The greatest heroes of video games are hallowed and venerated by gaming fans across the globe. They get their own trilogies, spin-off titles, and merchandise. But where would these do-gooders be without their villains? Looking to conquer or destroy our virtual worlds, these evil characters give our heroes (and in turn, the players) purpose.
We’ve assembled our own veritable legion of doom, featuring the some of the most evil gaming villains around. From murderous robots to demonic gods and shapeshifting sorcerers, they’re all here.
This scarily psychotic and extremely rude AI construct loves two things: testing and trying to kill Chell. Made from the consciousness of a now deceased Aperture Labs employee, GLaDOS has become twisted over time and turned into the murderous AI in Portal and Portal 2. When she isn’t trying to kill you, her hilarious and rude quips about your intelligence will keep you entertained. Her unique personality and her notorious lies about cake will always be remembered by gamers.
This incredibly persistent beast has had players chasing coins and princesses for generations. He originally debuted in the very first Super Mario Bros. in 1985. He has since appeared in over 30 titles. Bowser may not be the most physically intimidating, but he’s definitely one of gaming’s most recognizable villains.
Many daedric princes rule over the plane of Oblivion in the Elder Scrolls universe. However, one definitely sticks out. Molag Bal, the daedric prince of “domination” (a term Bethesda recently adopted because “the R-word” was too intense) is featured in titles like Skyrim and The Elder Scrolls Online. When he isn’t plotting to turn all of Tamriel into a species of spectral slaves that serve him for eternity, he’s trapping the Dragonborn in horror houses and forcing them to murder innocents.
Okay, he can project flaming skulls from his hands and shoot them at you. You need more? Fine. This demonic shapeshifter and evil sorcerer uses the souls of innocents to sustain himself and retain his youth. As the original Mortal Kombat boss, Shan Tsung shapeshifted into different characters, adopting their fighting style at will. In the latest Mortal Kombat, he is able to possess his enemies and force them to decapitate themselves during a particularly brutal fatality.
This villain became the very face of Far Cry 3 after the game’s first trailer released. His “definition of insanity” monologue proved chilling and unsettling. Throughout the game, his completely unhinged demeanor had players on the edge of their seats. When in his presence, his next word or next move were often unpredictable, which was part of his charm as a character. His ability to make the player laugh and then instill fear in them within the same breath makes him a standout character among villains. Far Cry 4‘s villain, Pagan Min, tried to recreate this pirate’s brand of crazy but failed miserably. There is only one Vaas Montenegro.