Updated at: 10-03-2023 - By: Leo Hall
It’s true that not all evil characters in games are the same. These dread foes are perverse and evil in the extreme.
Video game antagonists are as varied as the heroes they oppose, taking the form of anything from demonic deities to super soldiers to megalomaniacal tyrants to sorcerers or even seemingly ordinary people. Regardless of how they manifest, antagonists are crucial to games because they give players something to root against, and a well-written bad guy can be just as memorable as the good guys.There is always a deeper meaning behind a villain’s actions, and every truly evil character has some sort of driving ambition. Characters with heroic qualities are often portrayed as proud, respected, and capable leaders; they may even share some of these traits with the story’s hero. In order to be a credible antagonist, they can even be shown to be on par with the hero in many respects.The narrative quality of today’s video games can compete with that of the best films and books. Therefore, some of the most memorable and vile antagonists in gaming history have appeared in a wide variety of game types, including role-playing games, adventure games, and first-person shooters. Listed below are 15 of the most villainous video game protagonists:

Deathshead – Wolfenstein

The Wolfenstein series, which has been around since 1981, is widely regarded as the forerunner to the modern stealth-based first-person shooter genre. It was also instrumental in making the first-person shooter genre huge in the early ’90s. Wolfenstein: The New Order, released in 2014, marked the series’ return with its successful blend of stealth and first-person shooter mechanics in semi-open environments. The game’s narrative was compelling throughout, and it featured one of the most heinous antagonists in video game history.

Most Evil Video Game Villains Ranked [2023 List] - GamingScan

Doctor, researcher, and head of the SS’s Special Projects Division, Wilhelm “Deathshead” Strasse is known for his extreme cruelty. His cruel human experiments, especially the horrific brain torture scene in Wolfenstein: The New Order, reflect his view that compassion is a pointless human instinct that should be ignored.

Pagan Minn – Far Cry 4

Far Cry 4’s Pagan Min, the tyrannical warlord of Kyrat and the son of a mid-level Triad drugs boss, was born in Hong Kong but rose to power in the Himalayas. Once he had his militia in place, he sided with the Royalists and their far-off heir to take advantage of the conflict between them and the rebels of the Golden Path. It didn’t take long, though, before Min murdered the heir, anointed himself king, and began eliminating anyone who opposed his rule.

The choice of Pagan Min over Vaas, the one-dimensional second-in-command thug from Far Cry 3, was an easy one, as Min is a more ambitiously evil and layered character. He has much more influence than Vaas did, and his cameos never drag on too long with tired clichés about the “definition of insanity” (yawn).

Dogeyes – Sleeping Dogs

One of the primary villains in Sleeping Dogs, the open-world action game set in Hong Kong, is Sam “Dogeyes” Lin. Dogeyes started his career with the Sun On Yee Triad as a “professional boyfriend,” using his sociopathic charm to date attractive young women in order to get them addicted to drugs and eventually turn them into prostitutes. This is how he rose to become the leader of the Jade Gang. Before the events of Sleeping Dogs took place, Dogeyes used and abused Wei Shen’s younger sister in the same way, leading to her eventual death by heroin overdose.

Dogeyes lacks empathy for anyone, but especially for Wei Shen, and is a cruel sociopath and sexual sadist. To him, it’s worth it to kill anyone who gets in his way, and he takes great pleasure in brutalizing the innocent civilians of the Market District despite their payment of his extortion fees.

Sephiroth – Final Fantasy VII

When it comes to Square Enix’s Final Fantasy series, the most infamous villain is undoubtedly Sephiroth. He’s not just another handsome bad guy who wields a fancy sword.

To understand why he deserves to be called the game’s “most evil,” one need only consider a sampling of the terrible things he’s done over the course of the game’s history. Not only did he murder Aerith, but he also killed Tifa’s father and Cloud’s mother. He has a long history of betrayal and mass murder. Check out The Gamers’ 15 Most Disturbing Acts Committed By Sephiroth for a better idea of his worst deeds.

