15 of the Coolest Video Game Villains

All of the coolest video game villains you know and can't help but love!
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Every good game comes with entertaining gameplay, a fulfilling, well-written storyline, beautiful graphics, and compelling characters. Without all of these elements, a good game becomes a forgotten game that we gamers set aside for something better. For me, characters and storyline are everything. Strong characters are just as important in a game as they are in the movies.

Characters, whether protagonists, side-kicks, or antagonists, are crucial. Gamers are forgiving, we will accept an annoying character or two, but a good game will have characters we cannot live without, ones that stick with us forever. Sometimes, the antagonists are the characters that actually stick with us most.

They chase us, they beat us, they challenge us, but we cannot help but love them. They have the best armor, best dialogue, best skills in the game. They are just too well developed, too stylish, too powerful, too skillful, and too cool. In this list, I cover the 15 coolest video game villains. See what ones made the list!

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Waluigi from Mario
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The game

I love Yoshi's Island, I love Super Mario Bros., and I love The Mario Bros. as a whole. I didn't play a ton of Mario Tennis or much of the Mario Tennis series, but the series is very close to my heart and a part of my growing up. The nostalgia is real. Mario Tennis is the Nintendo 64 game where Waluigi made his first appearance (which it's now known for) and became one of the coolest villains in the Mario Bros. series and in the gaming world in general.

The villain

Waluigi from Mario Tennis
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Waluigi is inspired by '70s Japanese anime, and he's the angry, tennis-playing antagonist remembered from Mario Tennis. Waluigi is a beast on the tennis court, but he's also Luigi's mischievous rival who made many, many appearances throughout the Mario Bros. series. Even though Waluigi isn't always a good sport and has a bit of an anger problem, I still think he's pretty cool with some creative schemes to take down Luigi that always keeps things interesting.

Villain abilities

  • Tennis and other sports skills
  • Red flashing eyes
  • Hydrokinesis

Developer

Nintendo

Andrew Ryan
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The game

Okay, the BioShock series is the retrofuturistic game that every gamer who loves a first-person shooter should give a go. BioShock is a retrofuturistic first-person shooter game with cool graphics, an interesting backstory, and submersive plot. A beloved first-person shooter, Bioshock, and its antagonist, had to make this list for its fun gameplay and well-known, diabolical, but crazy-cool, antagonist.

The villain

Andrew Ryan from BioShock
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Andre Ryan, also known as Andrei Rianofski, is the main antagonist of BioShock. He's also a wealthy Russian governor of an underwater city (Rapture). Andrew Ryan has always intrigued me, because he founded his underwater city as a hideaway during World War II. The intentions were good, but he became a dictator and power-hungry doesn't cover half of it. His story, underwater city, and mercilessness make him a killer antagonist and one of the coolest villains in gaming history.

Villain abilities

  • Wealth
  • Position of power
  • Intelligence

Developer

2K Games

Alma from F.E.A.R
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The game

F.E.A.R is a first-person shooter horror game. Most people know I am not a fan of first-person shooters, but I really enjoy F.E.A.R. F.E.A.R is often known for the absolute destruction that weapons can do to the environment. While it's somewhat unrealistic, it makes this first-person shooter a lot of fun and extremely satisfying. It's also known for a particular antagonist that has stayed in the memory of anyone who has played F.E.A.R: Alma Wade.

The villainess

Alma
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Alma Wade is the main antagonist in the F.E.A.R series. She's incredibly creepy but also powerful and seeks revenge for the experiments she was subjected to. Something about Alma always makes me sad. I mean, her story in the series is a big culprit there, but she's still a powerful antagonist with cool Psionic abilities and a major fear factor.

Villainess abilities

  • Psionic abilities
  • Reality warping
  • Summon nightmares
  • Telekinesis

Alma has all these abilities and more!

Developer

Monolith Productions

The Flood from Halo
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The game

If you like first-person shooter games, you've probably played Halo. Halo: Combat Evolved came out in 2001 and was the first in the Halo series. The Halo series is known for its intuitive controls, co-op gameplay, great graphics, and well-written story and backstory. It influenced every first-person shooter that has come out since and is considered the best-of-the-best in the gaming world in terms of first-person shooters and shooter games in general. Halo is also known for the Flood, one of the main antagonists in the game.

The villain

Flood from Halo
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The Flood, also known as The Parasite, is an entire species within the Haloverse that is parasitic and infects several different species, including humans. The Flood look different and vary depending on what species they infected. They are known for their ability to infect and multiply, their power, how dangerous they are, and how easily they can adjust and evolve. Not only that, but they look totally gross, scary, and... cool.

