We see it time and time again… ‘The Hero’ rises above all evil, defying countless ordeals while staring imminent peril in the face, and low and behold he or she finds the defining answer against all the odds. Claiming all the accolades and honours, our beloved heroes often take the spotlight over their illustrious opponents, as usually scripted, yet did anyone stop to consider that it should have been the other way around? Every memorable hero needs an equally dashing counterpart to make a good story, but on occasion the ‘bad guy’ of the story outshines the so-called ‘star’ of the show. We now live in an era where game developers will often build their work around a charismatic villain, assigning the players with the heartbreaking task of stopping them. They may have good intentions at heart, have a vile case of insanity or just a malicious source of sin, but it's for these reasons that we love them so much. So let's take a look back at ’15 Bad Guys That Should Have Won.”
Beware, some Spoilers lie ahead!!
15 Handsome Jack – Borderlands 2
First up on the list is the trash talking, planet-exploiting psychopath, Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2. As the leader of the galactic company Hyperion and the villain responsible for all your near death experiences, it would be forgiven if by the end of the game you enjoyed (Spoiler alert!!) gunning him down with a smile. However, there is something likeable about Handsome Jack. The antagonist of the story is always in your head, building a somewhat sadistic friendship with the player. Add in the fact that your chosen Vault Hunter offers little to no words, and Jack’s dialogue sticks with you as you build a connection with the lead villain on Pandora. But, the main reason Handsome Jack should have won is that we want another chance to run around a Gearbox Software world, attempting to stop the masked madman again.
14 Doctor Nefarious – Ratchet and Clank
There’s no company that does ridiculous and diabolical villains quite like Insomniac, Inc. One such crook is inter-galactic warlord Dr. Nefarious from the Ratchet and Clank series. Making his first appearance in Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal, Insomniac’s crackpot criminal stole the show from an already cool list of characters. His outlandish schemes, short temperament and hilarious seizures had you secretly rooting for the evil mastermind from the beginning. So popular was Dr. Nefarious, that Insomniac have featured him in every Ratchet and Clank game since his arrival, including the latest reboot on the PS4. Perhaps his continuous attendance throughout the series suggest that Nefarious is, in a sense, a winner, but we’d like to see him get one over the good guys for once.
13 Lord N – Pokemon Black & White
In short, Pokémon villainy has been about catching Pokémon and using them against their will to take over the world. This has been Game Freak and Nintendo’s staple template since 1996, using world take over unit, Team Rocket and their successors as the bad guys. However, in Pokémon Black & White, the game addressed the ethical issues of the Pokémon universe. The game has you take on Team Plasma, who is fronted by in game rival, Lord N, whose plan is to free all Pokémon from slavery and being forced to fight against their will. Yet, somehow he remains a bad guy? It’s discovered later in the game that most of Team Plasma is controlled by your true nemesis, Ghetsis, who wants to use Pokémon to take over the world. However, Lord N remains true to his ambition and his defeat is one that strikes at the heart of the players' moral compass.
12 The Boss – Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
The next entry on this list comes from the master of video game plot twists, as Hideo Kojima constantly designs morally ambiguous antagonists. But the hardest one to kill from the series comes about in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, where, Naked Snake (Big Boss), puts a bullet right in the heart of his former mentor and love interest, The Boss. What makes the kill so unsatisfying is hearing The Boss’ tragic backstory, where she was framed and that her defection was staged by the American Government in an elaborate plot to steal a lot of money called the ‘philosophers legacy’ (still following?). In the end, the game forces you to kill The Boss without a choice, waiting for you, the player, to pull the trigger and the longer it takes you, the harder it becomes.
11 Pagan Min – Far Cry 4
Look. Pagan Min is a tyrannical dictator, but compared to the other choices you are left to side with at the end of, Far Cry 4, he’s actually got a point. Now, you can side with Min at tet beginning of the game, if you just wait for him to return to the table, however, if you escape and side with the Golden Path (which is playing the full version of the game), by the end you have two choices. One is to side with Sabal, who turns Kyrat into a fundamental bureaucracy killing off former members for heresy and treason. Or you have Anita, who turns Kyrat into a totalitarian drug state, enslaving child soldiers into protecting drug fields. Whereas Pagan Min, realises that he is not the right choice for Kyrat and tells you that he wants you to take over, as it would be the right choice for the country. Considering the other two options, he say he should have probably had his way.
10 Albert Wesker – Resident Evil Series
Albert Wesker is probably the worse designed bad guy in video game history, but it’s for this reason that we love him so much. His Miami Vice looks, his cheesy one-liners and, of course, the fact he betrays you, have you reaching for the nearest RPG to blow his head sky high, which is what you actually do in Resident Evil 5. But there’s something slightly unsatisfying about ending Wesker’s dastardly regime. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Wesker is in every sense a ‘bad guy’ who doesn’t have an ounce of good in him, but when he goes down, he takes a part of the Resident Evil series with him, leaving you somewhat empty on the inside.
9 Marlene – The Last of Us
The Last of Us is both a beautiful looking game and an intense narrative, which has had gamers begging for a new instalment since its release. The reason gamers are itching for a new edition is due to the game’s chilling penultimate climax. The ending has you kill Marlene, the leader of The Fireflies and essentially the game's final boss. Ellie, who is immune to the ‘Ophiocordyceps’ virus, is wanted by Marlene to make a cure for mankind; however, Ellie won’t survive the surgery required to make the cure. Joel, who has built a strong emotional relationship with Ellie, doesn’t like the sound of this and prevents this from happening and kills anyone that gets in his way, including Marlene who was quite simply sacrificing one for the existence of hundreds of others.
