My Top 10 Video Game Villains and Bosses

Video Game Bosses

A video game protagonist is just as good as the antagonist he/she fights against. Whether it’s a power-hungry tyrant who wants dominion over an entire nation or a demented super soldier bent on bringing on calamity and destruction upon the world, villains fascinate us not only because of their cunning wit or overwhelming power, but also because of the motivations that drive them.

We also like them because of the way they made us feel after defeating them (especially if it’s from effing Dark Souls aarrgghh). In any case, in no particular order, here’s my top 10 video game bosses and villains:

Vaas Montenegro (Far Cry 3)

I’ll be honest: what hooked me into getting Far Cry 3 was its promotional material that starred Michael Mando. His flawless performance of an insane, bloodthirsty pirate made me immediately want to experience the character he plays and, true enough, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

In a nutshell, Vaas was a native Rakyat born in the Rook Islands. He eventually joined a slaver and drug trafficer named Hoyst Volker and, almost immediately, became the latter’s right-hand man. Might’ve been because of Vaas’ potential for murder and other acts of volatile, drug-induced violence.

“Did I ever tell you what the definition of insanity is? Insanity is doing the exact… same fucking thing… over and over again, expecting… shit to change.”

Spoiler alert: You get to kill him in the first act as Jason Brody after getting it on with Rakyat Warrior Leader and Princess, Citra (who happens to be Vaas’ sister). After getting through a few upgrades and going through some side quests, you finally get to infiltrate his Pirate headquarters and, in a drug-induced(?) surge of rave-like

Overall, what I loved about Vaas’ story is his fall from grace – he was supposedly going to be the Rakyat’s strongest warrior. Granted, Vaas didn’t like where that was going (clue: Citra and Jason Brody), but what lead to his ultimate downfall was his addiction to drugs and a series of bad choices afterwards (joining Hoyt, killing some of Jason’s friends, etc).

This begs the question though: Is he really dead? You did stab him a couple of times BUT in a bad drug trip. So was it for real?

Bowser (Mario Bros)

Bowser is a notable boss in this list mostly because he’s one of the first bosses I’ve ever encountered as a kid. Given, the Mario games (old platform games in general) are hard and an unresponsive NES controller didn’t help my chances of beating the game, but seeing that dragon-turtle thingy in a lava pit over what seems to be a steel bridge for the first time gave me a sense of fulfillment. Yes, just seeing him!

Beating him, however, was another matter entirely. My dad told me back in the day that he did beat Bowser once and from that day on, I’ve sought to do the same. And while my love for Nintendo and Mario has waned (which also explains why this spot’s so briefly described; I’m not really aware of Bowser’s story also because I’m not really into Wii stuff because #PCMasterRace), Bowser and his Italian Plumber archrival will stay because they’ve played a valuable role in my life.

Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)

Long white hair, fair skin, out-of-this world powers, an angelic face and out-of-this world powers makes Sephiroth one of the most popular video game villains of our generation. Who would’ve thought that this “one-winged angel” would seek death and destruction upon all of Midgar? Essentially, Sephiroth was a highly-successful product of Shinra Electric Power Company’s SOLDIER project.

Son to Professor Hojo and Lucrecia Crescent, Sephiroth was injected with Jenova cells, in an attempt to resurrect the “Cetra” (an ancient race that’s able to talk with the planet). Fast forward to his rise to legend and rise to SOLDIER first class, the genesis war and several events that happened that made him question his existence and loyalties, we see Sephiroth, Zack and a young Cloud Strife in the town of Nibelhei for a mission.

In said mission, he sees his creatures in pods alongside his “mother” Jenova. He freaks the eff out after realizing that he was created in the same way that the other creatures in the pods he sees were created.

The rest, as they say, is history and this fall from grace ends up with Sephiroth burning down all of Nibelheim.

It’s never okay to set an entire village, city or nation on fire but considering how Sephiroth found out who his “parents” were and how he was created, you can understand why he felt that way. Having to live a lie your entire life isn’t necessarily cool after all.

But, for me, there’s only one f*cking reason this a*shole f*cker is in this list. And that’s best exemplified here.

Did you know how many hours were spent levelling up Aerith?! Did you know the level of emotional attachment I had with this character you white-haired a*shole?! I swear by all that is holy I will never stop feeling satisfied beating you over and over again!

“Tell me what you cherish most. Give me the pleasure of taking it away.” 

But minus the rage, this is Sephiroth’s appeal to me (and perhaps, to many others): Being one of those villains who made me feel an immense amount of loss over a video game character. You can think of him as that hot man your friend (that girl you really secretly like but don’t have the capacity to court because reasons) likes who gets to date her but end up stabbing her in the process (the rage really doesn’t go away, I noticed).