Villain abilities

  • Infect and take over their hosts
  • Access to their host's memories and knowledge
  • Physical abilities and combat (depending on the host and Flood type)

The Flood's abilities can vary widely depending on the host as well. There are many types of Floods within the Haloverse.

Developer

Bungie Inc.

Zeus from God of War
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The game

The God of War series is an action-adventure game that is primarily based on mythology. Hence, Zeus and the title God of War. I love the mythology behind the God of War series. For those out there who love a video game with a good story, God of War is it. The God of War series is known for the characters and story building, monsters, setting, graphics, and epic fights. It's also known for its gods, of course, and Zeus who is the baddest of them all (also the coolest antagonist of the bunch).

The villain

Zeus from God of War
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Zeus is the main antagonist from God of War II and God of War III. Most people know Zeus as the most powerful of all of the Greek Gods. So, it makes sense that Santa Monica Studio would make him so powerful in-game. In the God of War Zeus is also the most powerful and known for his powerful abilities, and fight with Kratos. Zeus has amazing hair, killer strength, and ridiculous power. And have you seen his eyes? He is as cool as villains come.

Villain abilities

  • Immortality
  • Lightening manipulation
  • Superhuman strength
  • Mind imprisonment
  • Flight
  • Astral projection

Zeus has all these abilities and more!

Developer

Santa Monica Studio

Lich King from World of Warcraft
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The game

World of Warcraft, also known as WOW, is an MMORPG with a cult following, known as the most popular MMO to date. While I never played World of Warcraft, I still know about many of the characters, gameplay, and antagonist from my WOW enthusiast pals. Since World of Warcraft came out in 2004, WOW is known for its nostalgia factor, like many of the games on this list. It also well-known for the rich fantasy world, detailed gameplay, and ability to raid and dungeon crawl (WOW is known to have something in it for every kind of gamer). WOW is also known for its iconic antagonist: The Lich King.

The villain

Lich King from World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
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The Lich King, also known as The Lord of the Scourge, is the main antagonist and final boss in World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. He's also one of the coolest villains in gaming history. I mean, look at him. He has this whole evil, white walkerish look that is undeniably cool. His armor is cool. The Lich King is known for his telepathic abilities and necromancy, which he used to enslave. He created an undead army using these abilities (Am I the only one who can't stop thinking of The Game of Thrones here?) The Lich King is crazy cool.

Villain abilities

  • Telepathy
  • Necromancy
  • Ice mastery
  • Immortality

The Lich King has all these abilities and more!

Developer

Blizzard Entertainment

Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII
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The game

Final Fantasy VII is a fantasy RPG that came out in the late '90s and is often considered one of the best games within the Final Fantasy series. It's also the best-selling of the entire series, selling over 12 million games worldwide. Like many of the games on this list, Final Fantasy VII has a major nostalgia factor for the '80s and '90s kids out there. As a fantasy-driven game, Final Fantasy VII is known for the 3D face-lifted graphics (remember, this was the '90s). Final Fantasy VII is also known for its totally cool, and absolutely ruthless antagonist.

The villain

Sephiroth
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Sephiroth, also known as the one-winged angel, is the main antagonist of Final Fantasy VII and a villain throughout much of the Final Fantasy series (as well as the Final Fantasy VII remake). Let me tell you, ruthless doesn't cut it. He was pretty diabolical (as a good villain should be). Sephiroth wasn't always a bad guy, but was experimented on (with injections of Jenova cells) as a kid, and the realization that he was an experiment is what makes him take a turn for the dark side. Despite his evil streak, we all know Sephiroth is pretty rad, and his ruthlessness is what makes him such a cool antagonist.

Villain abilities

  • Magic: Fire, ice, lightning, and earth magic.
  • Black Materia: meteor summoning
  • Revive ability

Developer

Square

Diablo from Diablo
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The game

I love Diablo and might be a bit partial here, but Diablo was one of the first dungeon-crawling games I really loved. I played Diablo I and have loved dungeon-crawlers ever since, even though I know the first of the Diablo series is not a fan favorite (players tend to prefer Diablo III). The Diablo series is known for its realms, the plethora of fun dungeon crawling, enjoyable combat, and game and/or loot grinding. If you love a game with tons of grinding but never gets boring, Diablo is it. It's also known and named after its devious antagonist, who is super cool as far as antagonists go: Diablo.

The villain

Diablo
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Al'Diabolos, also known as Diablo, is the main antagonist in the Diablo series. This demon is one of the Prime Evils and is pretty diabolical. Diablo's goal to enslave all of mankind proves him to be power-hungry like many of the antagonists on this list, but what makes him one of the coolest villains of all time is his ability to manipulate, influence, and terrorize using fear. Diablo is devious and smart in the way he uses his ability to manipulate and influence, and the ways he manipulates using fear are also pretty ruthless. All of this makes him one of the coolest villains in gaming history.

