Video Games have been around for decades. In all these glorious years, we’ve seen some amazing and not so amazing villains. For one reason or another, certain baddies have become iconic in nature and redefine what a “Boss” really is. I obviously haven’t played every game in creation, nor have I gone up against every villain to ever grace the screen. I’ve played my fair share of video games over the years and have collected a few of my favorite villains. I am only listing ten old school villains, but obviously, I will be leaving out hundreds.
Series: The Legend of Zelda
If I had to say there was one video game series that I loved the most, it would be The Legend of Zelda. I’ve bought the last few Nintendo machines just on the promise of a new amazing Zelda title. From the original NES game to Wind Waker and Breath of the Wild, I’ve loved them all. No matter what one thinks of the aging franchise, it’s the character development that has always remained top-notch. Ganon or Ganondorf, as he is sometimes known, has always been a staple in the Zelda games. Ganon has never been that difficult, but he’s pure evil and always made for a great foe. Admit it; when you finally got the skeleton key in the original game and made your way to the top of Death Mountain, you felt like you were on your way to an epic fight.
Series: Sim City
How can natural disasters be a villain, you ask? Have you ever played any of the Sim City iterations and built up a large and prosperous city? Have you ever watched as sections of your precious city are laid to waste by a tornado or a rash of uncontrollable fires? Well, if you have, then you’ll know that natural disasters are as evil and sinister as any flesh and blood villain ever created. I can’t tell you how many countless times things were going great in Zolan City (I was very creative as a kid), when BAM, a colossal disaster struck, and I was left with a partially destroyed city. It still makes me angry to this day.
To say I was obsessed with StarCraft when I was in high school is an understatement. I would sit in class and think about strategies on how to beat the current level I was on. If I had my way, I’d play it all day and night. The Zerg are cool and all, but it was the Protoss that really made the game for me. They were an enemy that you had to work hard to defeat, but you could also turn around and play as them in their own separate campaign!!! Everything from their ships, turrets, and ground forces were beautifully designed and well balanced. I am pretty sure I enjoyed playing as the Protoss way more than the Terrans.
Series: Super Mario Bros.
What can I say, Miyamoto created some fantastic villains over the last forty years. His characters might not be overly complicated, but they last for decades and have become just as iconic as the hero’s they’re trying to bring down. Bowser has been a staple in almost every Mario game (and that’s a whole lot of games) and shows no signs of slowing down. He may never be able to bring his plans for Princess Peach and the Mushroom Kingdom to fruition, but that doesn’t mean I won’t give the lovable guy an A for effort.
Series: Resident Evil
Oh Albert Wesker, why are you so mean. First, he betrays his team in the original Resident Evil, and then he wants total world domination. The dude seriously needs a hobby. Wesker is the epitome of a bad guy. Aside from the whole betraying of his team thing, and then unleashing the T-Virus thing, he also injects himself repeatedly with the virus mentioned above just to keep himself alive. Now that’s dedication! I’ll always have fond memories of him pulling a fast one on me when I sat down all those years ago to play the original Resident Evil.
Series: Street Fight II
I loved M. Bison, not because he’s designed well or because his set of moves are the best. I simply loved him because he was cheap. The man was cheap, cheap, cheap!! Every time he’d hit you, it would take away twice as much damage as an average fighter. He’d only have to land a few good hits, and you’d be down for the count. He’s what I liked to call a “quarter eater” back in the arcade days. Between his awesome cape and hipster hat, Bison was my go-to character when I wanted to beat someone quick and easy. Besides, he was one of Raul Julia’s last film roles, and frankly, you don’t get any better than that.
Series: Metal Gear Solid
Every time I get into a debate about the Metal Gear series, inevitably someone always brings up the initial fight with Psycho Mantis in Metal Gear Solid. At first, the fun-loving, gas mask-wearing, telekinetic power using baddie floats around the room, seemingly dodging every bullet you shoot at him. If that isn’t crazy enough, he soon starts to taunt you during the fight. When I say “you”, I don’t mean your character, I mean you the player! Mantis actually references the games the player has recently played. “Ah I see you’ve played Castlevania,” says Mantis as he magically flings inanimate objects at your head. How amazing is that! It turns out he was reading your memory card, and a simple switch of the controller from port one to two was all you needed to defeat him. Still gives me goosebumps thinking about it.
The Grim Reaper
Speaking of Castlevania, most people would have you believe that Dracula was the best villain in the series, but I say nay! It’s the Grim Reaper that takes the top prize in my book. Have you ever played Super Castlevania IV? Dracula was cool and all, but it was the Grim Reaper that stole the show. His character design was beautiful, and the ensuing fight was entertaining and challenging. Combine it all with an epic soundtrack, and you have yourself, one memorable villain.
Series: Batman: Arkham Asylum
The Joker is one of those villains that’s so iconic; other villains are based on him. Granted, he has been in countless Batman games throughout the years, but it’s Arkham Asylum that really showed us what a next-gen Joker could do. Not only was the animation some of the best we’ve seen since the 90’s Batman: The Animated Series, but Mark Hamill voiced him, arguably the best Joker EVER. He’s ruthless, unforgiving, funny, charming, and psychotic, all rolled up into one fantastic character.
Big Daddies are Awesome. If it weren’t for the fact that I have to write more than one sentence on each Villain, I’d say that pretty much encompasses everything one needs to say about them. They are fantastic in every way, shape, and form. From their eerie, yet oddly emotional design, to their massive strength and tempers, the Big Daddies are what define BioShock as a whole. You’re instantly scared of them, but at the same time, you feel empathy for them. There isn’t one person out there that can’t recall their feelings when they first went one-on-one with one of these freight trains on two legs. Combined with the fact that they follow around the creepiest little girls ever, Big Daddies have to be the most intimidating and awe-inspiring creations to come out of the video game world.
There you have it, fellow game enthusiasts. Just some retro villains are doing what they do best. Who are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below.
I’m just a Star Trek loving, video game playing, dog owning nerd who loves to talk about all things that are geeky with anyone who will listen. I still have my original working NES and still believe blowing in the cartridge makes it work! Feel free to start a conversation with me about all things gaming and entertainment, I do love a great chat with like minded people!!