Top 10 Video Game Villains

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One of the most important components of any story is conflict. Sometimes this comes from an insurmountable situation (like when I try to choose what I want to eat for dinner). But sometimes it comes from a villain (or villains) standing in your way.

As someone who appreciates every aspect of a story, I love a villain. If written well, they’ll be more than just evil without reason and can even come across as sympathetic. Maybe have a point that you don’t necessarily find yourself disagreeing with? But that doesn’t mean that a good old fashioned, evil b*****d isn’t just as enjoyable to beat. Gaming has a rich history of bad guys, and today I want to talk about them. These are the antagonists that had the most prominent impact on me (and to some extent the gaming community as a whole).

Video version now available at The Game Crater on YouTube

This list will be based on my own experiences with the characters and not based on reviews. It will also contain some slight spoilers. (I go into my Top 5 in more detail in the video above!)

10. Ganondorf (Zelda Franchise)

The Dark Lord, Demon King, Emporer of the Dark Realm, Gerudo King of Thieves, Great King of Evil…I think you get the idea. Appearing in almost every title in the Legend of Zelda franchise, Ganondorf is the incarnation of ultimate evil. He is the polar opposite to Link.

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My experience with the Zelda franchise is limited to some of the earlier games when I was child. Despite that fact, the name Ganondorf is still recognisable to me. This to me says enough about a character and its resonation with the gaming community. I daresay he deserves to be higher on the list this villains list because of his tenure in gaming. However, the fact that I haven’t played many Zelda games prevents that.

9. Bowser (Mario Franchise)

Bowser is another stalwart villain of a Nintendo franchise that I would be careless to miss off the list. A gigantic Kooper with demonic appearance who can also breathe fire, Bowser is the nemesis of one Super Mario. He has been kidnapping Princess Peach, and putting her in another castle for 35 years now. This makes him at the very least, incredibly persistent.

He doesn’t make it higher up because he is in some of the more humorous moments of the franchise. He is even willing to put his differences aside to fight a greater evil and even goes go-karting with them.

8. Loghain (Dragon Age: Origins)

Technically speaking, the villain in the first game is the ArchDemon. But the person who actually puts the most obstacles in the way of your eventual goal, is Loghain.

The father in law of King Cailen of Ferelden, Loghain Mac Tir regards all Grey Wardens with contempt. Therefore, he doesn’t trust Duncan when he arrives to recruit for the Wardens in order to fight against The Darkspawn. They are approaching Ferelden to spread “The Blight”. (Why don’t invading demonic forces ever want to spread something nice?)

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He may not be the main boss, but his hatred of the wardens is the biggest obstacle in the game.

7. Officer Tenpenny (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas)

Ever wondered what Nick Fury from the MCU would be like if he was an amoral douchebag? Well now we know! Officer Tenpenny is the first person that the main protagonist, CJ, meets upon his return home to San Andreas. Instead of being a respectful officer of the law, arrests him, taunts him, and throws him into enemy territory. You know, good cop stuff.

He isn’t around all the time in this game (Samuel L Jackson doesn’t work for free). But he does pop up at points in the story to ruin the progress he’s making in the game. At one point you get stranded in redneck country because of him and his Lackey Officer Pulaski.

He is a truly dirty cop and constantly threatening to frame you for a crime or to make your family suffer so that you do his dirty work.

6. The Sage (Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag)

When you meet the Sage for the first time, you don’t really think much of him. He’s a battered, haggard prisoner that the Templars are trying to exploit for his knowledge. It’s not long before you realise how much everyone is underestimating him. The Sage is Bartholomew Roberts, the most successful pirate in “the golden age of piracy” the game takes place in. He’s a ruthless, aggressive, and cunning cutthroat that will let nobody stand in his way. But you can never really tell what his motivations are as the game goes on.

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Throughout the campaign, your relationship goes up and down. Initially, you are hunting him down, but then you join him, before you are betrayed. The Sage is in different Assassin’s Creed titles but this is the one where he’s at his most dangerous.

5. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy 7 & Kingdom Hearts Franchise)

A former SOLDIER First Class and an old comrade of Cloud Strife, Sephiroth is twisted and evil, opting to destroy the world rather protecting it. This came about after he learned of his origins. He mother was injected with Jenova cells while pregnant with him, and he was taken away from her at birth. Sephiroth didn’t learn of this or the experiments that created him until after he been exploited by Shinra in their SOLDIER program. He grew up hating his father (without knowing that he was his father), and believing his mother was called Jenova, so when he finally did learn about it, he snapped.

Outside of Final Fantasy, he has made guest appearances in a slew of Japanese games, and was an optional boss fight in the Kingdom Hearts franchise. Somehow even in this small role within Kingdom Hearts, he manages to be imposing, menacing, and dangerous enough to make his battles seem important. I guess he is to Kingdom Hearts what the Ultima Weapons are to Final Fantasy. Powerful optional boss fights that you know have nothing to do with the story at large but feel compelled to beat anyway.

