The most threatening villains wouldn’t get far without help. This is where their mercenaries come in. Audiences have seen henchmen of all shapes and sizes, but these henchmen always seem to have the end of the stick. They do most of the dirty work and get no credit. This is especially true in video games. After all, players need something to fight their way to the real bad guys.
Again, some henchmen contradict this trend. Whether through exemplary service or through their own initiative, these guys stand out from the average thug. Some of them excel so well that they become major antagonists in their own right. Such a momentous achievement deserves recognition, even if it is steeped in wickedness.
seven N. Gin – The Crash Bandicoot Series
N. Gin is Dr. Neo Cortex’s assistant and accomplice to his twisted experiments. This gives him the motivation and resources to carry out his life’s work: the ultimate death machine. Much like the demented doctor himself, he has no problem tormenting mutants and other creatures to do so. Despicable as it may sound, it has yielded tremendous results.
Every new crash The adventure sees N. Gin building more destructive abominations, both biological and mechanical. He is not discouraged by defeat; he simply corrects the problems in his plans and comes back stronger next time. That’s more than can be said for Cortex, who has become completely demoralized and frequently loses his resolve. N. Gin, on the other hand, has a commitment to evil that goes hand in hand with top villains like Uka Uka.
It goes without saying that a life of crime would create some pretty ruthless individuals. In Mafia, however, the members of the Don Salieri gang could always rely on each other. This changes when their loyalty is questioned. Tired of their dangerous life, Tommy and Paulie try to get by. The don hits them in retaliation.
Leading the charge is none other than Sam. He spent years alongside Tommy and Paulie. They are practically brothers, but he turns against them without hesitation. Moreover, he does it to advance his own fortune within the family. Given that Tommy could once entrust his life to her, one wonders how long Sam’s selfishness has been spreading.
5 Vanitas – The Kingdom Hearts Series
Most people become more malevolent with time and experience, but Vanitas is evil by her very nature. Master Manipulator Xehanort aims to use his apprentice, Ventus, to produce an all-powerful χ-blade. This mythical weapon can only be forged by pure light colliding with pure darkness. He then fractures Ventus’ heart, siphoning the boy’s few dark feelings into a being called Vanitas.
He’s a twisted kid made of pure identity. He can take orders from Xehanort, but he enjoys nothing more than tormenting his “weaker” half. He defeats Ventus both physically and emotionally. Those the hero loves are just toys for Vanitas: tools to sow chaos and discord. To pursue this goal, he channels his own negative energy to unleash a horde of monsters on the various Disney worlds. At least the other villains on the show had reason to do that; Vanitas stirs up trouble for fun.
4 Shang Tsung—Mortal Kombat
Most fans imagine Shao Kahn as the big bad of mortal combat, but his servile wizard proves to be more devious. Shang Tsung is a master manipulator, able to turn the closest friends against each other. He does this through his brutal tournaments and deceptive makeovers. He does not kill those who disobey him. Rather, he consumes their souls to rejuvenate himself. He turns any situation to his advantage.
Players see this many times throughout the series, but few are more amazing than its appearance in Mortal Komat 11. You’d think a high-stakes scenario like schedule-fixing would bring the opponents together. In the end, however, most of the characters and their armies are dead thanks to Shang Tsung’s subtle schemes. This frees him to take his place as the master of all space and time. Conquests are built on bodies; this particular fighter knows that better than most.
3 Neyla – Sly 2: Band of Thieves
The second Sly Cooper The title has countless twists, and the author of most of them is Neyla. Initially an Interpol agent who seems sympathetic to the cause of the Cooper Gang, she double-crosses the crew and even her own partner, landing them all in jail. The irony is that she is not at all loyal to Interpol. Rather, she is the protege of Arpeggio, the leader of the Klaww Gang, the rival group of game con artists seeking to bring together the mechanical menace Clockwerk. Unfortunately, she even fucks her boss at the eleventh hour and takes his technology for herself.
They say there is no honor among thieves, and Neyla proves it. She’s definitely playing the long game, having no qualms about betraying her so-called friends for more power. On the contrary, she takes pleasure in exploiting the naivety of others. It takes a heart of hate to rival that of Clockwerk. It’s all the more appropriate that Neyla assumes the mantle of the monster.
2 Erol – The Jak & Daxter Series
When players arrive in Haven City in James 2, the tyrannical Baron Praxis runs things. More sadistic, however, is its commanding officer, Erol. He fiercely enforces the law around town, but it’s mostly an excuse to fuel his enjoyment of death and destruction. He believes in power and order above all else and therefore personally despises Jak due to his abilities and heroism. It was these qualities that led to Erol’s demise in a deadly race.
Against all odds, however, the vengeful villain returns as a cyborg in James 3. He now leads an army of killer robots and wages war on the city he once defended, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He also allies himself with the Dark Makers: Fallen Precursors who want to destroy everything their brethren have built. Erol’s boss wanted an era of peace and order, albeit under his rule, but the evil soldier wants to wipe out all of creation. It is difficult to say whether this is a step forward or a step forward.
1 Death – The Castlevania Series
In this supernatural series, players must fight their way through Dracula’s castle to defeat the vampire. They encounter several monsters under the Count’s control, such as mummies, jellyfish, and werewolves. However, the scariest surprise comes near the end. Before battling Dracula, players encounter the Grim Reaper.
As the embodiment of death, this skeletal foe’s reputation speaks for itself. This makes him implicated in every human victim throughout history. One could simply attribute this to his natural duty, but his bondage to Dracula reveals a deeper pleasure. The Grim Reaper delights in extinguishing life. The Earl’s genocidal exploits are the most effective way to accomplish this, so he happily serves the vampire. This level of mass bloodlust is positively inhuman.
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