If there is one thing I love to do, I love hating video game villains. Whether they are comical, honorable, cowardly, insane, or downright evil, I love to think about them and even more to write about them. So I decided “aw heck, why not write a list of the best video game villains?” So I have. By the way, read these at your own risk. It’s not merely assume spoilers, I am telling you: SPOILERS for any entry on this list.
10. Flowey (Undertale)
Throughout Undertale, Flowey operates in the background, his motives mysterious and his powers equally so. He shows up a couple times in the beginning to both try and kill you and mock you, but it is his final fight, you versus Flowey with the six human souls in his possession, where he really starts to shine. Having killed Asgore right after you spared him (which stings especially hard if you’ve been trying to spare everyone), you’re ready to kick this flower’s butt. Once you overcome the awesome power of Flowey, you get the option to kill him or spare him. Is he an annoying pest, worth killing after all he has done? Or do your scruples demand you be better than that?
9. Vaas (Far Cry 3)
Vaas is a character who a lot of people geeked out over. And while he may not have been the villain throughout (and he should have been), he still made a huge impact on people. His speech about insanity, the very volatile nature of this character, where he can go from frighteningly pleasant and concillatory to downright terrifyingly violent keeps us on edge for him, even when we’re nowhere near him. It certainly does a world of good for his character that he is portrayed by Michael Mando, who also did a great job as “Nacho Varga” in Breaking Bad (albeit in a relatively minor role). They tried to reproduce this success with Far Cry 4’s villain, and while he was good, he was no Vaas. Hopefully Far Cry 5 can do better and capture lightning in a bottle again!
8. Lavos (Chrono Trigger)
Lavos ranks a lot lower on my list for one main reason: his final form is really, really disappointing. I don’t know if they just bungled the idea they were going for or they meant to because of technical limitations, Lavos just looked plain silly. The fight music also was the weakest of his three forms in my opinion. Nevertheless, it speaks to how great a villain Lavos is when even that doesn’t disqualify him from this list. Lavos is just a monster with seemingly impossible power, a fact that is made evident when players first encounter him and not only almost get their team killed, but straight up vaporizing our main character. That moment still goes down as one of my favorite in gaming history.
7. Kefka (Final Fantasy VI)
Back when I was a kid, Kefka was a novel darned villain. Early on, we see Kefka as a kind of comic relief villain. I mean, one of his most famous lines is demanding a soldier clean the sand off of his boots in the desert. We later see however the true extent of Kefka’s depravity when he poisons an entire kingdom for no other reason than for the lulz. You’d think that would be enough, but nah, Kefka doesn’t do things halfway. Halfway through the game, Kefka does what so few villains do: he destroys the world. And no, it’s not a “oh but we went back in time and fixed it” or “we undid it with magic.” He just straight up turns the world to ruin, and when the game ends, they go back to the world they inherited from this mad clown.
6. Mastema (Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey)
If I had to guess, this guy is probably the least well-known villain on this list. His only significant appearance in his own series was in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey for the Nintendo DS, which wasn’t itself a huge success. But regardless, Mastema was a great teaching tool for me. In particular, he was what helped me learn what “Lawful Evil” was. When I played Strange Journey, I went with the angel Mastema and his ideology because light is good, right? I mean, it’s obviously better than the villains, right? Eh, disputable. See, before it’s too late to realize, we find that Mastema’s plan was to save the Earth by taking away free will and conquering humanity. Strange Journey may be a game where the best ending is merely “not as horrible as the rest,” but this one easily takes the cake as the evilest of the lot.
5. Wallace Breen (Half-Life 2)
Wallace Breen is the mascot character for being an opportunistic prick. It was tough to choose between him and G-Man, because G-Man is entirely too interesting a character. However, I have a soft spot for characters like Breen. He’s highly intelligent, but his intelligence is not quite so great as to see the great folly of cooperating with the invading Combine forces. Not only does he not anticipate his ultimate fate, he dooms humanity to its current fate only for relative safety. It’s just a shame that his character does not get a resolution by Half-Life 2: Episode Two,
4. Porky (Mother 3)
Porky (AKA Pokey) is a downright rotten and devious kid in EarthBound. His ascent to power is a big and strange surprise. He goes well and beyond this however in Mother 3, where not only is he now the main antagonist, but he is actually a 10,000-year-old man who travels through time to kidnap people for his army and turns animals and even humans into horrible abominations just for his own amusement. He is directly responsible for not only the corruption of a small village, but the death of both the protagonist’s mother and brother. Porky may be old, but he is just as much of a monstrous brat as he ever was.
3. Nagito Komaeda (Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair)
The first of two characters on both the best video game villains list and one of the male and female video game characters list, Nagito Komaeda is downright insane, terrifyingly insane. At times you pity him, but you also are forced to consider how awful it would be to share a room with him. Nagito has no regard for his own life. He thinks of himself as worthless trash meant to help elevate the other Ultimates to greatness through the killing game, constantly offering to allow someone to kill him. He’s constantly playing mind games with the cast, switching sides between supporting the killer and the rest in order to be impartial to whomever wins.
His culminating moment, his massive gambit, was amazing in the worst possible way. It also made for one of the most upsetting moments in a video game for me. The worst part about it? He has ultimate luck that seems like bad luck, but in the end winds up working out for him. So “good luck” against him.
2. Dahlia Hawthorne (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations)
Dahlia Hawthorne is, for the most part, a normal girl. She was not particularly spectacular as a person, or particularly skilled (to the extent that the final blow to her was this hit to her ego with this fact). And nevertheless, she somehow manages to be as devious as other villains in the series who range from powerful businessmen to members of the justice system themselves. Dahlia is driven entirely by revenge – both in the past where she was apprehended, and the present where she seeks it from beyond the grave. Dahlia Hawthorne is likely to have the highest confirmed body count in the series (at least three people she killed and one attempted murder), so that’s pretty impressive by itself for a teenager! And they say young people lack ambition. Ha!
1. GLaDOS (Portal)
And here we have the second entry that spans both the best video games villains list and one of the other lists. Congrats to Nagito and GLaDOS! It’s hard to NOT go with GLaDOS. Ever since she took everyone by surprise when she turned out to be far more than a funny narrator for the game, GLaDOS has been a regular fixture on many best video game villains lists. She is devious, witty, and utterly terrifying in how intelligent and vicious she is. Heck, even when she serves as an ally in Portal 2, you can still detect these dark undertones. What really makes her interesting is discovering exactly why she is the way she is and how she became what she is.
Who are your best video game villains?
Now that I went through my best video game villains list, how about you share yours? Tell me in the comments who you think are the best video game villains!