Villains are some of the most fascinating and hilarious characters in various stories. No matter the medium, a compelling villain always raises the emotional stakes of the story and brings out the best in the protagonists. Holmes has his Moriarty, Batman has his Joker, and Mario has his Bowser.
There has been no shortage of memorable bad guys in the gaming world. However, it should be remembered that having an ESRB rating below M shouldn’t stop a developer from providing a truly threatening antagonist. Just because they’re in kid’s games doesn’t mean bad guys have to play with kid’s gloves.
10 Monkey Island’s LeChuck is as menacing as he is hilarious
LeChuck is the undead pirate who makes all the other sailors in the series afraid to even take a bath. The story goes that he fell in love with the governor of Melee Island, Elaine Marley. Unfortunately, she told him to die, a request he eventually granted in his search for the secret of Monkey Island.
He has killed several buccaneers to serve as his ghostly crew and plans to make a chair out of the bones of the hero Guybrush Threepwood. Throughout the series, he has returned as a ghost, a zombie, a demon, a giant golem, and a walrus at one point.
9 The Empress of Nyakuza raises the stakes in a hat on time
In A hat in time, many of the enemies the Hat Kid faces can eventually be placated, have traits that make them somewhat sympathetic, or are revealed to be simply misunderstood. None of this applies to The Empress in Nyakuza’s Metro DLC, who makes it clear to the diminutive heroine that betrayal or lack of service to the union will mean her immediate death.
Players are forced to serve as underlings in the aforementioned criminal gang in order to acquire the watches in this downloadable chapter. Much like Queen Vanessa, any hit landed by the Empress results in instant death, so players must watch her step.
8 Maligula is the most feared psychic in Psychonauts 2
in the world of psychonauts, no character is irredeemable, however vile they may seem. Throughout the two games, players will dive into the minds of many hostile and seemingly ruthless characters only to discover that all they really need is someone to help them resolve their inner struggles. The psychic mass murderer Maligula puts this philosophy to the ultimate test.
Supposedly long dead, she was responsible for the deaths of countless innocents, and some insiders within the agency tried to bring her back. The latest revelation of Maligula’s true nature resolves several lingering plot points from the first title.
7 Clockwerk makes the other criminals look docile in Sly Cooper.
Most of the criminals Cooper’s gang challenges are comedic villains who, while undeniably shady and dangerous, are not entirely without some redeeming qualities. Clockwerk is not one of these bad guys. This owl aims to use machinery to cheat death, making him one of the oldest and most enduring enemies Sly has ever faced.
Unlike the other thieves, Sly has personal reasons for taking down this mechanical monstrosity, as Clockwerk killed the young thief’s parents right in front of his very eyes. Although the gang manages to destroy him, his followers intend to bring him back in later games.
6 Even death is not enough to stop Ad Avis from seeking glory
The dark wizard Ad Avis seems to tick all the boxes for being a completely reprehensible baddie. Small and vengeful? Check. Murderer? Check. Misogynist? Check. He makes his debut in the Arab-themed film. Quest for Glory II Trial by Firewhere he intends to summon the dark genie Iblis in the Kingdom of Shapeir.
Ad Avis uses all of its dark arts to achieve its goal, such as summoning elemental spirits and hypnotizing the protagonist. Despite apparently being dispatched in the second title, he reappears as a nosferatu in shadows Of The Dark, eager to quench his thirst for revenge against the hero who thwarted him.
5 Old Scratch does not forgive his debtors in Cuphead
It’s hard for a game aimed at kids to have a more insidious villain than Beelzebub, and this particular incarnation wastes no time. The game’s whimsical storybook intro sets up mischievous Cuphead and his reluctant friend Mugman taking a bet from old Scratch, only to get some big fat snake eyes.
After the duo beg for mercy, the Devil asks them to collect the souls of his numerous debtors before midnight. If players manage to get through the game’s tough boss fights, they will be presented with the offer to serve the prince of darkness as his lackeys.
4 Manannan changed Llewdor’s infant mortality rate in King’s Quest III
the instruction manual for King’s Quest III includes a short story detailing the origins of the big bad. Manannan was a powerful wizard who decided to delegate his housework to a boy. Years after tricking a naive young man into becoming his slave, the vile wizard killed him for trying to learn magic and escape.
From then on, he decided that the children he kidnapped would be killed before they were 18 years old. This cycle went on and on, with various children being enslaved and dying at the hands of the wizard. Players are tasked with preventing Gwydion from sharing his fate and thwarting Manannan once and for all.
3 Chara gives the player a just deserts in Undertale
Players finally come face to face with Chara once they have successfully depopulated the underground. This benign-looking boy offers to undo the player’s genocide in exchange for the player’s soul. Regardless of his decision, Chara proceeds to give the player a taste of his own medicine, causing the game to be forcefully closed.
If players start the game again, everything will appear as before. However, if they proceed to attempt a pacifist run, their happy ending will be ripped from their grasp, a reminder of what they had done and sacrificed.
two Pokey goes from being a simple annoyance to a nightmare in Earthbound
Pokey is basically Eric Cartman years before. South Park it was even in the air. When you enter the game Land, is a selfish and impolite pest who has no friends. She becomes a temporary member of the group at first, but when Ness and the group are told of the prophecy of four children who will save the world, he runs away in fear.
Throughout the game, he continually tries to hinder the heroes on their quest, culminating in his teaming up with the big bad Giygas. He reappears in the sequel, mother 3where it loses any redeeming quality it might have had before.
1 Kefka’s initial slapstick belies his true nature in Final Fantasy VI
When players first encounter this character, they could be forgiven for mistaking him for a jester role similar to the bad guys from previous games, but nothing could be further from the truth. His rap sheet is pretty impressive for a game initially rated E-10: poison entire towns to death, torture espers for his sick ambitions, and successfully accomplish Armageddon.
Many of these events don’t happen off-screen either. A shocking scene shows the results of Kefka’s actions as Cyan cradles the bodies of his wife and child. It’s a testament to Ted Woolsey’s writing that Kefka was able to retain the sheer vileness of him even with Nintendo’s strict censorship policies.
Next: 9 Games You Didn’t Know Were Final Fantasy Spinoffs