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Top 10 Deranged Video Game Villains

by Sam Stewart on Oct 31, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Video game villains are compelling for a variety of reasons. Some have great power and abuse it for their own means; others are simple rivals, meant to provide extra drive toward your ultimate goal. These enemies can be daunting, but rarely achieve that feeling of pure evil. Pure evil can be hard to attain, as it takes a true monster to strike that chord. Deranged, unstable, murderous. Whatever you want to call them, these video game villains (sorry Joker, you are a comic book villain) rarely have any purchase on reality and commit horrible acts for pleasure or because they believe they have the right. These are the baddies that can send chills up your spine and stick with you long after you put down the controller. 

**This list contains minor/major spoilers for the following games: The Last of Us, Manhunt, Final Fantasy VI, Far Cry 3, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Borderlands 2, Persona 4, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Twisted Metal Black, and Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors **

10. Piggsy (Manhunt)

Most of the villains on this list have agendas to achieve what they think they deserve – no matter how crazed those beliefs are. Manhunt’s Piggsy, however, has no plots or plans. In fact, it’s hard to tell if he even understands the world around him. Piggsy is a sociopath and the star of Lionel Starkweather’s snuff films. Piggsy is a husk of a human being who wears nothing but a loincloth and covers his face with a severed pig head. He acts like an animal or a child and hardly speaks a word of English, instead favoring snorts and grunts. But the one thing he does understand is murder. It seems to be the only way he knows how to interact with his world, and his means of connection is a chainsaw. There is no dealing with a villain like Piggsy. If you find yourself locked in a room with him, one of you will have to die.

9. Fawful (Mario & Luigi series)

Lord Fawful is the proof that you don’t necessarily need a dark story to have an effectively disturbed villain. The primary antagonist of the Mario and Luigi series, Fawful is a delusional genius who believes he is the master of his world. He is amused by the actions of everyone around him, but if you get in the way of his schemes he will quickly fly into a bout of rage. Despite his destructive narcissistic personality, Fawful is a well-liked villain thanks to his many memorable quotes (spoken in broken English). One of his most famous quotes is as follows: “Your lives that I spit on are now but a caricature of a cartoon drawn by a kid who is stupid!”

8. Vaas Montenegro (Far Cry 3)

Vaas Montenegro is a vicious pirate lord and the secondary antagonist in Far Cry 3. He spends most of the game torturing protagonist Jason Brody by killing his friends and family, or holding them captive to pull Jason into his traps. A sadist with a dark sense of humor, he spends most of his screen time taunting or torturing Jason, eventually driving him to become equally murderous in his quest for vengeance. Although Vaas isn’t with you the entire game, he remains the most memorable villain in Far Cry 3 thanks to his brutal demeanor and memorable quotes. 

7. Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2)

In a world full of literal psychos, Handsome Jack still stands head and shoulders above them with his reprehensible actions. Handsome Jack is a delusional business man that believes everything is owed to him. His underlings spread terror all across Pandora, and it seems that nearly every character in the game has a story about a time he wronged them. He believes himself to be king of the world, at fault for nothing despite the fact that his list of misdeeds would likely stretch from the middle of Sanctuary all the way to the Helios moon base. He murdered his grandmother and imprisoned his daughter to abuse her powers as a Siren. No matter how many people he kills, no matter how evil his deeds, he always convinces himself it is someone else who is at fault.

6. The Beauty and the Beast Corps (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)

When it came time to choose a character from the Metal Gear series to include on this list I knew how hard it would be to pick just one, so instead I’m including four. The Beauty and the Beast Corps is a PMC group made up of four women who were driven mad by the horrors of war. The traumas they faced include being forced to murder their own families at gunpoint, watching their friends being eaten alive by ravens, accidentally suffocating a brother while hiding from murderous soldiers, and turning to cannibalism to survive while being imprisoned under a torture chamber. In battle it seems that they have completely disconnected from reality, and their only reason for living is to continue contract killing.

5. Sweet Tooth (Twisted Metal Black)

Although Sweet Tooth is one of the playable “heroes” in the Twisted Metal series, his actions certainly warrant him the title of villain within his world. After committing a string of murders, Sweet Tooth was sentenced to death via electric chair. During his execution a priest put a curse on him that allowed Sweet Tooth to live, but set the top of his head aflame. He explains the pain gets worse every day, and enters the Twisted Metal competition when Calypso tells him he has the cure. After Sweet Tooth wins, Calypso hands over the cure (a vial of the priest’s blood), but warns him that if he ever kills again the curse will return. Sweet Tooth quickly makes his decision, smashing the vial under his heel. He then kills Calypso and goes on his merry way.

4. Gentarou Hongou (Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors)

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors story follows nine kidnap victims who are forced to play a Saw-like game of survival by a madman who goes by the name Zero. But the group soon discovers that Zero is not their enemy, and that their true mastermind is one of their own, a pharmaceutical company CEO named Gentarou Hongou. A sufferer of prosopagnosia, a condition that makes it difficult for someone to differentiate faces, Hongou originally set up the game to test the theory of morphogenetic fields (the ability for two organisms to communicate without contact, through sheer force alone), hoping it may hold the answer to curing his disease. He was then duped and forced to take part in the game, where he endangered the lives of children, killed the other prisoners, and even allowed a young girl to be burned to death in an incinerator; all because he believed that his money and power entitled him to a cure for his disease. 

3. Tohru Adachi (Persona 4)

Right from the start, it is obvious that the murders in Persona 4 are the work of a madman, but the true identity of that madman is one of the game’s greatest twists. Suspects come and go throughout the campaign, but in the end it is detective Tohru Adachi. After being outed as the killer, Adachi quickly reveals himself to be a misanthropic, misogynistic sadist who has gone mad with power gained from the Midnight Channel. He admits to committing the first two murders after the victims spurned his romantic advances. Afterwards, he tricked someone else into taking the blame for him. The player spends most of the game tracking down the wrong man, with Adachi sitting on the sidelines egging them on. He enjoys watching his victims kill each other, because to him it is all just a game.  

2. Kefka Palazzo (Final Fantasy VI)

Kefka is a classic example of the insane video game villain. His only objective in life is to cause as much ruin and despair as possible, and he enjoys every second of it. He is a nihilist, a narcissist, and a megalomaniac with no respect for human life. He believes himself to be god, and thinks he deserves to commit whatever atrocities he desires. He poisons the drinking water of a castle, saying the pained screams of the people inside will be like music to his ears. He kills his allies when they won’t have things his way, and even goes on to set in motion the end of the world by disturbing the delicate balance of the Warring Triad. Of all the Final Fantasy villains who strive to end the world, Kefka is the only one who actually succeeded.

1. David (The Last of Us)

The inspiration for this list, David is a seemingly harmless man who leads a group of survivors Ellie meets in the game’s winter section. At first he helps Ellie, offering her medicine to help Joel in exchange for a deer she killed. Ellie soon discovers David and his group are cannibals, and they plan on eating Ellie after she refuses to join them. She narrowly escapes, and eventually gets trapped by David in a large restaurant. Infected by a bite from Ellie, David has completely lost it at this point as he sees his world crashing down around him. He attempts to kill Ellie, but she outsmarts him in what is (to me) the most memorable scene in The Last of Us. The events leave her visibly traumatized for the rest of the game. 

These are the 10 villains whose dark personalities have stuck with me most. Who are some of your favorite unhinged enemies? Let us know in the comments!