“I'm bad, and that's good, I will never be good and that's not bad, there's no one I’d rather be... than me”. While it may be true for the bad guys in Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, that’s not the case with the villains in our list today. We’re looking at villains who took a turn for the good (or at least bold) and had a heroic moment.
There are many reasons a villain might decide to make a heroic decision or two. Perhaps the end result will benefit them personally. Maybe they’ve had a quick change of heart or guilt trip. Maybe the picture is being taken out of context, but can be angled as heroic. In any case, everyone has it in them to do something bold and courageous, be it for good or bad.
While we can’t say that every villain on this list shares the same level of bad juju, they each have the potential for a much different end of story. Artists all over have given their favorite Nintendo villains a reimagined reality where they are heroic in their deeds. Be it a little action, a fancy pose, or a particular gleam in their eyes, these villains turned heroic are sure to captivate you. Or at least distract you from what you’re supposed to be doing. Which, if it’s a late night of studying, can be a little heroic in and of itself. So go on. Take that break. Check out what some of your favorite villains look like when they’re heroic for a moment.
25 The Witching Hour
Gruntilda is a witch that has given Banjo Kazooie players quite a bit of grief. Not only has she stolen Banjo’s sister, she always speaks in rhymes and can even erase your save file if you cross her! But surely there could be some universe where she uses her magic for good. That’s how I imagine Gruntilda in this picture by Malquark. She is determined and smart, so she should have no problem saving the day, should she ever make the switch in this universe.
Art by Malquark.
24 Shadow Of Courage
When there is light, there will always be darkness. There has been quite an interest in the light and dark aspects of heroes in Nintendo games (you’ll see at least two more entries on our list). The most popular is Dark Link. He emulates the parts of Link that aren’t as pretty. But here he is shown as a very capable protector of Hyrule. It would be interesting to know where Link is when his shadow is saving the day. Perhaps he has become the anti-hero for Shadow Link to fight.
Art by RissyHorrorx.
23 How Much Will That Cost?
While not a straight-out villain, Wario is not the person you’d want over at your house as company. He’s rude, greedy, and a little crass. Wario only looks out for number one. However, in all of his adventures, he has found a group of people he can call on in times of need. That’s why whenever Wario is able to put himself aside and do some good, we consider it heroic enough. While his help may come as a benefit to himself, seeing this picture by Anilede reminds that even the most selfish person can be selfless sometimes.
Art by Anilede.
22 A Bumbling Baddie
In the same vein as Wario, Waluigi is really just more of a troublemaker than he is a villain. Still, just like Wario, he’s not the most sensitive guy there is. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t play the heck out of Waluigi’s Mansion, should Nintendo ever give their popular game, Luigi’s Mansion a bit of a switch up. Although scared at first, we’re sure Waluigi would find a way out of the mansion, maybe with Wario in tow, maybe not. Either way, it would be a fun experience.
Art by Ratchetmario.
21 Father Of Dragons
One of the biggest and baddest dragons around is Medeus. He is one of the villains in the Fire Emblem series. While not given proper attention here in America, it is incredibly popular in Japan. He was in not one, not two, but three wars that spanned several years. This baddie kept coming back for each one. In this picture, the artist gives a great perspective of a battle between two giants. Medeus has a human form as well, but his dragon form looks way stronger and more heroic than the human form ever will.
Art by maligknights.
20 Makes A Monkey Out Of You
The big baddie of some of the Star Fox games, Andross has a few forms. One you’ll see here and the other is a face that looks like a white mask that has red eyes. Either way, he’s intimidating in battle. In this picture, drawn by jezmmart, he’s a little less threatening because of the cartoony art form. He’s about to win the race, just like Bowser sometimes wins over Mario. A lot of people know the dangers of video game cart races. He’s putting it all on the line, and that’s pretty impressive.
Art by Jezmmart.
19 With Great Power....
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island brought quite a few new things for our heroes. With a new landscape though, you’re bound to see new villains. Kamek is one of them. He is a magician who causes trouble for our favorite plumbers, and with a broom and wand, he’s pretty tough. I’d like to think though that he could be good and use those powers to help (or at least not hinder) those around him. Until then, we just have to admire the fact that he’s out there trying to get what he wants.
