10 Coolest Bad Guys In Video Game History

November 1, 2012

With Wreck-It Ralph hitting theatres this weekend and the film featuring cameos from some of the most iconic bad guys in video game history, we thought we'd toss together a list of the ten coolest video game villains in no particular order. Well, except the first one, who is undoubtedly number one.

Sephiroth – Final Fantasy VII

If you're to ask anyone of a certain age range to point to one video game character that epitomizes evil, it's Sephiroth. The big bad from the character-rich Final Fantasy VII already had all the makings of a great villain, but what puts him over the top is when he kills a lovable (and playable!) character in a violent, tragic fashion. Other games kill characters off, but few have actually managed to make the player invested in them before they're unexpectedly taken away.

Also, he has amazing theme music.

Slash – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

We previously touched on him in our article about villains from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. Although you encounter him at the halfway point, he was undoubtedly the hardest boss in the game. Harder even than Shredder, who employed many of the same annoying blocking techniques but not nearly as effectively. Also, for some strange reason, when you raised the difficulty level he became exponentially harder as compared to other bosses in the game.

M. Bison – Street Fighter II

Street Fighter II was the game that revolutionized and popularized the fighting game genre. In fact, the industry was more or less dominated by the genre for years after.Unlike most other fighting games, its main boss was a unique character with his own moveset. He was a dictator of an unnamed, vaguely Southeast Asian country who also controlled an international crime syndicate. But what puts him on this list is his trademark militaristic look, which was based largely on a villain from the Riki-Oh manga series.Bison was called Vega in the original Japanese release. The name change came because the boxing character we know as Balrog was originally called M. Bison, an ode to his obvious physical resemblance to Mike Tyson. The names were changed in order to avoid a lawsuit in the states (the character we know as Vega was originally Balrog).

Donkey Kong – Donkey Kong

DK is considered the original and the inspiration for many that came after, including and especially the titular Wreck-It Ralph from the forthcoming Pixar movie. The game introduced Mario to the world of video gaming, who would go on to change home consoles in following years, but Kong himself was iconic in his own right. His facial expressions, barrel tossing, and that trademark cartwheel-like spin he'd do after being defeated made him a cult favorite. Also, he was a monkey, and monkeys are always cool and funny.Kong would eventually become so popular that many would view Mario as the antagonist, leading to a sequel where Mario was the villain and a popular series of video games for the Super Nintendo starring Donkey Kong and a litany of Kong family members.

Goro – Mortal Kombat

Goro is actually the second to last villain in the original installment of the Mortal Kombat franchise, but he's way cooler than the final boss of the game. We're sure Shang Tsung has his fans, but his motif of stealing the various moves of all playable characters was old hat even when the game debuted in arcades in 1992. Goro, on the other hand, had a great look and was arguably tougher to beat than his master.

Even cooler: his most devastating move was a backhand. He would BACKHAND YOU INTO OBLIVION. That's pretty badass.

Abobo – Double Dragon

Although he's the first boss (and third) you encounter in the original Double Dragon game from 1987, he's easily the most fondly remembered and frequently referenced aspect of the game. With the body of a bodybuilder and the head of an angry baby, Abobo was notable for being unthrowable and tossing the Double Dragon boys over his head.In recent years he's even become meme in graffiti culture, making appearances on the streets of Portland, New York City, and even this article's home town of Troy, NY. He also made an appearance in the live-action Double Dragon movie, which starred the guy from "Party of Five" and the Chairman from the Food Network show "Iron Chef America." He looked absolutely awful. Seriously, the movie's not even enjoyably bad. Avoid it.

Slender Man - Slender

Slender Man was a fakelore figure created in the Something Awful forums, where members of the community were challenged to photoshop a slim figure in a black suit and a blank, sheet-white face into various photographs. The meme became so popular that an independent video game was created based on the character.

"Slender: The Eight Pages" was developed by independent game developer Mark J. Hadley and is available for free as a download from the game's official website. It uses an effective minimalist first-person perspective to create real tension and fear in a way few, if any, video games have before. Which is impressive considering it's an indy game capitalizing on an inside joke.

Every Bad Guy - Shadow of the Colossus

Each of the bosses are so visually striking and interesting in their own right that it didn't seem fair to pick just one. They make "Shadow of the Colossus" arguably the closest thing the video game industry has come to putting out something of real artistic merit. More importantly it's also a Hell of a lot of fun.

Ganondorf – Legend of Zelda Games

Ganondorf is the primary antagonist for most of the games in the "Legend of Zelda" franchise and one of the most enduring villains in video game culture. He started off as "Ganon" in the original "Legends of Zelda" games, originally becoming "Ganondorf" and adopting most of the attributes more commonly associated with him in the 1998 video game "Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time." The game played with the idea of parallel universes, explaining the differences in the franchise's timeline and various incarnations of characters.

The Great Mighty Poo – Conker's Bad Fur Day

At first glance, the Great Mighty Poo comes off as a lame, sophomoric joke. "What," you ask yourself (if you're us), "was this game designed by twelve-year-olds?" Then the Great Mighty Poo starts singing opera and it becomes absurdly awesome.

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