When we think about the characters of a video game, we often overlook the villains. Even though they’re usually no one’s favorite videogame characters, they can make or break the game. Certainly, a good villain adds great value to the story. Arguably, more than the hero itself. So, let’s dive into our top ten list of video game villains.
10. Officer Tenpenny (GTA: San Andreas)
In the world of video games, Officer Frank Tenpenny stands out as a classic and utterly detestable villain. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas paints him as the ultimate source of evil, orchestrating every malevolent action in the game’s storyline. However, some argue that Big Smoke, another character in the game, is equally deserving of a spot in the hall of hateful antagonists.
The exceptional voice performance of Officer Frank Tenpenny, portrayed by Oscar-winning actor Samuel L. Jackson, exudes a gritty tone and corruption that add depth to the character. Joined by other talented cast members, Jackson and Officer Eddie Pulaski relentlessly torment the protagonist, Carl, as he returns to Los Santos during the opening hours of the game.
9. Dracula (Castlevania Symphony of the Night)
What sets Dracula apart as one of the best villains is his embodiment of sheer power and menace. Each encounter with him is a climactic and epic battle, highlighting his supernatural abilities and cunning tactics. His commanding presence, combined with his charisma and eloquence, makes him an imposing and charismatic antagonist. Dracula’s dark charisma and ability to rally other monstrous creatures to his cause demonstrate his influence and leadership in the dark corners of the Castlevania world. Players are not only captivated by his imposing stature but also challenged by his strategic and relentless attacks. Throughout the series, the developers have managed to keep the essence of Dracula consistent while introducing fresh twists to his character, showcasing a timeless villain who continues to enthrall players across generations of Castlevania games.
8. Mohg, Omen of Blood (Elden Ring)
In the realm of FromSoftware games, themes of death and despair have always been prominent, with Director Hidetaka Miyazaki consistently introducing villainous characters to add depth to the narratives. One such malevolent creation is Mohg, a cursed Omen Demi-God in the highly anticipated Elden Ring.
Although the game’s lore remains shrouded in mystery for many fans, we can glean insights into Mohg’s wickedness from item descriptions. During the cataclysmic ‘shattering’ event, Mohg committed heinous acts by abducting Miquella, another Demi-God, and disrupting his rebirth cycle, separating him from his sister, Malenia, and the sacred Haligtree.
But Mohg’s malevolence did not end there; he descended further into depravity. He took advantage of Miquella’s everlasting curse of childhood and formed an unholy bond with his own half-brother, as both share the same mother, Queen Marika. The disturbing truth is that Mohg made his own cursed sibling his consort, a fact that sends chills down the spine of anyone who uncovers this dark tale.
7. Joker (Batman Arkham Series)
In the Batman Arkham series, the Joker emerges as one of the most iconic and captivating villains in gaming history. As the Dark Knight’s arch-nemesis, the Joker’s character is brought to life with exceptional writing, voice acting, and a uniquely deranged charm. Mark Hamill’s portrayal of the Joker provides an unforgettable performance that perfectly captures the character’s maniacal laughter, cunning intellect, and sinister charisma.
What sets the Joker apart as one of the best villains is his complex and multi-faceted nature. Beneath the façade of chaos lies a deep-seated obsession with Batman, and their complex relationship adds layers of depth to the character. The Joker’s ability to challenge Batman both physically and mentally elevates him from being a mere antagonist to a formidable nemesis worthy of the Dark Knight’s attention.
6. Dutch Van Der Linde (Red Dead Redemption)
The narrative of Red Dead Redemption expertly explores themes of loyalty, betrayal, and redemption, with Dutch van der Linde serving as a pivotal catalyst in the dramatic tale. His complex and tragic character, coupled with the outstanding storytelling of the game, cements Dutch’s position as one of the best villains in the gaming world, leaving a lasting impact on players long after the credits roll.
5. Sephiroth (Final Fantasy 7)
Sephiroth, from the iconic video game Final Fantasy VII, is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated and iconic villains in the history of gaming. As a genetically-enhanced super-soldier and former hero of SOLDIER, Sephiroth possesses a commanding presence and an air of mystery that captivates players from the moment he is introduced. His striking silver hair, long black coat, and imposing Masamune sword create an indelible visual impression, making him an instantly recognizable and memorable character.
4. Alma Wade (F.E.A.R.)
Being born with psychic abilities should have been a gift, but for her, it turned into a harrowing curse. From the moment of her birth, heartless scientists snatched her away, subjecting her to a life of torment, control, and relentless experiments. Their insidious intentions sought to exploit her powers while safeguarding against any possible retaliation. To keep her subdued, they resorted to frequent sedation, but the relentless abuse and cruelty she endured ignited an unyielding rage within her, a vengeful spirit that persisted long after her physical body met its tragic end.
3. Bowser (Super Mario)
Bowser, also known as King Koopa, is one of the most iconic and enduring villains in the world of video games. As the arch-nemesis of Nintendo’s beloved hero, Mario, Bowser stands as the primary antagonist in the Super Mario series. He is a giant, hulking, and fire-breathing Koopa King, whose primary goal is to kidnap Princess Peach and take control of the Mushroom Kingdom.
Despite his villainous nature, Bowser possesses a charismatic personality that makes him a fan-favorite among players of all ages. He is often depicted with a mischievous grin, adding a touch of whimsy to his malevolent intentions.
2. Gaunter O’dim (Witcher 3)
Gaunter O’Dimm, also known as the Man of Glass or Master Mirror, is a fascinating character from the video game “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”. He is not your typical antagonist. He exudes an aura of eerie charm and charisma, often appearing as a well-dressed, eccentric individual with piercing, black eyes and a peculiarly calm demeanor. In his first encounter with the protagonist, Geralt of Rivia, he saves him from a deadly predicament, setting the stage for their future encounters.
As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that Gaunter O’Dimm is not just a mere mortal. Instead, he is a powerful, otherworldly entity, possibly a demon or a higher being, whose motives and true nature remain shrouded in mystery. He is deeply interested in making pacts and striking deals with individuals, granting them their deepest desires but extracting a hefty price in return. These pacts always come with unforeseen, sinister consequences, as Gaunter enjoys toying with the lives of mortals.
1. Arthas (World of Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King)
Arthas, the iconic character from the World of Warcraft universe, stands as a testament to the epitome of a compelling video game villain. From his humble beginnings as a prince of Lordaeron to his transformation into the Lich King, Arthas’ journey is one of tragic heroism turned malevolence. His descent into darkness is masterfully portrayed through well-crafted storytelling and character development. As the central antagonist in the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, Arthas commands an army of the undead, instilling fear and uncertainty into players’ hearts. His ruthless pursuit of power and control over the Scourge reflects a multifaceted villain whose motives are driven by both personal ambition and a sense of righteous duty to protect his people, making him an enigmatic and complex foe.
Arthas’ status as the best villain in all of video games is a result of his psychological impact on players. He embodies the classic archetype of the tragic villain. Thus, forcing players to question the boundaries of heroism and the corruption of power. Witnessing his fall from grace while also sympathizing with the tormented soul he once possessed creates a uniquely engaging experience. Moreover, Arthas’ prominence in the broader Warcraft lore adds weight to his malevolence, making him not just a formidable in-game foe but a character with an enduring legacy. His compelling narrative, coupled with the gripping gameplay that revolves around confronting him, cements Arthas as a villain who stands the test of time, earning him the title of the best villain in the realm of video games.