18 The Cape Gave it Away
Not having played the Fire Emblem games, I’m really only familiar with the characters that show up in Super Smash Brothers. But having done some research, Ashnard is quite an interesting villain. (Of course he is... he has a dragon!) the whole outfit of this picture shouts that Ashnard is a proud warrior. With the bright colors and patterns, you might think that he was off to save a kingdom. Just don’t look think too long about his dragon’s black and red coloring.
Art by MustacheElm.
17 Prepare For Trouble
Are there really any kids and young adults who don’t know who these three are? Sure, they’ve become quite the comic relief recently, but let’s not forget what organization they claim loyalty to: Team Rocket. While Jessie, James, and Meowth have had it rough in the last 20 years, they certainly have done some good. Surely not heroes in the slightest, they have the style and flair that we tend to associate with superheroes these days, and it seems to suit them quite well.
Art by Shaami.
16 Summons Trouble
The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap was a little different from more traditional titles like Ocarina of Time or even the first game. Here you could play with up to three friends as different Links. Like other games, the villain was certainly Ganon. However, this game was one of the first to have a fan-favorite starter villain in the form of Vaati. Vaati has magic that can be quite menacing. Given the color scheme, there’s a chance he could be out to help someone. But knowing Vaati, chances are slim.
Art by Kakuzufreak.
15 Should Stick With Count
A relative newcomer to the ever-expanding list of Nintendo Baddies, Blumiere (otherwise known as Count Blech) is enacting his evil schemes in Super Paper Mario and possibly other games, as where he ended up is a bit of a mystery. Blumiere has all the makings of a good guy in this picture from DebbyGattaTheBest on DeviantArt. The pose, the white tux, the powers. Now all he needs is his own villain. But given his personality, it’s more likely the only villains he’ll be seeing are potential henchmen.
Art by DebbyGattaTheBest.
14 He's Gone Bananas
Villain of the Donkey Kong games, FischHead gives King K. Rool a royal portrait to be proud of. With his sword handy, he could command armies to do his bidding. Thankfully for our heroes, his plans are really only about stealing Donkey Kong’s bananas. The extra armor on his shoulder does bring to mind a knight, which were quite heroic fighters. My guess is that’s as close as King K. Rool is going to get to any kind of power.
Art by Fischhead.
13 Another Kingdom, Same Tale
Recreating the iconic scene from Beauty and the Beast, Nokamarau on deviantart shows the softer side to Bowser that many fans of Game Theory have come to suspect. The use of Rosalina instead of Peach was certainly an interesting move, particularly since the two haven’t had much screen time together canonically.
Being able to show one’s empathy and patience when a situation gets tough is a great measure of heroism. While Bowser may never be seen for the nice guy he is, it’s great to see him get a little positive reinforcement here.
Art by Nakamarau.
12 Keep The Talking To A Minimum
Ghirahim was one of the ‘lesser’ villains in Skyward Sword, although there was nothing ‘lesser’ about how creepy he was. Many fans create works that show a connection between Ghirahim and the spirit of the master sword, Fi. This is no exception, with Ghirahim as our loveable but talkative sword and Fi as an evil mastermind. Ghirahim here looks much better, as he is covered a little more and isn’t trying to hurt Link within an inch of his life. Now the question is if Fi would take on his lack of personal space when she became the bad guy.
Art by scribbly-z-raid.
11 Mega Maniacal
Akin to Doctor Frankenstein, Doctor Wily has spawned several creations over the years with his robotics genius. The most well-known is Megaman. Although technically owned by Capcom, Megaman’s games are played on Nintendo consoles, so it counts. Here, Doctor Wiley looks to be cheering on his creations as they all prep for battle. While he may not be able to fight on the front lines himself, he’s able to create soldiers to turn the tide of battle. He’s a good doc if you’ve got hardware!
10 Bird Brained Tech
The main antagonist of the Metroid series, Ridley is a giant purple beast that can fly and change his appearance to continue to do battle with the bounty hunter Samus Aran. He’s tough and gives her a run for her money, but what would happen if it were the other way around? Samus in this picture isn’t looking quite as formidable as Ridley does when the battle starts, but we know she still kicks behind. It’s also fun to see a Ridley-size mecha suit to fight in. Could you imagine the weight of it?
