What makes a villain? Sadistic crimes, tragedy, or insanity? Maybe all of those things. Well, no one really knows for sure but these characters are certainly on the red zone of the villainy radar. Please note that this list is a personal opinion.
Dogeyes Lin from Sleeping Dogs
A cocky bastard from the outside and a callous manipulator from the inside, Dogeyes Lin is the one villain from the game that really gets on your nerves and someone you can’t wait to absolutely annihilate. He works for an organization involved in drugs and trafficking. He’s responsible for luring girls into drugs, making them addicted and helpless to it, and coercing them into prostitution.
So what’s the dagger to the heart? Dogeyes has done the exact same with Wei Shen’s (your character) only sister, Mimi Shen. She couldn’t shake off the addiction and died of an overdose. That made Wei seek vengeance and it ended up with Dogeyes at the end of a dagger, fully dismembered.
Dr. Robotnik (Eggman) from Sonic
Dr. Robotnik was a sleeper hit in a way. Initially, he wasn’t planned to be such a recurring and menacing villain to Sonic. Not to mention he never looked like your typical video game villains. One would say that he’s just a fat scientist at first glance.
However, he more than makes up for it with a fatter IQ and crazier-than-thou inventions. His ultimate goal, like any true mad scientist, is to create his own utopia, though Dr. Robotnik will do it through his robots while he’s wearing an arrogant smile and has a sandwich in his hand. Slavery, genocide, brainwashing, etc. don’t mean much to him, this villain will go through dystopia for his utopia.
Alduin from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Even in a land of the most powerful dragons, Alduin is more than just that. His existence far precedes the events of Skyrim. He was a revered God-like figure who was believed to be a World-Eater and bringer of the apocalypse, much like Ragnarok. Other than the famous Thu’um, Alduin is capable of necromancy, has elemental powers, and has a degree of control over Sovngarde.
He was once defeated by three great heroes and sent forward in time through an Elder Scroll. Even then, it wasn’t enough to get rid of him as he eventually ended up in Skyrim. That’s where the game starts. Alduin also has a rather tragic history with his younger brother Paarthurnaax. The younger brother is seen as the only entity to truly know Alduin while Alduin only sees Paarthurnax as a betrayer of his kin.
Apollyon from For Honor
The saying, “war breeds war” not only defines Apollyon but also embodies her persona. After her village was rejected by a Lawbringer for providing protection, it remained defenseless and soon reduced to cinders. She was a child surrounded by the horrors of war and it turned her mindset into that of a warmonger. She lived by the principle of ‘prey vs predator’ and wished to bring about an “age of wolves” where only the strong survived.
When she was 16, she mercilessly executed the Lawbringer who had rejected her village and had parts of his armor remodeled for her. She later became the leader of The Blackstone Legion and sought to stir up a war between the Vikings, the Iron Legion, and the Samurai. Their goal was an eternal state of war, an age of wolves. Her name roughly translates to “The Destroyer” and “Angel of Abyss”.
Pontiff Sulyvahn from Dark Souls III
Also known as Sulyvahn the Tyrant, he is single-handedly responsible for the majority of the injustice happening in Dark Souls III. Corrupted by the flame of the Profaned Capital, he set out to control and dominate the entire kingdom of Lothric. He first took control of the Boreal Valley and formed his personal legion known as Outrider Knights tasked with defending pathways into Lothric. Vordt and the Dancer make up two out of the five Outrider Knights. He transformed every innocent soul into beasts, horrific creatures, and spirits through his use of dark sorcery. You can see small remnants of humanity in those beasts when you play the game. For instance, the wolf-like beasts in Irithyll can be seen crying and praying when they are defenseless.
His hunger for seeking power has no bounds, just like Aldrich. Not to mention he is easily one of the most difficult bosses in Dark Souls III.
Doc Ock from Spider-Man PS4
A Spider-Man tale is never simple and that tradition now extends to the 2018 Spider-Man video game as well, in the form of Dr. Otto Octavius. It is only after Spider-Man that the superhero trope of ‘double life’ even became relevant and the contrast between Peter Parker and Spider-Man is still the strongest compared to any other hero. Now since Doc Ock is a great presence in both lives, it just makes everything doubly compelling.
Here, Doc Ock is more of a tragic figure than your more typical evil mad scientist. This game does a brilliant job of building the relationship between Peter and Ock, similar to the movie Spider-Man 2. Otto is essentially a scientist with a good heart and wishes to help people just like Spider-Man does before he succumbs to fury. Doc Ock is not a villain that you can hate completely for he draws sympathy and understanding from Peter and the player. Even towards the end, the final dialogue between Peter and Ock is nothing short of heart-breaking.
Vaas Montenegro from FarCry 3
So you thought a list of video game villains finally won’t include Vaas? That’s insane! He appears on every list because it is right to do so. For those uninitiated and not convinced, just watch this:
Needless to say, he has been the trademark villain of the FarCry series and the villains of the future games are undoubtedly inspired by him, at least in some ways. Pagan Min from FarCry 4 shares many similarities with Vaas.
Also, Vaas is one of the few villains that has actually outsmarted the protagonist. The protagonist in FarCry 3, Jason, only survived because of plot armor.
Haytham Kenway from the Assassin’s Creed series
Haytham Kenway is the son of Edward Kenway (AC4) and father to Connor Kenway (ACIII). He is the Grand Master of the Colonial Templars who seek control over The American Revolution. Haytham brings the Templar perspective into a story filled with the stories of Assassins. Many see him as an anti-hero and it is plausible but we know that Templars aren’t exactly beyond reproach.
Though leaving all that aside, Haytham is still an interesting villain. Add to it that we spend the beginning of ACIII playing as Haytham, we really get to know the inner workings of the Templar Order and Haytham’s place in it. He is the master manipulator and strategist behind the Order’s expedition in The American Revolution and beyond.
GLaDOS from the Portal series
Really, what would Portal be without this smartass AI? Arguably the best voice-over in the history of gaming, GLaDOS has single-handedly carried both the Portal games with finesse.
Does she look horrific or dangerous or even a bit intimidating? Honestly, not at all but the trick of the devil is to make us think he, or rather she, doesn’t exist. Besides making our life hell, GLaDOS excels at delivering scathing one-liners upon one-liners while making our life hell. I’ll just let her do the talking:
Officer Tenpenny from GTA: San Andreas
The ultimate embodiment of the corrupt cop! Voiced brilliantly by Samuel L Jackson, no other video game villain matches up to Tenpenny’s level of atrocity. Blackmailing, murder, drug dealing, etc. you name the crime and this jack-of-all-trades cop has done it. Moreover, he is a ruthless manipulator who has a couple of other corrupt cops working for him. He is a consistent threat throughout the game and you just can’t wait to end him, which doesn’t happen till the very end in the last mission.
Tenpenny is also one of the most hilarious video game villains of all time.
Watch him frame CJ in the very first scene of the game itself.
Flowey from Undertale, Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2, Ulysses from Fallout: New Vegas.