Villain abilities

  • Turn fears into monsters
  • Feed off of the power of fears
  • Mental influence and fear control

Diablo has all these abilities and more!

Developer

Blizzard North and Blizzard Entertainment

Shao Kahn from Mortal Kombat II
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The game

Mortal Kombat is the fighting action-adventure game most gamers know and love. Mortal Kombat I came out in 1992. At first, it came out as an arcade fighting game, but it has evolved over the years to be much more than an arcade game. It's known for its iconic characters, easy controls, and satisfying fighting. If you never played Mortal Kombat and know the joy of beating a cousin or older sibling with your favorite Mortal Kombat character, you do not know true joy. The fighting styles, characters, skills, and armor that come with each character, are part of the joy. Everyone has the MK character they love and play most (Mine is Kitana). Mortal Kombat is also known for its awesome antagonists, and most fans know Shao Kahn as the best antagonist of the series.

The villain

Shao Kahn from Mortal Kombat II
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Shao Kahn is the unflinching, scary, but totally cool villain in the Mortal Kombat series. If you've played Mortal Kombat, you know who Shao Kahn is. Shao Kahn is known as one of the most ruthless tyrants in all of the gaming world. While he made his first appearance in Mortal Kombat II as the main antagonist and final big, bad boss, his journey in the Mortal Kombat series didn't end there. He's made many appearances since, and is known for his ridiculously cool armor, extreme power as a character and antagonist, signature moves, soul absorbing abilities (using soulnados), and magic and/or dark arts abilities.

Villain abilities

  • Fighting abilities: Tai Tzu and Lui He
  • Super strength
  • Soulnados
  • Green energy wielder
  • Magic

Shao Kahn has all these abilities and more!

Developer

Midway Games

The Illusive Man from Mass Effect
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The game

Mass Effect is an action role-playing and sci-fi game with some of my favorite video game characters of all time. It's known for its crazy-good cut scenes, entertaining plot, and decision-making. The ability to make decisions and have various outcomes intertwined into the incredible storyline in the Mass Effect series is by far my favorite aspect and a big reason why many people love the games. It's also known for the very cool, ruthless, billionaire antagonist: The Illusive Man.

The villain

The Illusive Man from Mass Effect 2
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The Illusive Man, also known as Jack Harper, had to make this list. The Illusive Man is the secondary antagonist in The Mass Effect Trilogy and the leader of Cerberus. He's incredibly intelligent, powerful due to the resources and wealth he has, and, unlike many of the villains on this list, not evil or diabolical. The Illusive Man thinks he is doing what is best for humankind. Maybe his actions are evil, but his intentions aren't. Along with his glowing eyes, he also has interesting dialogue and is voiced by Martin Sheen, making him beyond cool in my book.

Villain abilities

  • Wealthy
  • Intelligent
  • Manipulative

Developer

BioWare

Bowser from Super Mario Bros.
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The game

If you spent any substantial chunk of your childhood playing Super Mario Bros., you were a lucky, lucky kid. This side-scrolling platform game was loved by '80s and '90s kids alike and still is. One of the best games of all time, Super Mario Bros., and the entire Super Mario series, is well-known for its plumber protagonists, rideable dinosaur side-kick, crying baby Marios, and challenging platforms. The Super Mario series is undoubtedly one of the most iconic games in history, if not the most iconic game in history.

The villain

Bowser
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King Bowser Koopa, also known to Super Mario Bros. fans as Bowser, first made his appearance in Super Mario Bros. in 1985. As times have changed, Bowser has changed. Many times over the years, he has evolved, especially taking into consideration the change in graphics in the past 30 plus years, but Bowser is still the Bowser Super Mario fans know and love, and he's definitely a cool villain.

He has always been known for his impressive laundry list of abilities, but most of all, his nigh-invulnerability. Bowser is as tough as it gets and has some issues with kidnappery. Most recently, Bowser has broken the internet with his evolution in Super Mario 3D World.

Villain abilities

  • Fire breathing
  • Underwater fire breathing
  • Immunity to fire (in some Super Mario games only) and nigh-invulnerability
  • Super strength and physical abilities
  • Bowser bomb
  • Dark magic
  • Koopa klaw
  • Vacuum breath

Bowser has all these abilities and more!

Developer

Nintendo

Lady Dimitrescu from Resident Evil
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The game

I loved Resident Evil Village. It's creepy and fun and has moody, intricate art. The Resident Evil, also known as Biohazard in Japan, series is a survival horror game that goes back to its roots in 1996, because of this, Resident Evil is a very nostalgic game for its fans like many games on this list. It's known for its incredible gameplay, being scary in all the best ways, the creep-factor, and storyline. It's also known for its cool, but scary, antagonist: Lady Alcina Dimitrescu.