John Konrad – Spec Ops

The military action shooter Spec Ops: The Line had a surprisingly solid and involved plot. Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad in 1899, and Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, served as inspirations for the film. Spec Ops’ John Konrad was inspired by Marlon Brando’s Walter E. Kurtz from The Godfather. Unlike the film’s Vietnam and the book’s Congo, Spec Ops takes place in present-day Dubai.

The war in Dubai transformed Konrad from a hero and an excellent leader into a monstrosity. As Martin Walker makes his way through the game’s story, he is subjected to Konrad’s taunting over the radio. Seeing how easily Konrad can manipulate and coerce Walker into making horrible choices will stay with you for a long time.

Pontiff Sulyvahn – Dark Souls 3

One of the game’s primary villains, Pontiff Sulyvahn is a formidable foe in Dark Souls 3. Born on the Painted World of Ariandel, this frost sorcerer eventually made his way to the Profaned Capital, where he acquired the Profaned Flame and the Profaned Greatsword in pursuit of his goal of ruling over all of Irithyl.

It was part of Sulyvahn’s plan to seize power in Irithyl by instituting worship of Aldrich, Devourer of Gods. By exposing the Fire Witches to an excess of the Profaned Flame’s energy, he drove them mad on purpose. To consolidate his power in the Boreal Valley, Sulyvahn imprisoned Yorshka in a tower above her church and sent Aldrich to eat Gwyndolin, the last of the gods of Anor Londo. Even worse, before sending her off to become an Outrider Knight, he made the maiden of Gwynevere dance for his amusement.

Dormin – Shadow Of The Colossus

Dormin is the mysterious figure who persuaded Wander to kill the Colossi in order to bring back his dead girlfriend Mono, who was sacrificed because she was doomed to an unlucky end. Dormin’s soul was imprisoned in the bodies of sixteen enormous beasts that roamed freely across the off-limits area, and only by slaying the Colossi Wander could Dormin be released.

Dormin’s ability to manipulate Wander without ever outright lying to him is one of his most remarkable and ingenious traits; he also delivered on his promise to resurrect Mono, albeit at great personal cost. Dormin had warned Wander, “but heed this, the price you pay may be heavy indeed,” before he even set out on his journey to destroy the Colossi. Dormin was cunning even when he was somewhat honest because he knew Wander would disobey the warning and try anything to bring his love back from the dead.

Kefka – Final Fantasy VI

The main villain of Final Fantasy VI is a man named Kefka Palazzo. Kefka started the game as the court mage of Emperor Gestahl, but he had his own plans from the start. He secretly ordered attacks on various towns and cities, drained the power of the Espers, and eventually overthrew the Gestahl, his monarch. After that, he [took over the Warring Triad and made Kefka the de facto God of Magic.

You could argue that Kefka is the most sadistic, maniacal, and destructive bad guy in all of Final Fantasy. His insanity and general animosity toward the world appear to have been caused by the same procedure that made him the first Magitek Knight and gave him power over magic. Kefka poisoned an entire kingdom’s water supply, killed his own allies, destroyed cities, and committed genocide against the Espers; all this before terraforming the Earth and killing millions more people.

Luca Blight – Suikoden 2

The main villain of Suikoden 2 was Luca Blight, also known as the mad prince. Although the Mad Prince Luca Blight’s pure psychopathy could have made him a one-dimensional villain, his charisma and the fact that he is completely human make him all the more unsettling.

Blight has destroyed entire towns, slaughtered thousands of people, and taken sick pleasure in making his victims beg for their lives, even making one woman pretend to be a pig before he killed her. Luca Blight is a completely despicable person who seeks nothing but to inflict pain and suffering on others and whose insatiable lust for blood seems to know no bounds.

Dr. Fontaine – L.A Noire

Main antagonist Dr. Harlan J. Fontaine in L.A. Noire. A clinical psychiatrist, he studied both psychology and medicine in college. Professionally, he is known as a professor at a prestigious university and as a “doctor to the stars” thanks to his work with famous people. He also orchestrated the Los Angeles morphine racket and the Suburban Redevelopment Scandal, in which he duped several high-ranking city officials.

