I was recently at IGN.com, comparing their reviews to that of my own when I noticed a Top 100 Video Game Villain List and took the time to look through it. Needless to say, I was more than a little surprised at some of the names that appeared and didn't appear. It had some surprising ones like Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid Series and Mario, (in his only appearance as a villain), from and an old Donkey Kong game. There were also some weird ones like Mechanical Hitler from the original Wolfenstein and a few essential ones like Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII and Dracula from the Castlevania series, but I was surprised at how many great villains were left out.I had been planning my own release of a top ten villains list for some time, but seeing this list has given me the encouragement I needed. This list will not include only video game villains but villains from books and movies as well. Keep in mind that there are many games I haven’t played, many books I haven’t read, and many movies I haven’t seen, so consider this an incomplete list for now and I may up date it with a new post in the future. Until then I present to you with an evil grin, The Illusive One's Top Ten Villains.
At number ten, Jack of Blades from Fable. While some people may disagree with me on this, Jack of Blades was easily, in my book, one of the greatest video game villains of all time and represents all that is evil in the Fable world. Before the game took place, he and his followers attempted to subvert Albion to his rule. When they refused he destroyed Albion, not once, but three times until he was temporarily defeated and lost his great weapon, the Sword of Aeons. In the game he slaughters and burns down entire villages, burns down the Guild of Heroes, and butchers anyone in his path in order to regain his sword and to once again attempt to subvert the lands. The final battle with him at the end of the game was also one of the most epic I have ever seen in a video game, and for that reason alone deserves a spot on my list.
At number nine, Zeus, from God of War 2. I haven't played God of War 3, so I can't comment on his character in it but in 2, he was bad ass. He was unmerciful, unrelenting, and just as, if not more, vengeful then Kratos, destroying Sparta just out of spite, after he believes he has killed Kratos. The final fight with him at the end of the game was just as intense as the fight with Jack of Blades in Fable and I consider it one of my favorite endgame boss fights. Hopefully soon I will have the chance to play God of War 3 and will be able to expand on this, but for now, that's all I have for Zeus.
At number eight, Hannibal Lecter from the Hannibal Lecter series. Need I say more? Well I will anyway. For those of you who don’t' know, Hannibal Lector is an insane but ingenious doctor who kills and eats people. While he is captured fairly early in the series, it doesn’t stop him from manipulating detectives who come to him asking for his advice in tracking other serial killers. He does so hesitantly, but always has a hidden agenda, whether it involves getting the detective killed, getting them promoted, or getting him out of prison. In three of the five films, he is portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, easily the best and received an Oscar for Best Actor in a Lead Role, even though he hardly has any screen time and deserves a spot an anyone's villain list.
At number seven, The Illusive Man from Mass Effect 2. While technically not the villain of the series the Illusive Man, voiced by Martin Sheen, still fits the profile of a true villain perfectly. In the Mass Effect Universe he is the head of a terrorist, pro-human organization, called Cerberus, who seek human dominance over the universe. I consider him to be a modern day Blofeld, the leader of S.P.E.C.T.E.R. and a villain of the James Bond series as the way they operate and their goals are very similar, (lacking the Persian Cat). Throughout the game he cleverly manipulates people to his own end with his calm but commanding presence and constantly puts Shepard in harm’s way without giving him all the information he needs and is always one step ahead of everyone. His true nature as a power hungry monster is not revealed until the end of the game and his cleaver hiding of this gives him a place on my list.
At number six, The Joker from the Batman series. Undoubtedly the greatest comic book villain ever conceived, the Joker first appeared in the comic book Batman No. 1 and has since become Batman's greatest villain and one of the most popular villains of all time. Over the years the character has effectively changed with time. He was first a psychopathic who used poison gas, then changed to the comedic, campy idiot, played by Cesar Romero in the Batman series of the 60s, to Jack Nicholson's unpredictable, psychotic, yet, hilarious portrayal in Tim Burton’s 1989 film, Batman, to the Mark Hamill Joker of Batman: The Animated Series, and to Heath Leger's unforgettable performance in the 2008 film, The Dark Knight. Take your pick of which is the best, but I think anyone would agree that the Joker deserves a place on any top ten villain list.
