I love the bad guys because good guys are boring. For the most part, the Autobots are a bunch of goody good cars. Decepticons are guns, monsters, and tanks. The G.I. Joes were a bunch of squeaky clean patriots. Cobra Command were psychics, wore masks, and played with chemicals. The good guys motivation was to save the world. Boring. The bad guys were flawed. There had to be a reason they wanted to watch the world burn, so they had more complex back stories. When I talk about villains, it’s also important to note that I don’t mean anti-heroes. Sure they have their moments – Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Punisher, Spawn. But even they usually ended up saving the day. I mean the real bad guys. They are always happy, laughing maniacally, and despite their fascination with kidnapping princesses I still cheer every time. They also never leave us without a spectacle – I cried when Hans Gruber fell from the tower.
Gaming villains are no exception. The truly great games would be severely lacking if they didn’t have a truly great villain. Playing a game for hours only to easily defeat the villain, being constantly defeated by them through a cheap combo, or defeating them without him or her being dispatched in glorious fashion always left me feeling disappointed. Yet they are often overlooked. To rectify this, here are some of my favourite gaming villains. We’re taught our whole lives to cheer the good guy, let’s cheer the bad guy for a change.
Bowser is straight up Kiwi Bogan, complete with spiked wrist bands (actually spiked everything) and a ginger mullet. Misunderstood, he is simply looking for love. I can also empathise because I too am constantly thwarted by plumbers and can’t seem to find good help these days.
Sure in Doom they looked like particularly dangerous spikey turds, but the Imps were pixelated joy as they scratched and threw fire balls at you. They were the working class backbone of Hell’s army. Not as low as the zombie plebs, but they kept each space station room running with evil while the Cyberdemons and Cacodemons get all the credit (and don’t even get me started on those gluttonous Mancubus – let’s just say there’s no biscuits left in the staff room after they’ve had their smoko). They have appeared in every Doom game since the first one in 1993 so their loyalty to the cause definitely has to be commended as well.
Imps: Definitely the result of a night out with some spicy food.
She is one of the few villains that got her own game right off the bat. Stylish red coat, obviously wealthy, and with an excellent sense of geography, she may have been a lot of gamers first crush. She even gave free travel to her henchmen – such a philanthropist.
Bit of an obvious choice here, but Sonic would be nothing without Dr R. Sonic’s running is impressive, but Robotnik’s inventions were even more so. Their only downfall was how repetitive they were, find the pattern and he’s going down. Just like that Robotnik’s worthy cause of replacing all that dirty and unclean nature with clean smooth chrome is over. Those squirrels and fluffy birds had it coming.
I invested so many 20 cent pieces into various spacie machines trying to end this guy’s tyrannical reign. Another stylish villain, he almost looks like the male equivalent of Carmen Sandiego. When in the World is M.Bison? From memory, you fought him in Thailand. M.Bison as played by the legendary Raul Julia, was also the only good thing about the legendary flop that was Street Fighter: The Movie. I mean come on! E.Honda and Balrog as cameramen! Fun Fact: The writer of this flaming turd described it as a cross between Star Wars, James Bond and a war film.
Mortal Kombat has had a raft of awesome villains and henchmen over the years – Shang Tsung, Shao Kahn, Goro, Kintaro. But my favourite was Motaro. First appearing in Mortal Kombat 3, Motaro is hilariously a Centaurion, which means he is half human, half horse, but with a fire ball launching tail (how?). He was also immune to projectiles, which mean no cheap skate attack strategies. I always thought he’d be more effective with someone riding him with a spear, but then again he might be a little offended by that.
Motaro: Doesn’t appreciate being told he’s ‘hung like a horse’.
Bear with me, bear with me. Before you start carrying on about Wario or Waluigi, hear me out. I am convinced that Luigi is playing the long game. Think about it. He has been under Mario’s shadow for far too long. Luigi’s Haunted Mansion game him some exposure, but otherwise Luigi has been overlooked and insulted for years. Played by John Leguizamo? He doesn’t have a moustache and is not even Italian! I’m just saying that to get to Princess Peach so many times, Bowser would have to have an inside man. Luigi has a deep dark secret and one day soon I’ll be able to say I told you so.
Luigi: Smooth Criminal.