I thought it was about time I did this list because antagonist are just so cool and intriguing that they sometimes even outshine the protagonist of the game. Now, of course this is all opinion-based, so don’t try to hunt me down or anything because I’m in a secret, undisclosed location where no one will find. If you feel that there were some characters I missed or should have put on this list, feel free to leave a comment. Just don’t freak out, there are just that many great video game antagonists out there.
10. Gruntilda – Banjo – Kazooie Series
This is a fun antagonist who’s only crime was to become beautiful. Grunty made her first appearance in the N64 classic “Banjo – Kazooie” when she kidnapped Banjo’s younger sister Tootie to steal her looks. After she fell off her tower and landed under a rock for two years and came back as a zombie; then she came back as a mecha – witch and that didn’t even stop her. She then came back with nothing but a skull and some science bull crap and tried to defeat the bear and bird duo again… Give her credit, she does not give up easily.
Another reason I love this antagonist is because just how evil she really his and just how much I notice it now that I’m older and slightly wiser. Every single one of her henchmen and followers either hate her or turn against her to help Banjo and Kazooie defeat her. She’s abusive to her cauldron, her broomstick and even Klungo who spent two long years trying remove the boulder crushing Grunty. She even axes off her her two evil sisters who saved Grunty’s life and supplied her a giant laser to bring her back to her normal non – zombie body. Gruntilda, we may love her as a antagonist but she hates all of us.
9. Gary Oak – Pokemon Series
I love this guy because he constantly goes on how awesome he is, how talented he is and how he will become the greatest pokemon trainer in the world and yet he just sucks at everything. This is the antagonist that we love making fun of and humiliating because of what a self – indulged loser he is. Let’s face it, when we were younger we may have called him Gary or even Blue but we then soon started calling him dirty names because we just wanted to knock the little bugger down a notch. However, the guy still manages to make us feel like absolute crap.
No matter how fast we are getting to a gym to challenge a gym leader, no matter how fast we make it to the next town, Gary is always one step ahead of you. Whenever you look at the winners of the gym battles at each town, Gary is always the first one. This is a real insult to you because you kick these guy’s ass every single time you meet him… It actually kinda hurts you deeply. Oh well, his name is Butthole anyway, who cares what he does.
8. LeChuck – Monkey Island Series
Shoot him, slash him, melt him; it doesn’t matter because he will always find a way to strike again. Even though he’s the meanest, dirtiest, merciless and most bloodthirsty pirate of all the seas… That doesn’t stop him from having a heart. LeChuck was smitten with Governor Elaine Marley and asked for her hand in marriage but she refused and he later died of a broken heart. Although that doesn’t stop him from going all Bowser on her ass and kidnap her.
When we first hear about LeChuck we find out that he has scared the citizens of Melee Island into submission and is plotting to rule the seas with Elaine by his side. He is, however, always thwarted by the light – hearted but naive wannabe pirate Guybrush Threepwood. LeChuck never gives up though and always comes back as a ghost, zombie, demon and even an actual human man; that more than qualifies him to be a part of this list.
7. Alma – F.E.A.R Series
No matter where you are, where you run or where you hide; Alma can see you and she is watching you. When we start playing the game, we have no idea why Alma is stalking us or if she wants to help us or hurt us. As we progress through the game, she puts disturbing dream sequences in the Pointman’s head to give him clues as to who he is, who she is and what the hell is going. That’s what really makes this antagonist so damn interesting because we literally have no idea if she’s truly evil or trying to get the Pointman to see the bigger picture.
But where Alma really shines is the dreams she puts into the Pointman’s head that involve pools of blood, terrifying screams and things popping out at you while you’re defenceless and it can really get under you’re skin. According to the developers of F.E.A.R, Alma was made to really get under the player’s skin but also keep the player coming back for more due to the uncertainty of her character. They really succeeded on that and delivered us one great antagonist that will always have wondering if something is watching us.
When you just look at Kane, you automatically think “Yeah, I can see this guy as a evil mastermind”. With his bald head, perfect goatee and unmatched intelligence, Kane makes for a great villian. I like how charismatic he is while also being completely nuts. He is can win over the devotion and minds of his people in a nano-second but he will also eliminate half a continent just to get the attention of aliens he wants to steal technology from… Makes sense to me. However, above being a tactical, maniacal genius he is also covered in a large shroud of mystery.