For the record, his theme is definitely something I’d have if I were some sort of angelic monster being sent to destroy all of humanity.

Alduin (Skyrim)

What’s better than a dragon final boss? Why a dragon final boss that’s prophesied to bring doom and destruction upon all of Mundus unless you grind hundreds of thousands of hours honing your chosen class skills in an attempt to stop him of course! Enter Alduin, first born of Akatosh and the primary antagonist of Vanilla Skyrim.

Being (allegedly) one of the Divines’ children, Alduin was born unto the Elder Scrolls universe as a leader of dragons and were among those worshipped by the people of Atmora and Skryim during the Merethic era. Essentially, the prophecy foretells of him destroying the world unless a dragonborn, a dovahkiin, destroys him in battle.

In Skyrim, that’s basically what you’re set out to do: Fulfill your prophecy as the Dovahkiin. Sadly, however, that isn’t always the case because if there aren’t side quests, an entire civil war and vampires and werewolves to stop you, there’s thousands of mods that prevent you from doing that.

Real talk though, Alduin might be one of the best and saddest bosses I’ve faced ever because, to me, it marks the end of an adventure and an entire year. As a personal tradition, I make it a point to beat Alduin every year to symbolize how I destroy my dragons on a yearly basis. This is why he’s in this list, by the way — being a part of me personally as a symbol of finishing or accomplishing something after a long journey.

Delilah Copperspoon (Dishonored)

Ambition, obsession and black magic are the secret ingredients to making one helluva badass villain. And who exactly has this in the fantastical world of Dishonored? Well, to be honest, a lot of them. But no one comes close to Delilah Copperspoon, primary antagonist of the Dishonored DLCs and main baddie to Dishonored 2 (a game which I have not played yet, shut up, someday I will Oh gawd, stop!).

Think of it this way, while some weak Lord Regent was trying to get his stuff together for his empire and his hunger for power all the while trying to prevent a ghost from the past Corvo Attano from ever reaching him, Delilah was plotting from the background to take everything in one fell swoop. How, you ask? By taking over the skin of one Emily Kaldwin, heir to the throne of the Empire of the Isles.

As the story goes, Delilah was the illegitimate daughter of Emperor Euhorn Kaldwin. Being not legitimate, Delilah and her mother were left to fend for herself in the streets of Dunwall. Fast forward to her witnessing her mother’s slow death at the hands of the city guard and working odd jobs here and there while painting, Somewhere along the way, she was granted the Outsider’s mark and has become a threat to the entire empire.

Eventually, as Daud, you manage to stop her and her plot of world domination. Again, I haven’t really played the sequel yet so I can’t really discuss how I would like Delilah in the context of the second game. Feel free to spoilers in the comments.

What I really liked about Delilah was her relationship to Daud. I honestly loved Daud as a character in the Dishonored DLCs not only because of his being a leader to the super badass ninja group of the whalers, but also because of his ambition to change the world.

I always played Daud as a redemptive character who wanted to set things right. In contrast, Delilah also wanted to change the world and shape it in her perception. Both characters wanted change, with similar methods (the Outsider’s mark) but with different results.

At the end of the day, you’re left asking yourself, whoever would’ve won in that specific duel, would the world be better off?

Diablo (Diablo Games)

Three games in and Diablo just won’t effing die. Considering that this Prime Evil has been around to haunt my memories since I was in grade school, Diablo will always be a part of my life both literally and figuratively.

In a nutshell, the Diablo (along with the other Prime Evils) was born out of the defeat of Tatameth against the hands of Anu, the first being in Creation. Long story short, Diablo sought to spread fear and destruction upon all of Sanctuary and the High Heavens and was almost able to do so (in reference to Diablo 3) were it not for the valiant efforts of a nephalem and a now mortal Tyrael.

The narrative is long yet compelling so I’ll leave you folks to do research on his story (or, you know, just play Diablo 1 through 3). What I loved about the Lord of Terror is what he thoroughly represents: FEAR.

Let’s face it, we all have our own respective fears and it’s difficult to get over them. The sad thing is, we really aren’t able to get rid of fear itself – we can only manage how we deal with it. And that plays well with the Diablo character – he doesn’t really die. But you’re damned well sure you can always imprison him in the burning hells from whence he came.

He’ll be back. But you’ll be ready.

Moon Lord (Terraria)

I’ve played roughly a thousand hours of Terraria and all I can say is that a large chunk of those hours went on to grinding and prepping for bosses. Sure, I built some platforms and made some customized arenas to battle some of them and, to be honest, things got too easy that I just temporarily quit. Enter a later patch, and I found myself struggling over them special events bosses and a recent cultist event.