Fontaine is a violent sociopath who manipulated patients into trusting him and doing his bidding with the help of his prestigious position as a psychiatrist. To further his drug trafficking business and maintain his ties to organized crime, Fontaine has no qualms about murdering people.

Emperor Nero – Ryse: Son Of Rome

As the primary antagonist of Ryse, Emperor Nero also holds the distinction of being the only historical figure to appear here. Nero ruled Rome for 14 years before taking his own life. Naturally, he met his end at the hands of Marius, the game’s main character.

True life Nero committed numerous atrocities; he held Christians responsible for the Great Fire of Rome and threw them to the hounds, among many other horrific punishments. To secure his rule, he even had his mother killed. Even worse, he married the teenage boy he had castrated because of the resemblance to his late wife, a man named Sporus.

Nero’s video game counterpart seemed to accurately portray many of his physical descriptions and his personality traits, making him not only a great fictional villain but also a great historical one, despite the game’s story playing very loose with historical accuracy (he didn’t have two sons).

Ganondorf – Legend Of Zelda

One of the most well-known villains in video game history, Ganondorf has been the series’ primary antagonist ever since The Legend of Zelda’s inception. While The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword’s Link appears in many incarnations, Ganondorf is the reincarnation of the same entity—the spirit of hatred born of the demon Demise.

In Four Swords Adventures, Ganondorf unleashes an army of darkness after turning the Knights of Hyrule into demons. At long last, in Breath of the Wild, he destroyed the entire Hyrulian world. The evil villain Ganon is more than that; he is evil and darkness itself, a force that can never be defeated and always returns stronger than before.

The Legend of Zelda: What's the Difference Between Ganon and Ganondorf? | Den of Geek

Joel – The Last Of Us

In The Last of Us, Joel is the protagonist who cares most about Ellie after losing his own daughter in the early stages of the epidemic when a soldier was ordered to kill him and his daughter.

There are a number of reasons why Joel would be included on a “most evil” list, despite the fact that he is widely regarded as a hero by his legion of devoted followers. The most glaring example is how he refuses to put Ellie in danger by allowing her to be used to treat millions of people. He averted disaster by eliminating the Fireflies’ entire workforce. Because of this, Joel eventually told Ellie a lie about what had occurred at the clinic, insisting that the vaccine had been ineffective. Even the game’s main antagonist, David, calls Joel “the crazy man” because of his ability to commit acts of total brutality without remorse.

Mr. Jefferson – Life Is Strange

Mark Jefferson, the main antagonist of Life is Strange, appears to be a kind and charismatic photography teacher at Blackwell Academy, but he is actually a psychopathic serial killer. Jefferson is an accomplished educator who first found fame as a photographer in the 1990s. His obsession with “innocence,” or more accurately, “capturing the moment where innocence evolves into corruption,” drives him to murder.

The developers at DONTNOD did a fantastic job of creating a ” who done it” murder mystery while simultaneously throwing the players of Jefferson’s scent early in the game by making his character appear very likable. Jefferson’s initial likability made the shock of his eventual unmasking all the more effective and terrifying. The chapters reveal his true danger and evilness.

Lionel Starkweather – Manhunt

A case could be made that Lionel Starkweather is the most villainous video game character ever created. In Rockstar’s Manhunt, he plays a pivotal role as the game’s main villain. The fantastic voice acting provided by Brian Cox really helps sell Starkweather as a truly evil and sick individual, despite the fact that he is primarily an audible character.

He “directs” James Earl Cash, the protagonist of his snuff films, through numerous murderous scenarios, promising him freedom if he survives each one. It appears that Starkweather gets a sexual thrill from killing as well, as his moans can be heard on occasion when Cash carries out a murder. He even takes great pleasure in showing Cash footage of the kidnapping and murder of Cash’s family by the Wardogs gang.