Rumors have spread that he is not only a thousand years old but he is unable to die or be killed. Another rumour that people call ridiculous is that his name and his connection to Nod makes him the Cain that killed his brother Abel in the bible. Of course Kane has not confirmed these rumours but he has also not denied these rumours either. So the rumours are still a big mystery and a bad guy that keeps you both guessing and intrigued is more than enough to make this list.
5. Frank Fontaine – Bioshock
When this guy revealed himself in Bioshock, my jaw hit the ground because he delivered the one of the greatest twists in a video game ever. I don’t want to give anything away but… Would you kindly play this game and witness it’s great story and characters. Frank is a great bad guy because while you know what he did in his past, you do feel for what he has been through in the hellish environment of Rapture. If you haven’t seen this guy yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out as a gamer.
4. SHODAN – System Shock 2
Now in Bioshock, they tried to recreate this character in with a few new tricks, and while they still did a great job; SHODAN is still the antagonist that can screw with your mind and wonder if she’s here to help you, harm you or maybe even both. SHODAN had a wonderful gift of making the player feel like nothing while praising herself as some untouchable god. She did this by putting ideas into your head by intimidating and down right creeping you out. It’s pretty obvious the developers and writers drew influence from 2001: A Space Odyssey and the HAL 9000 from the movie but they did so well that SHODAN still left a big impression with Gamers with an unpredictable attitude, creepy dialogue and just a great appearance. When you’re alone in space, no one can hear you scream… except SHODAN.
3. Saren – Mass Effect
Now, to be honest I was a little hasty about putting Saren on this list because at the beginning of the game, he’s not that terribly interesting. We are introduced to him as he shoots his best friend in the back of the head and tries to blow up a whole colony of innocent people. However, he is a Spectre and very trusted man to the council… So yes, an already pretty powerful guy let’s the power go to his head and abuses it… Haven’t heard that story arc before. Although, as the game continued and introduced more of Saren’s character we learn that he is working for the an higher authority and he pilots a Reaper that could destory every life-form.
Then we learn that the Reaper’s power has been controlling Saren’s mind, so there is a possibility that he was not always a bad guy. Even to this day, people don’t know if he was an actual bad guy or a lost soul and that makes a great character and antagonist. There is even a scene where if you go Paragon and talk him down at the final confrontation, he’ll actually shoot himself as if he knows what he has become and wants to stop himself. A lost soul or a evil mastermind… We will never know.
2. Joker – Batman Arkham Asylum/City
Okay, I’m actually cheating on this one because The Joker is actually more of a comic book villian than a video game antagonist but here me out. Throughout both Batman games, The Joker has you guessing the whole time which keeps in true with his character. He makes you feel like more of pawn in his plan than an actual superhero and every time he reveals a part of his plan, it is a genuine shock. This is more so in Arkham City because The Joker is dying from a disease and yet you still feel weaker than him because he is still able to control and use you.
And on top of everything, we know this character and we know what he is like and we know what he is capable of. Even though we have seen this character in hundreds of comic books, T.V shows, movies and even other games; he still manages to keep us guessing what the hell he is up to. It has been said that The Joker is the most iconic villian in all of media and you know what, I believe it. The Joker will, most certainly, have you die laughing and going out with a bang.
1. GlaDOS – Portal
If there was an award for the antagonist that was friendly, funny, terrifying and kept you intrigued for the duration of the game… GlaDOS would go home with the gold. GlaDOS has left an impression with Gamers like no other antagonist has and still continues to be talked about today. GlaDOS starts out as a helpful guide to complete a series of routine tests with an odd new toy but soon evolves into a something more sinister. After you have completed the final test, GlaDOS just tries to recycle you… No explanation, she just tries to throw you into the furnace without question, this opens the possibility that you are not the first test subject chosen for this experiment.
Now, what makes this antagonist really creepy is that, she is the only other character in this game. Other than you, she is only other thing in this creepy lab that you can communicate with and when you find out she’s going to murder you, you are completely on your own in this mysterious place with no guide and no one to help you. Even though her final confrontation isn’t really that challenging, the combination of her passion, vengeance, and light-hearted moments are what really make her stand out. GlaDOS… It’s only logical