The villainess

Lady Dimitrescu from Resident Evil Village
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Lady Dimitrescu made her first appearance in Maiden, but Lady Dimitrescu is remembered most for her appearance in Resident Evil Village. Lady Dimitrescu is by far one of the coolest antagonists of all time. Look at her. She's 9ft and 6inches tall with long, dangerous claws, has a high-class and luxurious style and demeanor, and she is totally awesome. She's commonly known for her need to get revenge for her daughters and her superhuman strength, and she is definitely one of the coolest villains of all time.

Villainess abilities

  • Claws
  • Superhuman strength
  • Regenerative properties
  • Immortality

Lady Dimitrescu has all these abilities and more!

Developer

Capcom

Ganondorf from Zelda
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The game

The Legend of Zelda is the fantasy action-adventure game of the '80s and '90s that every Millennial played, and still continues to play. As the fourth best-selling NES game in history, The Legend of Zelda series is known for the dungeons, creative and lovable characters (Link, Princess Zelda, and Navi), beautiful gameplay, its ever-evolving graphics, and the lovely Hyrule. The Legend of Zelda is also known for its iconic, super cool antagonist: Ganon.

The villain

Ganon
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Ganondorf Dragmire, also known as Ganon and The Prince of Thieves, is the main antagonist in The Legend of Zelda series. Depending on how many The Legend of Zelda games players played within the series, they know about Ganon and the Triforce. This crazy powerful warlock warlord, is known for his power-hungry desire to overthrow and rule the Kingdom of Hyrule. Nonetheless, Zelda fans love him anyway, and have for ages, because of his super cool powers and nigh-immortality.

Villain abilities

  • Nigh-immortality
  • Teleportation
  • Magic
  • Super speed
  • Super strength
  • Shapeshifting
  • Geokinesis

Ganon has all these skills and more!

Developer

Nintendo

Eggman from Sonic
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The game

Eggman makes his first appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog way back in the early '90s. It is the mother of the entire Sonic the Hedgehog series known for its fast hedgehog protagonist. The Sonic the Hedgehog series is another nostalgic game with cute characters, great gameplay, gold coins, cute side-kicks, and amazing art. The Sonic the Hedgehog series is iconic and easily one of the greatest video games of all time.

The villain

Eggman from Sonic
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You had to know Dr. Robotnik would make this list. Dr. Robotnik, also known as Eggman, is the main antagonist in the Sonic the Hedgehog series and a power-hungry scientist with a literal empire (known as the Eggman Empire or Robotnik Empire). As a mad scientist, Dr. Robotnik turns many of the animals in Sonic the Hedgehog into robots to build his army and empire. He is the mad scientist we all know and love from the '90s who is still beloved today. Maybe he is a little power-hungry, but he is still one of the coolest villains of all time.

Villain abilities

  • Super smart with a supposed IQ of 300
  • Uses hyper-go-on energy
  • Gear riding abilities
  • Super speed and strength

Developer

Sega

Alduin from Skyrim
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The game

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is my favorite of the Elder Scrolls series. For the most part, this is because it was the first Elder Scrolls game I played (I started late in the game, I know.) and it has a nostalgic factor for me, but The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim also an amazing, massive open-world RPG.

Many games from The Elder Scrolls series won multiple Game of the Year awards, are beloved by fans, and are known for the incredible backstories maps and quests. From the complicated main quest, to the many, many fun side quests. The Elder Scrolls series is also known for its intriguing antagonists like Dagoth Ur from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (also known for the first appearance of the cliff racers, but my favorite by far is Alduin from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

The villain

Alduin from Skyrim
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Alduin, Alduin, Alduin. Also known as The World Eater or Akatosh, Alduin is the coolest villain in the history of The Elder Scrolls series (I said it). A dragon antagonist? Come on. Alduin has some super cool abilities and looks about as cool as a villain can look. Alduin also starts the series off with one of the coolest opening cut scenes of all time. At the beginning of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Alduin shows up in Helgen, interrupting the protagonist's (that's you) execution.

Alduin is the antagonist of the main quest in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, meaning the Elder Scroll and the Dragonrend shout is meant to be used to beat the super cool dragon villain, and players will need them, because Alduin is a serious (and literal) beast with cool dragonish abilities.

Villain abilities

  • Unrelenting force
  • Frost breath
  • Fire breath
  • Roar that summons meteors that shoot down from the sky
  • Tail that can hit and stagger players

Developer

Bethesda Game Studios

Opening scenes better than any movie!
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We've all been there, right? You start a new game, the opening credits roll, and then suddenly you find yourself watching a cinematic masterpiece that far exceeds any of your expectations.