At number five, the Dahaka from Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. Introduced in the second game of the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time Trilogy, the Dahaka was portrayed as a relentless, nearly indestructible, juggernaut, (with a weird dislike for water), who was a kind of guardian of the time line. When the Prince didn't die in Sands of Time, as was his destiny, the Dahaka appeared to correct that mistake. He relentlessly pursues the Prince for this goal and this made for the most heart pounding, palm sweating, pursuits I have ever played in a game.
At number four, Darth Vader from the Star Wars series. Once again, do I even need to explain? Well I will anyway. In the original Star Wars Trilogy, he was the great evil everyone feared. To the Rebel Alliance, he was the faceless monster that led the Empire. To the Empire he was the boss you didn’t want to work for. Encountering Vader would always mean you were screwed. He kills those who fail him without restraint or mercy and has no trouble torturing people for no reason and the number of lives that must be sacrificed to achieve success means nothing to him. While Return of the Jedi and the prequel trilogy set him up as more of a tragic hero, I think most people will still agree with me in saying he is one of the greatest film villains of all time.
At number three, The Demon, from Running With the Demon. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Word and Void Trilogy by Terry Brook, it was a trilogy he wrote in the late 90s, that featured an endless war in our world between servants of the Word and of the Void, (essentially Order and Chaos). The servants of the Word are Knights and the servants of the Void of are Demons who relentlessly hunt each other to tip the balance to their side. The description of the character was kind of vague as it constantly changed forms. It killed in cleaver, deceptive, and unpredictable ways and had an attitude that was one of the greatest I have ever seen in a book. The way the character was described fits a psychopath perfectly and is very impressive because it was done only with written words. He is undoubtedly the greatest villain Brooks ever created and is one of the greatest of all time in my book.
At number two, The Man in Black, from Lost. For those of you who haven’t seen the final season of Lost I would recommend skipping this one, as it contains a few spoilers. The Man in Black first appeared as the Smoke Monster in the series and represented all the supernatural fears of the Island to the flight survivors. As the series progresses, he carefully manipulates the survivors and the Others to doing his bidding and kills all those who defy him, or who he suspects may be a threat to him. He frequently takes on the forms of the dead to confuse people, directing them all to his ultimate goal of killing Jacob, Jacob's his potential successors, and destroying and escaping the Island.
Now who could possibly top all of these great villains? Well, to tell you the truth this one is a little obscure compared to the others.
At number one is Bayaz, from the First Law Trilogy. Most people, sadly, are not familiar with the First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, as it has yet to gain the same reputation as other fantasy series like Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time, or Shannara so let me just give you a basic run down. The series focus around a few central characters in a kingdom known as the Union as it fights off barbarian invaders from the north and a Saracen like empire to the south, with Bayaz carefully pulling the strings of the Union government. He is described as a well built elder man with no hair and a large gut. At first he comes off as being a kind of stricter version of Gandalf with a short temper, working to help the Union, but eventually reveals himself to be an evil man just as bad, if not worse, then the villains of the series. Various twists occur in the final book of the trilogy that reveals him to be the monster he is. He cares nothing for human life or liberties, has no trouble sacrificing millions of lives for his rivalry with other magi and delivers some of the most demented and ego reducing monologs I have ever read in a book or seen in a movie or video game. And that is why Bayaz is number one on my top ten villain list.
Well that's it for my Top Ten Villain list. If any of you disagree with my choices I encourage you to comment on why. Once again, keep in mind that there are many games I haven’t played, many books I haven’t read, and many films I haven’t seen and this list my change in the future. Until next time, this is The Illusive One sighing off.