Villains are an important part of any media, but they’re especially vital in video games. Grand, overarching villains are meant to motivate the player through the entire story. They also make an excellent final boss. For this reason, video games have produced a ton of iconic villains from across franchises and genres. Here are five iconic antagonists that have carved their name in gaming history.
The top five villains in video games
The best video games villains combine an awesome design with drastic motivations and a memorable personality. These five rank among the very best.
Jack Baker from Resident Evil 7
The creepy father from the seventh Resident Evil game starts the list. Jack relentlessly hunts Ethan Winters down as he attempts to escape the Baker ranch. Despite his unsettling appearance, he speaks in a comforting southern drawl that can suddenly switch to insane rage. If the player attempts to hide, he can even bust down walls to track them down. Jack Baker gets some points deducted for not being the final boss of Resident Evil 7, but he does engage in a chainsaw duel with the player character. That’s enough to get him on a list of the top five villains in video games.
Andrew Ryan from BioShock
A great personality is the most important part of a good villain, and the overarching antagonist of the first Bioshock proves it. Andrew Ryan barely appears throughout the game, though the player constantly feels his presence from advertisements, billboards, and intercom announcements. The Ayn Rand-inspired dystopia of Rapture is entirely under his control, and knowing he created everything from the underwater infrastructure to the menacing Big Daddies makes him terrifying. Andrew Ryan also delivers one of the best twists in video game history, which matches his status as an amazing villain.
Ganondorf from The Legend of Zelda
The Legend of Zelda’s iconic villain lands on this list for his powerful personality and constant adaptation. While most villains keep a signature look, Ganondorf’s appearance wildly changes between games. No matter what, he always presents the final roadblock between Link and saving the land of Hyrule. Ganon maintains his intimidating presence whether he’s a giant swordsman or an oversized pig, a trait few other gaming villains can claim.
GLaDOS from Portal
Villains don’t have to just be doom and gloom. Portal’s robotic lead is proof. GLaDOS is the central core of Aperture Science and served as Chell’s opposition through the first game. Her robotic, yet very personal dialogue drives the plot forward while setting up an epic confrontation. GLaDOS’ return in Portal 2 adds a whole new dimension to her character, solidifying her as one of the best video game villains.
Darth Vader from Star Wars
While Darth Vader is way more recognized from the Star Wars movie franchise, he also has a sizable presence in gaming. As an opponent, Anakin Skywalker presents the ultimate threat of the dark side of the Force. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and The Force Unleashed keep Darth Vader But when players can take control of the dark lord, he becomes the ultimate Star Wars power fantasy. From force chokes to swift lightsaber skills, the movie icon still ranks among the best villains in video games.
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