8 The Joker – Batman Arkham Series
It may be hard to believe that a sadistic maniac who dresses up as a clown and laughs at every violent atrocity he commits is actually quite likeable. Of course, we are referring to Batman’s arch villain, The Joker, whose demise at the conclusion of Batman Arkham City is so unexpected it gives you a sad feeling inside. His departure is not only the end of a great game, but also the end of one of the most charismatic villains in gaming history. The saddest part about eventually defeating The Joker is that Batman has to choose between saving himself or his bitter rival, leaving Joker helpless once the last bit of anti-virus is used up on Batman himself. The Joker has re-appeared as a spirit in the latest Batman Arkham game as a spirit, tormenting The Dark Knight, but is once again bested, removing him entirely from the Arkham universe, leaving fans heartbroken.
7 King Logan – Fable 3
King Logan from Fable 3 is next on the list as he’s another man who is pretty bad on the outside, but has good intentions on the inside. Throughout the first half of the game, it’s understood that King Logan is a pretty terrible person and we’ll use your first encounter with him as an example, where he forces you to choose between your childhood sweetheart or a bunch on innocent peasants. However, what you don’t know is that Logan is attempting to stop an even greater evil from taking over, known as The Crawler, and his oppressive rule that include child labour, high taxes and slavery are all part of a plan to build an army to stop The Crawler. If you happen to know who The Crawler is and know what he looks like, you’ll agree that King Logan is a better choice. If you haven’t seen The Crawler, then we suggest checking him out because once you’ve seen him you’ll probably agree as well.
6 Rival/Blue – Pokémon Red & Blue
We’re double dipping here by going back to a series mentioned above, but we can’t include the new game without giving recognition to the original, Rival/Blue from Pokémon Red & Blue. To understand why Blue deserved to win, let's look back to the start. In the beginning, his own Grandfather, Professor Oak, forgets his name and proceeds to give a random boy (you/Red) that just moved to the town first choice of starter Pokémon. He then proceeds to go out on his own, conquering everyone and everything in his path without the assistance and guidance you are offered throughout the game. He then climbs all the way to the pinnacle of Pokémon power, only to be defeated five minutes later by you. On top of all this, it's highly insinuated that you kill his Raticate while on the S.S. Anne. All in all, we say poor old Blue was a little bit hard done by.
5 Vaas Montenegro – Far Cry 3
“Did I ever tell you what the definition of insanity is?” We’re not too sure, but the next entry on our list seems to have a pretty good idea. Yes, we are double dipping again here, but how could we not include one of the all time great ‘bad guys’, isthe psychopathic pirate, Vaas Montenegro from Far Cry 3. Vaas Montenegro was as evil as evil could get, responsible for the capture and murder of protagonist Jason Brody’s family and friends. He continually finds a way to put you through near death experiences throughout the game. The insanity in Vaas' character is so memorably chilling that his homicidal ways don’t seem so bad after a while and it made him quite likeable, especially once you discover he’s only a secondary villain. Perhaps the main reason Vaas should have triumphed is that his ending, in a sense, ends the game, as the final boss, Hoyt Volker, didn’t quite match the charismatic standards that Vaas set.
4 Bowser – Super Mario Bros.
If you don't know the definition of persistence, you’d only need to look to the nemesis of the jumping plumber to find the answer. Bowser's consistency throughout the years deserves some rewards; he sticks to his guns, treats his workers well by offering them nice castles to stay in and continually proves to be an excellent foil for Mario. We understand that Bowser can never realistically win, as if he does he’ll take over the world and eat the princess. but at least offer this villainous legend a game of his own for all the hard work he’s put in. It’s the least he deserves!
3 Doctor Neo Cortex – Crash Bandicoot
The second evil scientist on our list is the original clownish bad guy, Doctor Neo Cortex from Crash Bandicoot. If there's anything to like about Cortex, it's his appearance, as an incredibly large head sits on top of a tiny, stick body. Cortex wants to take over the world and we know that’s bad, but you can’t help but feel sorry for Cortex. The maniacal genius was only attempting to get revenge on his former colleagues who laughed at his wild theories. To make matters worse for the poor old Doctor, the two-legged marsupial, Crash, was actually his creation, after he zapped him with the Evolvo-Ray. Mocked by his associates and foiled by his creation, Doctor Neo Cortex is video game's Frankenstein.
2 King Dedede – Kirby’s Adventure
Up next on the list is by far the cutest of all our bad guys and it’s none other than the Lord of the Penguins himself, King Dedede. Unlike our last few entries on the list, King Dedede actually deserved to win for his good intentions. At the start of the game, you set of as Kirby to rebuilt the Star Rod that powers the Fountain of Dreams, which King Dedede had stolen and split into six pieces. These individual parts are divided between six lieutenants and these soldiers are more like innocent animals, who are hunted down and slaughtered. After rebuilding the Star Rod it turns out that King Dedede had only stolen the rod from the fountain so that he could prevent it from falling into the clutches of the Nightmare. Kirby, for all his efforts, inadvertently summons the Nightmare and has to save Dream Land one last time when that job was already done by the so called bad guy, King Dedede.
1 The Colossi – Shadow of the Colossus
Not necessarily a bad guy, or in this case bad guys, but stopping our last entry on this list is by far the most morally challenging of all with The Colossi from Shadow of the Colossus. The beautiful beings are no threat to the world that they live in, nor have they done anything wrong to warrant death. You play as a boy called Wander, who sets about taking out the Colossi in hope that Dormin, the unknown entity, will revive a maiden girl named Mono. Of course, as you can expect, all is not what it seems as Dormin uses Wanders predicament against him as each fallen sentinel releases apart of Dormin’s essence that revives. So, as you continually slay Colossi after Colossi, the real villain gains more strength. The only offence these sentinel organisms are guilty of is existence and you chose to kill them for selfish means, way to go Wander.