Queen Slug for a Butt – Earthworm Jim

In the past, the Earthworm Jim series has struggled when moving to a three-dimensional format. Although development on new Earthworm Jim games has ceased, fans should not forget the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis entries in the series. When compared to other platform games, Earthworm Jim was a breath of fresh air. The game was hilariously original and unlike anything else. The game’s final boss, Queen Slug for a Butt, is a resounding reason for the game’s excellence. This enemy seeks to steal Earthworm Jim’s space suit in order to use it in a global takeover. Her goals are truly evil, and they include a desire to rule the entire planet. Queen Slug for a Butt is one of the meanest and most believable villains in gaming history, and she also has one of the best names.

Giygas – Earthbound

By his reputation alone, Giygas, who has been called “The Universal Cosmic Destroyer” and “The Embodiment of Evil,” seems to have the bad guy routine down pat. Giygas, the alien villain, wants to plunge the entire universe into eternal night. As a player, you will only ever see Giygas in his background appearance. He is no longer a solid entity but rather a formless mass of disorder. This non-appearance only adds to his intimidating nature. Throughout Earthbound, Giygas has an effect on every enemy the player faces because he possesses normal animals and makes them into monsters. If you want to talk about pure evil, look no further than Giygas and his ability to turn animals violent and distressed. Even after defeating him in the final boss fight, Giygas remains a formidable adversary. Paula’s character needs to start praying to weaken him at some point. If you want to defeat him, you’ll need to harness the destructive potential of your emotions rather than rely on simple attacks.

Lavos – Chrono Trigger

It’s possible that Lavos is the most evil villain in the galaxy because he causes so much fear wherever he goes. With time, Lavos has perfected a cycle that involves colonizing uninhabited planets and sustaining enormous populations. After millions of years, Lavos consumes the entire planet and all the life he made. After he’s done, his spawn will go to other planets to do it all over again. While playing Chrono Trigger, Crono and his companions travel through time and space to stop Lavos and destroy him. For many reasons, including his ultimate goal of eradicating all humans, Lavos ranks high among the most notorious antagonists in video game history. The fact that Lavos carries out his plot to destroy humanity while napping for an extremely extended period of time adds to the comical nature of his villainy.

Dr. Albert W. Wily – Mega Man Series

An evil scientist named Dr. Wily is assembling an army of robots to overthrow civilization. Dr. Wily will always come back soon after Mega Man foils his plans and defeats his top bosses. Dr. Wily is a master of invention, always coming up with new and better gadgets and learning new skills to help him use them. Despite Dr. Wily’s best efforts, Mega Man has always progressed more rapidly. Dr. Wily looks completely out of this world and is the visual embodiment of the stereotypical mad scientist. Good news for gamers: Dr. Wily is far more capable of mischief than his profile implies. Dr. Wily is a recurring villain in the Mega Man series, making appearances across a wide variety of video game systems and portable devices. Dr. Wily is entertaining because he can play such a stock villain while still appearing threatening and formidable.

Albert Wesker – Resident Evil Series

In descending order of villainous qualities, Albert Wesker possesses them all. Stunning physical attributes, including near-superhuman strength, speed, and agility, and a enticing appearance. He’s played both sides, made repeated appearances, and plotted relentlessly before ultimately trying to destroy the planet. The Resident Evil series’ most enduring villain, Albert Wesker, presents himself with an impressive resume. For the sake of his own ego, Albert Wesker has become one of the most hated characters in fictional history. To achieve his goal of becoming a living idol for people to worship, Wesker has faked his own death and inherited superhuman powers. The role of Wesker in the first Resident Evil will always stand out as his most iconic. Wesker fails to keep his affiliation with the Umbrella Corporation a secret while he sets traps for his fellow team members. Returns by Wesker in the future would be grand and ambitious, cementing his place as one of gaming’s all-time best recurring villains.