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He is an be unstoppable killing machine, who will butcher whole towns. But all you need to know is that he is with Jenova and going to destroy the planet.

4. St. John Family (TellTale’s The Walking Dead)

As we have mentioned previously, villains are integral to the Walking Dead universe. So naturally, a villain from the TellTales Walking Dead series was going to make it to this list. And what better villain than the first one you encounter in series one.

The St. John family aren’t the kind of evil that shows itself proudly, but when it comes down to it that is exactly what they are. When you first meet them, the two brothers, Andrew and Danny, approach you and offer their help. You go with them to their dairy farm and find that it’s well fortified with electric fences. Their mother (Brenda) is making their own homemade food which they’re using to strike mutually beneficial deals with other communities that they come across. It seems like heaven compared to the apocalypse you’ve been living in for the last few months.

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Of course, there’s a catch (isn’t there always?). They are having some problems with a group who keep claiming they had a deal with them, but the St. John family claim they became hostile and tried to take advantage of them so naturally, you start helping them out with this problem after the group injures one of your party.

They villains were a different kind of evil, but I will leave that up to the imagination.

3. Albert Wesker (Resident Evil Franchise)

Albert Wesker is a villain so popular with the fans, they had to retcon him back to life in a sequel just so fans could get their fill. He is the original villain from the Resident Evil franchise. At the start, he is working with the Umbrella Corporation on their secret bioweapons program before being sent off to the Racoon City Police Departments Special Tactics and Rescue Squad (S.T.A.R.S) Bravo team. Once they lose contact with the Bravo team, Wesker (as leader of the S.T.A.R.S) leads the Alpha team in to rescue them. Things quickly go sideways for him, and he ends up getting impaled by the Tyrant 001 prototype that they were working on in the Spencer Mansion labs.

His journey doesn’t end there, and he shows up later with superhuman abilities from exposure to the T-Virus back at the Mansion. Albert Wesker returns in Resident Evil 4, and Resident Evil 5 where he is the mastermind behind all of the goings-on with Uroboros virus.

His big reveal is also coupled with the reappearance of Jill Valentine whom he’s brainwashed to become his lackey, and who is now fighting by his side against her old friend Chris. he competes in a few fights against the main protagonist, and it seems like his days are over. For now. It is Resident Evil after all, and they could just retcon him back or make a clone of him or something…

2. Joseph Seed (Far Cry 5)

Far Cry is a series known for its badass, crazy villains, and dictators which keep the main character on their toes. But this one really takes the cake. Joseph Seed is the leader of “Edens Gate” (A Doomsday Cult) who has convinced the people of Hope County that he is an instrument of god.

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He has brainwashed a large portion of the county, and turned them into his own holy army, making those that don’t follow him too terrified to oppose him. When you start the game, you can see that the man has fierce loyalty from his followers as they attempt to stop you from taking him alive. Instead, they take down the helicopter you’re in, and kidnap the police who were with you.

Throughout the game, you deal with his “Family”: John Seed, Jacob Seed, and Faith Seed. These are people he has recruited, and brainwashed to a point where they would take his name and do his bidding. It turns out his method of recruiting involves drugging, torture, and brainwashing to the point where his followers forget who they were and see only what Joseph Seed wants them to see. (What a lovely bloke eh?)

1. Micah Bell (Red Dead Redemption 2)

You know this guy is a wrongun’ right from the start. He is arrogant, smarmy and antagonistic. He shoots up an entire town when you rescue him from his jail cell. At first, he’s just annoying and Arthur Morgan (the player character) just doesn’t like him or want to be around him. But this dislike grows over the game as it appears that you are the only one who doesn’t trust him. Slowly but surely the group that you have been a part of for far longer than Micah has is seemingly turning against you. But this is a slow process and you don’t really see it in action until about 3rd act of the story.

Up until this point, you are one of Dutch Van Der Linde’s most trusted, and loyal friends. You have stuck by him, helping him with his heists, providing for the camp, and even tried to calm the dissension rumbling under the surface when people question Dutch. You play the biggest part in keeping the group together but Dutch starts to take risks.

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All of the while, Micah Bell seems to be getting closer and closer to Dutch, whispering in his ear and turning him against you. Convincing him that you don’t trust him and making him push you away. The gang starts getting picked off by the law one by one, and you’re forced up into the mountains. By this point in the story, Arthur has contracted Tuberculosis and is dying, so he starts to use his head more and more as his end approaches.

In the end Dutch and Micah live to see another day, and leave Arthur to die on top of the mountain. His constant manipulation is precisely why he is one of the best video game villains.

Thanks for reading my list, what do you think? Do you agree or did I miss any villains you think should have been included? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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