At first I thought it was cool, seeing new stuff and experiencing new things. Until I got to the dungeon and met the cultist – nope, he wasn’t hard to beat at all – the horrors that followed were far worse. Those floating celestial towers were literally floating nightmares bringing forth new and terrible creatures that I had a terribly difficult time defeating. Once all 4 were destroyed, I faced the Moon Lord – a massive final boss that sought to destroy me.

It was, by far, one of the most frustrating experiences for me as a gamer mostly because I was new to the whole thing. I rushed through this patch in roughly a day and it took up to 4-5 days for me to finally beat him (I’m a very slow learner). I had to remake the entire world to beat him and when I finally did, getting that Meowmere felt so goddamned good.

You’re probably asking: “Carlo, what makes this boss appear in this here list of yers?” The answer might surprise you. Remember that story I had a few posts ago about me reaching a low point in my life in that I lost some clients and had a really rough financial year? Well, when my situation was improving, I got to have some spare time to play this game again. And those battles with this thing reminded me about how (I had an hour each day to attempt to beat it) I got through all that struggle with hard work, a helluva lot of trial and error (eff your Terraria wiki) and good ol’ fashioned coffee.

Marker Nicole (Dead Space 2)

What’s worse than a deadly space plague that turns living things into necrotic beings bent on destroying and serving a celestial signal? A deadly space plague that turns living things into necrotic beings bent on destroying and serving a celestial signal that’s disguised as your long dead ex-girlfriend. After surviving the horrors of the Ishimura, space engineer and all-around badass Isaac Clarke gets captured for some sort of psychological examination pertaining to the marker he destroyed in the first game.

I’ve only played up to Dead Space 2 so if you want a full story on who Nicole is or the conclusion of the entire franchise (have not heard about Dead Space 4), you might want to play the game OR check the Internet out. Basically, Dead Space 2 has our engineer hero badass darting through space ruins again fighting off necromorphs, Unitologists and other space threats for the purpose of surviving all the while being haunted by his dead ex girlfriend. Considering that the Marker augments feelings of sadness, anger and other negative emotions, you can conclude that it’s definitely what made Isaac see Nicole every now and then.

I’ve got no problems with that because it makes Dead Space a helluva lot scarier. Here’s to hoping that all my ex-girlfriends someday get to see me as a twisted ghost that haunts their past!

Tank (Left 4 Dead)

‘m not sure what to feel about having a Tank come in whenever me and my brothers play Left 4 Dead but it’s certainly a mixture of exhiliration and fear. Obviously fear because a gigantic amalgamation of flesh and an undead plague is rampaging through the streets looking to beat you to a bloody pulp. And exhiliration because you get to effing kill it! Besides, its music is extremely panic-inducing.

There’s really no concrete story behind this abomination, but you can tell from the Left 4 Dead comic that it’s his kind that brought death to the legendary Bill from the first Left 4 Dead Game. (Man, that’s one of the most tragic things I’ve read in my young professional life)

 

This big guy is in this list solely because he’s the guy me and my brothers or my friends can team up against. His looming, chaotic presence actually makes us throw our selfish objectives and get together as a team to take him out.

The Pursuer (Dark Souls 2)

Last, but definitely not least is the Pursuer from Dark Souls II. In a nutshell, the pursuer was meant to track down and kill the bearer of the curse. Considering how Dark Souls’ lore is pretty convoluted, I’ll leave it to you to find out more about it or just play the game! The entire Dark Souls franchise allows you to explore philosophical and existential concepts that you’ll probably only get to realize when watching some YouTube videos about it.

So why exactly is the Pursuer in this list and why not other Dark Souls bosses? To be honest, he’s really just one of the first tough bosses I had a fairly hard time beating (SPOILER: I suck as a gamer). I had to do a lot of research to take this douchebag down not to mention a lot of trial and error. There was a lot of shouting and rage quitting involved too, but what can I say? Dark Souls, man.

To add to that though, I guess I liked the Pursuer over the other bosses because of what it is: A pursuer. A single-minded warrior bent on fulfilling his role of hunting down the bearer of the curse. Its almost relentless chase of the player kind of inspires a never give up, never give in attitude that you, as the player, demonstrates throughout playing the entire game.

The Pursuer looks really dope too. But that’s just me.

That about wraps it up for MY list. And to highlight my fascination towards these men of ambition or insanity (or both), here’s a song from a lovely group called Big Bad Bosses – a group composed of some YouTubers I watch and love (Shoutout to Alex Faciane and Jirard Khalil of Super Beard Bros!).

Ah, the power fantasy of being an overly-powerful, super smart and witty video game boss. Kind of makes you want to rule the whole world, eh? Until my next video game list!

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