Bowser – Super Mario Series

In video games, Bowser, Mario’s nemesis, is as synonymous with evil as any other character. The Koopa King is so ubiquitous in video games that he probably comes to mind first whenever the topic of “video game villains” comes up. The vast Super Mario Bros. series, along with several spin-off games, brings Mario’s total number of appearances in these games to an impressively high number. Paper Mario and other role-playing games are where Bowser’s villainy really shines. Despite making frequent cameos in the platforming Super Mario Bros. games, Bowser’s appearances in these games have devolved into self-parody. This Godzilla-like threat can operate freely because Bowser is so well-known. Bowser commands and deserves respect because he is backed by an army of devoted creatures.

The Joker – Batman Arkham Series

His giggling is impossible to ignore. The Joker’s laugh and demeanor make him an instantly recognizable and unforgettable villain. Mark Hamill, who is best known for playing Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films, lends his voice to the Joker in the Batman Arkham games. In an unforgettable performance, Hamill takes center stage. The Joker is notorious for stealing the show, and during the Arkham titles, Hamill’s performance as the Clown Prince of Crime is on par with Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as the same character. The quality of a video game villain is often determined by the caliber of the voice acting and the emotional (often psychotic) flair displayed by the actor portraying the villain. The Joker is terrifying in person, and his total mastery of every situation in the Arkham games is terrifying to witness. The Joker receives one of the best voice acting performances of all time, firmly placing him in the pantheon of evil masterminds.


To be found in: Final Fantasy VI

The worst kind of criminal is one who laughs like a madman.

Players are led to believe, from the very beginning of Final Fantasy VI, that Kefka is nothing more than an inept ambassador.

But as the game develops, his true intentions become apparent, and terrifying events ensue.

Among the highlights are poisoning the town’s water supply, torching villages, and killing dozens or even hundreds of people.

As Kefka’s evil deeds unfold, he keeps hurling cutting insults at you.

Vaas Montenegro

Affects: Far Cry 3

The worst kind of evil is to murder all your friends.

While Vaas Montenegro has only made a single appearance in the Far Cry series, he is easily the most recognizable character.

Voice actor Michael Mando’s excellent performance as the drug addict turned psychopath gives Vaas a lot of his villainous heft, but Vaas is still a twisted character in his own right.

Despite a long list of heinous crimes, this man has remained in power thanks to the complacency of corrupt officials and his own undeniable charisma.

He’s great at what he does, which is entertaining an audience and convincing them (and the player character) to see things his way.

Frau Engel

Used in the Film Wolfenstein

The worst crime: Nazism

Even though Adolf Hitler is the main antagonist of the show, Frau Engel stands out as one of the most repulsive and despicable characters in the annals of human history.

Wolfenstein: The New Order is where her career as a killer begins, as we see her steal a baby from its mother and kill it off-screen.

In the original game, her sociopathic tendencies are stifled, but in The New Colossus, she is given a much larger role.

During her 15 minutes of fame, Frau does what exactly? kill a lot of unarmed civilians, behead some (including the player character), and publicly humiliate her own daughter.

Frau Irene Engel (@Frau_Engel_) / Twitter

Pyramid Head

Stars in the Film Silent Hill

The worst sin: slowing down to a molasses pace.

There are so many terrifying monsters in the Silent Hill games that it may be best to just let the first one kill you and move on.

But if you keep going, you’ll see Pyramid Head sooner or later.

Pyramid Head is a recurring boss in the Silent Hill 2 video game series, and he first appears as a symbolic representation of the player character’s guilt and suffering as they make their way through the game’s dark corridors.

The fact that he says nothing but keeps marching forward until he kills you is what gives him his evil reputation.

M. Bison

In: Street Fighter

Brainwashing and/or international terrorism: the greatest evil.

M. Bison, also known as M. Bison or M. Bison the Big Boss in some regions, is one of the most villainous figures in the history of the Street Fighter franchise.

The Psycho Power that courses through his body is his primary source of strength.

But even without his superpowers, Bison is still a pretty evil guy; he’s kidnapped, tortured, brainwashed, and even murdered friends and family members of his rivals.

