You can run, but you'll only die tired: Gaming's 'baddest' villains

When your best just isn't good enough

Every story is ultimately one of conflict. Whereas inner turmoil makes for great operas, in video games, it's whoever has the biggest guns and the evilest laugh.

Be it space marauders, wicked warlords or ancient zombies, these villains are known for their insurmountable tenacity, undying determination and megalomaniac personalities. Yet some scoundrels leave more of an impression than others.

We've all butted heads with some digital disputant who's driven us to sweaty palms and gritted teeth. Who are your personal nemeses? Check out these 10, then add your own to the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Most Persistent

Winner: Dr. Wily (Mega Man 1-6 for Nintendo, Mega Man 7 for Super Nintendo, Mega Man 8 for Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn; assorted re-releases)

Dr. Wily
Dr. Wily

To ensure a futuristic paradise, Dr. Wily and Dr. Light created specialized robots to handle mundane tasks, freeing mankind to explore and enjoy their own brilliance and existence. But those robots -- Gutsman, Bombman, Iceman and more -- were secretly programmed by Dr. Wily not to serve humanity, but to enslave it.

In response, a dynamic android named Mega Man rose to the challenge and defeated this army -- time and time again. Over the course of eight games, Wily created more than 60 robots, never deviating from the "-man" naming scheme, and always making his robots vulnerable against each other's unique weapons -- a weakness Mega Man regularly exploited.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. And never, ever stray from a plan that's proved to fail. For this, Dr. Wily gets mad props.

Runner-up: Ganon (practically every Zelda game for every Nintendo system ever)


This dark prince first appeared in 1986, in the fantasy adventure Legend of Zelda, as the orc-like master of the ninth and final dungeon. While the games he appears in have become more developed and fleshed out, so have his character and background.

Ganon, the prince of a desert tribe of thieves, has an intimidating stance, a hawkish face and a nightmare steed that have helped him evolve from a simple monster to a complex warlord. But what's worse is what lurks beneath the surface: Whereas the gods have blessed Princess Zelda and her hero, Link, with the divine Triforces of Wisdom and Courage, they have somehow seen fit to bestow Ganon with the Triforce of Power.

Though the Zelda saga spans generations, with new Links and Zeldas always rising to the challenge, Ganon's power is singular and eternal. He has been killed, imprisoned and banished -- yet his return is inevitable.

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