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The Top 10 Villains in Games

by Sasha Erfanian Jul 10
Thumbnail image courtesy of Capcom

The Devil gets the best lines, or so they say. While heroes have to be noble, upstanding and, well, heroic, villains don't have those same constraints. They get to let loose, eat the scenery and be deliciously, at times irreverently, evil.

With all that in mind, here are theScore esports' top 10 video game villains.

RELATED: The top 10 video game betrayals

Ahoy! Thar be SPOILERS in these waters!

10. Pyramid Head - Silent Hill 2

The Silent Hill series' stock and trade are unsettling, deformed monstrosities that will haunt your dreams long after you give up on the game and climb under the covers, but standing king — or rather, Pharaoh — above them is Silent Hill 2's Pyramid Head.

A behemoth bearing a giant cleaver and a triangular helmet, Pyramid Head stalks your steps throughout the game, repeatedly murdering your character's dead wife's doppleganger Maria as he watches before realizing the creature was a manifestation of his own guilt.

Pyramid Head also appeared in both film adapations of the franchise, Silent Hill 2006 and 2012's Silent Hill: Revelation, though that doesn't really justify watching either of them.

9. Handsome Jack - Borderlands 2

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, though it remains in question how good Handsome Jack's intentions were to begin with. Though the Hyperion CEO loves to claim that he's the good guy, his psychotic tendencies and flagrant disregard for human life say differently.

Not only does he try to murder the Vault Hunters at every turn, he's just such a dick about it.

He's such a jerk that even his daughter Angel, a Siren he trapped in a machine interface to control her power, ultimately betrays him in exchange for her own death.

While you get to know Jack a bit better in TellTale's Tales from the Borderlands, perhaps even coming to sympathize with him, nothing quite changes the fact this is a guy who bought a pony made of diamonds for the sake of a joke.

8. Ganondorf - The Legend of Zelda

The Bowser to Link's Mario, the Bass to his Mega Man, Ganon does two things and two things only: kidnapping Hyrulian princesses and stealing the Triforce of Power. Oh yeah, and also turning into a giant boar and getting murdered by pubescent elves.

Nonetheless, you got to hand it to the guy, at least he keeps trying. Though, that in itself is somewhat tragic when you consider the Zelda' series cyclical timeline and the fact that poor Ganon is doomed to fail and die over and over again for all eternity.

7. Evil Shepard - Mass Effect: Citadel

Who could possibly stand toe-to-toe with Commander [Insert] Shepard of the SSV Normandy? The man/woman has taken down Reapers, Rachni, Geth, Cerberus monstrosities and mercenaries galore.

So for the third game's Citadel DLC, it stood to reason that the only enemy that could truly challenge Shepard was... Shepard.

In a twist straight out of a worse space opera, the commander's final opponent was a clone of him/herself created by Cerberus to take their place and further the group's humanist agenda. It's still a better twist than the Catalyst in the main game.

6. Gaunter O'Dimm - The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone

The one real weakness of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was that the titular Wild Hunt were about as interesting as cardboard. However, the game's first DLC pack, Hearts of Stone, rectified that issue with one of the most unsettling and compelling villains in gaming.

First encountered in the game's tutorial area, Gaunter O'Dimm or "Master Mirror" offers Geralt a small hint of advice and a promise to meet again. Later, after saving Geralt's life, O'Dimm insists that he fulfill three wishes for the immortal mercenary Olgierd von Everec... and brands him across the face with a giant burn until the tasks are done.

As the story goes on, you slowly discover that O'Dimm is a Faustian demon trading in souls and terrorizing anyone stupid enough to try and learn his real name. As though that wasn't unsettling enough, keen-eyed redditors noticed O'Dimm was actually stalking you in the background of almost the entire DLC.

As /u/Novigrad_Whore notes, "The Devil is in the details."

5. Gul'Dan (The first one) - Warcraft

Not everything bad that's ever happened in the Warcraft franchise was Gul'Dan's fault. Just most things.

For instance, in exchange for demonic power from Kil'jaeden, Gul'Dan united the Orc tribes into the Horde who were then enslaved by the Burning Legion before committing genocide against the Draenei.

He then worked with Medivh (who at the time was possessed by Sargaras) to open a portal allowing the Horde to invade Azeroth, which led to Draenor's destruction after an Alliance counter-attack led the Shaman Ner'zhul to make a few too many escape portals, which ended up blowing up the planet and turning it into Outland.

As for Gul'Dan, well, he was killed by a bunch of demons when he tried to open Sargeras' tomb.

That leads us to the World of Warcraft expansion Warlords of Draenor, which introduced a second timeline and a second Gul'Dan, but I refuse to go into that out of principle.

4. Bowser - Mario

The King Koopa himself, Bowser has terrorized Peach, Mario and the denizens of the Mushroom Kingdom for decades...though that hasn't stopped them all from hanging out and playing tennis every once in a while.

That said, Bowser has been a fierce foe to Mario across the series' core games, sending his own children, the seven Koopalings, against him in the name of his endless crusade.

It wasn't until Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars that gamers got a glimpse into Bowser's rich inner life, as the oversized turtle expressed his grief over losing his castle in the form of a haiku.

3. GLaDOS - Portal

In the original Portal, the insane AI GLaDOS had all the malevolence of HAL 9000 along with a sarcastic and mean-spirited sense of humor.

Constantly taunting you as you made your way through her increasingly complex Test Chambers, she gets more and more unhinged after you escape her trap in the Incinerator Room until you're finally able to shut her down.

However, you're forced to work with her in Portal 2 after you're both betrayed by Wheatley and she's deposited into a potato battery. During your unlikely quest for vengeance, you discover GlaDOS had once been Caroline: assistant to Aperture Science's deranged CEO who had been forcibly uploaded to the mainframe after her employer's untimely death.

With that tragedy in mind, it's kind of understandable why she chose to poison the majority of the lab's personnel on Bring Your Daughter to Work Day.

2. M. Bison - Street Fighter

M. Bison, Vega, Dictator, doesn't matter what you call the main antagonist of the Street Fighter series so long as you kneel before the might of his "Psycho Power."

As leader of the shadowy Shadaloo crime syndicate, M. Bison is behind basically every bad thing that happens to anyone on the game's roster (outside of those with a bone to pick with the Illuminati).

Not only did he murder Chun-Li's father as well as Guile's best friend Charlie Nash, but he kidnapped and brainwashed a bunch of teenage girls to act as his personal death squad and has tried to take over the world on multiple occasions.

But of course, his greatest sin is his EX Devil's Reverse.

1. Kefka - Final Fantasy VI

What's scarier than a clown? A scary clown with godlike power of course.

Final Fantasy VI's main antagonist, Kefka was the first Magitek knight, though the process left him... a little unbalanced. Kefka kills indiscriminately, even taking a page out of another evil clown's book and poisoning a kingdom's water supply to speed up a siege.

Things only get worse when he betrays his patron, Emperor Geshtal, in order to absorb the power of the Warring Triad to become a god and wipe out anyone who refuses to bow down to him. While other games would have seen the protagonists defeat Kefka before he could do too much damage, he's actually left in control of the world for a full year before his reign of terror is ended.

What do you think? Were there any vile villains we missed? Chime in on Twitter or Facebook!

Sasha Erfanian is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.

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