The fact that Bison is a psychopath and thus unable to feel compassion for his victims is perhaps his worst trait.

Bloody Mary

Featured in: “The Wolf, among Us”

One of the worst things a person can do is to eat their own dog’s lungs.

We contend that Bloody Mary is at least as terrifyingly evil as the Crooked Man, even if she is not the film’s primary antagonist.

Her sassy, nonchalant demeanor belies a raw physical strength that can match or surpass that of Bigsby.

Plus, she can use mirrors and other reflective surfaces as portals for her teleportation powers.

When she assumed her true form, shards of mirror protruded in every direction from her body, symbolizing the physical manifestation of her wickedness.

Tom Nook

This item can be found in Animal Crossing.

The worst of all crimes: turning us into slaves

Animal Crossing is the pinnacle of relaxing video games, with no real threats or combat to speak of and the freedom to complete most objectives at your own pace.

However, there is still one character whose only goal is to make you unhappy; at the beginning of each game, the greedy business raccoon Tom Nook offers you a plot of land in exchange for a large sum of Bells.

If you want to avoid taking out another loan to finance home improvements after you’ve paid off your first one, you’ll need to set aside a sizable sum of money.

The real estate, construction, retail, and travel industries have been under Nook’s complete control for decades, attesting to his relentlessly evil business acumen.


System Shock

The worst possible offense: transforming your crew into a race of mutant cyborgs

SHODAN was a highly developed AI that went bad before GLaDOS.

She can be anywhere on the Von Braun spaceship at any time thanks to the ship’s advanced communications systems, which she has full access to.

The worst part is likely what SHODAN did to get to this point, which allows her to set numerous traps and keep tabs on any secret plans you try to carry out.

While you were dormant in cryostasis, she took command of the ship and used the rest of the crew as test subjects in her biological experiments.


The Portal Series

The worst deed: lying about the dessert.

The performance of GLaDOS, the one-eyed robot antagonist, is integral to the success of Valve’s first-person puzzle platformer.

There is a constant stream of snarky, auto-tuned speeches from the AI-controlled villain throughout the game, and the effect ranges from hilarious to terrifying.

That GLaDOS can disarm her victims with meaningless anecdotes that make her seem like any other dumb robot is likely a large part of what makes her so evil.

You will only learn of her evil plot after it is already too late.

Revolver Ocelot

Affects Metal Gear Solid

Most heinous deed: the slow-motion loss of his beret

Solid Snake has faced off against many expert snipers and strategists throughout the Metal Gear series.

Throughout the series, however, few characters can compare to Revolver Ocelot in terms of their ability to trick their opponents mentally.

He spent many years operating as a double, triple, or even quadruple agent while remaining completely undetected.

Throughout the 1960s and beyond, Ocelot methodically executed a cunning plan to betray everyone who stood in his way.

Handsome Jack

As Seen in: Borderlands

To connect his daughter to a computer was the worst possible thing he could have done to her.

Handsome Jack is another archetypical modern video game bad guy who can temporarily disarm his victims with his charisma and wit.

He is articulate and bright, particularly in the field of computer engineering, where he excels.

To what extent does Jack’s personality lend itself to evil? To begin with, he thought it would be a good idea to use his own daughter to hack into Pandora’s communication systems and thereby cheat his way up the corporate ladder.

He deserves to be on this list because he has brutally murdered countless characters and non-human animals throughout the series.

Dr. Robotnik

Seen in: Sonic the Hedgehog

The worst sin: sporting that mustache

If you’re looking for a prototypical “mad scientist,” Dr. Robotnik is your man.

He has the word “Doctor” in his name, is an expert engineer of lethal devices and traps, and harbors a deep and abiding hatred of all things warm and cuddly.

Despite this, we have a hard time taking the guy seriously; sure, forcing animals to fight in robot suits is evil, but Sonic and his friends always manage to foil his plans.

You’d think a man whose expertise is in animal servitude would fare better against a chili-dog-eating hedgehog.