I love games with great game mechanics and great stories. But if there is one thing that I love in a game, it is a great villain. A great villain can give a lot of character to a game, and be a great hook. This list is a list of some of my favorite villains, and villains who have helped define what makes a great video game villain.
When it comes to video game villains, Bowser is one of the most iconic, and persistent, characters out there. His popularity has grown just as much as his arch-rival Mario's, and he never seems to be able to give up. He has been a part of the Mario Bros. franchise since the beginning, and has become a video game icon in his own right.
He may be one bad dude, but we cannot help but love him. He may never succeed, but it is still great watching him try. That ego is part of what makes him so great, and though he may never win, it is fun watching him try. Mario Bros. would not be the same without him.
Not much is initially known about Ultimecia. You do not see her much in Final Fantasy VIII, yet she has a presence throughout. You find that she is actually the mastermind behind everything, trying to become a goddess who can control space and time.
She nearly succeeds, being defeated just as she becomes a deity. That is when Ultimecia's fate takes a tragic turn: she goes back in time as she is dying, and gives her powers away. This sets off the events of Final Fantasy VIII, insuring her future defeat. This makes Ultimecia such a tragic character, a character whose fate is sealed, and will ultimately fall no matter what she does. I love tragic characters, and Ultimecia is one of my favorites.
When it comes to Silent Hill, many of Pyramid Head. I think of Walter Sullivan.
Walter is a psychotic serial killer and the main antagonist of Silent Hill 4: The Room. He is trying to complete a ritual called the "21 Sacraments", under the belief that it will return his mother to him after he kills 21 people. Walter is not killing out of hatred or malice; he is simply trying to return to his mother.
He is also creepy as hell, which is great as it is Silent Hill. The world of Silent Hill 4 is a part of Walter's conscience, and helps reveal just how twisted the guy was. It helped establish the creepiness of the game, and fit the Silent Hill name. I feel that Walter captured the spirit of the series, and helped establish the dark tone of the game.
At first, Mother Brain seems to be a brain in a jar. But there is something much more darker and twisted than just that.
Mother Brain is the leader of the Space Pirates, who she controls from planet Zebes. She is easily the ugliest villain in this list, yet is also one of the most memorable. The final battle with her in Super Metroid was both emotional and intense, and had an impact on me as a young gamer.
Many remember Ridley, but I always remembered Mother Brain as the true villain and mastermind in the Metroid series. She felt vile, and dark, and essentially pulled all the strings in the early series. As Super Metroid meant a lot to me as a young gamer, Mother Brain always stuck in my head, and has always been one of my favorite villains.
When it comes down to it, Frank Fontaine is clever and manipulative. You spend much of Bioshock thinking he is on your side, only to find out in a plot twist that he was the enemy the whole time. And that is what I love about him. He was devious enough to get you to execute his plan, and tries to kill you when you succeed. Very few villains were able to manipulate the player so easily, and get them to do their dirty work for them.
Dracula has been an iconic villain for years, ever since Bram Stoker created the character in his book, Dracula. This has translated well into the realm of video games.
Dracula has been the main villain of the Castlevania series since the very beginning, and has had different incarnations over the years. Like Bowser, Dracula never seems to stay down, and always finds his way back on our consoles. This has led to some awesome boss fights, and has helped make Dracula one of the most iconic vampires in entertainment.
Dracula always had a flair and bravado that I loved, especially in his appearance in Symphony of the Night. He is the ultimate vampire in gaming, and a long standing icon.
Handsome Jack is clever and devious. But that is not why I like him. He is also entertaining.
Throughout Borderlands 2, Handsome Jack taunts and ridicules the player, often hinting that he has bigger things planned. And that is one of the things that makes him so great. He seems to think that he is better than everyone, and lets us know it. This leads to some of the funniest dialogue that I have heard in a video game, and I love Handsome Jack for it.
Ganondorf is the true antithesis to everything that Link is. This dark wizard has plagued Hyrule for ages, and all fear his name. Where Link represents courage and righteousness, Ganondorf represents greed and a lust for power.Often times he tries to kidnap Princess Zelda, all with the intents to assemble a powerful artifact called the Triforce, giving him ultimate power.
Few villains are as dark and powerful as Ganondorf, who seems to transcend time, and always comes back to raise some hell. While there are multiple Links throughout time, there has only been one Ganondorf. There is also an alternate The Legend of Zelda timeline where he had succeeded. True greatness is hard to achieve, but I feel that Ganondorf has reached it.
All I can say is that Kefka one sick bastard. He has no problem killing and torturing, all to fulfill his grand plan. And he does not want to just rule the world; he wants to watch it all burn.
What separates Kefka from many other villains is that he succeeds. He becomes a god, and tears it all down. He may be defeated later, but he still won in the first place. This, along with his iconic laugh, makes him one of the greatest and most memorable villains in video games, and one of my favorites.
GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System) is definitely one of the most memorable characters in video games. In just two games, she has established herself a place in video game history, and is one of the best characters in the past decade.
GLaDOS was one of the best parts of the Portal games, as her wit, aggressive-passive-aggressive nature, and sarcasm guide you through the game. You have no choice but to rely on her, and push on knowing she is playing with you. Yet, despite her diabolical nature, you easily come to love her. It may be Stockholm syndrome, but I find GLaDOS to be one of the most lovable characters ever. She may be playing with me, but I'm okay with that.