Art by Arenthor.
9 A Golden Sun To Shine In
Golden Sun was an old Nintendo game that followed your basic Japanese Role Playing Game format. The main antagonist was Saturos, a man who was part reptilian, aiming to bring back alchemy to the world. He is featured in multiple games and is quite the formidable opponent. Here in this picture by XMenouX, he’s looking quite ready to do battle in an area near water. He is confident and physically strong, ready to take on whatever the world has to offer.
8 It Takes A Whole Team
We all know dads in TV shows are either complete morons or never around. In Pokemon, it’s no different. Giovanni here doesn’t seem to have the time of day to spend with his son, Silver. At least, not that we’re led to believe. In this heartwarming picture, the artist depicted something that is heroic in itself: taking time to be a good parent. Believe what you may, there isn’t much in the world that’s more important than your child. If you care enough to spend time with them, that’s heroic enough for us.
7 Stop, Hammer Time
King Dedede was originally an antagonist for the Kirby series, but has in recent years become a friend. Well, at least less antagonistic, anyway. Silverava gives a cute depiction of Kirby and Dedede off on some adventure, perhaps to go save someone who’s in trouble. I love the idea of their matching hats (which meant Dedede willingly let Kirby absorb some of his power) for the greater good. Get the rights away from 4Kids and you could have a fun buddy cop show.
Art by Silverava.
6 A Hero For Our Time
Enter Ganondorf, king of the Gerudo... or as he is in this picture, king of Hyrule. Spock-sickle on deviantart shows what Gannon might look like if he were playing for the other team and was a hero instead of the antagonist. The artist takes a once-threatening face and warms it with the use of lighting and a calm expression. His green robes bring to mind Link and his heroic deeds, giving us a view of what it might look like if our favorite trio changed roles.
Art by Spock-Sickle.
5 No Man Behind The Mask
One of the most repetitive games on the market has to be The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Trying to save Termina from their impending doom via the moon, Link must relive the same three days to try to save everyone. His opponent is a mask. It has an evil spirit inside of it that possesses Skull Kid, sure. But still, he must fight with and against a mask. This awesome picture makes me think of the slow walk that action movie heroes do before the final battle, and that makes it heroic.
4 Wolf In Sheep's Clothing
The second of the ‘dark’ versions of characters on this list, Dark Pit has gained some amount of popularity through the Super Smash Brothers games. Dark Pit is a clone and gives his doppelganger a run for his money. He may be flawed, but he fights to the bitter end; and based on this picture by Lady-of-Link, he won’t be taking ‘no’ for an answer. In a way, it’s almost heroic. One of the biggest takeaways from the hero’s journey is to never give up, even when things are looking incredibly grim.
3 Call Of Duty
Another dark version of a hero on this list, Dark Samus is the ultimate bounty hunter. If you’re on her list, you’d better start saying your prayers. An artist created a look of Dark Samus without her suit, and she looks quite fierce. She doesn’t need her armor to kick your behind. It looks here that she is gearing up for a heroic battle. I’m sure we could call it a battle of epic proportions. She calls it a Tuesday afternoon.
2 A Little Sin
When you’re playing as a witch, your world is turned upside down. Bayonetta gives players a look into the other side of an argument. Here, MissArsenia gives us a good look at Father Balder, one of the antagonists Bayonetta must face. With the fact that he’s wearing white and his incredible looking glaive, those who don’t know the series may mistake him for the hero. And in theory, he may very well be. But when you’re playing as a witch, there’s a different mindset available.
Art by MissArsenia.
1 The Original Edward
Dracula first started his reign of terror as the primary antagonist in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Based on Vlad the Impaler, Dracula was a terrifying beast who thrived on the lives of humans. So of course he’d be the antagonist in at least one group of games. The title in question here is of course, Castlevania. Looking great for someone over 100, Dracula is a very strong enemy. He will attack with everything he has, so you’d better be ready for it!
Art by GodDragonKing.