triforce and take over Hyrule almost succeeds. It’s only thanks to Link’s determination that Ganondorf is stopped. Well, that and the player’s persistence.
2. Bowser – “Super Mario”
The prevalence of Bowser as a video game villain guarantees him a spot on this list. We can’t even count on our own hands how many times Bowser has pitted himself against Mario. Bowser kidnapping Princess Peach and threatening the Mushroom Kingdom is practically a yearly occurrence.
1. Zombies – A LOT of games
Zombies have become an ever-present villain in countless games. “Call of Duty” has a Zombies mode now. Open-world survival games that feature zombies, like “State of Decay,” are a dime a dozen. Plus, think about all of those games that feature pseudo-zombie creatures like “Resident Evil,” “Dead Space,” and “Halo.” Like it or lump it, zombies are a part of pop culture now, and it looks as if they’re here to stay.